Capital City: Nicosia
Language: Greek – Turkish
International Dialing Code: 351
President: Nicos Anastasiades
Ever dream of living on a quiet island in the middle of the Mediterranean, but it always seemed out of your price range? With white-sand beaches, warm water, year-round sunshine, and one of the world’s healthiest diets, Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, could be the answer.
This lesser-known corner of Europe is a welcoming land of sunshine, ancient history, and romance. With real estate and day-to-day living expenses at a fraction of the cost of mainland Europe, Cyprus is quickly becoming a popular retirement destination for expats from around the globe.
Cyprus is a country with a long history of division. Today, Cypriot politics continue to be dominated by the Greek-Turkish divide. The Green Line divides the island in two; Greek Cypriots in the south, and Turkish Cypriots in the north. Only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic Northern Cyprus as an independent state, while the rest of Cyprus, the EU, and the global community view Northern Cyprus as an area of Cyprus. Despite the political issues, business, for the most part, continues as usual on both sides of the border in a safe and peaceful environment.
Offering a variety of landscapes, the island is dominated by two mountain ranges: the Troodos mountains and the Kyrenia mountains. Northern Cyprus is more famous than its southern counterpoint for its unspoiled coastline. Despite being one-third of Cyprus’s total land area, Northern Cyprus has more beaches. It’s shaped like a long finger pointing out into the sea, providing an extended coastline. These stunning stretches of wild coastline and dramatic mountains, combined with Cyprus’s rich history, Mediterranean climate, and friendly locals, make Cyprus an enticing retirement destination. To get an idea of how you could be spending your days in Europe’s hidden jewel, read our article on Ten Things To Do In Cyprus.
Cyprus is popular with tourists from the U.K. and sun-seekers from around Europe. It’s beloved for its warm weather and abundant sunshine year-round. Its climate is characterized by dry, hot summers and mild, wet winters.
Beyond its beaches, Cyprus is a place to embrace the outdoors. Cyprus has world-class golf courses with sweeping views over the ocean and hiking trails through its mountains and forests. At 1,952 meters, the island’s highest peak is Mount Olympus. January through March, it’s a popular skiing and snowboarding spot for locals.
Cyprus is exploding with ancient sites of history and culture. From Neolithic villages and tombs to Roman amphitheaters to medieval castles… the island is a testament to its rich history, with much of it in a well-preserved state.
As a former Crown colony, English is widely spoken across Cyprus. Having a language in common with the locals breaks down barriers, making it easier to settle here. Northern Cyprus may be an off-the-radar choice for North Americans, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unheard-of retire-overseas destination. A strong expat community made up of mostly Brits and people from other parts of Europe has established itself here. Get an insider’s opinion on living as an expat in Cyprus here.
Cyprus is one of the EU’s most affordable places to live, especially considering this is a Mediterranean-island destination. Northern Cyprus comes at an even greater discount because it’s outside of the eurozone. The local currency is the Turkish lira, so whether you’re coming here with euros or U.S. dollars, the currency exchange works in your favor.
Northern Cyprus holds a reputation as one of the most affordable places to buy property in the Mediterranean. Its property market is booming, but it’s a relatively new place of interest. You can still find investment opportunities at a fraction of the price of what you could in the southern part of Cyprus or other European countries.
When it comes to day-to-day living expenses, electricity costs are about the same as what you’d pay in North America. Citrus fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and cheese are locally produced and priced. You can meet much of your shopping needs at roadside stalls and markets where you can negotiate prices. Eating out is an inexpensive indulgence in Cyprus. At local restaurants, you can eat traditional dishes (kebabs, hummus, salads, etc.) and pay the equivalent to a couple of dollars for a healthy and fulfilling Mediterranean meal.
Cyprus is renowned for its inexpensive, high-quality public and private health care systems, which is a deciding factor for many expats choosing to relocate here. The health care systems in the north and south of the island differ slightly, although accessibility for expats and quality of care are the same.
To access Cyprus’s public health care system, you need to have a residency permit or be a citizen of Cyprus or the EU. If this is not an option, private health care is widely available and cheap. Standards are excellent, and medical professionals are English speaking and well-qualified. In all of Cyprus’s cities, you’ll find private and state-run clinics and hospitals as well as surgeries, emergency medical facilities, dentists, opticians, and even alternative health care options.
If Southern Cyprus is your destination, you can fly from the United States to Larnaca airport, including a stopover in Europe. Total travel time can be upwards of 13 hours. The easiest way to get to Northern Cyprus from North America is to connect through Istanbul or fly to one of Southern Cyprus’s international airports and cross the land border.
The usual method expats use to transport their belongings to Cyprus is to hire a transportation company. Companies like Euromed, Olaytrans, Aspin International, and Emel Shipping are equipped to help you with the logistics of the moving process. At Live And Invest Overseas we have got years of experience moving to new countries, and we know transporting all of your stuff can seem like an impossible task. We’ve created this video to guide you through what to expect when moving your belongings overseas.
The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, known as “the last divided capital in Europe,” is split between Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus. Ledra Street divides the city in two. North of Ledra Street, you will find the cultural heart of Cyprus’s Turkish community, while to the south, you will find vibrant Greek Cypriot communities.
Despite this divide, it is a popular spot for expats. Nicosia is rich in architectural marvels and sites of cultural importance. It is a melting pot of cultures, with students coming from all over the world to study in the city’s leading universities.
It’s also active in fine arts, with exhibitions and competitions held regularly. Multiple theaters and the Lefkosa Municipal Orchestra are headquartered here as well.
Iskele, on the eastern coast, is known for having the most striking and longest stretch of beach in the country. Attractive to any age group, you can enjoy cycling, surfing, skating, and more in this area. It offers fishing docks, sports fields, outdoor sports gear, picnic and lounging areas, food stalls, beach bars, and restaurants. It’s famous for its seafood restaurants where they get their seafood daily from their local fishermen.
Famagusta is a charming city of about 50,000 people, found on Northern Cyprus’s southeast coast. It’s a walled city, surrounded by roughly rectangular ramparts built by the Venetians in the 15th and 16th centuries. Famagusta is full of impressive landmarks, like Lala Mustafa Pasa Camii—a Lusignan Gothic former cathedral, and Othello’s Tower—the setting for Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Palm Beach is its quirky oceanside attraction, flanked on one side by high-rise hotels abandoned during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.