Cyprus

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Cyprus Fast Facts

Roman villa ruins at Cyprus

Population: 1,189,265
Capital City: Nicosia
Climate: Mediterranean

Beautiful natural rock arch near of Ayia, Cyprus

Language: Greek – Turkish
International Dialing Code: 351
President: Nikos Christodoulides

Map of Cyprus

Cyprus: Sleeping Beauty Of The Mediterranean

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Bellapais Abbey in Northern occupied Cyprus.

Cyprus is an exciting destination …

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.

Some Facts About Cyprus

Cyprus is a country with a long history of division. Meanwhile, 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. However, 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.

One Island, Two Landscapes

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: Ten Things To Do In Cyprus.

Living 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.

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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. In short, it makes 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.

Cost Of Living In Cyprus

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. Consequently, 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.

In other words, 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.

Health Care In Cyprus

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. And, 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.

How To Get There

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.

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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 Best Places To Live In Cyprus

A map of Cyprus

Nearly 10% of Cyprus’ population, more than 100,000 people, are foreign retirees or expats. Meanwhile, Americans are just beginning to learn about Cyprus, the island has long lured the British, of which at least 60,000 are property owners.

This island boasts some of the best bargains not only in Europe but the entire world…

Where are the most coveted places to spend time, and which might make sense for you?

Here’s a general lay of the land, followed by a few choice highlights…

To start, Nicosia, the capital city, is located center of the island. This is the administrative and government hub—and it’s where all the museums are, if you’re an art lover—but we’re unlikely to suggest it to you as a place to live.

In the south, Larnaca and Limassol are the two port cities, both located on the southern coast, servicing cargo, passenger, and cruise ships. Limassol is the second-largest city on the island, Larnaca the third.

In the north, the cities of importance are Kyrenia and Famagusta (fifth- and seventh-largest cities on the island), also port cities, but whose ports go underused these days. Both of these cities were the go-to beach destinations on the island until the separation in 1974.

Once the border closed, it forced towns in the south to fill the void. After that, the southern coast is flat and the northern coast is backed by mountains, making it more visually (and practically) interesting.

Inland, the west is dominated by the Troodos Mountains, but the western coast, around Paphos, is as flat as the south. These flat coasts make for good beaches, and therefore prime locations for resorts, which is why they’ve already been largely developed.

To the north, there’s a lot more virgin coastline, leading to the most exciting investment opportunities.

Larnaca

Amazing view of famous landmark tourist destination valley Pano Lefkara village, Larnaca, Cyprus
Adobe Stock/Evgeni

Larnaca, the oldest city in Cyprus and birthplace to ancient Stoic philosopher Zeno, is now leading the island into the future. Home to the main international airport, the city is the entry point for most visitors to Cyprus, and it is currently undergoing a renaissance.

Larnaca is known for its seafront. It’s got the requisite sand, sea, and palm trees… but when Cyprus was divided, the city lobbied to become the island’s oil and gas supply base—and therefore never became a tourist hub.

The industrialized harbor that resulted is today a rusting eyesore. The enormous makeover now underway along Larnaca’s coast will transform it within the decade, though, and the city is primed to become the island’s next tourist hub.

Limassol

Limassol, Cyprus
Adobe Stock/DedMityay

Limassol is the other port city of the Republic. Unlike many cities on the island, Limassol was never neglected. From the start, it was chosen as a favorite city by British colonizers, and it enjoyed improvements from day one of British rule. Roads were repaired and cleaned, animals removed from city center, landscaping added, lanterns installed, and docks constructed.

The city is the base for much of the island’s wine companies, but its main industry comes from its port, the busiest in the country.

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Paphos

Paphos, Cyprus
Adobe Stock/ais60

Paphos, legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, is one of the big tourist draws in the Republic, with endless historical sites, beach resorts, and tourists to occupy them.

This is where the Republic’s second airport is, but the city has only recently come back to prominence. Once an important city due to the pilgrims who came to worship Aphrodite at her temple here, when Nicosia was founded in the 10th century, traffic dried up.

During the British Colonial period, the region became even less of value, and many residents moved elsewhere. It was the most underdeveloped part of the island until 1974. In 1980, Paphos was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status for its ancient architecture, mosaics, and ancient religious importance.

It was a European Capital of Culture in 2017. Since the 80s, the city has garnered much attention from developers, and the coast here is now highly developed, home to a string of large-scale resorts.

Troodos

Troodos, Cyprus
Adobe Stock/dudlajzov

The green heart of the island, the Troodos Mountain range in the west is a major tourist draw among locals, with year-round attractions—it’s the cool retreat in the summer and the only snowy destination in winter.

The mountains offer hiking in the foothills, skiing from the peaks, Byzantine churches, and old wine villages… and lots of country house hideaways.

Kyrenia

Ancient chain tower in Kyrenia Harbour in Cyprus
Adobe Stock/kirill_makarov

It’s said that you can never get lost in Kyrenia…

The mountains are always to the south, and the sea always to the north… you always spot one or the other before too long.

Said to have been founded by two veterans of the Trojan War, Kyrenia is the tourism capital of North Cyprus, offering spas, casinos, and beach resorts for all demographics. With its old harbor and seafront castle, the old town is one of the most charming destinations in the region.

Famagusta

Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and Famagusta town.
Adobe Stock/ kirill_makarov

Famagusta is spectacular. This walled city is as much a sightseeing haven as a residential district (rentals are easier to find than purchases), with a lively nightlife as well as lots to keep you busy with during the day.

A personal favorite, Famagusta is a walled city that is as contemporary as it is ancient.

Famagusta owes its historic wealth to having the deepest harbor in the region, one of the reasons the British singled the city out during their reign, as well.

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This is now the most important port in Northern Cyprus, accounting for much of its shipping and travel. Therefore, it gets a significant amount of tourism.

Breaking Down The Cost Of Living In Cyprus
By Kathleen Peddicord

We’re shining the spotlight on what we’ve identified as your number-one choice for retiring well on a very small budget.

I’m talking about Cyprus… Aphrodite’s Isle…

This island nation serves up the best of the Med for a fraction the cost of better-known options along this sought-after coast.

And, if that weren’t enough, I want today to make another important point.

If you’re a North American, the timing for taking advantage of what this stunning island has to offer couldn’t be better.

That’s because the U.S. and Canadian dollars are stronger than they’ve been in many decades.

Most importantly, three currencies are usedacross Cyprus—the euro, the British pound, and the Turkish lira…

And, in all three cases, Americans and Canadians have super-charged buying power right now.

The Euro Hasn’t Been This Cheap In 20 Years

Graph of the euro valueThe British Pound Hasn’t Been This Cheap In Over 35 Years

Graph of the pound valueAnd The Lira Has Never Been Cheaper For Americans Than Today

Graph of the lira valueHow long will this dollar prosperity last?

No one knows…

What I can tell you is that you should strike while the iron is hot.

The U.S. dollar has already fallen 10% since last year’s peak against the euro and the pound…

It might be a generation until you see this opportunity again.

I’ve recently purchased a home in Cyprus, and members of my family have as well…

And we’re not done.

We’re taking advantage of the currency rate, sure…

But we’re also betting that Cyprus is just beginning its climb to becoming one of the most popular places in the world to spend time.

The entire island of Cyprus offers remarkable value, but Northern Cyprus, where you’ll find what has become one of our favorite spots in the world, Kyrenia, is so affordable that it feels like you’ve unlocked a cheat code.

And, Kyrenia is not only ultra-affordable…

It’s also one of the most beautiful, historic, welcoming, sun-drenched, and safest places on earth.

Dollar for dollar, I’d bet you’ll enjoy a much higher standard of living in Kyrenia than you could back home.

Cost Of Living

ItemCost (US$)Notes
RentUS$640Two-bedroom apartment with a pool and social area in one of the best neighborhoods
TransportationUS$69Monthly average cost for owning a car, including gas and insurance
ElectricityUS$21Includes reasonable use of A/C
WaterUS$5
PhoneUS$8Includes data and messaging
InternetUS$21For fiber optic speed of 100+ Mbps
EntertainmentUS$266Includes couple’s expenses for 8 dinners out, 8 cocktail hours, and 2 trips to the movies
Food and groceriesUS$213For fresh, whole foods for a couple. Imported, freezer, and processed foods will cost you much more
TOTALUS$1,243Monthly expenses for a couple

*U.S. dollar amounts are based on the currency exchange rate as of January 2023

As with any budget, you could always spend more or less depending on your needs and wants.

For instance, the above does not include international travel or health care—two costs that can be dramatically different person to person…

That said, both air travel and health care can be as affordable as everything else…

A visit to a private clinic here costs about US$16.

You could live in a smaller home in a less chic part of the city for under US$500, or you could buy a condo for less than US$100k… bringing your monthly housing costs—by far the biggest number in any budget— down to nearly zero.

But, as far as other added costs, at US$3 an hour, the cost of a maid would set you back about US$64 a month for a thorough weekly cleaning…

A gym membership costs under US$50 a month, while 18 holes of golf range from US$70 to US$100…

And… if you want to take full advantage of life on the Med, a boat slip starts around US$1,000 a year…

Cyprus offers the opportunity for a luxury-level retirement… even on a typical pensioner’s budget.

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Residency In Cyprus: Reinventing Your Life Abroad Can Be A Piece Of Cake
By Kat Kalashian

Adrift in the blue waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus has long been a favorite destination for sun-seekers, travelers, and lovebirds.

Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, is said to have risen from the waves that crash on the shores of Cyprus. Locals believe she chose Aphrodite’s Rock near the city of Paphos as the perfect spot to enter the mortal world.

With ancient historical sites, traditional towns and villages, top-end beaches, high-quality health care, and great food and nightlife, it’s easy to see how this island nation has wooed visitors for decades.

This is a great place for those who love the outdoors. As well as the plethora of aquatic activities on offer, the island boasts golf courses, mountain forests, and numerous green spaces in and around its main towns.

With EU member status and an advanced first-world economy, Cyprus is emerging as one of the world’s top tourism and expat destinations.

The cost of living is super affordable—as low as it gets on an island in the Med. For example, a budget of 1,000 euros a month will see you living well. And, practically speaking, residency here is a piece of cake.

Here’s a look at some of your options…

The Republic’s Category F Permit

In the south, the easiest residency route is the Category F Permit, which is renewable annually, but it’s slow—it can take up to two years to be approved (during this time you can leave the country without penalty).

This is what we commonly refer to as the “self-sufficiency option.” As long as you can prove an income that will support you in the country, you’ll be given residency.

For instance, ou don’t need to apply for this visa in advance of arriving in Cyprus, you can simply land in country on your tourist visa and extend it for up to a year while you apply.

To apply, you’ll need to open a bank account, make a deposit of 9,000 euros (which can be moved back out once your application is approved), and either purchase a property or sign a rental contract of at least one year.

Also, you’ll need to prove that you have a steady income; the number isn’t specified, but we’re told that 1,000 euros a month will suffice.

This is an immediate permanent residency. But, you may be asked to reprove your qualifications after a few years. So, it is essentially without expiration.

You cannot work with this visa, and you only need to visit the country once every two years to maintain the status.

The Fast-Track Program

If you don’t want to wait the two years, you can fast-track your residency by purchasing property worth a minimum of 300,000 euros (plus tax), which can be split between two properties.

You’ll also need to make a fixed-term deposit in a Cypriot bank of at least 30,000 euros for three years. You must prove an annual foreign income of at least 30,000 euros, plus 5,000 euros for each dependent child and 8,000 euros for each adult dependent (spouse and parents).

The attorney fees for the fast-track visa will be about double those for the Category F visa, but the process only takes two months.

Again, this is immediate permanent residency, doesn’t confer a work permit, and you must visit every two years.

Residency Permit Through Property Purchase In The North

Once you’ve initiated the purchase of a property in Northern Cyprus, you are eligible to apply for residency and reside in the country while it is processed.

The property in question does not need to be in your own name, nor does it need to be fully paid off.

Eligible dependents include your children under the age of 18, and your spouse. Gay marriage is not yet legally recognized in either the north or south.

Also, other family members would only be entitled to apply if their name appears on the contract, and they have some rights to the property.

The application is straightforward, and you can live in the country while it’s being processed, and you can reapply as needed.

Requirements for permanent residency:
  • You must be present at the time of application;
  • Passport original and photocopy;
  • Owning a property/land in Cyprus (contract of sale deposited to the District Land Registry) or in the case of a resale, the title deed of the property;
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself. Above all, before application, you must open up a local bank account and deposit 8,000 pounds as proof of sufficient funds to support yourself for two years.
  • Health tests obtained from the licensed clinics or state hospital;
  • Proof of address obtained in writing (Ikametgah belgesi) from local Muhtar (village chief);
  • Clean background check obtained from your local police department.

Above all, you’ll need to resubmit all of this annually to renew, except for the health check.

The residency permit that comes with property purchase is simply that: a permit to reside. It does not give you the right to work or set up business locally.

Children under the age of 18 years do not require residency permits; families moving to North Cyprus only need to apply for residency for the adult members of the family.

A passport from the Republic of Cyprus is a valuable one to have, as it’s an EU travel document (a Northern Cyprus passport is virtually useless).

Beware, though, that Cyprus is not part of the Schengen Area, so while you can travel throughout the EU visa-free, you still need to go through immigration, and you’re still bound by the 90 days in 180 limit.

In the south, on any type of residency visa, you are eligible for citizenship after just four years of residency if you are able to speak Greek, or after five years if you don’t.

You must be living in the country for at least the last 12 months to qualify.

Most importantly, what’s especially interesting here is that the naturalization “clock” begins ticking as soon as you enter the country—while you’re still technically on a tourist visa, you can be earning time to count towards an eventual passport.

CYPRUS FAQS

What Is Cyprus Known For?

Cyprus is known for beautiful beaches, historic attractions, and for having the world’s oldes wine label.

Is Cyprus A Safe Place?

Cyprus is known to be among the safest countries in Europe due to its low crime rate.

Does Cyprus Speak English Language?

Cyprus has two official languages: Turkish and Greek. English is also widely spoken but is less popular than Greek.

Does Cyprus Have Left Hand Traffic?

In Cyprus, you’ll drive on the left-hand side of the road, just like in the United Kingdom.

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