- Shopping for Groceries in Cyprus
- Buying Electronics in Cyprus
- Shopping for Clothes in Cyprus
- Buying for Your Home and Garden
- Cyprus Health and Beauty Stores
- Shop Hours in Cyprus
Shopping for Groceries in Cyprus
Everyday grocery shopping in Cyprus may seem a little daunting at first. The main problem that foreigners encounter is the language.
Getting Accustomed to the Greek Language
Most products are written in Greek, as would be expected, with signs throughout shops and stores also written in Greek. However, many of them do write signs in both Greek and English.
The best way to get around these problems is to learn a little Greek, and then you will have a better idea of what you are looking for. Its also recommended because some products will have the cooking instructions written in Greek too.
Try to learn Greek for your essential everyday products at the very least.
All is not as bad as it may seem, because most of the big hypermarkets and supermarkets also stock products imported from the UK, and there are also franchise outlets for some of the known UK food chains. Buying imported foods is not going to be the cheapest way to feed the family all year round.
Buying local products is going to more economical, however, if you want your UK products, there are a range of new UK food discount shops that have opened up recently, with prices often below those of the major supermarkets.
If you walk around your local fruit and vegetable market, you will likely find that most, if not all of the sellers speak perfect English, and will be happy to answer your questions on any products that you are not familiar with.
The majority of fruit and vegetables are the same as you can get in the UK, except these will be locally grown, and are far better quality.
Another problem often encountered by new arrivals to Cyprus from the UK, is the currency of the Euro. If you are not familiar with the Euro, it is best to buy yourself a currency converter calculator which are available in many shops or at the airports. This tool will help you to become more familiar with Euros and British Pounds conversions.
Typical Food Prices
The price of meat, fruit, and vegetables is reasonable in Cyprus, with all being of high quality. Fish can be a little expensive, but most of it is freshly caught, making it more worthy of its cost.
Local milk, cheese, and yogurt are good value, and there are several major producers, which means there is no monopoly on pricing.
Some of the hypermarkets offer 'Bonus Card Reward Schemes' to regular shoppers, which vary in their reward incentives. It is worth participating in these schemes for all the stores you shop at regularly.
You will be surprised how fast your points add up, usually allowing you to purchase something at a discounted price, or occasionally for free.
'Buy one get one free' (BOGOF) has recently become more popular in Cyprus, mostly with the hypermarket chains, and you will often come across 'buy 2 get 3rd free' offers.
Superstore vs Local Markets
Some people prefer to buy everything under one roof and will head to the nearest hypermarket to do all the shopping in one. However, others will use the local butcher and the local baker, etc.
This idea is often a better one, because you will find them very friendly, and it gives you the chance to build a rapport with them.
*Please note that as of 10th January 2011, the Government imposed a 5% VAT duty on all foods.
Buying Electronics in Cyprus
Moving permanently from one place to another is not as difficult as you think it is; especially if you are planning to stay in a place like Cyprus for good.
Of course, you would think of possible hassles that you might encounter as you start leaving your old home and settling down in the new one.
One of the most significant concerns would have something to do with your appliances like televisions, washing machine, and other electrical gadgets. If you are starting to worry about whether or not you could use them as you move, you should read the text below.
Will my UK electrical items work in Cyprus?
If you are moving to Cyprus to live permanently, you may not want to buy all new household electrical products for your new home, instead preferring to bring some of your existing ones with you.
One of the questions often asked is 'What about our existing electrical products - will they work in Cyprus?'.
The answer is yes, most UK bought electrical items will work the same in Cyprus.
The electricity voltage is 240 volts, a.c. 50Hz, the same as in the UK. Fitted sockets are usually the same 3 square pin type, 13 amp.
However, some electrical goods will come already fitted with a two pin round plug. This is not a problem as you can easily buy an adaptor at low cost, Just ask in your nearest electrical shop.
Digital Ready Televisions
TV's and videos need to be modified (chipped) if they are from the UK. It is a simple procedure, with a small device being fitted into them, and not too costly.
However, you will need to find a shop near to you that can do this for you. Otherwise, you will probably get no audio through your TV or video or DVD player, which is why many prefer to buy these products new in Cyprus.
Also, in line with the rest of Europe, Cyprus switched to digital TV broadcasting on the 1st July 2011, and analog tv was cut off.
This switch means that to be able to view local tv you will need to buy an MPEG4 set-top box to receive digital transmissions unless you have a newer TV which can receive digital.
Keep Old or Buy New?
You will need to decide for yourself if it is worth the shipping expense of bringing your existing electrical items with you, remembering that if they are relatively old, they may soon die out anyway.
Some people prefer to have their old, existing things around them in their new home, while others prefer to have everything new to compliment their new home.
Shopping for Electronics in Cyprus
If you choose to buy new electrical products, there are many small and large electrical goods shops throughout Cyprus, as well as online electrical goods shops. Many stock everything from widescreen TVs to dishwashers, fridge freezers, microwave ovens to juicers.
Whatever you want, you will likely not have to go too far to find it. Most leading brand names are stocked, with the latest in technology.
Guarantee periods on products are much the same as the UK. However, if something may go wrong, it is traditional for most electrical shops to repair or replace your product, refunds are very rarely given.
You should not find any problems with language barriers when shopping for electrical goods. Most of the products are labeled in Greek and English, and most shop staff will be happy to help you in fluent English.
Larger / heavier items can be delivered to your home by the shop that you purchase from. However, there may be a small extra cost for this.
Shopping for Clothes in Cyprus
Cyprus has a good selection of clothing shops, fashion boutiques, designer clothes outlets, sporting wear and fashion accessories shops in all the main cities. Big retail outlets selling quality clothing, shoes and handbags are quite numerous in every town, and in the big shopping malls.
There are not many of the UK fashion chain stores here, but you will find one or two. You can purchase almost anything in most towns, from sportswear to casual wear, top brand-name designer label clothes, and eco-friendly labels.
Fashions are similar in Cyprus to the UK, and the rest of Europe, except the summer fashions, tend to be on display longer in Cyprus due to the better climate.
Vacation and Swimwear
Bikinis and swimwear are usually on sale in the seaside resort shops all year round. Men, women, and children are all well catered for, as well as babies.
There are numerous shops in every town where you can find shoes made from good quality local leather, as well as top fashion accessories imported from the likes of Italy, Germany, and France. You should find whatever your style is in shoes and boots, be it the tallest heels, or the flattest sandals; there are plenty of choices.
There are now more sportswear shops than there have been in the past, where you can buy casual or designer sportswear, or your favorite football shirt or cap. You can sometimes find cheaper clothes and shoes on the bazaraki's (markets) that are usually held on weekends in several cities but remember that not all sportswear will be authentic.
Because many of the clothing and shoes products are imported from the USA, UK, and Europe, you may need to know your size in Euro, USA, and the UK. You can download a conversion chart (in pdf format, may not be compatible with mobile devices) to look up your size.
However, it is always best to try shoes and clothing on in the store before you buy, and not rely solely on chart sizes, as they do sometimes vary.
Buying for Your Home and Garden
For some, shopping for the home is the ultimate in shopping, for others, it can be a major headache. Furnishing the house and the garden takes imagination, time and patience, and is made all the more difficult if you are on a tight budget.
Furniture stores in Cyprus used to be somewhat expensive, in comparison with major UK stores. However, there has been an improvement in the last couple of years, with much more choice, style, and better prices.
There are also second-hand furniture shops in most towns.
Cyprus Home Furniture Stores
You will find most home furnishing shops situated in, or on the outskirts of all the major towns. If you look around, you will find most things to suit your budget. Most of the furniture is imported from countries such as Italy, Germany, France, and Norway.
Leather furniture is quite popular in Cyprus, as well as sofa beds, which many people use in apartments as a convenient extra bed for visitors.
Much of the wood furniture such as tables, chairs, drawer units, etc. will be of a good style and quality and made from all the traditional woods. Within most of the bigger furniture stores, you will also be able to buy bedding, towels, cushion covers, carpets, rugs, blinds, and curtains. However, you will also find most of these items available in the larger hypermarkets.
Outfitting your Kitchen and Bath
Kitchen and bathroom products, as well as home lighting, tend to be sold separately to the main home furnishings, and there are plenty of choices available whatever your requirements.
Garden Stores are Popular in Cyprus
Garden furniture tends to be sold separately to household furniture. With the Al-fresco living style in Cyprus, it's no surprise that there are many garden furniture shops to be found in and around every town, and in some villages.
The biggest sellers in garden shops are the plastic table and chairs and the bbq. Almost every home in Cyprus has either a garden or a balcony or both.
If you want something different to plastic garden furniture, you should easily find something to suit your taste and your budget, with many different kinds of garden furniture available including rattan, cedar, pine, teak, aluminum, etc.
An Outdoor Grill is a Must-Have Item
A bbq is a must have for the Cyprus garden, although their use on balconies is banned in many apartment blocks. Cyprus does have public picnic/bbq areas so you can still enjoy regular bbq's.
You will find every kind and size of bbq available, as well as an extensive range of garden loungers.
Home Improvement Stores
There are also D.I.Y. stores throughout Cyprus, offering garden furniture and accessories, so make sure you shop around to see everything that's available.
Fly screens are also a big seller due to the many mosquitos during the summer months, and these can be found in most garden centers or D.I.Y. stores. Gazebo's and garden sheds are also abundant in both garden centers and D.I.Y. stores.
Done-For-You is Available
For those who either hate shopping for home furnishings or don't have the time, some companies specialize in furnishing your home for you.
Cyprus Health and Beauty Stores
Cyprus is into health and beauty in a big way. Just about everywhere you go you will find beauty salons, hairdressing salons, nail salons, and health & fitness centers.
Health Food Stores
Health food shops are not abundant. However, there are a few in each significant town that offers a range of health food supplements.
There is not a big choice in cosmetics shops either, with most being inside large department stores, shopping malls, perfumeries, and pharmacies. There are some online cosmetics shops, as well as Avon representatives in Cyprus.
Hairdressing salons are often unisex and can offer everything from a basic cut and blow dry, to colors, highlights and hair extensions. Some will also provide manicures and beauty treatments such as facials and make-overs too.
These are popular for brides-to-be and others attending similar important events where they want to look their best. Special 'wedding packages' are often available for the bride, groom, and others in the wedding party.
There are a few mobile hairdressers who will visit you in your home for your hair treatment. However, these tend to be few and far between.
There has been a profusion of nail salons setting up in the past few years, where you can get all kinds of artwork for your nails. Most nail salons will offer a basic file, buffer, and polish, or nail repair, to acrylic and gel nail extensions, crystal nail artwork, and a full manicure or pedicure.
Spas and Beauty Salons
Beauty salons have sprung up everywhere; in every major town, the seaside resorts, in hotels, and in many villages. It's difficult not to find a beauty salon whatever city you are in.
Treatments available include facials, eyelash and eyebrow tints, aromatherapy, head, back and full body massage, and waxing. Some also offer Hopi ear candles which is a soothing and relaxing treatment for ears.
Fitness Centers and Gyms
Fitness centers or health centers have also become a big thing all around Cyprus. These will vary in what they offer depending on the size of the establishment.
Some offer use of gym equipment, and sometimes a personal trainer, while other larger establishments will provide use of a gym, jacuzzi, sauna, swimming pool, water jets, and saunas, as well as classes for aerobics, yoga, bodybuilding, weight loss and cardio exercises.
Some of the most extensive establishments are sporting centers as well as health and fitness centers.
There are also several smaller clubs that specialize for 'women only' or just for weight loss. Many of the centers have classes in English as well as Greek, and some will require you to pay for annual membership.
Shop Hours in Cyprus
The winter period is from 1st November to 31st March. The summer period is from 1st April to 31st October.
This page is a general guide, not the definitive shop opening times, and as such, you may find some shops opening or closing earlier or later.
*Please note that a new scheme is currently in place, although not yet made permanent, whereby all shops can open on Sundays even outside of the tourist areas.
On 9th July 2013, the labor ministry issued a decree for shops outside tourist areas to enable them to stay open until 10 pm on weekdays (including Wednesdays) and from 10:30 am until 7:30 pm on Sundays (the same as in the tourist areas).
The decree has been renewed every few months, with the latest renewal lasting until 30th November 2015, while the supreme court decides as to whether or not a new law passed by Parliament, and rejected by the President is unconstitutional.
The new law banned shops from opening on Sundays, but with exceptions that indeed seemed to be 'unconstitutional.' More flexible working hours and Sunday openings were already available to shopkeepers in tourist areas.
This (current) decision expands this to all areas of Cyprus. The scheme is optional, and businesses may adjust opening hours to suit their needs.
Banks new opening hours:
1 October to 30 April
Monday - Friday 7:30 - 14:30
Monday afternoon 15:00 - 18:00
1 May to 30 September
Monday - Friday 7:30 - 14:30
Cash Section opening hours:
1 October to 30 April
Monday - Friday 8:30 - 13:30
Monday afternoon 15:15 - 16:45
1 May to 30 September
Monday - Friday 8:15 - 13:30
Postal Service Hours
Post offices The Cyprus Postal Services changed their opening hours to the public early in 2013. These are the new opening hours:
District Post Offices From Monday to Friday: 7:30 – 17:30
Parcel Post Offices From Monday to Friday: 7:30 – 14:30
Urban and Rural Post Offices From Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 14:30
Pharmacies have a late duty roster where each city will have three nominated pharmacies open for emergency prescriptions etc.
The duty pharmacies will stay open late each night until 10 pm in the winter months, and 11 pm in the summer months, and all day Sunday.
Details of the duty pharmacies can be found in the local Greek or English papers, or you can telephone any of the following information lines that have recorded details of the duty pharmacies for that day. Calls to these numbers cost around 16 cents per minute.
24-hour Pharmacies Information Lines
The Official Sales
In October 2012 The Cyprus Supreme Court ruled on an appeal filed by the Shacolas Group against a district court decision finding it in violation of the sales law, allowing any business to put sales on at any time of the year.
The Supreme Court ruled that the law regulating sales restricted the right to sell goods at discount prices outside the set time periods and was in violation of the relevant EU directive.
Therefore, businesses are free to put on sales whenever they choose, thus doing away with fixed sales periods.
The majority of shops will be closed on official public bank holidays. See the official dates declared as Cyprus bank holidays for the year 2017 (Word Doc).
See this page for information on setting your clocks and the timezone Cyprus is in.