North Cyprus Blog: Shopping in North or South Cyprus?
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30 March 2009

Shopping in North or South Cyprus?

It's one of those traditional TRNC debates - should you shop in the south or stick to the North?

With the Euro exchange rate definitely not good for anyone whose income is in sterling, any shopping trip south is definitely not so much fun as it used to be! In fact, south Cyprus prices are approaching London prices, which is horrifying to someone like me who thought they had left all those expensive price tags behind in rainy Cricklewood!

However, a recent discussion on the Cyprus44 forum has reminded me that although you can take the girl out of Britain, you can't always take your taste buds out of Blighty! OK, we all know the jokes about the Brits needing regular shipments of marmalade or Marmite, or strong Yorkshire tea, or Mars bars or whatever, but the root of this surely goes deeper. I guess we are now so used to endless variety and choice in UK shopping, it's hard to slim down those expectations when we arrive in the TRNC.

Truth is, the difference between prices on the two sides of the border is minimal, and once you add petrol costs (and insurance), then it's potentially costing you more than you save. Most TRNC residents agree that for everyday items, it's really a choice between popping over the border to the nearest supermarket, usually Alphamega, or shopping at the bigger Lemar supermarket in Lefkosa (or the 2 branches in Kyrenia or the one in Famagusta). Staples like cornflakes are just cents more in the Lemar supermarket than Alphamarket, and British favourites such as Heinz tomato ketchup can actually be cheaper!

So, for my part, I'll treat expeditions to the south much as I used to regard shopping in London; go for the sales or specialist items, but otherwise shop local because it's better for the economy and in the end, usually cheaper and less hassle! And yes, it is amazing what you can get in a suitcase from the UK if you are good at packing; I've known intrepid residents bring LCD screen tvs, dvd players and other electrical items across, no problem. My secret? Wrap items in bubble wrap then inside an old sleeping bag to cushion the impact of Stansted's finest baggage handlers - and pray...


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