Most travellers to South Nicosia arrive at Larnaca International Airport to the south. British Airways and Cyprus Airways provide direct service from London to Larnaca. Cyprus Airways also runs flights from Manchester and many other European cities. KLM flies direct from Amsterdam and Swissair from Zurich. There are also several direct connections with various cities in Turkey with Turkish and Cypriot carriers.
The airport is very busy in the peak tourist season from May to November, but fairly empty the rest of the year. The airport's single terminal has all the basic facilities with ATMs, currency exchange and three banks in the public concourse and in the Arrivals Hall. There are cafes, duty-free shopping and a post office.
There are regular bus services (No 22 and No 24) from the airport into the town centre from 6.20am to 7pm but they don't run on Saturday afternoon or on Sunday. Taxis are also always available outside the airport. A board displaying the fares to major destinations can be found in the Arrivals Hall. Shared taxi and minibus transport can also be arranged by Cyprus Airport Transfers (+357 0263 23422) or Acropolis Transport (+357 2462 2000).
There is a city airport serving North Nicosia at Ercan, about 8km to the east along a new expressway. There are now several scheduled flights to the UK as well as Turkey. There are only two airlines at the time of writing — Cyprus Turkish Airlines and Turkish airline. Cyprus Turkish Airlines runs a bus to Ercan airport from its city offices about two hours before flights are scheduled to take off.
There's little in the way of budget accommodation in South Nicosia. Most hotels are middle to up-market. Most mid-range hotels are in the western part of the new town and top-end options in the centre.
There are fewer places still north of the border but there are several comfortable hotels in the city centre. Most mid-range hotels are in the western part of the new town.
South Nicosia has several networks of urban buses. Most bus routes start at Solomou Square next to the Tripoli Bastion in the city centre or the terminal at the Constanza Bastion to the east. In addition Nicosia municipality runs its own free yellow buses within the city walls. Buses to other resorts are frequent and cheap but there is no public transport to the airports at Paphos or Larnaca.
There are plenty of taxi firms in South Nicosia that pick you up with a phone a call. There is also a 24-hour taxi rank at the Eleftherias Square. Taxi fares are regulated by law and drivers must use a meter. South Nicosia Service Taxis are operated by Travel Express from the Podocataro Bastion with cheap rates to other resorts.
Car hire is plentiful and parking easiest in the large pay and display car parks around most of the city bastions, with the largest and most convenient between Constanza and D'Avila bastions on Leoforus Stasinou. It's best to avoid driving between 11am and 1pm weekdays when traffic gets very heavy.
In North Nicosia there are several public buses but they mainly serve the outlying suburbs. The long-distance bus service is from Ataturk Caddesi and Kemal Asik Caddesi in the new town. Services run daily to all the major towns. Service taxis also operate from Kyrenia Gate near the bus station and destinations include Kyrenia and Famagusta.
Taxis are plentiful, especially around Kyrenia Gate. It is best to agree a fare before getting in. Taxi drivers will offer to take you on good value tours of the north. The advantage is that drivers will serve as unofficial guides as well, but check out if their English is good unless you speak Turkish yourself.
There are several car hire firms and driving is no real problem. Parking too is relatively easy unless you arrive in the city late morning on a working day.
The main shopping areas in South Nicosia are Makarios Avenue, Stasikratous Street running parallel behind it, and Ledra Street. As well as the local craft shops there are the usual international stores like Virgin and Woolworth's. Stasikratous Street is best known for expensive boutiques, shoe shops and silverware jewellery. At the end of Makarios Avenue is Eleftherias Square and the city centre.
Most of the shopping area in the old part of Nicosia is now traffic free. From Eleftherias Square the wall past the town hall leads to Eleftherias Venizelos Square, also known as Ochi Square, and a colourful open market every Wednesday
In North Nicosia the shop owners are universally friendly and welcoming and don't usually pester you when browsing. The old Belediye Pazari indoor market has plenty of fresh local produce while the new market is the place for bargain clothes, shoes and textiles.
Shops only display a small selection outside because of the heat so it's a good idea to take a look inside for the better goods. The traffic free Arasta Sokagi area is the heart of north Nicosia's shopping district.
Useful telephone numbers
Tourist offices: Bedrettin Caddesi 228 5625
Hospital 228 5441
Health Clinic 227 3996
Police 228 3311, Emergency 155