In 2005 the central bank and the government in Turkey knocked off a handful of zeros from their currency and today the currency in both Northern Cyprus and Turkey is the yeni, (new), Turkish lira. Exchange rates fluctuate, but on the whole the currency is now very stable. The yeni/new part of the currency’s name is to be removed in 2009, ending the novelty completely, but we thought we’d keep it for posterity!
If you arrive with just sterling, euros or US dollars in North Cyprus you’ll find that most business owners will happily take the currency and give you any change in lira. Some people even try to confuse the situation by paying in about three different currencies – but don’t worry, the business owner won’t mind too much however the person behind you in the queue might!
If you’re travelling to North Cyprus for your holidays, don’t worry about bringing too much local currency with you as you’ll probably get better exchange rates at any of the many banks and exchange offices in the major towns in North Cyprus.
Other payment methods can also be used in North Cyprus such as eurocheques and travellers’ cheques. Most restaurants, hotels and major stores also take credit cards, although you may find that some of the smaller restaurants and shops still do not have this facility and will deal in cash only. And finally, remember that you can also draw money from many of the banks using their cash machine facilities – although check with your bank about the level of charges that you will incur for international withdrawals.