Like most European countries, Cyprus has supermarkets in each of the cities. Most of them have at least two floors, with household goods, electrical items and (sometimes) clothes being sold upstairs, while the main grocery/produce shop is on the ground floor.
Supermarkets are hygienic, convenient, and provide a wide range of foods including those imported from the UK and elsewhere. The setup is familiar to people from Western countries: you take a wire trolley (cart), move up and down the aisles putting items in, then queue at the checkouts, where you can pay by credit or debit card, cheque, 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.
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, and 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:
Carrefour – this used to be known as Chris Cash and Carry, but was taken over by the European supermarket chain in 2005. It has stores of varying sizes, in Larnaka, Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos and Paralimni. It tends to sell a lot of pre-processed and frozen food imported from abroad, and is popular with retired Brits and those in the army.
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 offer reasonable value
Lidl – introduced into Cyprus in 2010. Lidl has very low prices for some products, but the range tends to be quite 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, but the locations are some distance from most residential areas so the cost of travelling has to be taken into account too.
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.