Known for its sun-soaked beaches and historic ruins, Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the bustle of busy life. Yet some travelers are still cautious about the country, which remains divided between two Cypriot communities. For this reason, it’s perfectly normal to question if Cyprus is a safe country to visit.
Is Cyprus a Safe Country To Visit?
Generally speaking, Cyprus is a safe country to visit. Although the overall risk of something bad happening is low, paying attention to your surroundings during your visit is still essential. Crime against tourists is very uncommon, although petty theft and scams can happen to anyone.
As with all places, there are certain precautions travelers should take to make sure their trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Northern vs. Southern Cyprus
At the moment, Cyprus is divided into two distinct territories. To the south sits the Republic of Cyprus, which takes up roughly 60% of the island. The majority of inhabitants in this area are Greek Cypriot.
On the northern side of the island is the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, which is currently occupied by the country of Turkey. In fact, Turkey claims that this region is its own distinct country.
However, this separation is not officially recognized by the Republic of Cyprus or the majority of other countries around the world.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island after a military coup was set up by the Greek Army of Cyprus. As a result of the invasion, over 150,000 Greek Cypriots were forced from their homes in the north, while 60,000 Turkish Cypriots fled the south.
The division is still a sensitive topic for many citizens, especially considering the tense political situation caused by the occupation. Now, an unofficial border dissects the capital city of Nicosia and separates the two territories. This partition is now a buffer zone controlled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.
Is Northern Cyprus Safe to Visit?
Despite the country’s tumultuous history, both areas of Cyprus are relatively safe for tourists. Some people even consider northern Cyprus to be safer than the south due to fewer crowds and tourist attractions.
However, it’s important to take safety precautions and to stay aware of your surroundings – just like you would anywhere else.
If you’re planning on crossing the border, make sure you take your passport with you. Border patrol will check your passport (although you won’t get a stamp) on both the Greek side and the Turkish side.
Is Cyprus Safe for Families?
With beachside resorts and tons of fun sights and attractions, Cyprus is a popular destination for a family vacation.
During your visit, you’ll see families visiting from all parts of the world. Not only do many hotels and resorts cater to kids, but so do many of the restaurants, activity centers, and beaches. Therefore, it’s perfectly safe for families or people traveling with young children.
Is Cyprus Safe for Women?
Women can feel comfortable traveling to Cyprus in groups, with their partners, or even alone. Cyprus is a safe country for all travelers, although women may need to take extra precautions if they’re solo travelers.
Tourist towns like Ayia Napa and Paphos cater to solo travelers and backpackers, so there’s no shortage of places to stay. However, these areas can get quite rowdy during peak season. With so many nightclubs, bars, and beach parties, the chance of petty theft, street crime, harassment, and sexual assault can be higher.
For this reason, solo female travelers should be aware of their surroundings and never leave their own drinks unattended. It’s also important to stick to well-light public areas when walking back home at night. Following some common sense safety measures can make all the difference.
Is Cyprus Safe for the LGBTQ+ Community?
Attacks against tourists are extremely rare, and most LGBTQ+ travelers should have no problems during their visit.
Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2016, with most citizens favoring the bill. However, people in rural or non-tourist areas may not be as familiar with the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it’s possible that these areas are less accepting of same-sex couples.
Safety Issues in Cyprus
Over 4 million people travel to Cyprus each year, and many of them return from their trip without encountering any issues or problems. But to help ease your worries, we’ll explain a few of the most common concerns that travelers have about visiting Cyprus.
With an average annual temperature of 75°F, it’s important to stay hydrated during your trip to Cyprus. The tap water is generally safe to drink as it’s chlorinated and monitored by the EU.
However, there is always a chance that pollutants and other bacteria can be lurking in the water, especially in older buildings with dirty pipes or water tanks.
As a precaution, you should filter any water that comes directly from the tap. This can reduce your chances of water-borne viruses or bacteria. Another option is to buy bottled water, which is readily available in restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores.
Petty theft is one of the biggest risks that travelers should be aware of when visiting the country. Cyprus is a popular tourist destination, and crime is generally more prominent in areas where there are foreigners.
Pickpocketing can also happen in large cities like Nicosia. For this reason, you should leave any valuables or expensive items at home or locked up in your hotel.
It’s also important to stick to busy neighborhoods and streets. As with all big cities, some areas may be unsafe and not as welcoming.
Due to its proximity to Syria and the Middle East, many travelers are worried about the terrorism risk while visiting Cyprus. But the truth is, Cyprus is not really at a higher risk for a terrorist attack compared to other parts of the world.
However, no one can predict when incidents or attacks can occur. That’s why it’s crucial for all travelers to pay attention to their surroundings and to avoid any political protests. It’s also a good idea to check your government’s website for advice before traveling.
If you’re planning on traveling to different parts of the island, you can easily get around using public transportation.
While there is no subway or underground, the bus system is surprisingly well connected. The intercity buses in big cities like Paphos, Limassol, and Nicosia are modern, clean, and very reliable.
You can also take long-distance buses to other parts of the country. Compared to taxis or renting a car, taking the bus is an affordable and easy way to travel around Cyprus. The only exception is in the north, where buses are less reliable and a bit more expensive.
Cyprus is a fascinating country with a rich culture that dates back more than 9,000 years. Between the wide stretch of beaches, breathtaking mountains, and charming cities, there’s something in Cyprus for all types of travelers.
And while it’s perfectly normal to feel worried about traveling internationally, you can rest assured knowing that Cyprus is a very safe place for tourists. As long as you pay attention to your surroundings, we know that you’ll have an amazing experience visiting this wonderful island in the Mediterranean.