Like most European countries, there are supermarkets in each of the cities. Most Cyprus supermarkets have at least two floors, with household goods as well as groceries. They often sell electrical items and (sometimes) clothes upstairs. However in most cases the main grocery/produce shop is on the ground floor.
Cyprus supermarkets are hygienic, convenient, and provide a wide range of foods. These include those imported from the UK and elsewhere. The setup is familiar to people from Western countries if rather dated. You take a wire trolley (cart), then move up and down the aisles putting items in the cart. You have to queue at the checkouts, where you can pay by credit or debit card, or with cash. Most of them offer some kind of loyalty card that offers you discounts if you shop frequently and accumulate points. Most of them have special offers each week, too, prominently displayed outside.
Unfortunately there are no facilities for online shopping in Cyprus. There are also no self-service checkouts, nor any self-scanning devices. It is rare to find ‘basket only’ checkouts too. So if you shop at a busy time of day, you may have to wait some time, even if you only popped in for a couple of items.
Supermarkets are usually open from about 7.30am until 7.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays. Wednesdays and Saturdays used to have early closing, but recently supermarkets have stayed open longer. Many of them now open for shorter periods on Sunday too, typically around 10.00am-4.00pm.
During December, most supermarkets extend their hours, sometimes opening all day on Sundays. While a few specialist shops observe a siesta period from 1pm-4pm from June to August, most food shops and all supermarkets stay open throughout, since they have full air conditioning. Consult the sites below for exact details of opening hours (most have a small link to see them in English rather than Greek)
The main supermarkets in Cyprus are:
Metro – this is our favourite supermarket; somewhat smaller than most, but with plenty of choice and a friendlier atmosphere than the very large supermarkets. It has three branches in Nicosia, and one in Larnaka. Their meat and delicatessen counter tend to be excellent, and while their range of imported products isn’t quite as wide as that in Carrefour, there is still plenty of choice. They also feature plenty of produce grown or made in Cyprus.
AlphaMega – this used to be called Charalambides, and is technically a hypermarket rather than a supermarket, although these days the difference seems rather hard to define. A few years ago they only had branches in Nicosia, selling a wide variety of goods, but in recent years have opened up stores in Larnaka, Limassol and Paphos. They tend to have quite a few imported goods and although they tend to be a bit pricier than other supermarkets, they are one of the few that offer online purchasing via their website.
Lidl – introduced into Cyprus in 2010. Lidl has very low prices for some products, but the range tends to be limited. Branches have opened in Nicosia, Larnaka, Limassol and Paralimni. They began with a massive, island-wide advertising campaign and feature special offers each week. Worth visiting if you have a large family. However the locations are some distance from most residential areas so the cost of travelling has to be taken into account too.
Sklavenitis – these supermarkets used to be known as Carrefour (and, before that, Chris Cash ‘n’ Carry) and they tend to be huge. They stock a wide variety of products, and if you want to buy everything at one store, they may be a good one to choose. For my tastes they’re rather too big, but we’ve been there once or twice when looking for goods that are temporarily out of stock elsewhere.
Savemore – this is a fairly recent chain of supermarkets in Cyprus. They are not, as the name might imply, a simple discount store. They offer a wide range of groceries including a selection of organic and other health foods.
If you prefer to shop at smaller, locally-run food shops – either mini-marts or specialist stores such as greengrocers or bakeries, see the page on buying food at small shops, which includes a brief overview of the cost of food in Cyprus.