Renting a car in Cyprus, driving peculiarities and traffic rules, police, and the cost of car rental in Cyprus.
Cyprus is a comfortable island for travel and logistics. Many people use tourist or intercity buses, with fares ranging from 1.5 to 15-20 euros. However, buses usually don’t stop at the most interesting places, so we opt for a car.
During our trip around Cyprus, we covered just over 1000 km on this relatively small 200 km long island. Therefore, the advantages of renting a car are obvious – you already know them. Besides the attractions and beaches of southern Cyprus, a rental car allows you to visit Northern Cyprus.
I have been to Cyprus several times and usually rent a car directly at Larnaca Airport. The minimum documents required for car rental are a passport, a valid driver’s license, and a credit (debit) card. You can often do without a credit card, but why bother?
If you don’t complicate things, renting a car in Cyprus comes down to two options:
- You book a car in advance through a website you trust.
- You look for a car on the spot, trying to save money by choosing small no-name private rental companies at your own risk.
I have used both options, so I can share my experience. Let’s start with Option 2 – trying to save money by looking for a car locally with private renters, often dubious ones or based on friends’ recommendations. At the same time, choose the most budget-friendly option. My experience of this kind was limited – only once, and it was enough for me. It was in the peak season in July. In my case, it was a well-worn Toyota Yaris, and I saved a “whopping” 35 euros for a week. I didn’t enjoy driving it – the Yaris struggled on inclines, and aesthetically, it was battered from all sides, including the roof. On the third day, this wreck got stuck on a mountain pass in the Troodos mountains.
I spent an hour and a half and a few euros on a call to the managers, after which the “ugly duckling,” as I called it, finally started. Apparently, it overheated and cooled down. There was no alternative – peak season, all cars were taken.
That incident was enough for me, and now I exclusively use Option 1, even in the off-season, and always book in advance. We visit Cyprus a couple of times a year and for an extended period, so my car rental experience is sufficient.
This time, the rental company was also local, but I searched and booked the car a month in advance through a website that gathers all local rental companies. So far, it’s the best we’ve found in terms of price-quality ratio in Cyprus, with a minimal deposit, the option to take a car without a deposit, good cars, and reasonable prices ranging from 8 to 24 euros per day, including basic insurance. We didn’t need full insurance in Cyprus. We traveled in March, and the choice of cars was still extensive. We settled on a Mazda Demio (Mazda 2) – fuel consumption around 6 liters per hundred kilometers, a 1.3-liter engine, but it handled the task well. It would be cramped for passengers in the back, so this option is suitable only for two people.
Expenses for Car Rental in Cyprus
I’ll list the actual expenses for a week of renting our Mazda 2. The rental cost was 20 euros per day, including a basic insurance package covering theft and accidents. Additionally, there were two options: to insure the body, headlights, and tires for 10 euros per day with a deposit of 100 euros or not to insure anything extra and leave a deposit of 400 euros.
The deposit is a deductible amount that will be taken in the event of an insurance claim. We chose additional insurance, paid 70 euros for the week, always left the car in free street parking, and slept peacefully.
- Car rental Mazda 2 automatic, gasoline – 20 euros * 7 = 140 euros
- Additional insurance for body, tires, and headlights – 70 euros
- Gasoline – 70 euros, we traveled about 1000 km, and gasoline costs around 1.2 euros per liter.
Total: 280 euros for a week, expenses split between two people at 140 euros each. Not too much for another degree of freedom.
The car was delivered to the hotel in Larnaca – we arrived late the night before and decided not to spend money on a car. We returned the car in the same place. Rental companies did not hassle us. We made no additional payments. We took the car with a full tank and returned it the same way. I refueled to a full tank on the day of return and showed the receipt – a requirement of the rental company.
What to Pay Attention to When Renting a Car in Cyprus?
I check if there are additional fees for renting, as some international rental companies mimic budget services. You should only pay the rental company for the car and for insurance (if desired), the deposit in cash or on the card – it will be returned. Any additional mandatory fees in the price list are a signal to choose another rental company.
There’s no need to fear the deposit. I have looked into this matter thoroughly, as I rent a car at least 10 times a year.
On the chart are the data of the rental company I use. They show that the deposit was used in only 4.31% of all rental cases. In half of the cases, it was an insignificant amount, less than 50 euros. Usually, it was for incomplete refueling or a delay in returning the car by a day.
If you want to save 20-40 euros, risking to complicate this fairly simple task, then do nothing, arrive, and look for a car locally, disrupting plans and earning a headache. Everyone has their approach, but we are for reasonable comfort in travel.
Traffic in Cyprus
In Cyprus, traffic follows the left-hand side of the road. Everything you’ll need to get used to includes using the turn signals with your right hand and driving on the left side. Beginners usually adapt in about 10 minutes.
The roads are excellent, comparable to those in Germany. Between cities, there are separate lanes for oncoming traffic, and in cities, the traffic is moderate, with clear road signs. Minor traffic delays may occur in Limassol and the old town of Paphos due to repairs.
Police on the Roads
Rental companies joke that there’s no police in Cyprus if you don’t exceed the speed limit and don’t run a red light. In the summer, they often hide with radars under bridges to escape the sun; in spring, they can be anywhere. The speed limit in Cyprus is 100 km/h outside the city, and within cities, it’s 50 km/h – pay attention to the signs. Speeding is allowed up to 15 km/h.
There are both paid and free parking spaces. In the off-season and in small towns, there are plenty of free parking spaces.
- Book a car in Cyprus in advance.
- Search and book hotels or other accommodation on Booking.com.
- Look for and book/buy flights to Cyprus on Aviasales – besides competitive prices, it offers a user-friendly interface and a map of low airfare.
Useful Links for Trip Planning
- Aviasales – Budget airline tickets worldwide.
- Booking.com – Familiar and convenient website for searching and booking accommodation worldwide.
- Hotline Finance – Travel insurance for Ukrainian citizens, green cards for traveling abroad by car, round-the-clock online support.
- LocalRent – Budget car rental in Georgia from locally verified rental companies with free cancellation option.