Although the bulk of foreign visitors to Cyprus arrive on a package tour, you can also find competitive deals by arranging your own flights and accommodation. The republic has two international airports (Larnaka and Pafos), and there are frequent direct flights to both from London, Manchester and numerous regional airports in the UK. Other major hubs for Cyprus include Athens, Amsterdam and Brussels. Turkish-occupied north Cyprus (the “TRNC”) has one international airport at Ercan to which there are no direct flights other than from Turkey. A ferry service also links Turkey with north Cyprus.
Since Cyprus is a smallish island, and has an excellent motorway system joining all the main towns and holiday areas, price can be as much of a factor as transfer times in choosing your airport. However, Larnaka is the biggest and busiest, and therefore offers the widest choice of flights and arrival times and links with the rest of the island.
There are no direct flights to Cyprus from the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, so journeys involve at least one change of plane, often in London, Athens or Dubai.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
Many British airports offer flights either to Larnaka, Pafos or both, though some are restricted to the summer months. Flight times to Cyprus from London are usually around 4hr 30min. Flights from Ireland require at least one, and often two, stops, and therefore take the best part of a day. Add another 40min for flights to Ercan in north Cyprus which must touch down in Turkey first. Costs can vary enormously, coming in as low as £150 return during low season, but soaring in summer to £300 or more, though with an average of £250–300. Fares can also jump during the Greek Orthodox Easter (not always the same as the Western European Easter) as expats flood home for this most important of festivals. Of course many of the bargain rates from budget carriers become increasingly less so once you’ve paid extra for your hold luggage, meals, your choice of seat and so on.
To Larnaca and Pafos
wba.com. London Heathrow and Manchester to Larnaka (and Pafos in the summer).
wcyprUSir.com. Larnaka and Pafos from London Heathrow and Manchester.
weasyjet.com. Larnaka from London Gatwick and Pafos from London Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh.
First Choice Airways
wfirstchoice.co.uk. Pafos from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Doncaster (all year). Larnaka from Bristol, Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle (April–Oct).
wjet2.com. Flights to Larnaka (from Leeds and Manchester) and Pafos (East Midlands, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow).
wmonarch.co.uk. Larnaka (from Birmingham, Manchester, Luton, Gatwick) and Pafos (from Birmingham, Manchester, Gatwick).
wryanair.com. Pafos from Stansted.
Thomas Cook Airlines
wthomascook.com. Larnaka and Pafos from London Gatwick and most regional airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.
wthomson.co.uk. To Larnaca and Pafos from London Gatwick and Stansted plus many UK regional airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. Also from Dublin.
To Ercan (North Cyprus)
watlasjet.com. Stansted to Ercan via Istanbul.
wflypgs.com. Stansted to Ercan via Istanbul or Antalya.
wturkishairlines.com. Ercan via Istanbul from London Gatwick and Heathrow plus Manchester and Birmingham.
Flights from the US and Canada
There are no direct flights from the US and Canada to Cyprus. North American visitors must therefore travel via London, Athens, or other European hub airports. Numerous airlines offer one- or two-stop flights, and round-trip costs can vary between US$1300 and US$2000 from New York and US$2200 to US$3100 from Los Angeles, though the cheapest fares tend to be from the smaller airports – Newark, New Jersey, for example, has fares that start at around US$840. Flights from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver start at under Can$1000. The best deals from North America to Cyprus seem to be from American Airlines (wamericanairlines.co.uk), Delta (wdelta.com), Air Canada (waircanada.com), Lufthansa (w lufthansa.com) and British Airways (w ba.com).
Flights from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
Travelling from Australia, New Zealand or South Africa to Cyprus involves at least one stopover, usually via a Middle Eastern hub such as Dubai. One-stop flights from Australia start at around AUS$2000; from New Zealand NZ$2500. The cheapest route from South Africa is Johannesburg via Dubai with prices starting at R7000. Emirates (w emirates), code-sharing with BA and Qantas, appear to offer the most competitive deals.
Since concerns about international terrorism closed its ferry ports back in 2001, the only viable way of visiting the south, unless you have access to an ocean-going yacht, is by air. However, there are several sea routes between the Turkish mainland and north Cyprus, with passenger-only ferries being a lot quicker than car ferries: Mersin–Gazimağusa (Mon, Wed & Fri, with return trips on Tues, Thurs & Sun); Tasucu–Girne (daily); Alanya–Girne (Mon & Thurs).
Agents and operators
North South Travel
w northsouthtravel.co.uk. Friendly, competitive travel agency, offering discounted fares worldwide. Profits are used to support projects in the developing world, especially the promotion of sustainable tourism.
w statravel.co.uk. Worldwide specialists in independent travel; also student IDs, travel insurance, car rental, rail passes, and more. Good discounts for students and under-26s.
w trailfinders.com. One of the best-informed and most efficient agents for independent travellers.
w travelcuts.com. Canadian youth and student travel firm.
Ireland w usit.ie. Ireland’s main student and youth travel specialists.
Anatolian Sky Holidays
w anatolianskyholidays.co.uk. North Cyprus specialist with a choice of hotels in Girne and Gazimağusa, with flights to Larnaka Airport.
w amathusholidays.co.uk. Hotel packages for all the main resorts, including Lakki, Polis and Pissouri.
w cyplon.co.uk. Wide choice of resort packages across the south, with useful online “Holiday Finder” facility.
wcyprUSctive.com. Range of activities – walking, cycling, horseriding, paragliding, scuba diving, cooking.
wcyprusdirectholidays.com. North Cyprus specialist offering flights to Ercan and hotels mainly but not exclusively in the Girne area.
wcyprusvillages.com.cy. Offers not only traditional accommodation, but also activity-based holidays: cycling, walking and yoga.
Sun Island Tours
wsunislandtours.com.au. Australian-based company specializing in Middle Eastern and Med holidays including packages to the most popular Cypriot holiday areas.
wsunvil.co.uk. The premier tour operator for Cyprus, offering mainly self-catering villa and agrotourism holidays. Look out for their brochure “Real Cyprus”.Read More
Travel to North Cyprus
Travel to North Cyprus
The Cypriot government issues dire warnings about using the north’s Ercan airport in terms both of safety and of legal consequences, pointing out that the flights from Turkey breach UN Security Council resolutions. This, however, seems not to worry the increasing number of visitors who travel there. Since the relaxation of controls regarding crossing the Green Line from south to north, Larnaka has become a good base from which to drop into the north. The north is also accessible by sea from the Turkish mainland, with routes to Girne and Gazimağusa.
The north/south divide and the “TRNC”
The north/south divide and the “TRNC”
After its occupation by the Turkish army, the north declared itself to be the “Turkish Federated State of Cyprus” before unilaterally declaring independence in 1983 as the “Turkish Republic of North Cyprus”. This title has no international validity, and is strongly resented by the Republic of Cyprus, the only legitimate government of the whole island. For ease of reference we have largely referred to the TRNC as “the north” and the rest of the island, that controlled by the republic government, as “the south”. Where the title TRNC is used it is for convenience, and implies no endorsement of the Turkish occupation.