North Cyprus is of Natural beauty with the added bonus of its wonderful Island Climate, the Warmth and Generosity of the Turkish Cypriot people and the abundant selection of fresh foods make Northern Cyprus an Unspoilt and Non-Commercialised Heaven. There is virtually no crime to speak of, and this country is reminiscent of UK standards long lost, where hospitality, politeness and the general enjoyment of life are the daily norm. The unique climate of North Cyprus offers year-round opportunities for a perfect holiday. Rainfall is concentrated in December and January, and the average sea temperature is above 20 ºC for more than half the year. North Cyprus is renowned for its wild flowers which carpet the island in spring (there are more than 38 species of orchid alone) and scent of orange, lemon and grapefruit blossom fills the air. The coastline of North Cyprus offers some of the finest and safest bathing areas in the Mediterranean although most holiday establishments have modern pools, the crystal clear waters of the Eastern Mediterranean are wonderful for swimming, snorkelling, sailing and water-skiing. Most of the holiday complexes in North Cyprus are situated near the picturesque ancient port of Girne on the North coast, or GaziMagosa in the East. The narrow fertile Northern coastal strip is backed by the spectacular Besparmak Mountains - also known as the Girne range, studded with its medieval castles and fortresses. The rugged slopes are covered with Aleppo pines, olives and carob trees, with small villages nestling in the hillsides. Nearer the coast, most activity is concentrated along the coast road. Inland, behind the rocky Girne range and the imposing Five Finger Mountain, stretches the huge fertile Mesaoria plain, Ercan airport and the island’s capital, Lefkosa. Along the East coast lie the ancient fortified city of Gazimagosa and the nearby ruins of Salamis. To the north east, the landscape becomes more broken and open fields give way to small pastures enclosed by stone walls and interspersed with olive trees and rocky outcrops. The beaches here are a blend of rock pools and sheltered sandy bays.
Turkish is the Official language of North Cyprus and English is widely used and understood in official and commercial circles. There are several Turkish language teachers available, and some British residents avail themselves of their services.
Typically Mediterranean with long dry summers and short, rainy winters. The average annual temperature is 19ºC (66ºF). The temperature in midsummer can soar over 40ºC (105ºF) with the warmest sea temperature in the Mediterranean, averaging 21ºC (75ºF). The winter months are very mild and there is an average annual rainfall of 500mm.
Local time is two hours ahead of GMT.
An area of 3,355 square miles encompasses the northern part of the island, which is the third largest in the Mediterranean. Nearly half of coast-line of the island is also part of the TRNC. About 45% of the area is arable land, 20% of which is irrigated. Nearly 20% of North Cyprus total area is wooded and there are extensive re-forestation programs in progress. It is situated at the cross-roads of East-West and North-South navigational routes, is only 70 Kilometers south of Turkey and 385 Kilometers north of Egypt. Owing to the location of North Cyprus and its proximity to the rich Middle Eastern countries, it provides an ideal place for foreign investment.
Lefkosa (Nicosia) is the capital of the North Cyprus, which has a population of approximately 35,000. This location is where the main administration and business centres are. Other major towns include: Gazi Magusa (Famagusta) which is a flourishing tourist, industrial and commercial centre, as well as being the country’s principle port, Girne (Kyrenia) a town of touristy importance with a hypnotizing Yacht Harbour. Town maps can be obtained from the Tourism offices in Lefkosa and Girne.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
First Aid 0112
Directory Enquiries 192
North Cyprus has a large selection of 5-star Hotels, small family Hotels, Motels, self-catering Villas, Apartments and Camping facilities.
Household Items and Services
Most household items can be bought in North Cyprus at about the same price as Europe. Most international makes and models are available (Whirlpool, LG, Sony, Philips, Pioneer, Panasonic, Siemens, Bosch, Tefal, Beko, and much more) Auctions are also held monthly where a vast array of items can be purchased at reasonable prices.
In the TRNC are much cheaper than the UK and most of Europe. There is no system at present to represent rates, or community tax. Central heating is rare in North Cyprus but is usually run on gas or oil. Most cookers are run on gas canisters.
There is a wide selection of consumer goods of good quality in North Cyprus; In addition to locally produced goods almost all foreign brands are available on the market. It can be estimated that the cost of foodstuffs generally is about half or even less than UK prices. Items such as local brandy, retailing at around £1.20 sterling per bottle , 1 loaf of bread (weighing 300 gr.) at £0.13, 1 Lt. of long life UHT milk at £0,39, a pack of 20 B & H cigarettes at £2.60.
Banks & Currency
All types of banking services are provided in North Cyprus and they are flexible enough to satisfy the continually diversifying needs of the business community. There are branches in many of the important Trading Centres of the world. Numerous Turkish and Turkish Cypriot banks (HSBC Bank has now opened branches in Nicosia and Kyrenia in TRNC), operate and they are open from Monday to Friday (except public holidays) Turkish lira is used as the local currency. There is no restriction for the import of foreign currency into North Cyprus: however, the export of currency is restricted to US-dollars 8000, or the equivalent in other currencies. Exchanging all the currencies in banks, exchange offices and in hotels, is possible. All major credit cards are accepted.
The TRNC follows a flexible exchange policy. Foreign currency accounts can be opened with local banks, and foreign currency can be brought into the country and taken out through the banks without any restriction or control, and the source of such income is not investigated. It should be noted that the Government are actively encouraging the formation of offshore banks by foreign investors, and are offering incentives such as relatively lower-up capital, Low Corporation and income tax etc.
Mains power 220/240 volts AC. (British Standard 3 pin plugs are used) Water by mains supply and in some properties supplemented by wells. International telephone system plus facsimile and internet.
As in the UK , traffic circulation is on the left in North Cyprus. Road signs are international. Max. Speed is 100 km./hr
Pets can be brought into the country from Europe with little hassle. The Ministry of Agriculture requires a certificate from a European vet stating that your animal is free of major diseases. Quarantine is approximately 4 weeks at the Lefkosa kennels. Contact Margaret Ray Chairperson of KAR (Kyrenia Animal Rescue) for any questions relating to your pets. Alternatively Call TRNC Ministry Tel: 00 90 392 2253551.
Information on, and accommodation facilities to be found in ensuing sections and is organised under three district regions: Girne, the area of North coast between the sea and Besparmak mountains, where the majority of holiday complexes are found; Gazimagosa, the ancient port with its long open beaches; and finally, Lefkosa and Güzelyurt: the Capital City and the Western coast famous for its citrus groves. Flights arrive at Ercan airport from which most hotels have transport services. The Turkish Cypriot people are renowned for their generous hospitality and when out shopping or enjoying a meal, you are made to feel particularly welcome.
Visitors can get to North Cyprus by air or by sea. Ercan State Airport is 7 miles (12 km) east of Lefkosa, which enables flights of Cyprus Turkish Airlines and Turkish Airlines. There are several ferry-boats of different lines operating between ports of Girne and Famagusta in North Cyprus and, ports of Mersin and Antalya in Southern Turkey. For local transportation apart from taxis and private hire cars, there are daily bus services between the towns. Ercan airport handles the bulk of the tourist traffic, whilst Gecitkale serves as a back-up airport. Daily flights from many mainland Turkish cities, as well as flights from the Europe, supply the majority of the visitors to the island.
The exotic of Cyprus reflects its history and maritime associations. Turkish Cypriot cooking is fascinating blend of East and West. Breakfast consists of luscious fruits, especially locally grown melons, various local breads with cheese or jams and a selection of eggs and local sausage. Traditionally, home-made yoghurt is served with delicious local honey and if you want coffee, then remember to ask for "Nescafe" - the local term for western coffee with milk. "Kahve" means Turkish coffee: thimblefuls of that wonderfully powerful brew that is a specialty of the Near East. Eveninals begin with a sumptuous "meze" - hors d’oeuvres consisting of as a many as 20 small dishes before the main course. Raki, aniseed spirit diluted with water is the traditional local accompaniment, but wine and beer are also readily available and excellent value and quality. Turkish Cankaya white wine is particularly recommended.
Residing and/or Working
There is no acute unemployment problem in the TRNC, and the number of registered unemployed has declined steadily since 1978. The official working week is 40 hours in the winter and 36 in the summer. Foreigners must obtain a work permit prior to any form of employment. s a foreigner, you must apply for the following permits; firstly, a temporary visitors permit from Lefkosa, which involves the completion of a form and the supply of three or four passport size photographs. A full permanent resident’s permit is not usually issued until the recipient has been in residence in the TRNC for five years. All this legal requests and permeations are can be made by Solicitor. If you wish to operate a business in TRNC, the following procedure must be adhered to: If you are to form a limited company, then you instruct a Solicitor to make the necessary applications on your behalf to the Council of Ministers, outlining the trading intentions of the company, share capital, directors etc. The foreign ownership can be up to 49%, with the main share holder(s) being of TRNC citizenship owning at least 51%. A full foreign limited company may also be formed though this is at a higher cost and can take longer. A further application has to be made to the Immigration Department for an annually renewable business or employment permit, which is given once the Council of Ministers has given their approval. You must also have a medical examination for clearance of TB and HIV. Finally, you register yourself and your company with Social Security for health insurance payments, the tax authorities, and the provident fund. Once all this has been done, you may commence trading. For retired persons, the residents permit is all that is required. Retired persons may bring into the country a full household of furniture. These are virtually tax free - a nominal 2 - 3% tax is levied. All foreigners should carefully examine the importation of vehicles from overseas, as cars are valued (Glass’s Guide) and import tax is levied on the basis of the value, engine capacity and age. In most cases, the tax assessment is high. Second-hand vehicles are in abundance, but prices for reliable cars rarely drop below £2000 sterling, no matter the condition. Car road tax is approximately £50 annually (more for larger cars/jeeps etc.), and third party insurance in the £40 region. Most applications for licenses, visas, permits etc., do require an inordinate amount of patience. Finally, there are opportunities to enter into long-term loose or joint venture projects with an organization here that owns many seashore and inland tracts of land and properties. Any interested companies or individuals who are looking for investment opportunities in the tourism sector, for hotels, holiday villages, and villa or apartment projects in superb locations may consider this option.
It is true to say that retired people and families who come to live in North Cyprus enjoy a much higher standard of living than their UK counterparts, with pensions having a much higher purchasing power, and with the reassuring knowledge that one is living in a safe environment. For younger people with families, there can be no finer, safer and healthier environment in which to raise one’s children. We hope we have been helpful with this extensive introduction of North Cyprus and that we can be of any assistance whether it is our honest advice or property aimed guidance.