London to Cyprus without flying

It's possible to travel by train + ferry from the UK (or anywhere in Europe) to Cyprus, an exciting journey across Europe and the Mediterranean, taking 5 days.  There are three options, each explained here:

small bullet point  London to Cyprus via ferry from Greece - All regular ferries were suspended in 2001, but a new ferry finally started in June 2022.  This is the easiest, fastest, most comfortable option.  Operates June to mid-September.  It's running in 2024.

small bullet point  London to Cyprus via ferry from Turkey - The only practical all-year option to Cyprus when the ferry to Limassol isn't running.  You enter via Northern Cyprus.

small bullet point  London to Cyprus via freighter from the UK & Italy - Limited number of passenger places available on direct UK-Italy-Cyprus freight ships.

Useful country information

Ferries to Cyprus:

Weekly cruise ferry Greece-Cyprus, June-September:  Year-round ferry Turkey-Cyprus:  www.akgunlerdenizcilik.comPoseidon Lines & Salamis Lines Greece-Cyprus, currently suspended, UK agent


Train operators:

To check all European train times, visit

Time zone:

GMT+2 (GMT+3 last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:



£1 = approx €1.11.   Click here for a currency converter

Tourist information:


UK citizens do not need a visa to visit Cyprus.

Page last updated:

10 April 2024

London to Cyprus, via Greece

It used to be easy to travel to Cyprus by train and ferry via Athens, using one of three regular all-year shipping lines (Poseidon Lines, Salamis Lines or Access Ferries) from Piraeus to Limassol.  All three services stopped running indefinitely in 2001 because of unrest in Israel, the ships' ultimate destination.

However, a ferry service started in June 2022 between Piraeus in Greece and Limassol on Cyprus, weekly or twice weekly in summer.  Timetable & fares, see

If you get any photos of the ferry, ferry cabins or restaurants, or the voyages generally, please let me know!

London Cyprus

Cyprus London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

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London to Cyprus via Turkey

Thanks to a daily ferry from southern Turkey to northern Cyprus, it's possible to travel from the UK or anywhere in Europe to Cyprus via Istanbul, year-round, without flying.  If and when the ferry to Limassol isn't running, this is the only practical non-flying route onto the island.

London Nicosia

You should arrange tickets for the London-Istanbul train journey as shown on the London to Turkey page.  You can book the Istanbul-Karaman train at the station when you get to Istanbul, or pre-book as shown on the train travel in Turkey page.  You can book the ferry at the port when you get there, or book in advance via the ferry operator's website,  It may seem a bit daunting to plan a train + ferry journey from the UK to Cyprus this way, so you may find this planning technique helpful.

Turkish TVS2000 sleeping-car   Take the train from Istanbul to Konya:  Sleeper compartment

A private 1 or 2 bed sleeper, in daytime mode with beds folded away.  Easily the nicest way to travel between Istanbul & Karaman.  Inexpensive, relaxed & civilised, no airport stress, no long cramped bus journeys.  Interior photo courtesy of Heather Williams.

Scenery from the train from Istanbul to Adana.

The snow-capped Taurus Mountains, seen from the Içanadolou Mavi Tren from Istanbul to Adana.  Photo courtesy of Conor Meleady.

Ferry to Cyprus

Cyprus' ferry link with the outside world:  Akgünler and Fergün fast ferries link Cyprus with Turkey, seen here in front of the Girne Fortress in Cyprus.  All non-flying travellers to Cyprus must therefore enter Cyprus via the northern part of the island.  Photo courtesy of Malte Fuhrmann

Traveller's reports

Traveller Philip Bignell reports from a London-Cyprus trip by train and ferry:  "In Tasucu we were advised to arrive 90 minutes before ferry departure to buy tickets and clear security (10am for 11.30am departure).  A return ferry ticket is TRY 92, including TRY 12 departure tax. The departures hall has a till to issue a receipt for the departure tax, and there is much waiting, queuing, several examinations of passports and or boarding cards, scanning of luggage and persons.  Having cleared all this there are two or three tax free shops, then a catamaran to board in the harbour.  Luggage, substantial and various, is placed on deck and covered with a tarpaulin for the voyage, with passengers taking a seat in the one large saloon, three steps down.  This room has about twenty five rows of seating in all, with two aisles front to back and each row has about six seats either side and eight seats in the centre block.  A group of rows in the very centre of the saloon is replaced with a small cubicle forming a shop.  There are several television screens dotted around tuned to a local station in port or playing a film at sea.  The ferry left about half an hour late, and the journey is around two and a half to three hours.  Leaving the port the saloon doors are secured closed and passengers have to be seated, but they may go on the deck at sea, especially to enjoy smoking, after the doors are unlocked around five minutes into the voyage.   It can be quite a bumpy ride, and I noticed it was particularly choppy when having generally followed the coast for about forty minutes we struck out past a headland over the open sea towards Cyprus.  Poor sailors should consider taking the air.  On the way out, around quarter of the passenger complement was manifestly queasy.

Cyprus is unhappily partitioned.  Broadly, the northern third forms the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, TRNC, a state recognised only by Turkey; the currency is Turkish Lira (TRY).  The places in the north have both Turkish and Greek names.  The southern part is Greek Cyprus, a member of EU and from January 2008 the currency is the euro - the Cyprus pound for the few remaining days of this year.  In the last three years there has been free movement between the north and the south, through a very small number of crossing points on the green line, which is still supervised by United Nations armed forces.  The ferry lands at Girne (Kyrenia in Greek) in TRNC and passengers arriving go through passport control.  A TRNC visa is required, which is free of charge on entry.  This can be provided on a separate piece of paper, postcard sized, which is stamped on arrival and again on departure and UK passport bearers should specifically ask for this.  We had been categorically informed that TRAVELLERS WISHING TO VISIT SOUTHERN CYPRUS MUST NOT HAVE THEIR PASSPORTS STAMPED ON ARRIVAL IN THE NORTH - evidence in a passport would demonstrate that the traveller arrived on the island at an unrecognised port of entry and could be denied entry to the south. 

Taxis and cars hired in the north cannot cross the green line to the south.  The ferry port is east of the town centre of Girne, the main tourist resort in TRNC, with plenty of hotels shops and restaurants, and its old castle and pretty yacht harbour.  From the port there are taxis or dolmus available, or it is about twenty minutes walk to the main town.  Our destination was in the south.  The dolmus from Girne to Lefkosa (Lefkosia in Greek, Nicosia in English) was TRY 3 per person for a 20 km journey, just over half an hour, ending at the north walls of the old city by the Kyrenia gate.    The green line bisects the old city of Nicosia.  There are no signposts either side indicating where or how to cross to the other, indeed it seems that each side disregards the existence of the other.  There is a crossing at the Ledra Palace, outside the western walls of the old city.  From the dolmus stop it is about seven minutes walk to the Ledra Palace, following the exterior of the city walls west or anti clockwise.  Having completed the exit formalities of TRNC, including the stamping of the visa, it is necessary to walk about 200m south along a street between the city walls on one side and boarded property on the other to reach the entry point at the south.  Once entry formalities are completed at the south, then it is a further fifteen minutes walk continuing anti clock wise around the walls, to reach Eleftheria Square, a transport hub of southern Nicosia.

The return journey is the reverse of the outward, with the following observations.   For the return ferry, holding a return ticket, arrive one hour before departure (8.30am for 9.30 departure) and go to a first floor office in a side building to obtain boarding card and pay a further sum of TRY 20 for TRNC departure tax.  In the departures hall, similar to the way out, passport, visa and boarding card documents are inspected several times, luggage and persons are scanned, a further cash payment of TRY 5 has to be made, luggage is deposited, taken to the harbour side then collected again for boarding the ferry. 

On landing at Tasucu, be prepared for a thorough customs inspection of luggage.  We had more time on the return journey so had lunch in Tasucu after landing, then took a dolmus for TL 1.25 to Selifke otogar, which is on the west side of the town. There is competition between coach companies and travellers will be greeted by several representatives each stressing the merits of their appointed coach company. We travelled on an Ozkaymak coach to Karaman, only waiting for a few minutes for the 1.45pm departure: each ticket cost TRY 17.5, and the coach arrived about 5pm, when it was getting dark. We stayed in the centre of Karaman, then the following morning took a dolmus TRY 1 from the centre to the otogar - this dolmus went via the railway station. With the same company, the coach to Konya was TRY 10 and took an hour and a half.  From Karaman this company runs twenty coaches a day to Konya (from 7am to midnight), and seven to Adana (via Selifke), six between 8am and 7.30pm and one leaving at 3am.  The dolmus from the otogar at Konya to the centre cost TRY 1.25 for a forty minute journey.

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Route map Istanbul - Cyprus

Route map Istanbul-Cyprus

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London to Cyprus - from UK via Italy

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at (UK addresses) or (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at (shipping worldwide) or at (UK addresses).

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Hotels in Cyprus

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

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Travel insurance & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA. logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card! is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from or buy from

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!


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