A Guide to Cyprus - The Lifestyle
Information kindly provided by Living in
the Sun - http://www.livinginthesun.com
|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.
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….
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.
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.
A 10% service charge is included in most restaurant bills,
so tipping isn’t necessary unless the service been particularly
Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of the
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
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.
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:-
||New Years Day
||Southern Republic Day
|25 April1 May
|28 April3 May
|| Labour day
||Festival Of The Flood
||Assumption Of The Virgin
||Cyprus Independence Day
||Greek National Day
|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,
There are excellent diving opportunities,
and the rocky coves offer good snorkelling in the clear
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.
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
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..
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
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.