Are you going to Cyprus, well good for you, it may not be a famous destination in Europe, but it is worth a visit. The only thing that aggravates is getting around the island. When I planned this trip, I wasn’t keen on renting a car because I got nervous about driving on the left side of the road but after researching how to get around without hiring a car, it didn’t give me a better outcome. I had three days and wanted to see more of Cyprus: renting a car was my only option to discover this beautiful island in Europe.
This is one of Europe’s sunniest and warmest holiday destinations all year round. I was here in November, and it was pretty hot. The temperature is 28 degrees during the day but cools off at night. And due to its geographical location on the southeastern island, Cyprus is not on the top list of destinations in Europe. Therefore, the evolution of public transportation is far behind, so most visitors to Cyprus are bound to hire a vehicle. This island in the eastern mediterranean sea has a lot to offer, and it is a disgrace to miss all the spots.
Getting around in Cyprus can be a big challenge if one has to rely on public transport. I can’t imagine what do I see in three days if I didn’t have the car. There’s so much to see around, and some of the tourist areas are not accessible by public transportation. I have a long list of things to do in Cyprus, but I only see half of it even renting a car. See my Cyprus article.
Actually, I have five days set aside for this trip. As I flew with a Greeks airline Aegean, I had a long layover in Athens, which was marvelous as it allowed me to visit the city before and after my trip to Cyprus. Read my post on Athens and find out of what to do during a layover in the city.
To get around with public transport.
There are no trains in Cyprus, but a complete bus system runs around the island. However, the persistence of the various bus networks depends on your destination. There are two types of buses: City buses which will take you to more prominent places like Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Nicosia. The rural buses that run infrequently connect you to the villages.
You can get the airport bus number 425, which runs every 20 minutes from Larnaca international airport to the city center. The buses are setting off from the departure hall located on the second floor. Before exiting the arrival terminal, take a left turn, get on the escalator and then go right to the exit where you see the blue buses.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Cyprus?
The price of a rental car in Cyprus depends on the company and vehicle category. You already have a vehicle for less than a hundred euros that you need for a couple of days. Booking in advance is also beneficial. It is like booking an air ticket; if you book a car at the last minute, the price increases. So it is sensible to reserve the vehicle in advance.
Moreover, you only need a regular car if you are not driving off-road. The roads in Cyprus are in good condition. However, they will warn you that off-road driving is off-limit unless you hire a four-wheel drive. A regular car can do wonders if you only want to visit cities and small villages. I even drove to Troodos mountain, although it is a hairpin drive but doable with a small vehicle.
Most visitors book a car to get around.
You already notice that Rentalcars.com is the biggest search engine for booking a car, but there are others like Sunnycar.com or Easy Terra. You can even book a vehicle at Booking.com. Despite that, known for only accommodation booking, I heard some people book their car through booking.com without any hassles in Cyprus. I reserved the vehicle at Carrentals.co.uk. I was looking for a website in Belgium, but it took me to an English site. There was no problem, except I couldn’t purchase insurance online.
The more prominent rental companies like Sixt, Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Budget have their office inside the terminal in Larnaca, but these were more expensive. The cheapest car rentals have their office outside the airport, which is a ten minutes drive with a shuttle provided by the rental company. And they can be found outside the departure hall, the same area where the airport buses are.
For fully covered insurance, opt for Sunnycar.com. They may not be the cheapest, but they will make it easy for you. I’ve used the company before and on my next trips. I used the local company this time to see the difference. And because of various representing rental companies in Cyprus, it is a defying when choosing the right company. So please, read the individual reviews at Trustpilot before you make a booking. Too many companies to mention with different evaluations from good to bad.
Be aware of the deposit amount!
A car deposit is a standard procedure during the pickup of the vehicle. The company blocks an amount on your credit card, but you will get it back when returning the car undamaged. However, some companies can be rigorous when seeing your home driver’s license that you’re not driving on the left, especially if you are a solo female driver. They demand a considerable amount of deposit for the vehicle, so ladies if you’re traveling solo to Cyprus, you should know about this, as this was my case.
When I booked the car online, it was weird because no insurance was available. And I thought I would buy the insurance when I picked up the vehicle. But at the rental office, I was disappointed because they don’t sell insurance for a three-day rental. So I’m negotiating for the one thousand euros deposit. But they reduced the amount to two hundred euros if I pay the excess of 60€. It was like take it or leave it and go around with public transport.
Make sure you choose a company that offers insurance online because not all companies are identical. It is the first time I have encountered that a rental doesn’t provide three-day insurance. I rented a vehicle in Saudi Arabia with Enterprise and purchased all-in insurance for one day. They will probably make it easy for people who drive on the left. Therefore, I recommend you hire an automatic vehicle. The price is slightly higher than a manual transmission, but it is easy to manage if your left hand is free and you concentrate more on your driving.
Check the car carefully before signing a document.
It is so important when renting a car. I have rented cars from around the world during my journey. And some rental companies tried to charge you for damaged that you didn’t do. They’re trying to rip you off, it happened once to me, but with proof of the video, I didn’t hear from them again.
So before signing the checkout paper, take your magnifying glass to find all the scratches and bumps and take a shot at every spot where you see the damage. A photo isn’t enough; make a video afterward. Although the vehicle’s interior is not part of the checkup, I have to ensure that there is no damage inside.
Cyprus Driving on the left side
Have you driven on the left before? If not, rent an automatic. Cyprus steering wheel is on the right side: this is of course, the island has long been a British crown colony. Driving on the wrong side of the road that you are used to at home is relatively easy because traffic isn’t there in Cyprus. So it only takes a few minutes to get used to it.
If this is your first time driving on the left side, avoid going into the city center on the first day. I’m lucky the car rental location was in the middle of nowhere in Larnaca, and from the parking I drove straight to the freeway. It really makes a difference going directly to the highway, but once on a roundabout, I feel a bit nervous. But as already mentioned, there’s no mad traffic in Cyprus.
Highways and city speed limits
In Cyprus, the maximum speed limit is only 100 km per hour on the road. I have read some blogs from local people who say they have never had any tickets for speeding because there weren’t any controls. Wrong information! During my trip to Cyprus, the road patrol actively controlled highway speed. In general, the city speed limit is 50 km per hour, and in some areas, you can only drive 30 km because there are speed bumps.
The navigation system
I’m using phone navigation like Google Maps. I downloaded the offline Map of Cyprus because I read that sometimes you don’t have phone reception, which is true! I lost my internet connection in some places. So I was lucky to have the backup using Google Maps offline. You can also download Maps.me which is a great help.
The rental vehicles in Cyprus
All rented vehicles in Cyprus have red plate numbers. I chuckled when I read a blog from someone saying that the visitors to the island are safer than the local Cypriots. It means when people see red plate cars, they keep their distance. However, I haven’t felt threatened during my road trip. Cypriots are not hard drivers, unlike the Saudi Arabian people.
But there’s a but – I don’t fully trust Google Maps because he doesn’t seem to find the highway in Cyprus. He keeps sending me to a secondary road. There’s only one highway in Cyprus. The A1 runs from Larnaca to Limassol and A6 to Paphos. And the B1 is the secondary road which takes a long, long time. The map is okay to use, but you must follow your way sometimes.
Parking in Cyprus
Parking in Cyprus is free at most places, but cities like Larnaca, Limassol, and Paphos have parking meters where you need to use coins. The costs are considerably lower than what we are used to in other European countries. Make sure you have euro coins or credit cards also accepted. Most hotels in Cyprus have available parking for the guests.
Gasoline price in Cyprus
Gas prices in Cyprus are lower than in Belgium, Netherlands, and France. A liter costs 1.40 euros at some stations, and refueling in Cyprus is usually with service during day time. At night is a self-service either you pay in cash or with a credit card. And to remind you, before taking a long drive, ensure you have a full tank because gas stations are rare to find on highways, unlike driving to France, where you have gasoline stations every ten to twenty kilometers. In Cyprus, they don’t have that luxury.
And that can be so annoying because if you need a bathroom while driving on the highway, you must get to the next exit, which can take a long time before you find one to get to a toilet. Getting around in Cyprus is not convenient for everyone if one doesn’t want to rent a car. So I suggest taking a more extended trip if relying on public buses.