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A few months ago, I spent a little over a week in Cyprus as a warm weather escape. Berlin’s winter was dragging on too long, so from the end of March to the beginning of April, I saw some of the highlights of this small island country. It was still the off season, but the sun was just what I needed. And since I left my husband at home, it was a good refresher on traveling solo.
Cyprus was an interesting place. It’s technically one country, but for the past 40 years or so, it’s been divided with the northern third claiming to be its own country. However, northern Cyprus is only officially recognized by Turkey. I traveled mostly in the south, but I did spend a few days in the north to get a look at the differences of the two sides.
The weather in Cyprus is mild in the winter, but anywhere from pleasantly warm to downright hot the rest of the year. And because it’s an island, it can be breezy near the coastal areas. You’ll want to come prepared for a little variation in temperature, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need winter gear. Here’s what I packed for 9 days in Cyprus.
I traveled with my REI Trail 40 backpack and a purse, and I came in right at Air Berlin’s weight limit of 8 kg (17.6 lb) for my main bag and 2 kg (4.4 lb) for my personal item. I also packed my REI stuff bag to use as a day pack for sightseeing days. I spent no more than 2 nights in any one place, and I took buses from one city to the next, so I was happy to have less stuff with me.
>>See why we think solo female travelers should go carry-on only.
As I mentioned, I was in Cyprus late March/early April, which is towards the end of the off season, and the weather did vary a little. That said, I don’t think I would change much if I traveled there in the summer.
- 6 short sleeved shirts – I don’t mind wearing shirts a couple of times, so 6 was enough to get me through 9 days.
- 1 long sleeved shirt – It was just cool enough my first couple days there that I was a little chilly with just a short sleeved shirt. I’d probably leave this home in the summer.
- 1 hoodie or lightweight jacket – This came in handy at night when it was a little cooler, especially with the sea breeze. And I always get cold on airplanes.
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of shorts – While some days were mild enough that I was comfortable in jeans, some days were hot even in shorts. In the summer, I might bring 2 pairs of shorts.
- 1 bathing suit – I only stayed at one place with a pool, and I was more interested in seeing ruins than going to the beach. Bring 2 bathing suits if you plan on spending more time doing water activities.
- 9 pairs of underwear – I wasn’t going to do any laundry on my trip so I brought enough for each day.
- 2 bras
- 5 pairs of socks
If you like to wear dresses, this is definitely a place where a cute sundress or two would come in handy for a dinner by the beach. But overall I felt completely fine in my jeans and never once felt under-dressed.
- Comfortable walking shoes – There are a lot of interesting ruins and castles to explore, so make sure you wear something that won’t hurt your feet.
- Flip flops – For the pool or beach, or if you’re staying in a hostel.
- Flats – Pack a pair of fold-up flats if you’re bringing any dresses.
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Shower gel or soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Solid perfume
- Lip balm
- Brush and hair ties
- Prescription medication
- Solid sunscreen and solid bug repellent
>>Read why solid toiletries are perfect for carry-on only.
- Sarong – I used this as a towel the one day I went to the pool.
- Sunglasses – It was bright and sunny every day I was there.
- Hat – There were a few days when I thought to myself, “I wish I remembered to pack my hat!” And then I found it while packing up before my flight home. So not only do you have to pack a hat, but you have to remember it’s in your bag and use it.
- Laptop – I worked a little while I was in Cyprus, and I Skyped with my husband. You might not need to travel with a laptop.
- Kindle – Always good to have something to read while in transit and while dining solo.
- Camera – It’s a beautiful country, you’ll want lots of pictures.
- Plug adapter – Cyprus used to be a British colony, so they use British style plugs. I did stay in a few places that had both British and European plugs, but definitely bring a British plug adapter.
- Batteries, chargers, cords
>>Check out our tips for packing and protecting electronics.
There is a border between north and south called the Green Line. To go from one side to the other, you have to go through official checkpoints and show your passport, but you won’t get stamped.
If you want to visit the south and the north sides of the island, you must fly into the south. Your airport choices are either Larnaca or Paphos. You can only fly into the north from Turkey, and Cyprus does not consider that a legal way of entering the country, so you would not be able to cross into the south. You also have to fly out from the south in order to get properly stamped out of the country.
In the south, the predominant language is Greek, while in the north it’s Turkish. But you’ll find plenty of people who speak English on both sides. The south uses the euro, and the north uses the Turkish lira. As you would expect, you’ll find Greek influenced food on the south and Turkish influenced food on the north.
If you’re going to use your cell phone, be aware that the north and south use different cell networks. Calls and texts on my German phone should be really cheap in other EU countries (Cyprus is in the EU) but it didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t be on a Cyprus cell tower while in the north, and even at my hotel in Nicosia (I stayed on the south, but the city is also divided) since it was so close to the Green Line. That was a 100 euro phone bill I wasn’t happy to see.
I visited five different cities in Cyprus. Larnaca felt a little small and sleepy. Limassol and Paphos were much bigger, had bigger beaches and nearby ruins, lots of restaurants, and still felt like cities that people really lived in. Nicosia, the capital, was the only non-coastal city I went to. Though small for a capital city, I enjoyed it and would’ve liked an extra day there. Kyrenia, in the north, had tons of casinos everywhere (gambling is illegal in Turkey, so they go to northern Cyprus) but I really liked the castle ruins there.
I used Cyprus By Bus to find bus routes and timetables between cities in the south. The buses were cheap and comfortable. It was also easy to get a local bus to and from the airport instead of paying for an expensive taxi.
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