10 things not to do in Cyprus
- Never pay for anything in full before the goods or services are delivered or completed. Not that you won’t get what you paid for, but you might end up waiting for a long time!
- Do not pre-book a hire car before you arrive, more than likely you will find it cheaper on arrival
- If possible do not rent or buy a home without seeing it in person, the internet photos can be very misleading
- Don’t be in a rush! The Cypriots are very laid back and the words ‘siga siga’ mean slowly. If you are in a rush for something make it quite clear and try to negotiate with a clear indication of what your expectations are and make it clear that you are not prepared to wait.
- Don’t accept anything at face value, shop around for prices on goods especially in the construction business, and negotiate. It is expected.
- Don’t go it alone, you will get a lot further faster if you have Cypriot friends, their advice will be invaluable on all sorts of things that will invariably pop up, when you are settling into a new home.
- Don’t believe everything you are promised. When buying a house in Cyprus always make sure that you get everything in writing regarding fixtures and fittings. You might just move in and find that the washing machine that was promised is nonexistent!
- Shop around for interest rates with the banks, especially if you are taking out a loan and also if you have substantial fixed deposits
TRADITIONAL AND CULTURAL
- If you are taking flowers to someone, avoid white lilies as they are considered funeral flowers.
- Never pass dishes around the table with your left hand
- Never gesture with an open hand or give the finger, it is considered extremely offensive
- Do not sit down until you have introduced yourself and are asked to sit
- In the hot summer months, never call or visit anyone between 2 – 6 pm, most people take a few hours midafternoon for a siesta.
- Cypriots believe in the Evil Eye and do not like people who are openly envious of others. You will notice that many wear a blue eyed charm which is supposed to ward off the evil eye. Be careful what you say, it may come out as envious and you will have misunderstandings.
- Do not take photographs near military or security installations, on either side of the island
- In the Muslim community do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum during Ramadan. Do not walk in front of someone who is praying and remove your shoes when entering a mosque
- Do not enter a Greek Orthodox church wearing skimpy tops and shorts, always have a shawl to cover your arms if you intend to visit holy places
- Generally extreme gestures of affection in public are frowned upon
- Do not refuse an offer of coffee or a drink, it is considered impolite
- It is impolite to discuss politics and religion if you are invited to someone’s home
- It is considered bad luck to take olive oil into the house at night
If you have decided to make Cyprus your home, embrace its people and culture and you will make friends for life. Generally speaking, when relocating to a new country it is important to become one with the local community by at least trying to learn the language. This is of particular importance if you have small children that are attending the local public schools. If you expect your child to learn Greek for instance, then you should also make the effort. Gaining the respect of the locals is important and you will find that most of them are more than happy to help you with advice and recommendations. If you are living out of the main cities in semi-rural areas, don’t be surprised to wake up in the morning to bags of fresh produce left on your doorstep. The Cypriots are very generous and love to give friends produce that they have grown.