Driving Advice Cyprus

Common Driving Problems in Cyprus

The standard of driving in Cyprus is generally poor.

Some people may use stronger adjectives and sometimes not without cause.

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights are operated on a timer, not by traffic monitoring equipment, so the wait can appear lengthy. This causes frustration to drivers who may well jump the lights.

Failing to comply with the red light is a common occurrence.
Do not assume that if your light is green it is safe to go. Always treat traffic light controlled junctions with extreme caution.

Junctions

An inability of drivers to accurately judge speed of approaching vehicles and poor judgment, often manifests itself by vehicles pulling out in front of you from side roads and parking areas at inappropriate times.

Actions that cause you to slow down, swerve or stop are considered normal by many local drivers.  Particularly when trying to get out of a junction or when crossing your path.

When exiting from a side road, ensure you can see, and that other drivers can see you. If you can’t, move out slowly to get your view. Vehicles often travel at excessive speeds on narrow roads.

Stop Signs

Stop signs are used at many junctions and crossroads in preference to Giveway signs which would be in most cases be more appropriate.  Often the sign and the stop line are positioned well before the actual junction affording no view of traffic on the main road.  To comply strictly with the law is difficult.  Use caution.

No Entry Signs

Are often disregarded, and to escape detection, offenders will travel through at high speed.

Bends

You will often find that when drivers negotiate a right hand bend they will cut in to the opposing side of the road on the apex of the bend. We have found it quite difficult to explain that in doing this the driver is making the bend more sever than it need be. In consequence you, as the driver traveling in the opposite direction, are forced to move over to the left.

Pedestrian Crossings

Cars will often park on the zig zag area and on the crossing itself, even though it is a offence and highly dangerous. It is particularly hazardous for children as often the approaching drivers view is obstructed.

Solid White Lines and Overtaking

As with red traffic lights, stop signs and solid center white lines are widely disregarded. Ensure that you can change course, slow or stop if necessary. It should be noted that a single solid center line is often used and should not be crossed.

The inability to judge speed and the lack of knowledge on the handling and acceleration characteristics of their own vehicle, often lead to inappropriate or dangerous overtaking. If you see someone traveling behind you who you think will overtake, the chances are they will. Use caution.
Overtaking may be preceded by a period of tailgating.

Roundabouts

Unfortunately roundabouts are often not used correctly by drivers and the signage on the approach, put up by the Public Works Department, are in many cases incorrect and do not comply with the Cyprus Highway Code. Be very careful!

YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. DO NOT ASSUME THAT ANY SIGN IN YOUR FAVOUR WILL BE COMPLIED WITH.

Car Hire and Motorcycle Rental

Driving licence

Most driving licences are valid for visitors to Cyprus. For information on driving licences check the driving licence section of this site.

If you hold a UK driving licence you may be required to obtain a code which gives the hire company access to your driving record. It can be obtained here. The code is valid for 21 days.

Drivers Ages

Most hire companies will hire cars to drivers between the ages of 25 to 75 years without any problem.

If you are younger than 25 you have to have held a full licence for 3 years.

If you are over 70 there is not usually a problem  but some companies may not agree to hire you a car until they have met you personally in order to assess any possible incapability.

Exclusions

Some hire companies on the South of the Island will not allow you to take the vehicle over into the Northern (TRNC – Turkish) side. If you wish to cross the border make sure that the company specifically allows this.
Most companies exclude off road use.

Fuel

Hire cars usually operate the system of handing the vehicle over to you with an empty fuel tank, so you return it empty. This can lead to problems if you are not careful. This practice is slowly changing to the system of returning the vehicle with the tank full.

Red Plates

Hire cars display a red registration plate.
Be aware that the drivers of these vehicles will often not be conversant with local conditions.

Breakdown Rescue and Recovery

Vehicles must by law

carry a reflective warning triangle at all times. Larger vehicles should carry two.

Currently items such as First Aid Kit, Fire Extinguisher, Fluorescent Jacket, although advisable are not compulsory.

24 hour Vehicle breakdown, rescue and recovery.

Many insurance companies in Cyprus include a full rescue, breakdown and recovery service as part of the insurance package.

One of the biggest and used by several companies is RescueLine (00357 22 44 66 00) and includes a recovery service for motorcycles.

If this cover is not offered to you by your insurance company you can subscribe directly with them or there are other options, for example,

Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA).

The CAA is a member of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT).

Breakdown Cover only applies to the Republic of Cyprus.

Fuel – Petrol – Diesel, Availability & Price

Petrol stations in Cyprus

are modern and common in the towns. Most have attendants to fill your tank for you, although you will find a few that are self service.

Many major stations also have shops where you can buy auto accessories, food and drink.

A guide to current fuel prices can be found here.

Mountain driving uses more fuel than you might think.

So if you are planning such a trip, be sure you have enough fuel to get you there and back. If you make a wrong turn, although the distance may not look far on the map, it can take you some time to find your way back to civilization.

Most petrol stations are closed for attendant service at night and on Tuesday and Sunday.

This is not usually a problem though as there are machines that accept bank notes, major credit and debit cards and therefore operate 24 hours. The cash/card machines have instructions in Greek and English.

During the day when there is not a full  attendent service there is often an employee on site to help with the operation of the machine and pumps.

Hire cars

Often operate the system of handing the vehicle over to you with an empty fuel tank, so you return it empty. This can lead to problems at the end of your rental if you are not careful. This practice is slowly changing to the system of receiving and returning the vehicle with a full tank.

Petrol is unleaded

95 and 98 octane fuel is available. So check what octane your vehicle requires. There are other more expensive fuels, but you are unlikely to need them.

Diesel

Fuel sold for motor vehicles is the cleaner Euro Diesel.

Roads and Roadworks

The Highway.

The Highway is a dual carriageway road similar to Motorway standard and is toll free. It links all of the main towns of the island Paphos, Limassol, Nicosia, Larnaca and beyond.

The full extent of the highway is often not shown on many of the older maps. I would advise you to obtain a free up to date map from the local CTO office.

Main Roads.

The main roads of Cyprus are usually of a good standard and many have been recently resurfaced. Most of the work is now complete. There are plans to continue the upgrading of the road system over the next few years.

Minor Roads.

It is not unusual for a made up road to come to a sudden end and for it to continue as a dirt track. It may sometimes appear that you are in someone’s garden or yard. While of course you might be, don’t be too alarmed. If you have made a mistake and gone off the road into someone’s property, they will very rarely take offence. It is more likely that the road will return to being a “proper” road after a while.

Roadworks.

The signing can be haphazard and can direct you into danger. The workmen themselves sometimes lack road sense and put themselves in danger.

In most countries in the EU the signing and operation of road works are governed by strict rules. Failure to comply with, for example, the correct number and positioning of cones, advanced warning signs etc. by the site operator can lead to closing the site down and to fines.

Cyprus does not yet generally employ European standards at roadwork’s although it is improving.

The workers on site have only recently started to wear reflective jackets and it is still not universal.

Treat roadworks with caution.

Slow down or stop if necessary until you are sure that your planed route through the road works is safe. Do not just follow other drivers through until you are entirely happy.

Speed Limits

All speed limits in Cyprus are posted in Kilometers per hour (Kph)

Type of RoadSignApprox.
mph
Highway:
(Motorway)
Maximum speed limit62
Minimum speed limit40
Built up Areas:Maximum speed limit31
Country Roads:Maximum speed limit40
Hazards: Maximum speed limit
bends, roadworks, schools etc.
18
National Speed
Limit:
Maximum speed limit50
National Speed
Limit applies:
50

There are several things you should know about speed limits in Cyprus.

The sign indicating you are entering a limit will normally only be displayed on your side of the road.

Having entered a posted limit, you will very rarely find the small repeater signs that you see in the UK. The next sign you will see may be a change in speed limit or when you pass over a municipal boundary.

It is often not clear when a speed limit ceases to apply. You will rarely see a de-restriction sign. There are long stretches of road which could be de-restricted, because of the layout and lack of hazards, but the last limit still appears to apply.

Sometimes, the opposing traffic travelling on the same road as you is governed by a different speed limit,

Speed limits posted at hazards, such as bends, are usually advisory in the UK. In Cyprus they are mandatory and must be obeyed. They are often placed with little thought as to their purpose or the affect they will have on traffic. You will not find many of the locals adhering to them.

Be careful of your speed.

The maximum speed limit allowed is lower than in the UK and can lead to impatience and an itchy right foot.

For a limit of up to 30 kph (urban roads and others) the tolerance will be up to 35 kph and from 36 and above offenders will be fined.

For a limit of 50 kph or more which is the most common in towns and villages, the tolerance will be up to 57 kph and from 58 kph and above there will be fines.

For a limit of 65 kph tolerance will be 73.5 kph and fines will be imposed at 74 kph and over.

It does not change the tolerance limit of 20% on motorways and long-city roads which are 100 kph and 80 kph respectively and remains at 120 kph and 97kph. respectively.