Whether you’re paying for a relaxing lunch, haggling for a bargain in a bustling market, or hitting the designer shops in some of the country’s contemporary shopping malls, knowing your way around the Cyprus currency will help make your holiday easier. If you’ve never been to this sun-kissed destination before, here’s our guide to the currency in Cyprus.

Spending in Southern Cyprus

Before 2008, the Cyprus currency was the lira. However, since the country has joined the European Union, it’s been replaced by the Euro. The Euro is used as the official Cyprus currency in the south of the country and you can withdraw this before you leave or in ATMs, banks and Bureau de Change offices while you’re away.

Coins and notes

The first thing you should know is that each Euro is worth 100 cents. There are eight types of cent: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. On one side, you’ll find designs that denote the Cyprus currency as being a member of the Eurozone. However, on the other, you’ll find inscriptions and pictures that align the coins to Cyprus, such as the Idol of Pomos, the Kyrenia Ship and the Muflon, which is a species of sheep native to the country. While they might take up more room in your pocket, coins are perfect for using in markets or for street-food.

The Euro notes are divided up into denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. While each amount is different in colour to the others, the rule of thumb is: the bigger the note, the more it’s worth. As with the coins, the Euro notes can be used in any other Eurozone countries that use the Euro as their official currency, regardless of its country of origin.

Spending in the North

The currency in Northern Cyprus is the Turkish Lira. If you’ve booked your holidays here, you won’t be able to use Euros, so be sure to check that you’re packing the right Cyprus currency before you go. The coins are known as kurus and come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50, before you reach the 1 Lira coin. From there, you progress into the notes, which are available as 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Lira. These notes bear the pictures of famous inhabitants, such as the novelist Fatma Aliye and the first Turkish president Kamel Ataturk. As with the Euro, you can get Lira from ATMs, banks, and Bureau de Change across the country.

If the idea of the Cyprus currency still sounds a bit daunting, there’s another option to consider: to save time you can get your Euros and Lira in advance from Thomas Cook’s website or instore. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about the official currency in Cyprus and can provide you with other options, such as a pre-paid travel card and money reservation services.