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Facts on Cyprus


Island Contours:

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its 9,251 square kilometres (3,572 square miles) encompass citrus and olive groves, pine forested mountains, and some of Europe's cleanest beaches. Also the easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is approximately 105kilometres (60 miles) west of Syria, 75kilometres (47 miles) south of Turkey and 380kilometres (200 miles) north of Egypt. The nearest Greek point is the Greek island of Rhodes which is 380kilometres (200miles) to the west. The island has a mild, typically Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine even in winter and little rainfall. Prominent geographic features include the Troodos massif that occupies most of the southwestern part of the country, the Pentadaktylos range in the north around Kyrenia and the Messaoria Plain in between them. It is here that the capital city, Lefkosia, is located.

The elongated Karpasia Peninsula occupies the northeastern part of Cyprus, while the southeastern point terminates in Cape Gkreco. The southern coast is where the major towns of Larnaka and Lemesos are located. Pafos and the Akamas Peninsula are on the far western edge.

The latitude of Cyprus is 34° 33'-35° 34' North, and its longitude 32° 16'-34° 37' East.




Population (de jure): 818.200 (End 2003)
79,1%: Greek Cypriots (646.900)
10,7%: Turkish Cypriots (87.800)
10,2%: Foreign residents (83.500)

Note: Prior to the Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) the two communities lived together in roughly the same proportions (4 Greek Cypriots : 1Turkish Cypriot) in all six administrative districts of the island. Since the invasion, about 57 000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated, with the result that today they constitute only 10,7% of the population compared to 18% before July 1974.

Population of Main Towns:
(End 2003)
Lefkosia (Nicosia): 213.500 (part of Lefkosia in the Government controlled area)
Lemesos (Limassol): 167.800
Larnaka: 74.700
Pafos: 49.700


Safety in Cyprus

Safety in Cyprus:

Crime in Cyprus is, comparatively, at a very low level. The Police is always ready to assist anyone who needs help. In case of emergency, one may telephone 199 or 112 (in all towns). All policemen speak good English.


VAT / Tipping   

V.A.T. (Value Added Tax)

V.A.T. in Cyprus is charged on the purchase of almost all goods and services. There are three VAT rates, the rate of 15%, the rate of 5% and the zero rate. Restaurants, with the exception of alcoholic beverages, hotel accommodation, as well as books, magazines and newspapers are taxable at the rate of 5%. Foodstuffs, medicines and airfares are taxable at the zero rate. Bank services, medical and dental services are exempted from any VAT charge. Retail prices displayed for goods charged with VAT should be VAT inclusive.

V.A.T. CLAIM (Tax free shopping for visitors)

According to the V.A.T. legislation in force, foreign visitors to Cyprus (visitors from countries outside the EU) can claim back the V.A.T. on goods exported to a place outside the EU in their hand luggage.
Visitors are eligible for a V.A.T. refund if:
1. They are not holders of an EU country passport or other form of identification.
2. They have not resided in Cyprus for more than 365 days in the last two years before the date they purchased the goods,
3. The total purchase must exceed C£100 and not over C£10 000 in a store or chain of stores,
4. The goods must be exported in hand luggage by the last day of the third month following the month in which the goods were purchased.

Three easy steps to claim your V.A.T. refund.

1. Shop wherever there is a tax-free shopping sign and simply ask for your tax-free document.
2. When leaving Cyprus show your purchases and passport to customs officials and have your tax-free document stamped.
3. Receive your refund in the method of your choice.

For further information you may contact:

1. V.A.T. Service, CY 1471, Lefkosia
Tel: 2260 1765, Fax: 2266 0484

2. Cyprus Consumers’ Association,
Tel: 2251 6112, 2251 6113, Fax: 2251 6118

3. Global Refund
Tel: 2481 7555, 9944 2533, Fax: 2481 7558


Because of the 10% service charge levied in hotels and restaurants, a tip is not obligatory, but small change is always welcome.
Taxi-drivers, porters, hairdressers etc., always appreciate a small tip.

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