Last Updated May, 2022
If you are thinking about car hire in Cyprus, this is definitely the right thing to do since it will improve your vacation in so many ways! Public transport in Cyprus is not popular and not well developed. There are no subways, trams, or trolleybuses but only buses on a few routes. And only tourists, some elder people, students and service personnel use them. All the locals travel around Cyprus by private cars.
When Mark and I came to Cyprus for almost one month stay, at first we planned to use buses to move around. But very quickly we realized that buses were not very reliable and were consuming tooooooo much time.
Plus to be honest, the advantage of Cyprus is that it is a place built for driving. With a good road network and great quality of roads, it is very easy to navigate the island by car while admiring the scenic views and landscape.
However, if you are going to hire a car in Cyprus, there are a few important things to take into account first. Renting a car is not a challenge since there are so many different companies on the market. But you need to know a few nuances before booking a car.
And I would like to cover them in this article – from prices and economy car hire to road rules, driving tips and companies to avoid. There is a lot of practical info here to help you have a perfect, uneventful car rental experience in Cyprus.
What You Get When Hiring a Car in Cyprus
There are undeniably many reasons why renting a car is an excellent idea for your Cyprus trip. But to help you make an informed decision, I’d like to quickly talk about them:
1) Having a car gives you freedom of choice, direction, and travel time. You don’t need to adjust to anyone, overpay for a taxi or wait for a bus under the scorching sun. You decide where and when to go, and how long to stay in one place.
2) Cyprus is an island well designed for cars. Both parts, South Cyprus and North Cyprus have great major roads that are absolutely safe to drive. South and North together have good driving style, readable signs, and rather light traffic (okay, besides rush hour in cities like Limassol and Nicosia).
3) You will save money. As mentioned earlier, public transport is not very reliable and it won’t take you to all the places that are worth visiting. If you are going to Cyprus for road trips and sights (not just major cities and lie on the beach), hiring a car in Cyprus will be much cheaper than paying for a taxi or even going on a tour.
A car can be rented for 20-30 euros per day in summer, and in the off-season for 8-10 euros per day. And what is particularly great, in March and even April (best months for road trips and cultural experiences in Cyprus), the rental price is still low. As well as in November (when the sea and air temperature is perfect).
If you take a car for the entire length of your vacation, you can also save on accommodation by renting an apartment a little further from the sea which is always cheaper, and drive to the beach by car. This way you are also not limited to the closest beaches in your town but can drive further out from crowded places.
4) If you are into adventure driving and exploring, you can rent a car anywhere in South Cyprus and go to the North. There are some interesting things to do and see there too!
Basics to Know About Driving in Cyprus
Even though there are many advantages of Cyprus car hire, there are also some road and driving rules that you have to take into consideration before renting a car. And they are as follows:
– Cyprus has left-side traffic and the steering wheel in the car is usually on the right. If you come from a country where driving is on the right side and if you have never driven on the left side, do not worry, you’ll get used to it very quickly. However, keep in mind that you still have to get used to shifting gears with your left hand. So for the first time, I would strongly recommend a car with an automatic transmission.
Understand, that driving a right-hand side the first time feels kind of like driving for the first time any car. You don’t feel the car dimensions very well and get a bit anxious. So on the first day, drive very carefully and slowly. But I guarantee that on the second day, you will feel much more confident though.
If you are used to driving on the left side then obviously this will not be of concern.
– The deposit amount ranges a lot from one company to another. Usually, for the smallest car, you will put around 300-900 euros. Although there are some rentals that don’t require a deposit at all (will talk about them below).
– Fuel Policy. The most common policy in Cyprus is to prepay for the fuel that is already in the car. So, if the tank is full, a company will charge you for that tank and you can return it empty. But if you return it half-full or full, you won’t get any refund for the petrol left in the tank. The second option is full-to-full. This is probably the best option as you have plenty of fuel from the start and you don’t need to calculate how much more to add.
– Some local rentals often do not want to rent a car for less than 3 days and prefer to rent it out for at least 5-6 days. I have only seen such policy in Cyprus so far, nowhere else.
– There are some rental offices in Cyprus that do not rent within 24 hours period. They rather give the car in the morning and have it returned at night. Although most offices operate like anywhere else in the world. Rental day means 24 hours from the moment of pickup.
– Some rental companies release cars in very poor condition, especially if the car you book has a very low price.
– Most car rental companies prohibit driving to North Cyprus as insurance doesn’t cover that territory. But you can still drive to North Cyprus, you’ll just have to purchase separate insurance on the border. However, that insurance is only a liability insurance, so you better be careful and don’t damage a car.
– There are a lot of cars with manual transmissions. Automatic are still available but they are more expensive. Yet note, as mentioned above, if this is going to be your first time driving on the left side of the road, rent an automatic car! It is much better to pay a bit more but have peace of mind and feel comfortable on the road.
– Some cars come without air conditioning which is very surprising for a southern country. So check the description of your booking, especially if visiting Cyprus in summer.
– All rented vehicles have red color license plates. The locals are well aware of this and try to let such cars pass as well as treat tourists with understanding. If you see others on the road with red license plates and notice they go slow or they are lost, please be patient and respectful. Those people are tourists as you are.
– Highways in Cyprus are all free, so no need to worry about any tolls.
– At the end of 2018, Cyprus became one of the safest countries for drivers in the European Union, losing leadership only to Denmark. In Cyprus, only 7.5 road accidents happen per 10 thousand population. For comparison, England has 21.5, Spain 21, Italy 29 and Germany 37. For more details, if you are curious, see this source. But to make a long story short – driving in Cyprus is very safe!
Cyprus Car Rental – Where is the Best Place to Hire a Car
Cyprus has so many options for car rental! Literally, from big international companies to small rentals in resort towns such as Larnaca, Protaras, Paphos, Ayia Napa, and others.
There is a possibility to rent a car not only in Larnaca or Paphos airport but anywhere else, really. You can walk on the main street of the town you are staying in and find many offices with a variety of cars and prices. However, the prices they offer are much more expensive than prices online. In the high season, they start from around 40 euros per day.
When online, you can find the same car for around 20-25 euros per day (in the off-season even lower). And best companies where to find the best car rental prices in Cyprus are:
LocalRent – Economy Car Hire Anywhere in Cyprus
This company proved to be the best for car hire in Cyprus (below I explain why in detail). The first time when I rented cars from them was in Georgia (country), Montenegro, and Antalya, Turkey. So when they expanded to Cyprus, I was quite happy. Because they always offer better deals and prices. LocalRent also has cars in a few other countries around Europe and everywhere these guys deliver the best service and quality.
The main differences between them and large aggregators are as follows:
– They work only with local companies, not big international ones which in turn has a lot of benefits to that. First, smaller companies, not located in the airport, don’t pay large fees for office rent and their car hire prices are lower on the island.
– In some cases, you can find a car that doesn’t require you to leave any deposit. Those that do, ask for 200-300 euros deposit, not 800-1000 as big international companies. And if you need to leave a deposit, you can leave it in cash, not using a block on a credit card.
– Also on their website, you mostly rent a car that is in their listing, rather than a class (Mini, economy, full-size, and so on). So you know what model you will drive.
– And the last, my favorite, through them you can rent a car anywhere on the island (like anywhere), not just in the airport. When hiring a car in Paphos or Larnaca airport, the representative will pick you up and bring to the office located nearby (since local companies don’t have offices inside the terminal).
FIND CHEAP CAR RENTAL IN CYPRUS WITH LOCALRENT
Benefits of renting a car in Cyprus through LocalRent:
- Good prices
- No deposit or small deposit
- You don’t book a class of cars, as in large international rentals, but specifically the selected car (you see the brand, model, and year).
There are two types of cars on the site:
- Instant booking – these cars are available for your dates and are confirmed instantly. They are marked with the Lightning badge next to a listing.
- On Request – you send a request and if the car is available, within a few hours, you receive an email with confirmation and a link to payment.
All cars offer free cancellation 24 hours before pickup. Customer support is very good and fast. If any questions or concerns, just send them a message and someone will get to you shortly.
Discover Cars – Car Rental in Cyprus Larnaca & Paphos Airport
Discover Cars company proved to be reliable and have good cars on offer (although not the cheapest ones but good ones). They are the best for car hire in Paphos airport or Larnaca airport.
What makes them different from other aggregators that offer cars from international companies? In my experience, better customer service and competitive rates.
Although cars from international companies are still more expensive than from local smaller companies through LocalRent.
If you try to find a cheap car hire in Cyprus, it definitely worths comparing these two sites. However, if booking through DiscoverCars, at any cost avoid Surprice Car Rental and GoldCar company. They will try to scam any money they can out of you for the smallest and unreasonable scratch or they’ll just make up a story to charge you for something.
We rented from Surprice once and it was a disappointing experience. First of all, they gave us a very ancient car (all their cars are like that) that broke the next day. We brought it to exchange the following day (drove for almost 1.5 hours since we stayed on the opposite side of the island) and they unwillingly gave us another old car which was also falling apart but more or less was able to drive.
And when giving us this other car, they gave it with an empty tank although we have just filled a tank in the first car. Upon return, they charged us once again for a full tank saying that we had to return it full, not empty. We also witnessed how they tried to charge other clients for something too and were arguing with them in the office.
So, the message of this story – avoid these two cheap car rental companies. They seem to have cheap prices for the reason. There are many other companies that DiscoverCars recommends that are more transparent and have a new car fleet.
What Do You Need to Hire a Car in Cyprus?
– Driver’s License with minimal driving experience from 1 to 3 years. The minimum age requirement is 21 years old. But if the driver is less than 25, most likely the price for the rental is going to be higher.
– International Driver’s Permit is required only when the DL is not in the Latin alphabet.
– Credit card with Driver’s name on it. Although some smaller rental companies accept cash for a deposit or take no deposit at all.
– Rental Voucher (if booked online). Digital copy on your phone is fine.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car in Cyprus
The rental price depends on a few things. First of all – season. Summers are the high seasons and the prices are the highest.
Second, the price will depend on the city or town where you are renting from. Obviously, if you are renting through DiscoverCars, meaning in the airport, the price will be pretty much the same as in Paphos and Larnaca.
But if renting from a local agent through LocalRent, then it will be more expensive in a small town. Yet, the price is more expensive not necessarily because of the rental but due to delivery. But if you compare final prices, you’ll see that actually renting through LocalRent in a small town (even where your hotel is) can cost just the same as renting from an international company in the airport. That is very convenient.
Next, what the price depends on, is the number of days you are renting for. The longer the period, the less price per day it’s going to be. Sometimes it happens that the price for 7 days will be the same as for 6.
Picking Up Your Rental Car – What to Know
One of the most common pick-up locations for a rental car is Larnaca International Airport (LCA). This is the largest airport in Cyprus, and this is where the majority of tourists arrive.
This is the cheapest place for a Cyprus car hire and also it can save you money on transfers. As an example, one private transfer from Larnaca to Ayia Napa can easily cost more than 100 euros (shared transfer of course will be much less). For the same money, you rent a car for 5-7 days instead. Even in high season.
If you rent a car with delivery to Larnaca airport, then somebody will meet you with the sign at the exit from the arrival hall. Most large companies are located at the terminal and you will need to go to the car rental counter yourself. But with local companies, a representative will come to pick you up.
At the Paphos International Airport, the procedure is the same.
If you are staying in the resort of Paphos, Ayia Napa, Limassol, Protaras, Paralimni, etc, and need to rent a car there, do it through LocalRent. They have an option to deliver a vehicle to your location.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Your Rental Car
There are several things that you might not think about before renting your car, but they are crucial to remember! If you are used to renting cars and rented them in different countries, some of these things will be obvious to you. But I wanted to write them down for people who don’t have that much experience! So here they are:
1) It is more profitable to take a car at Larnaca airport, and for a longer period.
2) If the rental office offers to leave a large deposit and you do not have enough money on the card, then this amount can usually be reduced by ordering full insurance from them.
3) If you want to secure a better price and have a bigger selection of cars, it is much better to rent a car in advance. Particularly if you plan to rent it from summer to September.
4) Specify that the car has air conditioning.
5) A car with a more powerful engine will help you feel more confident on mountain roads. So if you plan to go to Troodos Mountains and possibly to Kyrenia Mountains in Northern Cyprus, it is advisable to rent a car with at least 1.4L – 1.6L engine.
6) For reassurance, when picking up your rental, you may want to record a video of the car from all sides or take your own photos. Pay attention also to glasses and tires. These are often not included in insurance, so you want to make sure they are in good condition. Also inspect the inside of the vehicle carefully for damage, etc.
7) Be sure to note the fuel level, and also check with the company agent about the correct type of fuel for the car.
8) Specify the phone number for contact. A company representative should give you their Whatsapp, Skype, or Viber where you can reach them at any time.
9) Before driving, familiarize yourself with the car. Pay attention to turn signals and wipers (in left-hand drive cars, turn signals are sometimes located on the right, sometimes on the left, and the wipers are vice versa).
The Cost of Gasoline & Refueling in Cyprus
Gasoline in Cyprus is slightly more expensive than in neighboring Turkey but significantly cheaper than in Greece which is one of the ten countries with the most expensive fuel.
In general, the cost of gasoline and diesel in Cyprus is average by European standards. In Northern Cyprus, gasoline is a little cheaper. But you need to pay for fuel in the Turkish lira, so there may be losses when converting currency if there are any fluctuations in the exchange rate.
For now, Unleaded 95 gasoline costs €1.2/liter. Diesel is at pretty much the same price. You can pay either in cash or by credit card.
When you take a car, there are 3 main fuel policy options for rental companies:
Full-to-full. You get the car with a full tank and fill the gas tank before the return.
Same-to-same. You get the car with some fuel and return the car with at least the same amount of fuel.
Pre-paid gasoline. You get a car with a full tank (or sometimes not full) but you pay for this gas when picking up the vehicle. When you return, it doesn’t matter how much fuel is left, but you kind of want to return it as empty as possible, because nobody will reimburse you for the fuel left in the tank.
The gas stations usually have workers who fill the car for you. There you can pay with cash or credit card.
Be aware that in the evening after 6 pm and on weekends, there is a chance that there may be no staff at the gas stations, only self-service. So you’ll have to refuel yourself using a machine and pay only with a credit card. Cash will not be accepted.
Another thing to know is that at many gas stations in Cyprus they don’t charge you for the purchased fuel. They freeze the amount of 50-70 euros and subtract the gas amount from the deposit and then refund the excess in a few days. Not very convenient but some gas stations do that.
Tips Before You Start Driving in Cyprus
In Cyprus, in some places (everything remote from bigger cities and coast) there is a shortage of gas stations. Thus refuel your vehicle in advance. It is better to have extra amount of gas in the tank than to end up in a situation with an empty tank.
Be careful on dirt roads, usually, tires and car bottom are not covered by standard insurance.
If you are going to drive a right-hand drive car for the first time, be ready that the first thing you’ll feel will be a slight shock. When you start driving, the dimensions will feel different, so try to stay closer to the dividing line (to your right) so that your left side does not hit anything.
If the road is four-lane (two lanes in each direction), drive in the very left lane, overtake on the right.
When you take a car, do not go immediately to the center, on a busy road, or far into the mountains. First, take a ride in the less populated area to get the feel of the dimensions of the car and get used to left-hand traffic.
By the way, despite the fact that there is left-hand traffic in Cyprus, the rule of “interference from the right” also applies here. At an unregulated intersection, the one on the right has priority.
Speed Limits, Driving Rules & Fines in Cyprus
Speed Limits in cities: 50km/h
Outside of the cities: 65-80km/h
Exceeding the speed limit on highways is somewhat unofficially allowed. Many people drive 120km or more and police doesn’t stop them. But that is up to your risk. There are many signs on the highway warning of the speed cameras. Although it really doesn’t mean that the camera is actually installed. Best is to observe how the locals drive.
Fines in Cyprus are high. Not wearing a seatbelt will cost you €150. The same goes for holding a phone in your hand (or any other item for that matter, including coffee, food, water, etc.).
- €2 per km/h up to %30 above the limit
- €3 per km/h up to %50 above the limit
- €5 per km/h up to %75 above the limit
Exceeding 75% above the speed limit, will be expensive and determined by the court.
The allowed amount of alcohol in the blood is 0.3 permille. Driving under influence will cost from €200 and up to a very high number determined by the court. In all drink-driving cases, the vehicle will be impounded.
The fine for parking in a spot reserved for the disabled is €300, the same for drivers who run a red light.
Parking on a double yellow line or on the pavement will cost the offender €100.
Fleeing the scene of an accident could see the offender imprisoned for a maximum of 5 years and/or fine not exceeding €15,000 and their driving license revoked for 2 years from the date of conviction.
Penalties for reckless driving start at 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of €1,500, reaching 2 years imprisonment and/or fine of €6,000 in case of injury inflicted on a person.
Roundabouts: There are many roundabouts in Cyprus. Cars on the roundabout have the “Right of way” and go clockwise.
Actions in Case of an Accident or Car Breakdown
If you get even into the most minor accident and need to call the police, put up two warning signs – one behind and another in front of the car and turn on the “emergency lights”. Call your rental office and the police (#112). Also, take pictures of the scene of the accident and the braking distance, record a video too.
Parking in Cyprus
Parking rules in Cyprus are important and not following them can carry serious fines. Make sure to read them below so you are on top of all that is expected of you as a driver in Cyprus.
- If you are traveling in the off-season, there won’t be any problem with parking. We were always able to find a free spot and not even very far from our destination. In the prime season that would be, of course, less easy.
- Don’t pay attention to the fact that locals park as they like. Parking violations cost 85 euros. Also, don’t park near pedestrian crossings, intersections, and bus stops. And never park in a spot for the disabled. The fine is 300 euros.
- Do not park on the double yellow lines. Those spots are for commercial vehicles only. And the fee is 100 euros.
- Always park your car in Cyprus in the direction of traffic, never against it.
- In cities, most of the time you can park by the parking meter. However there are some parking lots, either paid or free.
- Remember that most of the parking meters only accept coins. Usually costs are between 0.5 and 1 euro per hour.
Roads in Cyprus
Cyprus is part of the European Union and the road quality is up to a standard. Good asphalt, marking, and signage.
There are no toll roads in Cyprus, which is fantastic, no bridges, and no tunnels.
There are some dirt roads on the island but you don’t really need to take them unless you look for adventure. Getting to almost all sightseeing spots is possible by the asphalt road.
If you happen to drive on the dirt road after all, just be careful of the sharp rocks and bushes as there are really a lot of them. And that can easily do damage to the body of the car or tires.
Driving a Rented Car to North Cyprus
If you are visiting South Cyprus, most likely you’ll be interested to go see North Cyprus too. Nature wise it is very similar and culture wise it’s definitely different and very much worth the trip. There are also very beautiful beaches (but most of them empty), unique North Cyprus hotels and resorts, and ancient architecture.
When it comes to driving, there is not much difference between South and North. Traffic is also left-handed but there are a lot more cameras and fines for violations are very high. But since you already have a car, it would be easier and cheaper to drive from the South than getting a separate and expensive tour to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Most likely a rental agent will tell you that you are not allowed to drive to North Cyprus. But that’s not really true. You can go there but with the requirement to purchase different insurance at the border checkpoint.
This process is very basic and quick. After you show your passport, you come to the booth that is usually right there, next to the gates, fill a quick form, pay money and get a piece of paper. The minimum validity for this insurance is 3 days and costs €25. Show that to the officer and process. This is what they do all day long so no they have no reason to delay your journey. However, there may be a line of cars.
What is nice, you don’t need a visa to go to Northern Cyprus. Technically Cyprus doesn’t recognize it as Turkish territory, so when you cross the border, from Cyprus’s perspective you actually don’t cross any borders. Northerners in their turn do not put any stamps in your passport, but rather just scan it and make a record of it.
The only thing you really need is to drive carefully and make sure you don’t get into any accidents that would be your fault. Because the insurance you purchase on the border covers only liability.
Now here are all the crossing points in Cyprus:
- Astromeritis (car only) – located in the west near Morphou/Güzelyurt which is OK if you are coming from the North to Nicosia or somewhere nearby. But it’s a long slow journey via Kakopetria and the Troodos if heading for the south coast.
- Agios Dometios/Kermia/Metehan – the major road and pedestrian crossing in Nicosia.
- Ledra Palace (pedestrians and diplomatic vehicles only) – the oldest crossing, just outside the walls of old Nicosia on the west of the city.
- Ledra Street (pedestrians only) – opened on 3 April 2008 and is now the most central of all crossings.
- Pergamos/Beyarmudu/Dhekylia – located in the British Eastern Sovereign Base Area.
- Strovilia or Akyar near Agios Nikolaos – also in the Base at the eastern part of the island near Famagusta.
- NEWEST – Limnitis crossing just after Kato Pyrgos. So from now on, you can go on a round trip by the coast around Cyprus.
I hope now it’s a little bit clearer for you on how to go about renting a car in Cyprus. I have done plenty of research for this article as well as relied on our personal experience.
If you follow my tips, you’ll be able to select the best car hire in Cyprus for you that will only add more value to your Cyprus trip.
From cheap car hire in Larnaca airport to luxury car rental in Cyprus, these tips will help you find the best car rentals. Just make sure to prepare, book in advance, read the terms and conditions, drive carefully and I am sure you will have an awesome trip! Cyprus is a fantastic place for road tripping!
I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect. If you have another question, drop it below and I’ll do my best to help! Let me know also if there’s anything else you would add!