Shopping in Cyprus
We’ve spoken a lot on our site about which souvenirs and gifts you can take home from Cyprus. Many you’ve probably learnt about through personal experience. This review will share information on how, when and where it is best and cheapest to buy all which the island has to offer: from souvenirs, clothes and household appliances, to yachts, cars and property.
Fabric items, as well as lace, glass, ceramic ware, spices, carob products, teas, honey, decorations, perfume and cosmetics — these, along with Cypriot food, are better to purchase from where they’re made.
This works out far cheaper than buying them in souvenir shops and even in the kiosks of tourist zones and the city’s central quarters. As for the quality, that’s not something you need to fret about — it’s no secret that in the majority of countries, many “local” souvenirs are produced in China. Plus, the prices of second-hand sellers and sales prices in a “busy area” can be several times higher than the initial amount.
Clothes, Footwear and Accessories
To be honest, Cyprus hasn’t really succumbed to the “hype” of fashion: as a rule, all new trends come to the island somewhat delayed, with the product line not on complete display (features of marketing and the tastes of boutique buyers), or with the prices of original wears raised to an unrealistic amount, as a result of the crisis.
For the out-and-out trendsetters, it’s probably better to choose a different calling. For those who don’t consider themselves “victims to fashion”. Who, unlike others, don’t give it their all in chasing after the latest trends, despite the obstacles in their way, but prefer to do the opposite — follow their own styles, tastes and flairs… there won’t be any need for you to contain yourself in anticipation of the seasonal sales. They occur even more often than the changes in the seasons themselves; in fact, there have actually been times when the prices have “toppled”.
Besides, the pull towards shopping, which is characteristic of Cypriots, has noticeably waned. Salons, boutiques and ordinary shops simply cannot sell their products in full for the prices they desire. This is due, in part, to the instability created from the economic crisis, which died down in 2013-2014.
A good option is to visit the small factories of the local fashion designers, who work with modelling clothing, footwear and accessories. We’ve written about some of them already (Maria Aristidou, Vasiliya Vasiliou, Giorgos Kelpis, Astir & Sparta Novelty, Aleksandr Tasou and so), while you’ll easily be able to find others on your own.
These Cypriot masters hold and participate in fashion shows and contests, both on a local and international level. Incidentally, for those who wish to, this is another fascinating way to spend time at a social event: to show yourself off while also watching others.
By making original purchases from an artist or Cypriot artisan, you are guaranteed an item with a high-quality design, and one you will inexhaustibly enjoy using.
Technology and Gadgets
Good news: the market is evidently saturated with offers, while demand still isn’t that great. So, from time to time, brands compete with each other by holding sales and various alluring promotions.
Besides, second-hand items, which are still in working condition, are all sold-bought-exchanged or simply put “into good hands”. This can be done on the commonly-visited website www.bazaraki.com or through numerous Facebook groups.
Cars, Yachts and Other Things
Acquiring the vehicle of your choice, or renting one of any make and class for the duration of your holiday on the island, won’t present any difficulty. Today, many either use social-media sites to buy or sell “vehicles”, or post advertisements in newspapers: in English and Greek.
Advice from some veterans: if you’re not up to scratch with the subtleties of cars, get on good terms with a mechanic. That way, you sooner end up buying a second-hand “horse”, rather than coming across a “cat in a sack”.
Unfortunately, a lot of so-called “floggers” have now appeared in Cyprus.
When buying a car, you’ll also need to insure the vehicle and pay road tax, the price of which can vary depending on the engine size. It’s easier to do this at the Citizen Service Centres located in all the island’s cities — visit the website for more information: www.justaboutcyprus.com.
To find the right insurer, it’s worth looking into the rates and conditions of various companies (for more info on insurance, please see our life hack page).
“What а Russian doesn’t love…”. — The words of a classic come to mind here. However, this isn’t a matter of nationality, but of a particular state of mind — one which, from time to time, is characteristic of us all (even the practical and economical sorts). It’s that state of mind when, every now and again, you feel like throwing yourself a party to celebrate your life. And why not for a day or two, right? A yacht is always something impressive and out of the ordinary. Amongst other things, a trip on a yacht or modern-style boat is a fantastic option for a date or romantic outing; it’s also not a bad idea for surprising or entertaining guests.
This particular service is rather popular, both amongst tourists and the island’s permanent residents.
A transfer service (jeep, minibus or limousine) operates for those desiring to rent a yacht, which takes you from your accommodation anywhere on the island, or immediately from the airport to the marina berths. Naturally, you’ll be accompanied by a small team of 1-3 people on your outing: if, of course, you’re not an old sea dog and privacy is paramount.
Please note: the only mandatory condition of rental is the possession of a certificate to operate this type of water transport. At least one of the crew members must have such a licence. In extreme cases, you can request a letter of notification in advance from your yacht club, confirming your competency in handling such vessels .
As for the prices: they’re high, but vary. On average, you’ll pay from €600 to €1500 (maybe even more) for a 4-hour rental. All the vessels are equipped with a kitchen, shower room and several cabins at minimum. A wide range of additional services is available, which you’ll definitely wish to order (in addition to the base cost).
To ensure you feel confident when out at sea, keep this number in mind: 1441 (Emergency messaging service for accidents and incidents in the air and at sea; also the air and marine Rescue Service.
Other Vehicles (motorised quad-bikes, bicycles etc.)
The same principle applies as with many other things: try to keep up to date, determining in advance what you will be using, as well as how often you’ll be doing so and for what purpose. And of course, social media sites are always there to assist you!
A hot topic both for investors and business people but also for those who are thinking of moving.
From time to time, the prices in Cyprus soar without justification, while they can also fall several years later to a price level which is beneficial for the customer. Keep up to date with events — information regularly appears on specific sites, in TV news and in the press.
There are several companies in Cyprus (including foreign ones), as well as sites which will be able to help you get your bearings.
Economy-class builds (depending on their location, layout and other subtleties) can easily be purchased for anything from 60-80 thousand Euro. The elite properties on the island start from around 300 thousand Euro and carry on going. So, spacious villas with the first line to the sea often set new homeowners back 1 – 1.5 million Euro.
If you still haven’t determined the most desirable spot to buy a new house or flat, be it for holidays or to live in permanently, then you might benefit from investing in a development project. Here is a price comparison list for different countries: www.immigrantinvest.com.
So, if the choice is still Cyprus, then we need to make you aware of several rules regarding how to approach your “dream”.
Pin down your choices: from the simple to the complicated, from the large to the small. The type of property, its measurements, location, the time of year you’re going to live there (or rent it out) most often.
Did you know: apartments in Cyprus are divided into “winter” and “summer” types. Therefore, for those wishing to reside on the island during the cold season, it makes sense to choose residences on the upper floors of buildings, with large windows (such a room won’t be too comfortable in the summertime due to the extreme abundance of sun)… well, you get the point.
So, the house/flat of your dreams has already taken shape in your mind. Now you need to decide who to entrust with selecting your property or begin searching on your own. There are several options: you can complete the selection process through a foreign estate agency in the country you’re located, or contact a Cypriot agency. Maybe you’ll decide to first come to the island, rent a flat for a week/month, and then engage in a full-on search “under field conditions”.
As for the question of utility bill prices, which bring suffering to the lives of many, you can find preliminary information here.
…. In the North
Be careful when renting or purchasing any property or plots of land in Northern Cyprus. Many legal owners — from both the country’s Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities — have faced issues with the return of their property, or compensation for its loss, as a result of the 1974 Turkish occupation. This is still a problem which remains unsolved today.
In connection, while striving for a “profitable” purchase in the North, you might inadvertently become accessory to an illegal deal. This could happen by purchasing property or a plot under construction from someone who has no rights to sell it!
Well, since we’ve played it this way, let’s have a run over our
List of Things You’d Better not Buy in Cyprus
When coming here for a holiday, don’t buy All-Inclusive tours, and there are many reasons to back this up. In fact, this issue has long been up for debate in the country on the very highest level, amongst the government.
So, hotels of every calibre offer “super offers” and “all inclusive” packages to the “average” tourist. But if you spend your money otherwise, you won’t be tempted to a taste of only the standard forms of dishes and entertainment on offer. On the contrary, you’ll be able to leave their premises more often, see more, discover your own spots on the island and spend your time to your liking. Meanwhile, of course, you’ll still be meeting new and interesting people. At the end of your holiday, you’ll be able to share with your friends the original photos you’ve taken, as well as the moments you’ve experienced.
When coming in Summer, especially in August, try to avoid street food (we’ve written about its joys in one of our previous reviews) — this warning doesn’t apply to cafes and the snack-bars of popular chains.
The thing is that, on a hot day, open stalls and private wagons may prove to be without fridges (not only may they not be powerful enough, but they might not even have them at all). Without them, ingredients such as chopped tomatoes with hot meat, are capable of playing havoc with your stomach.
Such precedents are unfortunately set on an annual basis, with the same issue applying to drinks, especially freshly-pressed juices (orange). In the hot season, make sure the juice is pressed in front go you; if the selection of beverages in a street cafe consists only of pre-packed products, then it’s also better not to buy juice from opened cartons: ask them to open a new one, ideally from the fridge.
Beware when ordering frappes from the small snack-bars out in the sticks: the quality of unboiled water in some areas on the island (mainly that which is used to make this popular refreshing drink), is far from ideal.
In fact, for the same reason, it’s also worth staying away from tea: it’s brewed from packets, but the water, for some reason, is rarely boiled, and only heated to the necessary temperature — something I’ve observed on numerous occasions.
It’s much better to buy bottled water or a canned drink. Still, if politely invited, then it’s never a bad option to have a Cypriot coffee (the tastiest of beverages, which aside from its great flavouring and invigorating qualities, is guaranteed to have been boiled).
For the sake of saving money and what may seem like a benefit, it’s better to steer clear of the cheaper wares in souvenir shops. They only slightly resemble the wares of traditional artisans, and this is what you’ve come for.
In Lefkara, for instance, together with the stunning samples of lefkaritika manufactured from natural materials, at the expert hands of local weavers, you can see a mass of cheap, colourful mass-market goods, which have no relation whatsoever to the lefkaritika art.
The same goes for items of silver, as well as ceramic works in other regions… So you don’t make a mistake when choosing, make sure you know how to spot “an original” — read up before your trip or visit the appropriate websites — maybe even ours ;)
And so, that’s all for now: we hope you’ll never have to fill our “bad list” with your own experiences!
Stay with us and until next time for more discoveries!
 Keep in mind: all movement in the water is continuously monitored by the Marine Police of the Republic of Cyprus. You ought to be especially attentive and avoid entering the territorial waters of what is known as Northern Cyprus. Along with this, you can venture to Israel, the Greek islands or to the coast of Egypt and Lebanon.