Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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Currency in South Cyprus

Since January 2008 the official currency in Cyprus is Euro.

Cyprus Pound Brief History

The Cyprus Pound was introduced in 1879. At that time it was equal in value to the Pound Sterling until the independence of Cyprus in 1960. Subsequently it was divided into 20 Shillings. However, unlike Sterling, the Shilling was divided into nine Piastres (Kurus in Turkish). In 1955 Cyprus decimalized, with 1000 mils to the pound. This was in 1983 converted as Cyprus Pound was divided into 100 cents which remains until now. Mil-denominated coins are no longer legal tender. There were coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and paper notes of 1, 5, 10 and 20 pounds. New notes were issued in 1997. In January 2008 Cyprus accepted Euro as the official currency.


Having cash is always a fail-safe way to carry money around from one country to another. It is also the least safe method. In the South apart from Euro you can pay with UK Pounds or US dollars. In most of the tourist centres these hard currencies are widely accepted or easily exchanged. Local exchange rates are favourable, and airport or seaport exchange offices are open for all arrivals.

Travellers Cheques

Without restrictions you may import traveller’s cheques, but cash amounts in excess of USD$1000 equivalent should be declared on entry if you intend to re-export a significant quantity of it. Euro cheques and traveller’s cheques are accepted by all banks and some shops and restaurants. The cheques can be exchanged with subject to fees. It is worth noting that Thomas Cook traveller’s cheques can be exchanged commission-free at any branch of the Bank of Cyprus. A low crime rate means that people come to Cyprus with their national currency rather than traveller’s cheques.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely used in stores, restaurants, supermarkets and petrol stations. Usually the card symbol is displayed in the shop-window or at reception. Plastic is extremely useful as cash dispensers are located throughout Cyprus. Screen instructions are given in English on request. Remember to memorize a PIN number before departure.

Visitors holding any of the following international credit cards may contact the appropriate bank for the withdrawal of cash.

  • Visa Card: Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, Hellenic Bank, Lombard Natwest Bank and the National Bank of Greece
  • Dinners Club, Carte Blanche: Bank of Cyprus
  • MasterCard–EuroCard: Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, Hellenic Bank, Lombard Natwest Bank and the National Bank of Greece
  • American Express: Alpha Bank and Laiki Bank

ATMs in Cyprus

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are popular among Cypriot people as well as tourists. They are generally a convenient way to withdraw cash at any time. Most banks now allow you to access your regular bank account directly, though in some cases you may have to use your credit line to access cash. Transferring money to your credit card before you leave is a good solution. Bear in mind, however, that your bank may levy a hefty charge each time you withdraw money from an ATM. These are found in most towns and larger villages across South Cyprus.

International Transfers

The transfers are possible from your home bank to any of Cyprus’ major banks if you need to access your funds. Although the method is reliable, it is usually slow and takes a week or more. Using private financial agencies, such as Western Union is usually the best bet, since you can often get your transferred money the same day.

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