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A Guide to Cyprus - The Lifestyle

Living in the Sun - International Property Sales

Information kindly provided by Living in the Sun -

The Lifestyle
Imagine waking at around 8.30am, slipping out of bed onto the terrace, already warm in the morning sun, and gazing out onto a sea view. Sipping a chilled orange juice, perhaps freshly picked from your own tree just minutes before, you can plan the day ahead. Exploring in the mountains, perhaps, or a lazy day on the beach and in the sea, or maybe its market day today. 

You may be thinking of a late supper in a taverna with your new friends and neighbours, sampling the local wine under the starry night sky whilst your meal cooks slowly over the charcoal fire. Then finally back to your Cyprus home, to the silence of the countryside at night, to sleep, dreaming of the next day….

cyprus property

VAT/TAX Tipping Time
Festivals/B.Holidays Sport and Hobbies Media


The style is hearty rather than overcomplicated. It’s better away from the tourist “chips with everything” areas in the major resorts. Country tavernas generally offer best menus. Portions are usually generous. The excellence of the wine is a real bonus, and at good prices, so a night out tends to be inexpensive and a lot of fun !

All the markets in Cyprus produce plentiful and inexpensive food. There are large supermarkets well stocked with local and imported food. Feeding 2 people for a week would cost you around £60.

Restaurants are not expensive – you should be able to eat and drink for around £7 per head, and enjoy a really good meal.

Local wines and spirits are good value, and beer will cost about 50p a bottle, cigarettes £1 per packet (CY£). There are around 50 different labels from the vineyards, and these are increasing steadily but with attention to quality.

The cuisine is best enjoyed at the invitation of a local to go to his house - don’t turn down an invite. Souvia is very popular – a lump of chicken or lamb cooked slowly on an outside charcoal fire for 90 minutes, with the chance to try out the local wine. Try red Othello, or white Alina. Greek salad is well known, of course, and the sheftalia sausages are always to be found in kebab restaurants.

Breakfast tends to be light, and of the continental variety. Snacks are not a Cypriot thing, so local snack bars are rare.

cyprus property

THE government yesterday backed down from introducing a full 15% VAT rate on new house purchases agreeing on a 5% lower rate, at least for the time being. 

No VAT will be imposed on land deals until 2007. The 5% rate on house sales will apply only to new property for which applications for building permits were submitted after May 1. Applications already approved or under review before then will be exempt from the tariff.

However, the government will submit proposals for special grants for first home-buyers – depending on income levels and the size of the house - within the next few weeks. If these satisfy the House, MPs may agree to up the rate to 15%, although this appears easier said than done.

The new indirect tax package came only 24 hours before the deadline of May 1 and sees Nicosia scrapping the zero VAT rate on of basic goods in line with undertakings made to Brussels.Under EU VAT rules Cyprus was obliged to impose its current maximum rate of 15% for two of these groups – gas bottles and children’s clothes and footwear.

For the others, the government opted to apply the lower rate of 5% rather than the high rate of 15%.
These are part of a list of 17 goods and services that may be subject to reduced rates of VAT under EU rules. Most EU member states apply low VAT rates in these cases because the goods and services involved are considered basics. The full 15% rate goes into force on children’s clothes and gas bottles as from tomorrow (Saturday).

The cost of living will be affected slightly with 5% VAT imposed on water supply, books, magazines and newspapers, bus fares and equipment for invalids following yesterday’s approval by the House of Representatives of a last batch of EU-related bills.

Two other basic goods included on the list are foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals where Cyprus has already secured a derogation of zero percent VAT until December 31, 2007. Nicosia has also secured a temporary derogation to apply only 5% on restaurants bills until the end of 2007, and has already applied the minimum 5% permitted for hotel accommodation.

cyprus property

A 10% service charge is included in most restaurant bills, so tipping isn’t necessary unless the service been particularly good.
cyprus property

Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of the UK.
cyprus property

You drive on the left – just like the UK.. Front seatbelts are mandatory on the open road but discretionary in towns. Children under 5 may not ride in the front, and 5-10 years olds can only if wearing seatbelts.

Speed limits are 110km on dual carriage ways, 50km in towns. Parking in the designated spaces is cheap.

Car tax is CY£85 dependent on size/class, and fully comprehensive insurance likely to be about CY £200. Petrol is about 43p per litre ! Diesel is about 15p !!

Rental will be CY£20-£30 per day, depending on size and duration of hire. For 15 days plus, the smallest might cost CY£18, and a 4WD between CY£25 and CY£40.

Drink drive laws are strict like ours. Driving is fine in a car, though on two wheels you need to take care as car drivers don’t pay as much attention to motorcyclists as they might. The roads are pretty good, though the mountains will need 4 wheel drive to negotiate.

The best map is the Marco Polo Shell 1:200,000 available from the National Map Centre, 22-24 Caxton St, London – 0171 222 2466. Village signposting can be non-existent, and you’ll find yourself in the café asking directions – pot luck can end up with a long trip back to the main road in reverse ! Distances are in Kilometres.

cyprus property

Business hours operate around a typical siesta at midday.

Opening hours in summer are meant to be 0800-1300 and 1600-1930, with no afternoon opening on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In winter this becomes 0830-1800.

Public holidays tend to be religious in origin. When the dates fall on a Sunday, the Monday is then usually the bank holiday.

Green Monday – comes at the end of 10 days of carnival, notably at Limassol. Easter is a major event, with parades and bonfires, and fireworks. The Festival of the Flood celebrates Noah, and everyone crowds into the sea and sprinkles one another with water.

There are non-bank holiday events such as flower festivals in May. The Limassol Wine Festival runs in the first half of September – free tasting !

For 2002 the holiday dates were:-

1 January New Years Day
6 January Epiphany
10 March Green Monday
25 March Anunciation
1 April Southern Republic Day
25 April1 May Good Friday
28 April3 May Easter Monday
1 May  Labour day
16 June Festival Of The Flood
15 August Assumption Of The Virgin
1 October Cyprus Independence Day
28 October Greek National Day
25/26 December Christmas
cyprus property
Sport and Hobbies

There are plenty of sporting activities (see the Useful Links Page for details of web-sites)

Horse trekking is available, and all the water sports – windsurfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing.

There are excellent diving opportunities, and the rocky coves offer good snorkelling in the clear waters

Golf is available at two new courses, and it’s possible to pre-book for a visit.. Tennis is available in many places – it’s very popular in Cyprus.

Walking, photography and painting can all take advantage of the history, archaeology and natural beauty of the island – a good way to see the island as well as enjoy a hobby.

Mountain Biking is excellent up in the Troodos. There are a number of marked trails, aiming at a one day trip. Hiking is equally good.

In winter there is a ski resort at Mount Olympus and the snow can last until April. 4 ski-lifts operate ion the peak season.

cyprus property

The Cyprus Weekly is the English paper, rivalled by the Cyprus Mail – the latter is probably the better of the two at present though it’s a matter of taste. The Sunday “Whats On” section is particularly useful – chemist and Sunday petrol station details appear here. Foreign newspapers are pricey – perhaps £1.20 for the Times.

BBC world service is at 89.9 fm, 1323am around the clock. The forces broadcast in English on a number of frequencies, and you can even find the Archers (24 hrs broadcasting Programme 1 on 92.1 and 99.6, and programme 2 from 0600 to 0900 where the archers are on 89.9 95.3)

The local TV stations do feature a lot of foreign material with its original soundtrack, so you will find English programmes.

Cinemas abound, though the fare is rather action based and popular, though there are some arts cinemas which vary their programme a little more..

cyprus property

It’s an easy task – labelling is always in English as well as Greek in the supermarkets. Local dairy products are much in evidence, and you’ll find breakfast and picnic meals on display.

The central markets are recommended for farm produce and meat, and frequently there are busy street markets around them. Bargaining is not usual, though if goods are unmarked you could try for up to 20%.

There is a lottery based on scratch cards.

cyprus property


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