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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Visitors to Cyprus Want to Put Down Roots

The best way Cyprus visitors to truly discover a place is to live in it. One visit to Cyprus is enough to see why so many people want to do just that: after a wonderful holiday on one of the most beautiful and hospitable of the Mediterranean islands, the last thing you want to do is get back on the plane. It’s then that the memory of your stay begins to draw you back and you dream of settling here, of putting down roots, of finding that balance in life that the people of the Mediterranean seem to have in abundance.

A track of loose limestone chippings curves gently around the hillside, shaded by golden gorse bushes and gnarled old olive trees. The centre of the track is an oasis of green grass and spring flowers. Butterflies flutter on the gentle breeze, catching the dappled sunlight, which sparkles like diamonds in the grass after a light early morning shower of rain. The day promises to be fine. The warm air is scented with juniper. Little brown lizards scuttle across the rocks beside the road and the trees are alive with birdsong. Around the corner, beyond the olive trees, with the upper floor balcony framed by vines and bougainvillea, and with a backdrop of the bluest sea, your dream becomes reality: your home, your welcome in the hills, is as beautiful as that first sight of the place when the germ of an idea to settle in Cyprus was prompted by the modest ‘for sale’ sign down on the main road into the village.

The island’s irresistible pull for Visitors to Cyprus Want to Put Down Roots

That dream of long sunny days, mild winters and the slower pace of life – perhaps it comes to us all in the end; but it takes a certain amount of bravery to take those first steps towards becoming a resident of a place that you’ve enjoyed as  Cyprus visitors. You should have no qualms on the matter: do your research, choose your location, then jump in and give it a real chance. There may be setbacks, or you may have problems adjusting. Don’t give up. You have already made a brave decision. Now follow it up with determination. Embrace everything the island has to offer, and immerse yourself in a new chapter of your life.

The culture of Cyprus has developed through a unique set of influences, from Western Europe to the Middle East. Its 35 years under British rule has left its mark on the island, not least in its continued popularity as a place to settle: about 65,000 British people live here. There are the familiar reminders of home – the red post boxes, driving on the left, the widespread use of the English language – which, together with the Cypriots respect for older people, make British ex-pats feel immediately at home. Then there is the beauty of its landscapes – the dramatic mountains and valleys, golden beaches and rocky headlands, and the intimate little villages, historic ruins and isolated monasteries; not to forget the charm of its towns and lively holiday resorts. “It has been called ‘the cradle of civilisation’ offering a wonderful mix of geography, cultures and ancient history, all in a superb climate.” Sit in the cool shade one of the little restaurants around the harbour of Kyrenia, with a glass of wine, your lunch on order, and the scent of the sea, the herbs, spices and olive oil, and the sounds of the street and the crowds and the diners around you combining to make an irresistible ambience, and you will truly feel there is no better place to be.The economic climate for Cyprus visitors

Despite its economic problems, Cyprus and its people wear it well. Early in 2013, the EU and IMF recovery plan, implemented by the Cyprus government, involved freezing any account in the country’s two main banks that held more than €1000,000 (£85,000). This left many retirement plans in ruins and swiftly ended the rampant growth of the banking sector, which by then had become eight times the size of the nation’s GDP. This prompted one of Cyprus’s worst tourist seasons, with a 75% drop in bookings leaving many hotels deserted, and the UK government issuing exaggerated warnings about queues at cash points, the uselessness of credit cards and the danger of muggings. To anyone who visited the island in 2013, this all seemed ridiculous. The crime rate in Cyprus is one of the lowest in Europe and Cypriots are far more stoical in the face of such problems than they are usually given credit for. This can be summed up by the often heard comment on the island: “We’ve suffered worse in the past and survived. We are a hard-working people, and the country will recover.” This has been borne out by the latest economic analyses, which show a more promising picture than expected.

Buying property

Since the financial crisis, property prices have fallen all over the island by about 20-30%. Villas sell from around €300,000, compared to around €150,000 for a two-bedroom town house or €70,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, although prices may be lower in areas that are further from the main tourist towns, or on the northern coast.

The south west coast of Cyprus, around the harbour town of Paphos, is the most popular choice amongst British home-owners. There are beautiful beaches, the area is rich in cultural attractions – the town is a Unesco World Heritage site – and with the nearby airport and year-round flights to the UK, and all the amenities to be expected in one of the main towns on the island and a busy tourist destination, it makes an ideal base for families or older couples looking for a retirement home. Life here revolves around the beach, particularly at Coral Bay, a convenient short drive from the city. The contract to develop a new marina across the bay has been finalised, which include plans for restaurants, bars and increased parking. This will inevitably result in higher property prices.

For those Cyprus visitors looking for a quieter life, travel north from Paphos to the area around Chrysochous Bay and the Akamas Peninsular, and the small, picturesque fishing port of Polis. The area has everything that makes Cyprus so desirable – the long stretches of golden sands, the laid-back charm of the little shops and tavernas around the harbour, and its magnificent setting amongst pine-clad, sun-baked hills. If you are looking for the beating heart of the island, you should head for Limassol on the southern coast. In size it is second only to Nicosia, the capital. Limassol is the business centre of the island, a sophisticated cosmopolitan city where you will find a range of high class restaurants, top quality shopping and all that money can buy – from the most luxurious villas, apartments and prestigious yacht moorings to the best in international cuisine.

In short for Cyprus visitors, living in Cyprus has much to offer anyone looking to escape the discomforts and irritations of British life and culture. Those who make a success of the transition go with both eyes open and a willingness to accept that all countries have their drawbacks – although sitting on a sunny beach in Cyprus in late October with no worries besides whether to have baked sea bass or moussaka for lunch, it’s hard to see what they may be.

Visitors to Cyprus Want to Put Down Roots

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