Is it safe to travel to Cyprus during the Israel-Gaza conflict?

Is it safe to travel to Cyprus during the Israel-Gaza conflict?

While Cyprus is a popular hotspot for UK travellers, its location in the Mediterranean Sea means it's in close proximity to Israel and Palestinian territories.

More than 7,000 people in the Gaza Strip and 1,300 people in Israel have been killed after fighting broke out more than two weeks ago.

Israeli tanks have already rolled into Gaza, in preparation for what is expected to be an imminent ground invasion despite growing international calls for an end to the violence.

Although travel advice for Cyprus had previously remained unchanged, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has now updated its guidance for visitors.

Thousands of jetsetters will be travelling to the likes of Cyprus over the coming months in search of winter sunshine.

Here is what you need to know if you are planning to travel to Cyprus despite its proximity to the conflict.

Is it safe to travel to Cyprus now?

The FCDO issued an update about travel to Cyprus, however, it didn’t advise against travelling to Cyprus entirely.

Instead, the FCDO encourages people to arrive at the airport early as extra safety measures might be in place.

The update says: “Due to the current situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the airport operator is advising passengers flying out of Larnaca and Paphos airports to arrive at their terminals at least 3 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure time."

The website also claims that “heightened tensions” in the region might prompt demonstrations with little warning.

It continues: “Events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have led to heightened tensions in the region and demonstrations are likely. Avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches and leave the area if one develops. Local transport routes may be disrupted.”

What is official Government advice on travelling to Cyprus?

The UK Government hasn’t issued a “do not travel” warning but it does give information about the safety and security of people when abroad on its website.

It warns: “There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.”

It says while there have not been any terrorist attacks recently in Cyprus, it “cannot be ruled out”.

It also warns that although the Republic of Cyprus is a full EU member, not all of it is included in that.

The country is divided by the Green Line and the British Government does not recognise the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Do I need a Covid test to travel to Cyprus?

There are no Covid-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Cyprus and travellers will not have to prove they have been immunised.

However, your passport must have been issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’) and be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’).

You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before October 1, 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

Do I need a visa to enter Cyprus from the UK?

If travelling for a holiday or leisure, you do not need a visa to visit Cyprus. This rule allows you to stay for up to 90 days for tourism, visiting friends or family, attending business meetings, or short-term study.

To stay longer or if visiting for other reasons, check what you need from the Cyprus High Commission.