Why Nicosia Is One Of Europe’s Best Cities To Live In

Discover why you should consider Nicosia if you are looking for a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a beautiful Mediterranean climate.

Not only can you enjoy all the benefits of life on the spectacular Mediterranean island with its incredibly sweet, sun-filled climate, but you could also be better off financially – Cyprus is a low-tax destination with some very attractive incentives.

Cyprus’ capital city Nicosia gives you the unique opportunity to enjoy the urban sophistication of a modern, cosmopolitan capital city while only a short drive from the turquoise Mediterranean coastline or dramatic forested mountains with breathtaking landscapes and invigorating walks.

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The advantages of living in Nicosia, Cyprus

Nicosia has everything – modern, historical, practical, diverse, and every aspect you require to build a fantastic lifestyle for you and your family.

There are business facilities, schools, universities, modern, well-funded hospitals, and healthcare facilities.  The city is big enough to offer residents ample choice in terms of districts to live in, with property rental and purchase prices much lower than in other European capitals.

There’s a good range of schools to educate your children in, plenty of shopping and dining venues, and a fantastic city park with lakes and wildlife that soon make you forget you’re even in a city.

Possibly one of the primary reasons for rating so high among many capital cities is the fact that while maintaining a unique charm, Nicosia is still small enough for you to get to know it and feel completely at home in a short space of time.

Travel easily to many world destinations from a well-connected location

Cyprus’ strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia means easy access to shipping and air routes linking Europe with the Arab world and the Far East.

There is a good reason why the island is used as a base for many of the world’s leading multinationals – they want better and easier connections with the key countries in the world, and they achieve it by positioning themselves in Cyprus.

As an individual, you can use the same advantage by taking up a residency in the heart of Cyprus – Nicosia.

Larnaca International Airport is just 50 km from Nicosia. You can have direct flights to Dubai, London, Berlin, Paris, Moscow, etc. It will take you between 3.5 and 4.5 hours to reach any of these destinations. You can also cross the border into North Cyprus (which is really easy) and take a 1.5-hour flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

Take advantage of Cyprus’ full EU membership

Cyprus EU Nation
Cyprus Residents Enjoy The Benefits of Full EU Membership

EU citizens resident in Cyprus can work, live, establish a business, and move their capital and goods freely within the EU and have the EU laws to protect them. It makes it extremely easy to relocate to the island, find a job there, start a business, or retire.

Benefit from a low tax regime for expats

A competitive corporate income tax rate of 12.5%, a well-educated workforce, and a business-friendly environment make Nicosia an ideal city if you want to manage your business within the EU while keeping taxation as low as possible.

There are also individual tax incentives appealing to key managers who are being relocated to Cyprus by their companies and also to people of independent means who move to Cyprus, including retirees.

  • Living In Cyprus – a detailed guide to living in Cyprus for expats, including taxes and incentives.

Enjoy all the perks of living in an international capital city for less money

Nicosia is the business and financial center as well as the administrative heart of the Republic of Cyprus. 

There are many international companies with a presence in the city, a number of the main airlines using Cyprus airports have offices in the city, and there are also employment opportunities at the embassies, international schools, in many retail outlets.

Also, with excellent infrastructure and a multilingual environment, Nicosia is ideal for running any business that requires good international reach.

Even in this tough economic climate, it’s possible to search on jobs forums for placements in the city…and as is often the way, once you’re actually living in the city, you’ll hear about many more job openings.

The fortunate thing is that for many postings and placements in Nicosia, it is not a disadvantage if you don’t speak Greek.  Nicosia is a truly cosmopolitan city with its international business companies, international banks, international schools, embassies, and consulates from all over the world.

Wages are not on a par with those in the UK or USA. But then the cost of living is lower in Nicosia. There is also less crime, more sunshine, happier citizens, and a lower cost of real estate.

Nicosia’s blessing is that it is not a tourist haven

Often everyday living can become compromised in countries like Cyprus, where they are often overrun by hordes of tourists who come there to have fun.

Residents who aren’t always so keen to party until 4 am every night become desperate for some normality and often retreat to suburbs or deep inland. 

However, living in Nicosia means you can have your cake and eat it – you base yourself in a modern, vibrant capital city that, luckily, isn’t such a popular holiday destination.

As a result, you escape a maddening tourist rush and inventive pricing strategies common in tourist destinations and yet have full access to a spectacular Mediterranean seashore and blue flag beaches, the nearest of them being under an hour’s drive away from the capital.

Palm Tree Beach of Larnaca
The famous palm-tree promenade of Larnaca is just a short drive from Nicosia

It is ironic that most people who holiday on the island of Cyprus only experience the beach resorts of the south – Larnaca, Paphos, Polis, and Agia Napa.

They never make it as far as Nicosia because it is inland and therefore considered unlikely to be of interest. This is a very good thing.  It prevents the city from being ruined by the introduction of rip-off restaurants and tacky bars.

However, the irony stretches further because the majority of people who consider Cyprus as a lifestyle destination for relocation in retirement or for a mid-life re-launch also only consider the coastal towns, villages, and resorts. 

There are plenty of posts on a number of expatriate forums from expats living in Cyprus who openly admit they have never ‘ventured as far as Nicosia.’

It’s not like Cyprus is a vast island with terrible roads. There’s a very nice motorway that takes you straight into Nicosia.

However, it remains ‘tucked away’ in terms of its tourist popularity and, as stated, this is a very good thing. 

Those expats who do live in Nicosia tend to love the city. They tend to be the ones who have done their research and based their decision to move to the city on the fact that it offers a true balance between real employment opportunities and a real opportunity to have an exceptionally sophisticated lifestyle.

Nicosia abounds with great properties to suit your lifestyle

Accommodation options range from modern apartments in self-contained developments with facilities such as a pool and gym to sprawling and stunning villa-style homes in wealthy well-kept residential neighborhoods, which all inevitably come with marble floors, swimming pools, and air conditioning, and a maid’s room.

Even if you have your heart set on living in Nicosia, don’t buy when you relocate; just rent.  You will then get a feel for where you want to put down more permanent roots after you have lived in the city for a while. 

Your decision may be influenced by your wanting to be on the south side so the beach is even more accessible at the weekend.

Troodos Mountains Cyprus
Sunset in the Majestic Troodos Mountain Range of Cyprus

You may prefer to be on the west so you can get to the Troodos Mountains and out into walking country more easily. 

Alternatively, you may want to be in “Embassy-Ville” Engomi, where properties are to die for. 

Renting will let you spend time getting to know everything Nicosia has to offer, and it will also allow you to see the difference between what the Cypriots pay for a home and what foreign buyers have to pay.  You’ll certainly learn enough Greek then to ensure you’re paying the local price.

Weather winter in style in a well-equipped city

In the wintertime, the city is better equipped to deal with the downpours and the cooler weather because it is a sophisticated place where homes are built to live in. 

Unlike on the coast where many homes are built just for tourists to enjoy in the summer, and where consequently there are no options for heating the house!

Winter months don’t prevent people from enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine and a nice meal outside, not just because winters in Nicosia are usually a couple of degrees warmer than on the coast, but also because cafes and restaurants have well-equipped outside sitting areas that will keep you warm and snug.

Nicosia Cyprus Theatre Organisation
The sleek modern architecture of The Cyprus Theatre Organisation In Nicosia.

Nicosia has a lot going on. It has museums and galleries, a cinema, and it hosts theatrical events.  You can attend concerts and explore small and intimate or even vast parks.

You can dine out at a different and exceptional restaurant every single night for your first three months in the city, too, if your waistline will stand it.  

As for shopping, well, here’s the thing…Nicosia has everything from Marks and Spencer to an Ikea. 

It also has bespoke boutiques, high-end or high-fashion shops. It has family-run mega furniture shops selling beautiful wares from all over the world.

If you enjoy shopping in comfort, there are indoor malls to keep you cozy in winter and cool in the mid-summer Cyprus sunshine whilst you browse.

There are a number of very well respected international schools in Nicosia as well as local schools where pupils will be taught through the medium of Greek of course…and there are tertiary colleges and a university in Nicosia if your student child wishes to remain on the island to complete their studies.

Nicosia has a very new, exceptionally well-equipped hospital, and there are private health clinics across the city – and Cyprus as a whole is blessed with very good medical facilities. 

From cosmetic dentistry to fertility services, you can find it all on the island.  Cypriots are intelligent, well-educated, and generally very friendly and keen to make foreigners feel welcome, which is why Cyprus is a very good place to lead a very high standard of living.

Living in Nicosia – summary

Nicosia is an exceptionally friendly place to live and work. It’s a very short drive down a modern motorway to beautiful beaches and fun-filled water parks. It has the best Mediterranean climate with everything a modern well-invested EU city has to offer.

So if you are lucky to have been offered a posting in this fine city, or you’re simply looking around and trying to find the best place to live abroad and find work as well as high quality of life for your family, Nicosia is definitely one of the worthiest contenders.

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Expatra Team

Our most popular evergreen guides are kept fresh and up-to-date by our in-house research team. If you have any questions about our guides or the country discussed feel free to contact us or leave a comment below and we'll get back to you.

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