Cyprus Need-to-know information - Infrastructure, Education, Medical care and more

Moving to a new country is an exciting new adventure for most people but there can be a measure of anxiety over the move too and that’s where it is beneficial to have access to advice from a company like Blue Sky that not only knows the local market but also the way of life in the country.

Cyprus once had a railway, built by the British which operated for nearly fifty years until 1951 when it closed, partly because it was unprofitable and partly because it became too costly to repair. Since then, improvements to the intercity motorway network has made a railway revival unnecessary. It’s now possible to travel west to east or vice versa, along the motorway, a distance of approximately 150kms in under 90 minutes via a modern road network that rarely sees a traffic jam.

Air connections to and from the island are also excellent and travelling in or out of Larnaca or Paphos Airports is swift and easy, even at busy times. Both airports have a wide range of international destinations with cities further afield reachable from international hubs in the Middle East or Europe.

Internet speeds are fast and improving, although they can be expensive, but competitors to the state supplier Cyta are helping to bring down prices. You are likely to find occasional internet and electricity blackouts, particularly during winter’s sometimes violent storms and equally, watch out for cuts in the water supply where local repairs are being carried out – don’t worry, the island isn’t running out of water. When this happens, your rooftop tank will keep you going until the water comes back on again!

If you’re moving with a young family, education provision is going to be of paramount importance. The government system, where the lessons are taught in Greek, is a good, free option for those who believe they and their families will stay on the island for the long term. Students can leave school at 16 to work or study A levels in the island’s institutes or stay on and gain the island’s leavers certificate; the Apolytirion, which is accepted in all Cypriot and Greek universities as well as many European universities. The island has a thriving private education system with most private schools being found in the major towns; Limassol, Paphos, Nicosia, and Larnaca. Fees are restricted by the Ministry of Education and are generally much lower than you’d expect to pay in Europe, the UK or the US. Private schools generally follow the UK system or the International Baccalaureate route and have small classes. On the whole, exam results are healthy but it is advisable to ask to see the school’s results over a period of time before committing to examination courses.

Prior to the introduction of the national health service GESY, three years ago, the healthcare system left a lot to be desired but residents who are entitled, through work or residency, to access GESY, find that the system is excellent with free or very low cost access to top quality medical care. Under GESY, a wide range of pharmaceuticals are available, also at minimal cost. Those who are unable to access GESY still have access to the state and private hospital system where the queues may be longer but the standard of care is at least adequate. In recent months, dentists have also had the option to join the national health system reducing costs for dental hygiene too.

The banking system in Cyprus is modern and efficient after a period of reconstruction and consolidation in the wake of economic crises. What isn’t so helpful is the opening hours which in the summer mean that most banks close at around 1pm to 1.30pm although they open until 5pm one day a week in winter. The postal system is good and very cheap for sending mail and parcels nationally and internationally but post and parcels inward can be delayed so it’s best to use a recognised international carrier. Holding up the post and adding to the expense is the need to pay VAT and duty on post and parcels received from outside the EU.

Whilst a lot of this may seem daunting, you can rely on Blue Sky Houses as your property agent to guide you through the local systems and offer advice and guidance when necessary to help smooth your move to Cyprus. With many years of helping satisfied customers settle on the island you can trust Blue Sky to take the worries out of your move.

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