North Cyprus Country Guide
North Cyprus is the best of the Mediterranean’s hidden treasures. It is the ideal get-away with its laid back pace, captivating sights and rustic ambience. The scenic bays and sunny climate make it a round-the-year-holiday destination and it offers good value for money.
You won't be disappointed choosing North Cyprus as your next holiday destination!
The North Cyprus Country Guide below gives you some quick facts and background information to let you learn a little more about the country. Our North Cyprus destination guide gives more detailed information about what there is to see and do in North Cyprus, whilst our North Cyprus tours page offers ideal ways of exploring the island.
Check out the latest North Cyprus Travel features on You Tube.
North Cyprus Country Guide
Useful information on this page includes:
Public telephone booths are found all over North Cyprus. Phone cards may be purchased from the local PTT office. The ISD code of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is 00 90 392.
KKTCell and Telsim, two Turkey-based companies, are the two GSM service providers in North Cyprus. Visitors who have roaming facilities can use their mobiles on the island.
The Internet can be accessed through wireless or dial up connections. As of now, North Cyprus does not have DSL, cable or Wi-Fi access to the Internet.
The PTT runs a reasonably efficient and fast postal service in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Do remember that all letters to North Cyprus must be addressed to “Mersin 10 Turkey” and not to Cyprus.
The Turkish Lira is the unit of currency in North Cyprus. Though the British Pound is the most preferred currency, shops and establishments, hotels and restaurants also accept the US Dollar, the Euro and the Cyprus Pound. Visitors are advised to carry these currencies rather than the Turkish Lira, as they are easily exchangeable and the exchange rates in North Cyprus for the Turkish Lira are much better.
I YTL= £ 0.42
1 YTL= Є 0.6
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
Most of the bigger hotels, restaurants and shops accept all the major credit cards but charge a high commission. Cash payments are preferred and vendors offer larger discounts for purchases paid for in cash. Most of the major towns of North Cyprus have ATM machines everywhere and you can use most major credit cards such as Maestro and Switch.
Visitors who are not comfortable carrying a lot of cash can carry traveller’s cheques or Euro cheques which are widely accepted and can be exchanged at exchange bureaux, hotels and banks.
The banking network in North Cyprus is extensive, with every major town having at least ten banks.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square 13-amp three-pin plugs (UK-type) are used.
Embassy Locations Top
General Information Top
: 265,100 people Total Area
: 9,250 square kilometresCapital
: Nicosia - 73,857 peopleTime Zone:
GMT/UTC +2 hours
To view the current time in Nicosia, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com
Cyprus is situated at the crossroads of three continents and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 40 miles to the south of Turkey, which is the country closest to North Cyprus. Larger than Crete and Corsica and smaller than Sardinia and Sicily, North Cyprus covers an area of 1357 square miles and has a coastline of over 240 miles.
Cultural and linguistic differences within Cyprus led to communal friction, which lasted for over a decade. Finally, in 1974, Cyrus was divided into two autonomous states. The Turkish Cypriots occupied the northern regions of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots settled in South Cyprus. The two states are separated by the “Green Line” that runs through Nicosia (Lefkoşa), which is the capital of both North and South Cyprus. Five border crossings along the Green Line offer unrestricted day and night access to citizens of the European Union, to enter and leave Cyprus.
Visitors to North Cyprus do not have to undergo any medical treatment before entering the country. Health services in North Cyprus are reasonably good. There are many hospitals with adequate medical facilities. The Central State Hospital is situated in Nicosia and there are smaller hospitals in Famagusta, Kyrenia, Lefke and Guzelyurt. Smaller villages and towns, too, have clinics. Hospitals offer free health care.
It is advisable to carry sunscreen lotions, avoid direct sunlight on your bare head and drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Every major city has a day and night pharmacy which works even on holidays. Incidences of snake bites are rare but in case visitors do get bitten by a snake, it is advisable to cover the bitten site with a cloth and ensure immediate medical attention.
Cyprus has been home to many great civilisations, right from the Neolithic settlements of the northern coast to the Persian, Egyptians, Venetian, Roman, Ottoman and British Empires, for over nine thousand years.
Cyprus was as an important trading centre between 3000 BC and 700 BC due to its copper mines, which attracted merchants from all over the Mediterranean. Traders from Anatolia and Phoenicians from Syria settled in Cyprus. They brought with them metal and ceramic work skills and the new Levantine architecture.
The TRNC or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983 and is a democratic state. Peace reigns on both sides of this island, which is steeped in history. The borders between the north and south of Cyprus were opened on 23 April 2003, thus making North Cyprus an easily accessible and highly attractive destination.
Turkish remains the official language of North Cyprus. The Cypriots have, however, modified it and speak their own brand of Turkish, just as English is spoken differently in different parts of England. For instance, the Turkish phrase “Napiyorsunuz”, which means “What are you doing” in Turkish, is modified by the Cypriots into “Napan”. English is the second most widely spoken language in Cyprus because many Cypriots have resettled on the island after spending many years in America, Britain and Australia. Moreover, Cyprus was a former British colony, owing to which there is a smattering of English in the Turkish language.
The life of a Cypriot revolves around his family, which is the basic unit of the society of North Cyprus. Most Cypriots spend a larger portion of their time with their families. Family reunions and get-togethers are very common.
Cypriots also like to interact socially with others. This is reflected in the numerous celebrations, concerts and festivals that are held throughout the year. It is also reflected in the fact that North Cyprus plays host to many cultural events. Most festivities are held during the summer. Bellapais Abbey, Kyrenia Castle, Salamis’ amphitheatre and Othello’s Tower are some of the more popular venues where festivals are held. Concerts are also held frequently and are well attended. The countless festivities around the year reflect the Cypriots’ zest for life. Cypriots endeavour to preserve their culture by participating in all the traditions and customs of their country.
Public Holidays Top
Islam is the predominant religion in North Cyprus, as most of the earliest settlers were Muslims. The Cypriots celebrate most of the important Islamic festivals, although many of them do not visit the mosque regularly or wear traditional Muslim attire.
Christianity is also practised widely in North Cyprus. Some of the Cypriots are Arabic Christians or Marionites whose Christianity originated from Lebanon. The others are Armenians, People of the Ba’hai faith or members of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The non-Muslims in North Cyprus are mainly foreigners from Europe and other countries who are members of the Anglican Church, Matonite Church, Greek Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church. There are also some Jews and Armenians.
The citizens of Turkey, Canada, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Japan, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia and countries of the European Union do not need a visa to enter the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Citizens of the remaining countries must find out about passports and visa requirements from the nearest Representative or Embassy of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Visitors to Northern Cyprus must have a passport that is valid for at least six months with at least two clear and free pages. Passports are stamped on arrival, at the Ercan airport, military airports, and at the Kyrenia and Famagusta sea ports. Visitors arriving from South Cyprus also need to have their passports stamped at the checkpoints along the border. On arrival, visitors are issued a tourist visa that is valid for three months. Temporary residency permits are issued by the local police stations.