With minimal public transport available, hiring a car is one of the best ways to get out and explore the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. However, every country has their own set of driving rules, so make sure you’re up to date with the rules of the road before you set off.
Key driving rules and regulations in Cyprus
What side of the road does Cyprus drive on?
Cypriots drive on the left and overtake on the right. The only exception is when the vehicle to be overtaken is turning to the right.
However, be aware that locals may attempt to undertake, which can be dangerous, so stay alert.
What is the speed limit for driving in Cyprus?
The normal speed limits when driving in Cyprus, for private vehicles without trailers, are:
- Standard roads in built up areas: 50km/h or 65km/h – This can vary depending on the road type, so be sure to check the road signs.
- Standard roads outside built-up areas: 80km/h
- Motorways: Maximum speed 100 km/h – Be aware that Cyprus enforce a minimum speed limit of 65km/h on motorways.
Priority at junctions in Cyprus
At junctions without a specific sign, priority is for vehicles coming from the right.
Legal alcohol limit for driving in Cyprus
The maximum legal level of alcohol in the blood for driving in Cyprus is 0.049%, or 49mg per 100ml. This is significantly lower than in the United Kingdom and many other European countries, so be careful.
The police are empowered to carry out random breath tests, and persons suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (0.05% / 50mg per 100ml and over) may be subjected to a blood test. Driving while over the limit can mean a significant fine, of €100 upwards.
What is the legal driving age in Cyprus?
The minimum age for driving in Cyprus is 18, and for hiring a car 21.
All valid national driving licences are recognised.
Driving between the north and south of Cyprus
When visiting Cyprus, remember that the country is split into northern and southern areas under different governments. Sometimes the insurance provided by your car hire company will become invalid when crossing from the north to the south, and vice-versa, so check with your car rental company before travelling.
Providing your insurance remains in place, our car hire excess insurance policies will be valid. Remember to take your insurance documents with you for proof.
Other important rules for driving in Cyprus
- Wearing seat belts is compulsory for all occupants of a vehicle
- Any child aged four and under must not sit in the front seat. Children aged five to ten are able to sit in the front if there is a child seat fitted.
- It’s illegal to use a mobile phone when driving, and you may be fined heavily if found guilty.
- It is prohibited to eat or drink while driving a vehicle.
- Switch on your lights half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise. Spotlights are not allowed.
- It is illegal to smoke if one of your passengers is 16 or under, and fines are levied if caught.
Driving safely in Cyprus
Roads in Cyprus
There is a growing motorway network in Cyprus - but be careful when driving off them onto slip roads, as some of the exits are very short and may end in a 90° turn, with a speed limit as low as 25km/h. Be ready for your exit and slow down beforehand.
Some minor roads can be uneven and have small potholes. On these roads, many drivers in Cyprus drive close to or beyond the centre line of the road, in order to avoid what can be rough edges, holes and bumps. Be sure to take extra care on these road types.
To avoid long queues, don’t drive in the rush hour traffic, which is approximately 7am to 8.30am, then from about 4.30pm to 6pm.
Be careful at roundabouts
Some drivers in Cyprus do not follow the rules correctly when using roundabouts, so take extra care and time if needed.
Driving in sun and snow
Remember to take your sunglasses in the car wherever you go, to ensure you can see clearly: Cyprus has up to 340 days of sunshine per year.
If driving on the mountain roads in winter, spiked tyres and snow chains are permitted and recommended.
Parking regulations in Cyprus
A double yellow line in Cyprus means both parking and waiting are prohibited at all times. A single yellow line means loading and unloading is allowed but parking is prohibited, this applies at all times.
An on-the-spot fine of €85 may be charged if you park illegally.
Disabled parking access
Reserved parking spaces for the disabled may be used by foreign disabled motorists and passengers, provided you have a valid blue badge.
What to do if you are involved in an accident
The police must always be contacted if you are involved in a traffic accident in Cyprus, so ring them on 112 once everyone else is safely out of the vehicles.
After contacting the police do not move your vehicle from where the accident took place, even if the incident is a minor one, as you may be deemed liable for the incident if you do so. Only move your car once the police and the insurance agents confirm you may do so.
What do you need to carry in your vehicle in Cyprus?
Important driving documents for Cyprus
When driving in Cyprus you must carry the following documents:
- Full, valid driving licence*
- Proof of insurance (third party or above)
- Proof of ID (passport or national identity card)
- Proof of ownership (if in your own vehicle)
Items you must carry when driving in Cyprus
When driving in Cyprus you must also carry the following items in your vehicle or risk an on-the-spot fine:
- Headlamp beam deflectors.
- Two warning triangles, in case of an incident.
Petrol stations in Cyprus
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and leaded petrol is not available currently for vehicle fuel in Cyprus, so ensure your vehicle uses unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane) or diesel. It is illegal to carry petrol in a can.
Petrol stations are common in towns, though not all accept payment by credit card.
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