The weather in the UK, the long average commute times, the fact that Brits work the longest hours and have the shortest holidays in Europe all mean that we want a better way of life when we move abroad.
Having lived and worked in many locations throughout Europe, I can honestly say that for quality of life Cyprus is practically second to none…and of all the locations across Cyprus, Paphos is one of the best towns to choose if you want to get the balance right between your social and your work life options.
Whether you’re planning on relocating in retirement, you have family and children in tow or you’re a couple or a singleton going in search of a brand new and better life abroad, this article will show you how living in Paphos you can enjoy an excellent standard of living.
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Living in Paphos and Educating Children
Unlike many international locations, Cyprus is an exceptionally family friendly place for relocation. The international schools on the island are highly regarded – with a former pupil from the International School of Paphos having just achieved a double first class degree from Cambridge University for example. What’s more, healthcare standards are first class, and there are many, many activities and organisations in place for the entertainment and edification of children.
For parents relocating to Cyprus, schooling is of primary concern – and in Paphos there is a fairly wide choice available to you, depending on whether you want to educate your children at the state schools where they will be primarily taught through the medium of Greek, or whether you want them to attend a fee paying international school.
If your children are under the age of about 7 or 8 and you intend living in Paphos for good, your child may find it easier to integrate into a state school and learn Greek than an older child will. For older children, and for children of parents who are not sure their relocation to Paphos will be forever, the international options are the aforementioned, highly regarded International School of Paphos (ISOP) or the American School, Paphos.
ISOP takes children from kindergarten level right through to A levels, and the school’s campus is fabulous. The facilities and amenities are first class, teaching standards are high and former pupils go on to achieve international university placements. The American School in Paphos is part of the American Academy family of schools across Cyprus. The curriculum is approved by the local Ministry of Education, and students work towards the completion of the American Academy School Leaving Certificate.
According to the school: “Graduates of the school are eligible for entry to British, American, Australian, European and other overseas universities. Our graduates enjoy an excellent placement record with top universities worldwide.”
Healthcare in Paphos
Whether you’re planning on retiring to Paphos or you’re relocating with children, whether you have healthcare concerns or you just want to be prepared, you will be very, very pleased to learn that access to world-class medical facilities is available on this part of the island.
There is a relatively new general hospital serving the greater Paphos area, it’s located in Anavargos, which is northeast of the town centre. It is a fully equipped hospital catering for emergencies as well as ‘routine’ care issues. The address and phone number are as follows: –
Anavargos Street, Anavargos, Paphos.
Tel: 26-240111 or for emergencies tel: 26- 240100.
Call 199 for an ambulance in Cyprus.
There are additional private hospital facilities in Paphos such as Saint George’s Private Hospital which is at 29 Eleftheriou Venizelou Avenue in Paphos. (Tel: 26 947000). Or Evangelismos Hospital on 87 Vasileos Constantinou in Paphos. (Tel: 26 848 000). Or the Iasis Private Hospital which is located at 8 Voriou Epirou and which can be reached on Tel: 26 848 484.
You will probably want to choose a medical centre close to where you’re living, but there is wide and varied choice – try St James which is in Kato Paphos on 8 Tombs of the Kings Avenue – tel: 26 949 100/99 or the Blue Cross Medical Centre 51 Demokratias Avenue(Tel: 26 221 111) if you need to find a centre in an emergency and you have not had time to register with a doctor.
In terms of whether you need medical insurance – unless you’re covered by the likes of forms E106, E109, E121, E123 or E112 (see the department of health’s website) you may need to pay for all or some of any treatment you need when you’re living in Paphos. Do not believe that your European Health Insurance Card will cover you, as this is just for emergency treatment for temporary visitors to a country within the EU.
If you’re going to be working in Cyprus and paying tax, you will be paying towards state healthcare and should have an entitlement to treatment for free as a result. But you need to ensure you are properly registered and that you know the level of care you and any dependents will be entitled to.
The Cyprus Ministry of Health’s website is an excellent place to research any entitlement. If you realise you will have to pay for any or all treatment, you may decide that buying health insurance is a good way forward to protect your health and that of your family. Look around at local insurers’ offerings in Cyprus as well as the policies offered by the likes of Bupa International and so on. Insurance costs can be reduced if you increase your excess for example – and it always pays to shop around. You can also ask fellow expats what they do in terms ofg insuring their health when you move to Cyprus.
The Paphos Lifestyle
The lifestyle that you can achieve in Cyprus is excellent – the fine weather for up to 9 months of the year, the laid back attitude to life enjoyed by local people, the excellent and healthy Mediterranean cuisine and the fabulous coastline and beaches all add quality and enjoyment to life.
Paphos can take all of this a stage further however because it has great infrastructure and amenities – from shopping malls to hospitals, from schools to good roads and brilliant nightlife. In fact, if you want to achieve a best of all world’s situation, consider living in Paphos!
In Paphos you have many fine restaurants and bars – and as a resident locally you will soon discover where the locals eat and drink away from the tourists and you will get better food, better service and better value.
In Paphos you have an historic centre, ancient and fascinating remains, you have fabulous modern architecture, beautiful villas and apartments and you have all of this blended against the backdrop of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
In Paphos you have shops, jobs, schools, modern hospitals – you have your own airport and good roads linking you to the whole of the rest of the island…
Whether you’re moving to Cyprus in retirement or you’re young, free and up for a good time or you have children and you want to really integrate into the local community, there is so much going on in and around the Paphos area for people of all ages, you will never be bored or lonely!
Is Paphos Perfect?
From reading the above you may just be thinking, ‘hang on a minute I have found paradise on earth, I’m off to live in Paphos!’ However, Paphos is not perfect, nowhere is! Yes the town offers one of the best lifestyles in one of the best locations in Europe if not the world…however, it does have a few downsides that I should mention so that I present you with as balanced an opinion of the town as possible.
Because Cyprus is a very tourism-centric island, and Paphos is one of the most desirable places to stay, the town can be overrun with visitors for the long summer season. This also has the effect of pushing prices up in the likes of bars and restaurants. What’s more, despite the global economic downturn and the knock on effect this has had in economies everywhere, property prices in Paphos remain amongst the highest in Cyprus.
There are also not as many employment opportunities as there were, and competition for jobs and business is intense. If you’re going to be working or running your own business when you move abroad you need to know that if you’re moving to Paphos you will need to work hard. The good news is you can also play hard and enjoy an exceptional standard of living and way of life outside of work.
Paphos has an awful lot in its favour. It is a very easy place to relocate to for Britons who are 100% familiar with many aspects of Cyprus in general – from the side of the road the cars drive on, to many of the shops on the high street for example. Nearly all Greek Cypriots have a very high standard of English, (although you should learn Greek if you want to enjoy more of your life on the island), and there are thousands of Britons living in Cyprus already, meaning that making friends will be much easier.
The thing you really need to keep in mind, however, is that nowhere is perfect, so ensure your expectations for your relocation are realistic – it will still take time to find a home, make a home, get your children into school and perhaps find work you enjoy…however, the many, many sunny days and the fabulous lifestyle will make any ‘hardship’ seem much, much easier!