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I am taking a couple of weeks in Cyprus with the family, and will be flying directly from the UK to Paphos, in the southwest of the island. We plan on doing some lazing by the pool, but a fair bit of visiting the local archaeological sites, and areas of natural beauty - and some of these are in North Cyprus.

As British tourists, are we likely to have any problems driving to locations in the North? Or is the island generally open to casual tourism?

We don't tend to go with any packaged tours - preferring instead to make our own way with a hire car, deciding on locations and destinations as a family as we go.

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    I'd probably be a touch concerned about insurance issues. But then I guess from the RoC's point of view, you never leave the RoC. – CMaster Jun 30 '16 at 12:40
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    You do however leave the area "effectively controlled by the republic of cyprus". – Peter Green Jun 30 '16 at 14:57
  • Off-topic, I recommend the mosaics in Paphos. Warning: very hot and humid weather possible. – Andrew Lazarus Jun 30 '16 at 18:09
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    Sadly I have evolved to consider Scotland a little on the hot side of perfect. I know Cyprus will be well beyond my comfort zone. But the family will love it. – Rory Alsop Jun 30 '16 at 21:45
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    @MastaBaba, I contacted several carhire companies (e.g. Sixt, Europcar). Neither of those provide insurance for the Northern part. You are totally on your own. But one can buy insurance at the border to the Northern part. – Maksim Sorokin Aug 9 '18 at 7:15
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It's been a while since I visited Cyprus. But I doubt things have gotten worse; There are only a few border crossings, but crossing the border is quite painless, though the setting might resemble crossing from East to West Berlin before German unification.

Public transport, on both sides, was limited when I was there. It should be possible to take a rental car from South to North. If you're only two people, you could consider renting a scooter instead.

There's plenty to see in terms of history, but most tourists come for the beaches and visit the sights on organised tours. But, the road system (in the south) is excellent and, with your own transport, it's easy to get around and visit the sights yourself.

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At the Ledra Street pedestrian crossing in Nicosia in August 2015, you weren't even stopped for checks, with locals casually walking through the checkpoint. In fact the North Cypriot officers were bamboozled at me voluntarily walking up to the booth and presenting my ID card (as I wanted my entry into a non-EU country to be recorded).

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Just make sure your rental company insures your car to travel to KKTC (Occupied Cyprus), otherwise you may have to rent a vehicle in the north.

As for what's to see in KKTC, the beachfront at Kyrenia is very nice. Prices tend to be cheaper, but not as much as many folks hope they are. While labor costs are lower, KKTC has to import many things just as ROC does (fuel, food, water, autos, etc.)-and they both have to pay prevailing rates. So it's cheaper in the south by maybe 10-15% on an average.

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