Around a million British nationals visit Cyprus every year, and the vast majority of them have trouble-free trips.
But as research shows, safety is the most important factor when Brits choose an overseas holiday destination, with four out of five people giving careful consideration to safety and security before booking, here’s the latest safety advice for the popular Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, together with the killing of 30 Britons by a gunman on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia in June 2015, means the possibility of terrorism is a major consideration for tourists, who may be particularly concerned because Cyprus is only around 200 miles from the terrorist hotspot Syria.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Cyprus, warning that attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. The advice is linked to the heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, and the FCO stresses tourists should be ‘vigilant’.
As when you travel to any foreign destination, passports, money and other valuables should be kept safe. The FCO warns that room safes and hotel safety deposit boxes have been targeted previously, but crime against tourists in Cyprus is uncommon.
Personal attacks, including sexual assaults, are infrequent but they do happen. Travellers should be alert to the possible use of date rape and other drugs including GHB and liquid ecstasy, and make sure they buy their own drinks and keep them in sight to ensure they’re not spiked.
It’s possible to travel to the north of Cyprus from the south and back, including via the Ledra Palace and Ledra Street checkpoints in central Nicosia where you can cross on foot.
Cyprus immigration authorities say EU passport holders with a ‘TRNC’ stamp in their passport won’t have difficulty when re-entering the south. However, many cars hired in the south aren’t insured for use in the north.
Check with your insurance company, as you won’t be allowed through a crossing without the correct insurance documents, which can be bought at some crossing points.
Foreign nationals who enter Cyprus through the north are considered by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have entered through an illegal port of entry. The Government can fine you for such illegal entry if you cross into the south, but the FCO says the current policy is not to do so.
Driving standards un Cyprus are poor, with more than twice as many road deaths as in the UK. When hiring a vehicle, check it’s roadworthy and that you’re properly insured.
The Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the EU, but it’s divided by the Green Line which separates the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which isn’t recognised by the British government, from the rest of the island.