Although the bulk of foreign visitors to Cyprus arrive on package tours, you can 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 these airports 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 through 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.
Many British airports offer flights 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. Fares 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. Prices 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.
London Heathrow and Manchester to Larnaka (and Pafos in the summer).
Larnaka from London Gatwick and Pafos from London Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh.
Pafos from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Doncaster (all year). Larnaka from Bristol, Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle (April–Oct).
Flights to Larnaka and Pafos from East Midlands, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle, Glasgow, and from Edinburgh to Pafos.
Larnaka (from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Luton and Gatwick) and Pafos (from Birmingham and Gatwick).
Pafos from Stansted.
Larnaka and Pafos from London Gatwick and most regional airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.
To Larnaka and Pafos from London Gatwick and Stansted plus many UK regional airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, East Midlands, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. Also from Dublin.
Luton to Ercan via Istanbul.
Gatwick or Stansted to Ercan via Istanbul.
Ercan via Istanbul from London Gatwick and Heathrow plus Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
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 fares can vary between US$650 and US$3000 from New York and US$1100 to US$3380 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$630. Flights from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver start at under Can$1180. The best deals from North America to Cyprus seem to be from American Airlines, Delta, Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways.
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$1580; from New Zealand NZ$2640. The cheapest route from South Africa is Johannesburg via Dubai with prices starting at ZAR10,300. 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).
Friendly, competitive travel agency, offering discounted fares worldwide. Profits are used to support projects in the developing world, especially the promotion of sustainable tourism.
Worldwide specialists in independent travel; also student IDs, travel insurance, car rental, rail passes, and more. Good discounts for students and under-26s.
Ireland’s main student and youth travel specialists.
Hotel packages for all the main resorts, including Lakki, Polis and Pissouri.
Wide choice of resort packages across the south.
Range of activities – walking, cycling, horseriding, paragliding, scuba diving, cooking.
North Cyprus specialist offering flights to Ercan and hotels located mainly but not exclusively in the Girne area.
Offers not only traditional accommodation, but also activity-based holidays, including cycling, walking and yoga.
Australian-based company specializing in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean holidays including packages to the most popular Cypriot holiday areas.
The premier tour operator for Cyprus, offering mainly self-catering villa and agrotourism holidays.
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.
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.