I met Anthea many years ago when she and her husband John were working in Sri Lanka. She is not one to stand still and whilst working in Qatar traveled to Cyprus and to her home in London. Everything was carefully set up and planned to suit her family, work and holiday needs. Anthea shares with us the reality of living in Cyprus.
We bought our house in 2008 in Greek Cyprus when we were living in Doha, Qatar. This holiday villa allowed us to visit regularly from Qatar and was a half way meeting point for one daughter who was at school and subsequently at university in the UK. However, after 2010 air fares from the UK to Cyprus trebled in price and this resulted in us having fewer rentals and our daughters not being able to come as often to Cyprus.
Transport – it is essential to have a car in Cyprus – many of the villages are situated in areas where there is a very limited (at best) bus service. There are no trains in Cyprus. The main towns are Nicosia, Larnaca, Limmasol, Paphos and Polis.
There are lots of car hire companies, but one I should like to mention is Paforentals Ltd, based in Paphos whose staff are excellent and meet us at the airport day and night. HQ +357 26947058 email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.paphoscarrentals.com.cy
Airports – Larnaca which serves the Middle East – many people in Cyprus have relatives in Australia and the Middle East serves as a major hub for the link to Cyprus. However, since the embargo of most of the Gulf Countries, UAE,Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain with Qatar, it is not as easy to fly direct from these countries as there is a no fly zone over Qatar.
Medical and Dental –Government hospitals do provide quite good basic care. There are plenty of private medical hospitals, health centres and private dental care centres seem to spring up on a regular basis.
There is low taxation in Cyprus making it attractive for people to live there and retire there.
Education – Local Cypriot schools tend only to have locals attend. There are plenty of private international schools in Paphos and the other major cities.
Activities Clubs and Societies – There is a good concert centre in Paphos with regular concerts. Visiting singers fly in from time to time and there are several ex pat choirs and independent singers who provide entertainment in the winter months usually at local hotels. These are held with a dinner to start with and then the singers perform.
There are numerous groups to join, walking groups, boules or bowls groups. We joined a boules group where we still play when we are in Cyprus. My husband joined several walking groups and went walking regularly both in the summer and winter. He also sailed as much as he could with a friend.
There is an excellent amateur dramatic society in Emba near Paphos, which has its own theatre, built by the British many years ago. The only drawback is that for us to go or my husband to have acted there, meant a long journey over a mountain road to get there usually at night, not something we did on a regular basis, as we didn’t want to be travelling in this way. We did attend one or two plays which had friends acting in who lived locally to the theatre.
There is the excellent Techopolis music centre in Paphos which puts on excellent classical music concerts on a regular basis in the summer months, but like most events in Cyprus, some of these events tend to be irregular in the winter months.
The main industry in Cyprus is tourism and there is plenty to see and do. The beaches are empty for most of the year and in the part we lived, there were turtles on the beaches, which were protected. The locals are not very respectful of any animals and do occasionally drive on the beaches. Hunting is a favourite past time with local Cypriots.
Shopping – food shopping can be hit and miss. Major centres have large supermarkets whilst smaller towns usually only have one major supermarket, Papantoniou’s is excellent, although the fruit leaves a lot to be desired. Certainly when I go around British supermarkets now, I realise how poor Cyprus supermarkets’ are when it comes to selling fruit. There is really no excuse given a lot of the fruit is grown in Cyprus. Fresh oranges are wonderful when freshly picked off the trees. Lemons too are delicious and many lemon drizzle cakes have been made over the years!
Dining Out/Restaurants – It is reasonably cheap to eat out in Cyprus. Plenty of choice all over the island, but the village tavernas are fun to explore and try out.
Weather like any Mediterranean island, Cyprus is blessed with long and very hot summers. However, the winter can be cold and temperatures do drop to around 8C – the houses do not have heating so it is important to have some sort of heat – often villas will have a wood burning stove or calor gas stoves or oil filled electric radiators. In the mountains there is usually snow, sufficient to justify a ski resort in the Troodos Mountains, at around 3000metres elevation