Imagine you found an offer for a Milan-Larnaca flight in off season, as it happened to me: 40 Euros return flight all inclusive.
Imagine you never thought about Cyprus as a destination, like me.
We can start just from its position, only 350 km far from Lebanon coasts.
In less than five minutes you book the flight with EasyJet. The offer is running out. The system advises you the hiring car at 20 Euros daily. If you have a quick look at the greatest hiring-firm website you find out that actually there’s a saving of 5 Euros about daily.
Flight ticket and car-hire
You know well like me that you have to avoid like the plague the multiple purchases because the swindle is always just around the corner but then you think that EasyJet is more serious than Ryanair (once it was), that its servicing is different and you make convince.
On the other hand almost ten years ago you experienced it and people were very efficient and solved the problem. So you decide to trust them again and you hire with its partner Europcar the car for the stay together with the flight.
Okay. You know you have just signed your sentence: the two companies alone can cause you many troubles but together they are certainly the top in causing problems.
Yeah, now you need certainly some practical tips for travelling to Cyprus.
But let’s go in order, on the other hand you don’t know it, yet, and you are happy about your purchase. Buy your guide (here I felt at my ease with the Lonely Planet unlike other places where it’s very poor) and start reading a little.
So you find out everything about the much-discussed history of Cyprus, its internal partition, the invasion of Turkey in the northern part, the borders, the problems, the landscapes and still much more.
The border between Cyprus and Northern Cyprus
There’s no way Cyprus tourist office will help you: because of the controversial historical vicissitudes, the northern part simply doesn’t exist to them so they will not recommend you to visit it with historical and practical reasons. So there’s no way they will help you to find practical tips to have a trip in Cyprus if you are going towards the northern part.
Now reading you’ll find out a lot of contrasting news about the border between Northern Cyprus and Cyprus (or Southern Cyprus) but the worst thing it’s that everywhere you’ll find out messages of a minatory tone about crossing the border. It will seem you almost impossible.
So your odyssey will start trying to reach the call centre and all EasyJet socials asking for information.
Its phone number is for a fee and the very kind staff will keep you talking on the phone for hours to make you pay the call and solve absolutely nothing. EasyJet pocketed the money but there’s no way it regards itself as responsible of the set up contract and it will redirect you to Europcar, despite any responsibility existing as a party to a contract.
What to do? You’ll call all the call centres and the socials of Europcar that will decline all responsibility in the same way (people will even tell you that they cannot see the booking because it was done with EasyJet and they know nothing).
But everyone will tell you that it is strictly forbidden to cross the border by their cars and they will threaten you with elusive legal actions if you’ll try to do it.
Obviously they can cancel your booking without any problem, exactly like their colleagues of EasyJet, facing a penalty which is at your charge and it’s almost the whole paid amount.
Full tank of the car
But surprises are not over, yet. When you’ll be at the Europcar desk you will find out that the car can be hired only with the full-to-empty formula and not with the full-to-full formula as usually happens. It means they will make you pay 90 Euros a single tank of a Focus (a tank you will fill up again with the half of the amount about at any petrol station) and you will be obliged to get it back empty.
You get well that it’s a problem to get it back with the fuel tank empty considering the distances between a petrol station and the other one in certain areas of the island. So they can gain also on the half fuel tank you will leave them: they will add 15 Euros, they will fill up it and they will make pay 90 Euros to the following customer. Ah! If you have read before this guide of practical tips for travelling to Cyprus!
Practical tips for travelling to Cyprus
So here they are some practical tips for travelling to Cyprus and not to be swindled.
- Buy the flight in offer and only and exclusively that one. In my case, the EasyJet servicing was worse but anyway its airports are more comfortable than the Ryanair ones that has always a worse servicing.
- Escape like the plague Europcar and any other hire company coupled to other partners.
- Refer to a Cypriot hire company (there are several at the airport) and sign its contract after have asked in details the passage ways and be sure of the classical full-to-full formula The local companies cost much less than the international ones.
- Don’t book anything from Italy. Cyprus isn’t an online destination. Do everything in loco and remember to always negotiate. Here it is very easy and it still works at the moment. You will realize that you’ll extract very good prices.
- Go away few hundreds metres from the main and most tourist roads and you will find the real Cyprus, still genuine, that one of an island which remained isolated for long time.
- In Cyprus the free camping is allowed but remember to take everything.
- In Cyprus fish is very abundant, very fresh and at really low cost prices.
- Very clean sea with deep colours. The ideal is to discover it by boat which has low cost prices, too. Search in loco and always negotiate.
- Allow yourselves the low cost luxury in Northern Cyprus.
- Don’t miss the flamingos and the salt lake at a few kilometres far from Larnaca town centre.
- Remember that Cyprus is a safe destination with very low crime rates.
- Whether by chance you are interested in purchasing a sailing vessel…you will find several ones for sale in the main harbours of Northern Cyprus, like this one.
A chapter apart deserves the border crossing. Banished from this post all political discourses. I perfectly understand the problems that still exist and the ill will between the local people (it’s enough to read a little of that history to understand) but as a tourist I am interested in the knowledge and the sights of the places.
Crossing the border between Cyprus and Northern Cyprus
Whether it is right or wrong this war doesn’t belong to us. We only want going sightseeing and discovering.
By our Europcar car we get closer to the border. At the desk the Europcar will tell you a bit resolutely that by its car you can cross the border without any problem but you will do it at your risk and danger since you won’t be covered by any assistance and assurance.
Yeah, you got it right! In practice the Europcar offices in Italy and in Cyprus are absolutely not able to communicate to each others! And to think in Cyprus everyone speaks English!
You will arrive at a frontier point with several box. The main borders are patrolled by ONU blue berets: still today we have the army there.
The Turkish referents will make you fill a form, they will take the data of your car and the passports’ numbers. In front of a payment of 30 Euros total about they will release you a separate visa (it’s not a recognized international border since it’s considered an occupied land so they cannot stamp you the passport) and the assurance of the car valid for a few days (5 people).
You can choose among different time durations.
At this point…welcome to Northern Cyprus! Nothing easier. In a few minutes you will be on the other side without any problem and there you’ll find out that you enter another world.
Cyprus is Europe, Northern Cyprus is Turkey.
In Northern Cyprus the prices are even more ridiculous: whether is fuel, low-cost hotels, luxury accommodations or lunches. Everywhere is possible to pay by Euros.
Now that thanks to these practical tips for travelling to Cyprus you are ready not to be swindled, there is nothing left to do but say to you. Enjoy your holiday!