Well, the first thing to point out is that in the north we use the New Turkish Lira, not the Euro. This tends to make goods very, very much cheaper than the equivalent costs would be in Euro Zone countries. Currently there are around 4 ytl to 1 GBP and that makes prices even better. There is little or no tax. Another reason prices are low. Remember when food shopping that you will pay much less if you shop “Cypriot” than if you insist on buying the same food/brands as you do in the UK.
Supermarkets: There are 3 large supermarket “chains” in our area – Starling, Lemar and Tempo, and also just down the road from the villa there is Ileli. These supermarkets seem to be open seven days a week and almost round the clock. They stock a huge range of goods including most items that you would expect to get in the UK. Lemar is probably the most Anglicised but Starling offers an online ordering system.
Markets: There is a market somewhere every day of the week but the main ones are in Kyrenia (Wednesday), Guzelyurt (Saturday), Lefkosa(Every day) and Famagusta(Friday). These specialise in food but also sell clothes, plants and general household items. The covered market in Lefkosa (Nicosia) was built by the British in 1932 and is well worth visiting in its own right. It is surrounded by the bazaar streets of the old town. Food is very cheap and you can go home armed with wonderful fresh fruit, yoghurt, honey, cheeses too.
High Street Shops: Both Lefkosa, Famagusta and Kyrenia all have town centres full of the types of shops you would expect to find on the high street at home. There are lots of fashion boutiques, home decoration stores, jewellers, leather shops, shoes. Prices for gold jewellery and leather are very competitive.
Designer Copies: This is big business in Cyprus. You can buy “designer” clothes and particularly handbags in many places. Quality is very varied. Handbags range from non-leather copies which are very cheap to very high quality leather copies which still cost hundreds of pounds each, and every shade in the middle. Some shops will copy any bag you wish: take in a photograph, or pick from a catalogue. This is one of the best souvenirs of the island. I have a brilliant “Hermes” clutch and a Marc Jacobs bag that have both been much admired by many people who clearly thought they were genuine!
Alcohol and Tobacco: You can buy all the same cigarette brands and also loose tobacco brands as are available in Europe, plus Turkish brands. They are very cheap in comparison to European prices as there is little or no tax on them. Premium brands of wine and spirits from all over the world are also available in supermarkets and specialist wine shops. Local wine and Turkish wine can be very good. Angora is a reasonable range of wines. Local spirits are a MASSIVE bargain. Cypriot gin, whisky, rum, vodka and brandy are all available at prices generally around £3 per bottle. Take my word for it that they are more than pleasant especially if you are using them in mixed drinks. The brandy is easily smooth enough to savour alone and you will be offered it at the end of many meals. It’s delicious. The Cypriot brands are available in the supermarkets tending to be on the lower shelves below the premium brands. My strong advice is not to buy duty free on the plane but to wait and buy your alcohol here.
Bazaars: Whilst all the large towns will have a bazaar, the best one is in Lefkosa off Leda Street,near the Mosque/Cathedral. In the warren of tiny streets you will find a huge number of shops selling everything from copperware to clothes, jewellery, slippers, baskets, pottery, textiles, Turkish delight, nuts, herbs and spices. It’s a brilliant part of any visit to the old town. The Great Han which is in the same area now houses a collection of arts and crafts shops and is well worth a visit. The Han is an inn dating from crusader times and is incredibly picturesque with a lovely café in the lower courtyard. Don’t forget to bargain.