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General Info about Cyprus

Visa Requirements
EU, Canadian, New Zealand, Japanese and American nationals don’t need a visa to enter the country once they are staying for a period less than 90 days. Only a valid passport and a return ticket is required. The majority of foreign nationals don't require a visa. It is advised that foreign nationals check with their local Cypriot embassy to enquire about entry details.

Currency
Cyprus’ currency is the Cyprus Pound (C£) which is divided into 100 cents (c). Notes come in denominations of C£1, C£5, C£10 and C£20. Coins used are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c.

Language
The island’s official languages are Turkish (north) and Greek (south) while English is also widely spoken. German and French is spoken in the tourism industry.

Climate
Cypriots are fortunate to enjoy an intense Mediterranean climate with long dry summers, mild winters and short autumn and spring seasons. The summer season lasts from about mid-May to mid-October and winter lasts from December to February. Temperatures are quite high throughout the country in summer with an average of 37˚C in inland areas. In winter average temperatures in more hilly parts of the country reach as low as 2˚C or 3˚C and it sometimes snows – usually before Christmas.

Medical Care
Cyprus isn’t an EU member so its medical care isn’t available for the rest of the union's countries.

It is advised that you take out travel insurance before going. You can now purchase travel insurance on Hostelcyprus.com. Click here for further details.

Time Zone
Cyprus lies two hours ahead of GMT and seven ahead of EST. Perth is six hours ahead while Sydney is 8 (which drops by two during daylight saving months).

Opening Hours
Public service hours are from 7.30am-2.30pm Mon-Fri and 7.30am-2.30pm, then 3pm-6pm on Thursdays during the Winter Season (1st Sept-30th June). The same hours are 7.30am-2.30pm during the Summer Season (1st July-31st August).

Shopping hours vary between the different seasons, but generally are from Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri 9am-6pm, Wed and Sat 9am-2pm.

Banks open from 8.30am-12.30pm Mon-Fri and re-open between 3.15pm and 4.15pm on Mondays.

Tourist Offices
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) is responsible for the tourist offices in the Republic or south of the country and has branches in all the major towns including Lefkosia (Nicosia), Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka, Pafos, Polis, Ayia Napa and Platres.

The North Cyprus Tourist Office (NCTO) is responsible for all the tourist offices in the northern part of Cyprus and has offices in Famagusta, Yialousa, Kyrenia and in North Nicosia.

Both sets of offices have an excellent selection of free brochures and maps but you will probably find the information on offer and the way that it’s presented much more impressive in the south. Either way, however, you won’t be short of help and assistance during your stay in Cyprus.

Tax
There are two VAT rates in Cyprus – 13% and 5%. The first rate is for restaurants (with the exception of alcohol) and 5% is placed on hotel accommodation. Goods such as medical products, children’s clothes and magazines/newspapers are tax free.

Since July 1st 2000 visitors to the country can claim this VAT back on goods if they are not holders of a Cyprus passport or they have not lived in the country for more than one of the previous two years. They can be claimed back once the total purchases cost between C£100 and C£10,000 in one store and the goods are exported in hand luggage within three months.

In order to claim your refund you need to shop wherever you see a tax-free shopping sign and ask for your tax-free document while making purchases. You then need to show both the purchases at customs and have your tax-free document stamped to avail of your refund.

Currency Exchange
If you take foreign currency into Cyprus you can change it in any bank, exchange office, post office and in most tourist agencies in the bigger towns. You might have problems in more remote areas. This is also the case with traveller’s cheques which, although widely accepted in the larger towns, might prove difficult to cash in rural areas. Therefore, it is advised that you change them into hard currency before leaving these cities.

All major credit cards are also widely accepted and if you have the PIN you can use these to receive cash in compatible bank machines. The same applies to bankcards which are members of any of the international banking networks or Eurocard.

Electricity
The electricity supply in Cyprus is 240v/50Hz.

Telephones
The country code for Cyprus is +357 so if you are calling from abroad you need to dial 00, followed by 357, the local area code (dropping the 0) and the local number. The same instructions apply when you are making an international call from within the country.

When looking for public telephones you will find card and coin operated phones in all towns and villages as well as at airports, harbours and other locations. Telecards come in denominations of C£3, C£5 and C£10 and you can buy them from banks, post offices, souvenir shops and kiosks. Coin operated phones accept 2, 5, 10 and 20 cent coins. Both varieties of phone may be used for both national and international calls and you will find all the instructions you need posted inside the telephone booth.

Post Office
Cyprus has district offices in Lefkosia, Larnaka, Lemesos and Pafos. Opening times are from Mon-Fri 7.30am-1.30pm and 3pm-6pm (except Wednesdays). Saturday opening times are from 8.30am-10.30am. Times vary between different seasons.

Tipping
Because restaurants include a 13% service charge in the bill, leaving a tip is not compulsory. If you feel that the service merits a further tip, between 10% and 15% of the total is perfectly acceptable or simply round off the bill to the next multiple of five. Taxi drivers are also usually tipped by rounding off the fare but it is worth noting that at no time is it essential that you tip, it really is at your own discretion.

Public Holidays
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Cyprus they take place on January 1st and 6th, Green Monday (50 days before Easter), March 25th, Good Friday and Easter Monday, April 1st, May 1st, Pentecost, August 15th, October 1st and 28th and December 25th and 26th. Finally, it is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.

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