Cyprus is relatively inexpensive for a European country, as the capital Nicosia was recently ranked 88th out of 100 cities in Europe surveyed when it comes to cost of living. While prices for accommodation, education and healthcare are quite low, everyday consumer goods cost about the same as throughout the rest of Europe.
Though the cost of living in Cyprus is pretty low for those coming from a strong economy, if you are looking for a job in Cyprus you should keep in mind that the cost of living is pretty high for the average Cypriot income (about 1,300 Euros a month).
Cost of living also varies between the Greek-controlled southern part of the island, and the Turkish-controlled northern part of Cyprus, though most expats tend to settle in the Greek part because the economy is five times the size of its unofficial Turkish neighbor.
Groceries in Cyprus are cheaper than in the rest of Europe, especially fruit and meat, as well as beer and cigarettes that are subject to lower taxes than in most of the strong European and North American economies.
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs on average around 10 Euros, though picking smaller, local eateries can help you reduce the costs of dining out and also sample some of Cyprus' incredibly unique cuisine, which blends Greek, European and Middle Eastern influences.
Try to stay away from major tourist areas, as food and drink prices will be much higher in tourist hotspots than in neighborhoods and restaurants frequented by locals.
When it comes to alcohol, domestic beers cost around 3 Euros each while imported beers will be valued slightly higher at 3.50 Euros a drink.
For food shopping in supermarkets, expats tend to prefer Carrefour, which has a large selection of imported products, but the Cypriot-operated Metro and AlphaMega carry plenty of fresh local produce, and also have a large selection of goods.
A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around 320 to 400 Euros a month, while you will be able to find similar accommodation outside the city center for just under 300 Euros.
If you prefer to rent a house, an unfurnished two bedroom house will run around 550 Euros a month, while a furnished two bedroom house will run around 600 Euros a month.
The average cost of basic utilities in Cyprus, depending on your usage and household, will usually run between 120 Euros and 150 Euros a month, and including electricity, heating, water and garbage. If you infrequently use your AC and leave your condo empty with the lights off on most days, you can keep your bill low. However, keep in mind that summers in Cyprus tend to be very hot and the heat can last for up to 6 months.
A fast Internet connection runs between 30 and 35 Euros a month. If you plan to stay in Cyprus for less than a year, opt for a prepaid SIM card (about 10 to 15 Euros) with a “PayAsYouGo” service. If you get set up with a mobile phone, you can expect a monthly phone bill of around 15 to 30 Euros.
Clothing in international department stores in Cyprus can be quite expensive, as clothes are subject to high import taxes when coming into the country. An average pair of jeans can run up to 80 Euros on average, while even chain stores will sell high-priced clothing.
However, you can also find bargains if you shop around and look at smaller shops or large discount retailers.
Nicosia has a range of shopping options, from pedestrian streets lined with small shops, to designer boutiques and a giant mall. In the Old Town of Nicosia, you can also purchase many souvenirs and traditional Cypriot products. Nicosia also boasts a few well-regarded open-air markets where you can stroll, explore and shop.
Depending on where you go, shops in Nicosia sell everything from traditional handmade crafts to trendy new styles.
Both tourists and locals love the locally made embroidered products available for sale in Cyprus, especially the handmade Lefkaritika/Lefkara lace. Cyprus is also known for its beautifully made silverware, textiles, and pottery, so be sure to pick up some accents for your house in Cypriot shops.
If you have friends or family visit you in Cyprus, they are only eligible for VAT refunds if they are non-EU residents. The VAT rate in Cyprus is currently 19%.
Also, the visitors must have spent at least 50 Euros on the same day and in the same store, and attempt to obtain the refund within the first three months after the purchase.
You can get a VAT refund at either a city refund point, an international refund point, or directly on your credit card.
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The Mall of Cyprus
Open 9:30 AM – 8:30 PM
This is the only real mall in Nicosia, and it's a great place to go for one-stop shopping. You can explore a range of clothing and accessory stores here, though don't expect the selection to be as wide-ranging as some of the supermalls in the UK and the USA.
Makariou Avenue is lined with a lot of trendy chain stores like Zara and Marks and Spencer, so you can find a great selection of relatively affordable clothing along this street.
If you want to indulge in some really high-end shopping, Stasikratous Street probably has the most expensive shopping in all of Cyprus. This is where high-end brands like Armani and Versace have opened stores.
Ledra Street (And Surrounding Area)
This charming pedestrian street along with its offshoots is located within the walled part of the city. The shops on Ledra Street sell the more traditional products that Cyprus is known for, so you will find plenty of jewelers and fabric shops all up and down this old street.
There are quite a few different colorful markets that take place either weekly or daily in Nicosia. In order to experience some, you may have to fill out some paperwork to cross into the Turkish side of the city.
Nicosia Open Market (Ochi Square Open Market)
Wednesdays: 6 AM – 5 PM
Located in the northern, Turkish side of the city, the Nicosia Open Market sells mostly fresh produce as well as home made breads and other food products. The area is surrounded by cafes and shops, and gives you a glimpse into the architecture of the city's Turkish side, so it's well worth a visit.
Gynaikobazaro (Women's Market)
Saturdays: 11 AM – 8 PM
You will find this market in downtown Nicosia. The stalls here mostly handmade crafts and art, and change every month, so keep coming back to see new and different products on sale.
Nicosia Flea Market
Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM – 7 PM
Drive just out of Nicosia to the suburb of Kaimakli to visit the Nicosia Flea Market, which is home to more than 40 stalls with products ranging from vintage clothes to antiques.
The main supermarket chains in Cyprus are:
Groceries in Cyprus, including fruit, meat, and beer, tend to be less expensive than in the UK and many other EU countries.
Most supermarkets in Cyprus are quite large and include two floors; groceries are usually sold on the ground floor while household goods and other items are usually sold on the second floor. There are also mini-marts and other specialist markets throughout the city that have less variety but may be more convenient for some.
Many imported foods are available in Cypriot supermarkets, especially in Nicosia. Supermarkets in Nicosia are usually open 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Mondays through Saturdays, and some may open on Sundays for shorter periods (typically 10 AM- 4 PM).