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.
Driving on the left: Traffic in Cyprus is left-hand traffic and if you’re not used to driving in the left-hand side of the road, it is very easy to get used to, and once you are in traffic everything will feel natural after a few minutes. The only time that you should be very attentive is when you are starting in a place without traffic. In that case make sure that you actually drive your car into the left lane upon start with no other traffic to refer to, it is easy to drop back into old habits and choose the wrong lane.
Driving regulations: The driving regulations in Cyprus are pretty much like in any other European country.
Speed limits: The speed limits are mostly clearly marked and generally resembles the speed limits in most other European countries. The speed limits are marked in km/h (kilometre per hour) and not mph (miles per hour), although the speed limits are shown in both units some places. On the highways the speed limit varies from what you would usually experience in most countries. On highways the limit is 100 km/h and every day you will see the traffic police parked along the highway for traffic control.
Drink and drive: The legislation in Cyprus is pretty strict, so it’s definitely worth taking a note that the legal limit for drink driving in Cyprus is 0,22 mg pr. ml, which is significantly lower than in the United Kingdom and lower than in the majority of the other European countries.
Seat belts: It is a legal requirement to use seat belt when you are driving or when you are a passenger in a car.
Roundabouts: Roundabouts are a cause of confusion for many drivers. Even though there should be no difference driving in a roundabout in Cyprus and most other countries except most countries drive in the right-hand side just make sure you know where you will be going and position your car based accordingly. Keep a keen eye on the other traffic when you change lane or exit the roundabout and make sure to use your blinkers.
Highways and exits: The highways in Cyprus connect all the big cities. In total there are three highways in Cyprus and they all merge together. The longest stretch is A1 from the capital Nicosia to Paphos, although it changes to A6 after passing Limassol. There is also a highway from Nicosia that passes Larnaca before reaching Ayia Napa. Finally, there’s a highway from Larnaca that connects with A1 before Limassol and connects all the highways. Now, when existing these highways outside the bigger cities you will have to be very careful, as some of the exits are very short plus, they might end in a 90-degree turn, where the speed limit is as low as 25-30 km/h. Therefore, it is very important to be prepared to leave the highway and slow down before the exit.
Traffic fines: Traffic fines cannot be paid immediately at the roadside to the police officer, and it is not recommended to suggest it. If you have received a traffic fine, you can either pay it at the police station, through your bank or with your credit card online at the JCC Smart website. You will need to create a customer account at the website if you do not already have one.
Rental cars: What to consider If you are driving in a rental car, it is clearly visible to anyone else in traffic. It is not because of the big advertisement sticker from the rental agency, but instead the license plates. The license plate on all rental cars is red with black letters. If you are renting a car in Cyprus you should also be aware that there are roads, where your insurance will not cover because of the road quality. This includes roads in remote areas, 4WD roads and some mountain roads.
Pedestrian crossings: As you approach a pedestrian crossing, slow down and be prepared to stop to allow pedestrians to cross. Scan both sides of the crossing as you approach. Do not wave pedestrians across, as this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching. It is illegal to park on a zebra crossing or either side of the crossing.