Cyprus has a wide range of accommodation and in high summer season it is advisable to book at least two months in advance, especially at the larger hotels which are often block-booked by tour companies.
- Agrotourism Increasingly popular accommodation typically in traditional stone-built houses with excellent facilities and a tranquil rural setting.
- Apartments Lack the overall facilities of a modern hotel but have the advantage of kitchenettes which makes self-catering a breeze.
- Hotels Range from simple, stripped-back accommodation to the truly luxurious – with a commensurate range in prices.
- Mar–Jun & Sep–Oct Ideal times to visit: accommodation prices are reasonable and the weather is pleasantly warm.
- Jul–Aug Holiday time in Cyprus, so you can expect a marked increase in local tourism, particularly in the beach resorts, and a corresponding hike in hotel prices. This is school-holiday time throughout Europe, which equals a boost in tourist numbers. August is uncomfortably hot in Nicosia (Lefkosia); many shops and restaurants close for a week or so.
- Nov–Feb Low season and there are generally good deals on hotel rooms.
Types of Accommodation
Cyprus runs the gamut of places to unpack your suitcase, ranging from beach huts to superluxurious hotels. The rates listed in the Cyprus Hotel Guide, issued free by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), are the maximum prices (normally applicable in midsummer) and are regulated by the CTO.
There is a good range of agrotourism places to stay in the South. Some are self-contained houses with gardens ideal for large families or groups of friends, while couples may prefer a self-contained apartment in a historic stone-clad complex. All are fully equipped, and many have extras such as swimming pool and wi-fi. This is also a superb and often economical way for independent travellers to see the country. Rates are about €40 for a single room, €55 to €70 for a double and €100 for a luxury studio.
Most properties are situated away from major centres, so you’ll need your own transport to get around, or you’ll have to rely on sometimes sketchy public transport.
The Roots of Rural Accommodation
Agrotourism (accommodation in rural properties) dates to the 1990s when the Cyprus Agrotourism Company (CAC, www.cyprusagrotourism.com.cy), concerned at the continuing local exodus, sought to protect the heritage of traditional homes by supporting their conversion into atmospheric accommodation for tourists. Aside from hiking, cycling and winter skiing, other promoted activities may include haloumi cheesemaking, olive picking, horse riding and organised excursions to Byzantine churches. There are around 100 properties, located primarily in the foothills of the Troödos Massif, as well as throughout the districts of Nicosia, Larnaka, Lemesos and Pafos. Check the excellent website for online listings.
In the South there are only four licensed camping grounds, all with seasonal opening times: two in Pafos, one in Lemesos and one in Troödos. All have hot showers, a minimarket and a snack bar. The North has even fewer camping grounds and facilities aren’t as good as in the South. Costs are similar, however.
Domatia (private rooms for rent), advertised by the word camere, are not common in Cyprus; in fact, the practice is officially discouraged by the CTO as they cannot be officially regularised. However, in Agia Napa you’ll see signs advertising rooms, and occasionally come across them in the more popular mountain resorts such as the Troödos Massif and the Pafos district in the South. Unsurprisingly the rooms are exceedingly cheap, generally hovering around €15 to €20, and meals can often be provided. If you don’t see any obvious signs, consider asking in the local taverna or bar.
In the main southern resorts, many hotels deal primarily with package-tour groups. However, individual travellers can usually still find a room even in 'resort' hotels. Quality varies markedly, though prices are strictly controlled by the CTO. In general, hotels will have good facilities, mainly geared for families; most include breakfast in the price.
The quality of hotels in the North is generally good at the top end of the scale. Package-tour visitors constitute the bulk of guests, but as in the South, there will usually be a room available for walk-ins. The North Cyprus Hotel Guide is available from the North Cyprus Tourism Organisation (NCTO) and tourist offices in the main towns, while the www.northcyprushotels.co.uk website provides a comprehensive guide to hotels in Northern Cyprus.
Throughout Cyprus (as with anywhere in the world) you can often save money by booking hotels online.
Renting a villa is a very common practice in Cyprus, since it’s cheaper for a week or 10-day stay than a hotel room. You’ll be able to find good villas, with or without pools, in the tourist centres or in the middle of nowhere. Real-estate agencies can often help. Alternatively, check the classified sections in the local English-language newspapers. Expect to pay from €40 per person per night. There’s usually a minimum stay of at least two weeks.
A number of websites also offer villa rentals.
- Luxury villas for rent (www.rentcyprusvillas.com)
- Self-catering apartments in the main southern resorts (www.cyprus-apartments.net)
- Privately owned accommodation to let (www.ownersdirect.co.uk/cyprus.htm)
- Large choice of villas, most with a minimum one-week rental (www.rentvillacyprus.net)
Apartments (or apartment hotels) are becoming increasingly popular and are prevalent in the main southern resorts of Pafos, Lemesos and Larnaka, as well as in and around Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus. Most have well-equipped kitchens. They are particularly ideal for families with young children (or fussy eaters).
Costs typically start at around €35 for a studio apartment and €40 for a double room (both including kitchenette).
In 2014 the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) determined minimum mandatory sustainability standards for hotels located throughout the Republic. These included supporting local agriculture, using Cypriot products and services (as far as possible) and reducing energy and waste use. This is another giant eco-stride for a country already recognised for its unequalled commitment to solar power in Europe.