Why are Retirees Choosing Cyprus? We Asked Seven Brits

The main reason? Sun, Sun, and More Sun!

That’s the top reason pensioners give for their decisions to spend their retirement years in Cyprus.

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Mediterranean island offers an attractive ‘place in the sun’ for those who have lived most of their lives in cold, wet, and gloomy countries.

Among those lured by the weather are Britons Julie Smart and Ron Hayton, who retired to Cyprus nine years ago after working and travelling for most of their adult lives. They have never regretted the decision.

“The better weather was the main attraction—it was difficult to return to England,” says Julie, a seismologist who also worked as a data processor in the oil business in Oman, Nigeria, Turkey, and Libya.

She and Ron, who did a stint in the Royal Navy before joining the oil industry as an admin officer in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Oman, spent 24 years cruising around the Med and East Coast of the US on a yacht between jobs.

When they eventually had to put to shore, they chose Cyprus.

Aside from the weather, other factors that influenced their decision included the lower cost of living in Cyprus and that English is spoken widely.

The unexpected perks of living in Cyprus as an Anglo expat, says Julie, include access to British TV channels and the introduction of the GESY public health system, which offers “quick and good health treatment”.

Traffic is also a consideration.

“Cyprus is much less crowded than the UK, so there is less traffic and fewer traffic jams,” says Julie.

Any downsides?

“It is too hot in the summer, and the driving standards are pretty poor.”

Ju
Picture: Julie Smart and Ron Hayton

A study by UK life insurance brokers Reassured put Cyprus at place number 7 among the most desirable countries to spend one’s retirement – behind Greece, Portugal, Malta, Italy, Spain, and Cuba.

The study evaluated factors such as the annual level of sunshine, costs of accommodation, average life expectancy, and the cost-of-living index.

Just how many foreign retirees are living in Cyprus is hard to say because prior to Brexit, British expats did not have to register with the authorities. Many have yet to get around to it even though they are now obliged to do so.

But given the fact that Cyprus has the second highest percentage of foreign citizens in the EU (around 20 percent of the total population, most of them from other EU states and the UK), it is safe to speculate that a good number of pensioners have settled on the Mediterranean island.

Also among their number is David Gray, who is now living in the Paphos area. When David retired after 35 years as an engineer/manager in Britain’s upstream oil and gas industry, he contemplated settling in Australia because he has citizenship and relatives there.

After much research and soul-searching, he opted instead for Cyprus.

“The climate, language, and proximity to family were the deciding factors,” David tells HEADLINER Cyprus. “Also, pre-Brexit it was easy to settle here. Cyprus has all the good attributes of Australia without the bad ones.”

A dedicated trail runner, David says that one of the unexpected perks of moving to Cyprus was the discovery of a vibrant trail-running community and access to a vast network of trails that wind through beautiful countryside.

Any other unexpected perks?

“The views from my current inland home and the red wine from the nearby vineyards,” says David with a wry smile.


Photo: David Gray

Another British couple, Christine and Roy Bell, moved to Cyprus 15 years ago.

“We have never looked back. We have no regrets,” says Christine, who during her career trained as a nurse and moved into teaching, finishing up as Senior Lecturer in Post Registration Nursing, School of Health, Teesside University.

Roy had been posted by the British Army to Cyprus from 1972 to 1974.

“Roy always wanted to retire to Cyprus and had fond memories of his time here,” says Christine.

“When I took early retirement, he asked if I would give it a go. Within six months of me trying out a week in Cyprus, we had packed our belongings and moved with our dog Lucy to the island.”

Some of the perks of living in Cyprus, she says, include low tax rates and good, affordable medical treatment.

On the downside, the bureaucracy that foreigners must contend with from time to time can be overwhelming, and language can be a barrier.

“On the whole,” says Christine, “Cypriots are friendly and helpful. The good weather is definitely a bonus. Driving on the left makes driving easier and the roads are less busy — but we feel that you have to be much more aware of other road users’ behaviour.”


Photo: Christine and Roy Bell

For Alan Tite and his wife Irene, landing up in Cyprus more than 11 years ago was more a matter of chance than design.

“The decision was based on an undetailed conversation with my wife, I think in the local pub,” says Alan.

“My wife had lived in Cyprus for a brief period as a child and had visions of returning at some time. I had never visited the Island. Somewhere in the conversation, the question arose: would you retire to another country? The answer is history.”

Now living with Irene in the village of Oroklini, near Larnaca, the retired automotive industry sales manager says he has no regrets leaving Burton Latimer, a small English village in Northamptonshire, where he spent much of his life.

“I think like many people I have a few regrets in my life however, living here is not one of them, I can honestly say, I have never looked back. Cyprus has very much become my home,” says Alan.

Now in his 70s, he’s living a good life.

“Since arriving on the island I have learnt to sail and drive a powerboat, joined an amateur dramatic group (now a thespian), sing in a choir, host a quiz once a month in a local tavern, and engage in clay shooting. Last year, I did a tandem free fall parachute drop from 13,000 ft. Cyprus made all this possible.”


Photo: Alan and Irene Tite

An important lure for those weighing up moving to Cyprus is the low crime rate, which provides a sense of security and enhances overall well-being.

Add to all other considerations the fact that Cyprus has a rich history and culture, which is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and way of life.

Retirees can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle and good quality food, wine, and entertainment without breaking the bank.

Best of all, the sunshine comes free.

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