Renting cars in Cyprus
If you are just visiting Cyprus, you may want to rent a car to visit other parts of the island. Your travel agent may arrange this; alternatively, it is usually possible to book at car when you arrive at the airport. However it is usually much better value to ask one of the locals for a recommendation. There are many small hire companies who charge around 30 euros per day (more in high season) for a three-day hire. Inevitably some companies – and some cars in Cyprus – are better than others.
You will need to have your driving licence with you when booking a rental car, and your passport too.
Importing a car to Cyprus
Importing a car is possible, but complicated and expensive if you want to keep it in the country for more than three months. You will have to undergo a series of registration processes, which various officials will interpret differently! You will also have to pay significant fees. However, as the price of new cars in Cyprus can be high, it may be worth doing despite transport and import fees.
Cyprus has left-side driving. So cars from mainland Europe or elsewhere with right-side driving would need to have the steering changed to the other side before being allowed to register the car for long-term usage.
Buying a car in Cyprus
Buying a car is relatively easy in Cyprus, although the quality is variable. You will find many showrooms with salesmen more than willing to sell you a car, either new or second-hand. If you are knowledgeable and ask the right questions, you may well find a good bargain. You may even be able to negotiate a better price than the one on offer. Make sure they offer a warranty, and that they let you have a reasonable test drive.
There are also plenty of private sales; you may see one advertised in the paper, or on a board at the supermarket. You may even see a car parked on some waste ground with a ‘For Sale’ sign on it and a mobile number. If you know what you are doing, or can take a car expert with you, you may get an excellent deal. On the other hand, you may end up with a disaster. Let the buyer beware!
Cars must be taxed yearly and insured, as in most other countries of the world. The tax is due on the 1st January each year although, in typical Cyprus style, it is usually impossible actually to pay it until at least the middle of January. Reminders are not sent – you are responsible for getting your car taxed. Prosecutions for non-taxed cars begin in March. The fees – which very enormously depending on the size of the engine – can be paid at banks or co-operative societies, or online. You can usually print your own certificate.
MOT tests were introduced in the year 2000, starting with the very oldest vehicles still on the roads. Our first MOT was due in 2003, and is currently every other year while they still catch up on the backlog. There are many garages which can deal with car repairs and maintenance, and the MOT testing; however some are considerably better than others. As with many things in Cyprus, it’s best to ask around and take personal recommendations. It took us a year or two to find a mechanic who we were happy with.