Whether you’re planning a trip to Cyprus or you’ve already booked, you’ll want to find out everything you can about this exciting destination. Cyprus is known for its beautiful weather, stunning architecture and great food, but there’s something else you’re forgetting – wonderful people. In Cyprus you’ll get a warm welcome during your stay, and it’s worth reading up on Cyprus culture and customs before your visit.
About Cyprus people
If you’re up on your history and geography, you’ll know that Cyprus is divided into two parts, Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus. There are two key communities found within Cyprus, the Greek-Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots, who each live in both parts of the island. Sharing many of the same traditions and customs, Cyprus is a culturally rich country with a lot to learn and discover during your visit.
Cyprus is famous for its hospitality, and Cypriots are very receptive of visitors to the island. As tourism plays a major role in the economy of many areas, visitors are welcome and you’ll soon feel at home during your visit. It’s polite to accept any hospitality that is offered, and you may find that you receive different offers of food and drink if you befriend some local residents during your stay.
The main language of Cyprus is Greek, but residents also speak Turkish and English. English is widely spoken in Cyprus, making it ideal for visitors from the UK to converse with residents. While the dialect spoken in Cyprus varies from that spoken in Greece, there are some Greek phrases that you can learn that will be much appreciated during your stay. Save some to your phone and get practicing!
The main religions in Cyprus are the Orthodox Church of Cyprus (Greek Cypriots) and Muslim (Turkish Cypriots). You’ll find many wonderful religious buildings that you may be able to tour during your stay. Some of the Byzantine buildings are kept locked as they are designated sacred spaces, and if you locate the key-keeper during your stay and leave a small donation – you could be able to enter the building.
Easter is the main religious holiday for Greek Cypriots, with many celebrations taking place based around food and religious services. It’s a wonderful time of year when people get together and a very special time to be in Cyprus.
When visiting religious areas in Cyprus, it’s important that you show respect and behave in a way that is courteous to those around you. This means covering your arms and shoulders and avoiding inappropriate clothing. Shorts are not appropriate attire for men and women should not wear short dresses. In the presence of icons, you should not point at them or have your back to them.
Café culture and eating
Another thing that Cyprus is well-known for is its café culture. You’ll notice that the town centres and beachfronts are filled with cafes, which provide a great meeting place for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy a drink in the sun. If you really want to get a taste of what life is like for Cyprus people, it makes a nice change from the beach to sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Food is another key part of Cypriot culture, and you’ll soon be enamoured with the Mediterranean flavours you’ll find in restaurants around the country. Meze (made up of many small dishes) is particularly popular and is a great way to sample traditional dishes. Meze is becoming more popular in the UK, so you may already be familiar with some elements such as koftas, pitta bread, tzatziki, hummus with tahini and other dishes which are now a common addition to British restaurant menus. Cyprus people love to dine outside and take their time to enjoy the company of friends and family, often with some local wine. During your visit you should enjoy dining in local restaurants and tavernas trying authentic Cypriot dishes, although you’ll find a number of other cuisines served in restaurants in the tourist areas too.
Just as in other countries, it’s polite to tip your waiter when dining out in Cyprus. You should aim to tip around 10-15%, while there might be a gratuity added to your bill as well.
Cypriots have a lot of respect for their elders, and this is something that you should also observe during your visit. Family is very important and is central to Cyprus culture. Families tend to be large and they will get together often to have food together.
Cyprus people love to party, and enjoy music and dancing, with many European influences. Greek music is also very popular, and you’ll hear a lot of it on the island.
Unlike the UK, binge drinking isn’t a typical part of Cyprus living and even though there are many bars and nightclubs on the island, you should remain respectful and polite when out in public. Being drunk and disorderly will not be well received, and you won’t want to attract the attention of local police. It’s worth reading the experience of expats who have moved to Cyprus to see how they have observed the culture and to learn a few things to prepare for your visit.
Booking your visit
By learning a bit about Cyprus and Cyprus people, we hope this gets you excited about your visit. One of the best ways to experience Cyprus is to book a villa and enjoy the flexibility of self-catering accommodation during your stay. Self-catering gives you the opportunity to meet local residents, dine in various restaurants and really get a feel for life in Cyprus. With friendly owners to help you settle in, it’s a great way to enjoy a Cyprus holiday.
Booking a visit to Cyprus is an excellent idea for a holiday, and with a large Cyprus villa you can bring along your friends or family (or both) and really get into the Cyprus spirit. Whichever part of Cyprus you decide to stay in, you’ll receive a warm welcome and some wonderful memories to take home with you too.