Frequently Asked Questions About Living in North Cyprus

Living in North Cyprus, If you are considering buying a home and living in North Cyprus, here are some frequently asked questions to ease you into your new life in the sun. You may be surprised to find that many comparisons can be drawn with life in the UK… apart from the climate of course!

What currency do I use? Whilst the unit of currency in North Cyprus is the Turkish Lira, you can use your cash from home as many local businesses and hotels will accept pound sterling, as well as other currencies. Most major international credit cards are also accepted by shops, restaurants and hotels.

Which side do I drive on? As in the UK, driving is on the left in North Cyprus so you don’t need to worry about driving abroad. The traffic signs are international and there are well-maintained dual carriageways between major towns. There are no railways so you will need to travel by road although there are regular bus services.

Do my appliances need a foreign plug? The plug sockets in the North take the same as the UK 3-pin plugs with a voltage of 220/240 volts. There are intermittent power cuts so it’s advisable to by surge protectors for your electrical equipment which are available from local shops.

Can I buy UK brands in the supermarkets? You will find many different international brands in the local supermarkets in North Cyprus although you will pay a premium for these due to import costs. If you are buying much cheaper local produce the metric system is the standard measurement used, as in the UK. You can also benefit from a new home delivery service operated by Starling supermarket.

What time do the shops open? The opening hours for supermarkets is usually 8am-10pm. Other shops generally open between 8am-1pm then again from 2.30-6.30pm Monday-Saturday. The banks tend to close no later than 1-2pm Monday-Saturday and are also closed on a Sunday. Hours can change between summer and winter.

How do I make calls to and from the North? To call a UK landline or mobile phone from abroad dial 0044 plus the UK number without its leading zero. To make calls to North Cyprus you will need to use the international dialing code 0090-392 plus the local dialling code and local number (sign up for a deal like for cheap international calls). For calls from the south of the island to the north, dial the area code 0139 followed by the 7-digit number (charged at local rates). For calls from north to the south, the area code is 0123 (but charged at international rates). Mobile phones have extensive coverage in North Cyprus and are relatively cheap.

Can I drink the water? As with most Mediterranean destinations it is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water. You can buy bottled water from the local supermarkets or even have it delivered to your home. Many households have a water-cooler designed for multi-litre bottles of water. Some areas of North Cyprus also experience intermittent water shortages during the summer months so having a large water-storage tank installed is a good idea for bathing.

Is there mains drainage? In Northern Cyprus septic tanks are the main method of disposal for household sewage and the pipes tend to be narrow so be warned, it’s not advisable to put toilet paper or bulky waste in the toilet.

Is my refuse collected? Refuse in Northern Cyprus is collected once or twice a week from specified points. Ask one of the locals where your collection point is located and more often than not they will happily chat to you in English. In isolated areas, outside the main routes, it is the householder’s responsibility to dispose of their own refuse.

How do I do my washing? When confronted with Turkish controls the following translations should help you to work out how to wash your beach towels: bedding and smalls: yikama – washer; sentetikler – synthetics; narin – delicates; yünlüler – woolens; pamuklu – cotton; beyazlar – whites; hizli-beyaz/renkli – quick whites; isitma iok – cold wash; bosaltma – draining; sikma – spin; durulama – rinse; baslat – start; durma – stop… and last but not least hazir – ready…

And hopefully now you are completely ready for your new life in the North…