Cyprus is a very popular destination for British tourists and long-term residents alike, and those who will be doing any driving on the island have one big advantage: along with Malta, Ireland and the Channel Islands, Cyprus is one of the few European countries apart from the UK that drives on the left.
Not having to make that mental adjustment to right-hand driving is the good news; the bad news is that the island has among the highest road traffic accident statistics in Europe, so you do need to be careful. Not least because of the number for European tourists who’ve forgotten they’re supposed to be on the other side of the road!
To drive a car in Cyprus, you will need to be at least 17 years of age, and in possession of a full driving licence. You must carry this at all times when behind the wheel – along with your MOT and insurance certificates, vehicle registration document and supplementary proof of your identity, such as your passport. Failure to produce any of these documents if stopped by the police will necessitate a trip to the station, so don’t forget to keep them with you. If you are towing any kind of trailer, that will also need to be registered with the road transport authorities and, again, you’ll need to have the paperwork readily to hand.
If you want to hire a car, you’ll need to be at least 25 years old, or 21 years old with three years’ driving experience – although under-25’s may have to pay a young drivers’ surcharge.
Seatbelts, mobile phones and drink driving
Cyprus does have a law stating that all drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts, although traditionally this hasn’t been enforced that strictly, which goes some way to explaining Cyprus’s poor road safety record. There are 67 road deaths per million inhabitants per year (the European average is 55), and two-thirds of those deaths involve people who weren’t wearing seatbelts – so buckle up! Children under the age of 10 must travel in the rear of the car, using appopriate child seats or seatbelts.
Similarly, there’s a ban on using your mobile phone while driving (without a hands-free kit) but you’re likely to see many drivers openly flouting this law. Bear in mind, though, that if you’re caught doing so you can face a fine of up to 85 Euros and four penalty points on your licence. It’s also worth noting that the latest generation of speed cameras, which were installed on the island in summer 2018, can also detect mobile phone use behind the wheel.
As for drinking and driving, that’s definitely not recommended in Cyprus – the blood alcohol limit is just 0.02%, a quarter of what it is in the UK, so there’s practically no ‘safe’ amount to drink. Stick to the soft drinks.
The speed limit in Cyprus is generally 50km/h (30mph approx) in towns and cities, and varies between 65-80km/h (40-50mph approx) in rural areas. But that rises to 100km/h (62mph approx) on the motorways, which have an ‘A’ prefix. The list of motorways goes all the way up to the A22 but many of those are very short: the primary routes are the A1, which runs between the island’s two largest cities, Limassol and Nicosia; the A6, which runs along the island’s southwest coast; and the A3, which connects the A1 to the tourist town of Ayia Napa on the southeastern tip of the island.
The green motorway signs will look very familiar to UK drivers and are all printed in both Greek and English, so finding your way around shouldn’t prove too difficult.
There are no trains in Cyprus, and bus services are best described as “adequate”, so a car is by far the best way to get about. And from exploring the unmade roads of the island’s northwest to scaling the heights of Mount Olympus, there’s certainly plenty there for drivers to enjoy.
If you are shipping your car to Cyprus, please contact us here at Autoshippers for a car shipping quote and details of our services.