Tips on how we drive in Cyprus

The first thing you need to kno is that in Cyprus you drive on the left side of the road. As it is a former British colony, it remained with the system implemented probably at the beginning of the last century. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s see how light the traffic is.

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We are patient in traffic

Know that here people are very patient in traffic. Usually, if you hear a horn, it’s because friends are saying hello in traffic, not because someone is nervous behind the wheel.

Just sitting în traffic is a must!
Just sitting în traffic is a must!

This is a rule for small towns, but even in the city I didn’t hear too many horns. Therefore, if two friends met in traffic and they slow down or even stop to exchange two words, don’t get angry and don’t honk.

Adopt the Cypriot style of siga, siga (slowly, slowly) and all will be well.

And try not to get too angry when you see that Cypriots will stop exactly where they need to without caring that they mess up the traffic.

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Should you signal in traffic?…

The car manufacturers needlessly put the stick in the car equipment because no one uses it. And a basic rule, if you don’t want to have your car smashed in traffic, is not to believe even when you see the signs posted by those around you.

Perfect parking spot!
Perfect parking spot!

Usualy is better not to move until you are sure in which direction the others are going.

📌The rule of not signaling is also valid at roundabouts and despite all that I have not seen any accidents because of it.

📌If the car in front of you is going very slowly for no apparent reason, it is usually because the driver is looking for a parking space and will possibly signal right when he pulls the steering wheel to the left. Or to the right…

📌If you are going to drive in Cyprus, it is good to remember that the pedestrian has the highest priority. Less in the cities.

Pedestrian=priority
Pedestrian=priority

Basicaly, in the smaller towns, the pedestrian does not suffer anything even if he irregularly passes in front of the police car. They’re all white and blue so you can’t miss these.

So, if someone has managed to set foot on the asphalt and want to cross, it doesn’t hurt to slow down and stop, because that’s the unwritten rule here – that’s what they teach you at driving school.

We drive în the sidewalk if we have to
We drive în the sidewalk if we have to

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Traffic signs

They are adopted from the UK, so you won’t see any parking or stopping signs, but you will have the yellow stripes on the side of the road that tell you whether or not you can stop.

Blue spot=disabled people
Blue spot=disabled people

📌Also, don’t look for the priority road sign because you won’t find it. Apply the right priority rule and you’ll be safe!

📌At T junctions keep the car in lane because Cypriots like to take the corners wider, like that, as if they were driving a truck.

📌If you come to Cyprus and rent a car to get around the island you don’t have to worry about getting lost. There are plenty of signs to guide you.

Basically, I find it quite difficult to get lost here. If you still manage the performance, you will surely find a local who speaks a little English to guide you to your destination.

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Start moving your car

We also have fun
We also have fun

You got it, it is not signaled by anyone and many times it happens that they start the car and then look in the mirror. But, miraculously, we don’t have too many accidents.

And if you’re pulling out of a side park and the traffic is hellish, don’t worry because there’s always someone to let you out.

You will find the busiest traffic in Limassol and Nicosia, which are also the largest cities of the island.

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Filling your tank

In Cyprus, you won’t find gas stations with a non-stop program, but you can fill up at each of the existing ones because they have machines where you pay either with a card or with money.

Just be careful that you won’t get any change. There is also a menu in English, so it is not complicated to use the payment machine.

Be careful not to mistake the number of the pump you want to feed from.

There are NO gas stations on the highway, but you will find them in any city or village near by.

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Parking your car

Parking in Paphos
Parking in Paphos

You will find few places where you can park your car without having to pay. On the streets, where there are parking spaces, parking meters are also installed. It’s good to put the money in there and put the receipt in the windshield because you don’t wanna get a fine.

City hall or private parking lots will usually cost you at least 2 euros per hour.

If you decide to drive to Nicosia or Limassol, I strongly recommend that you first find it on maps or park and go directly there, and then walk.

Otherwise, you will be doing laps, laps in crowded cities where the locals don’t have much patience even if you see a car with a red number.

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Rental cars are easy to spot

The rental cars have red numbers and during the season the streets and highways are full of them.

If you see them speeding, they’re either rental company employees or maybe British who feel right at home here.

The rest, just Europeans trying to stay in the lane. You will also meet some who go 80 km in the second lane on the highway, but that is the risk in a tourist country.

Also the classic ones. Black number
Also the classic ones. Black number

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We have good roads

If you’re brave enough to rent a car to get around, at least you’ll enjoy good roads. Each city is connected to each other by highways that are  well maintained.

Most of the time the national roads are also in good condition. Be careful, however, that there are still narrow roads through the mountains and between some isolated localities you will even find sections of dirt road. But most of them are practicable.

We park where we can
We park where we can

Keep one thing in mind – the continuous line in the middle of the road is not seen here as a prohibition on overtaking, but only as a means of demarcating the directions of travel.

If you feel like speeding over the legal limit – 100 km/h on the highway, you see that there are mobile radars – the famous guns, about two per crew.

And there are also “camouflaged” radars in cars parked on the left, but which are signaled.

Although I have never heard of a tourist being stopped at the airport for not paying the fine received for speeding or for riding an ATV without a helmet. For several years they have been talking about installing fixed speed cameras, especially on highways, but they haven’t had the courage yet.

In the middle of the season, at the end of the week, towards the morning, the famous raids for alcohol are carried out, and the police do not distinguish between locals and tourists when they stop cars in traffic.

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Drive north

Border crossing Derineia
Border crossing Derineia

Now, everything you have read so far applies to the Republic of Cyprus. If you want to drive in the busy part of a rented car in the south you have to pay an insurance at the customs. The value is 25 euros and is valid for one month. There is NO one-day insurance.

The traffic in the north of Cyprus seems much more chaotic to me, probably closer to what you know at home. If you are not careful, it seems very easy to have an accident.

Then the Turks installed fixed speed cameras on their streets. Lots of fixed speed cameras, and if you’re lucky enough to get one, you don’t get away without paying.

When you come back to the Greek side, they will stop you at the Turkish customs and you will not pass until you take out the money. I think the card also works in this case.

The good thing about Katehomena though is that if you venture further away from the main towns, the traffic is generally light and the quality of the streets is reasonable.

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Funny facts or Cypriot habits in traffic

✔First you start driving and then you check your phone or drink some coffee and then you put on your seat belt.

✔As it gets a bit hot, you drive with your hand out of the car, sometimes even when driving on the highway.

✔If you are a young woman, it is almost mandatory, if you sit in the left seat, to sit with your feet on the dashboard of the car.

✔It’s good to greet your acquaintances in traffic with a horn.

✔If you meet someone you know on a side street, it doesn’t hurt to block the traffic for a few good seconds to exchange a word with your friend.

✔We are not in a hurry at the traffic lights. Not. We go as far as possible in the intersection as long as the light is red, then, when it’s green, we forget to start moving.

✔When you drive at night, if you have friends with you, leave the light on inside to see each other better.

✔If an obstacle appears in front of you – usually a car – do not brake, pull the steering wheel and go into the opposite direction. That’s what everyone does.

😁We laugh, we joke, but in the end the traffic on the island is light and the drivers are very patient and understanding. Maybe because they are used to many tourists who inevitably make mistakes or maybe Cypriots realized that nerves will not get them to their destination any faster.

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Fines from October 2020:

📌seat belt – 150

📌protective helmet – 200

📌mobile phone – 150

📌parking space for disabled people – 300

📌continuous double line parking (yellow lanes) – 100

📌drink driving – under 22 mg/100 ml – no fine. Between 22 and 70 mg/100 ml, from 125 euros to 500 euros. Over 71 mg/100 ml – court.

📌serious accidents due to your fault – fines of 1000 euros and upwards are already applied and you can also end up in prison if you fled the scene.

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