According to the myth Paphos is the son that the goddess Aphrodite bore, and it is for this reason that the city is founded under the patronage of Aphrodite. The area was first inhabited by the cult of Aphrodite. Architectural remains of the Hellenistic and Roman period still exist, as Paphos grew to become an important city during the pre-Christian time. Under Greek rule Paphos enjoyed big economic growth, yet soon the Romans became the main power in the Mediterranean and the Greeks submitted under their control. In 46 AD Saint Paul visited the island and converted the governor. During the Middle Ages the Byzantines protected Paphos from foreign invaders.
The capital of Cyprus was moved to Salamis, and was an important place for many of the soldiers of Richard the Lionheart’s Third Crusade. The Crusaders left Cyprus, then the Byzantine ruling house moved on, and in this time the Venetians, Turks, and British all took turns to rule. All these changes of power left Paphos in decline. Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960 and the country was allowed to join the League of Nations. The pro-Greece Cypriot government took control, sparking an invasion by Turkey in 1974 that split the island indefinitely. Paphos, however, benefitted from the invasion as two competing resort towns became part of Turkish control, and the Greek-Cypriot government invested in Paphos as a business centre and tourist destination.
Visitors who want to get a glimpse into the Cyprus kingdoms of the past should go to this famous burial ground. These underground chambers date back to the 3rd century BC and are carved out of the area’s rock. Though the tombs resemble something from Egyptian tradition, they actually reflect the architecture that was common in Cyprus at the time. Make sure to bring your walking shoes so that you are ready to explore all of the chambers and pillar halls. One mosaic that is popular among visitors shows King Icarios of Athens offering shepherds the chance to get drunk.
Art lovers should definitely check out these historic mosaics dating back to the 3rd century. These mosaics are housed in buildings that are actually ancient Roman villas, and many of them represent Greek gods such as Apollo, making them a fascinating blend of two historic cultures. The mosaics were originally created for the dining rooms of the Roman upper classes, but today tourists can come for a small fee and see them daily. One of the most popular mosaics depicts the Greek god Dionysus drinking wine from a bowl.
This historical house is dedicated to the Greek god of eternity, Aion, and is yet another of Paphos’ must-see destinations. The most attractive element of the house is a five-panelled mosaic with Aion positioned as if posing for a contest. The Villa of Theseus and the House of Orpheus are two other historic houses that help tourists understand much of the relationship ancient Cypriots had with their gods. The House of Orpheus was actually recently excavated, and features coloured mosaics that represent Heracles and the Nemean lion.
Just north of these intriguing houses and their mosaics lies the Odeon amphitheatre. This amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century and is still used to this day. Both musical and theatrical performances occur in front of an audience of 1,250 people. Along the amphitheatre, visitors can also walk up to a lighthouse with a lookout point towards the Akamas Peninsula.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Take a plunge into pristine waters at this scuba-training centre. Offering lessons, dives and children's diving, this scuba centre is great for any adventure lover.
Enjoy the sunshine at this family friendly water park featuring the largest family rafting attraction in Europe.
Investigate history at this site of ancient ruins. Made completely of limestone, this ancient entertainment arena is still in use today.
Spend a day with the family viewing a variety of fish, including both freshwater and saltwater species. For a toothy surprise, visit the crocodile exhibit.
Said to be the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, this rock is a favourite of visitors due to its stunning backdrop.
Known as a key piece of the love story of Aphrodite and Adonis, this landmark is a must-see for its crystal blue waters.
This ancient fort offers stunning views of the surrounding areas. Located on the Kato Paphos Harbour, this site is made of large stones.
This stunning site is actually not a tomb of any kings, but the burial site of 100 aristocrats. The location is the site of ongoing archaeological findings.
Built in the 13th century, this landmark includes 40 impressive columns made of granite. This is also the site of the ruins of an ancient castle built in the seventh century.
This facility offers close encounters with exotic favourites, such as giraffes, toucans, and snakes.
With the average high for the year resting at a pleasant 24Â°C, the Mediterranean climate makes the Paphos region comfortable enough for year-round travel. The lowest temperatures of the year occur in February, at an average low of 8Â°C. The best months to visit are April, May, September, or October, when temperatures are mild and weather activity is low. The most rainfall occurs between November and March, and little to no rain falls between June and August. Avoiding the summer months of June to August may be best if you want to stay away from drought conditions and high humidity.
This tasty eatery offers traditional Cypriot meals, such as Stifado, Fish Meze, and Mousakka, as well as other Mediterranean-inspired specialties.
Browse through local produce, seafood, handbags, and souvenirs at this market located in the old town region of the city.
Shoot a few rounds of pool, and watch sports at this local night-time hotspot to wind down after a busy day of sightseeing.
This ranch offers horseback riding adventures to guests. Experienced riders can even rent horses for use outside of the ranch.
Find American and Italian cuisine at this eclectic eatery, known for its loud and boisterous atmosphere.
Guests who are looking for one of the finest of the city’s lodgings should check in to the Alexander the Great Beach Hotel. Located alone on a Blue Flag sandy beach and only walking distance from the Paphos harbour, the hotel was recently renovated, providing guests with modern comforts and amenities with a touch of elegance and old-world ambience.
Another great resort location is the Riu Cypria Resort Hotel. Complete with an outdoor pool, swim-up bar, steam room, sauna, and health club with fitness equipment, this hotel has all the interactive amenities that a guest could need. Wireless internet is available throughout and the parking is complementary. The hotel also has a private beach and beauty salon.
The Elysium Beach Resort Hotel has incredible accommodation and flawless service, making it a favourite with guests. This new age hotel prima donna is also conveniently located in the centre of Paphos with the Tomb of the Kings serving as a next door neighbour. Guests will enjoy the ultra large hotel rooms, and spectacular amenities like the pool, the restaurant, and the health club.
A quaint and affordable hotel is the Akteon Village Hotel. A beautiful property with jacuzzi, sauna, pool and tennis courts, this hotel has great comfort and entertainment and is perfect for those bringing the little ones. Only walking distance from central Paphos, this spot is the perfect paradise for relaxation.
So browse for a hotel in Paphos and start planning your itinerary now!
A public bus can get you from Paphos Airport to the city centre. It is a relatively new service, and the timetables are designed according to the flight programs so that passengers do not have to wait at the airport. If there is a wait, taxi services are available. You could also consider car hire in Paphos, for access to your own transportation during your stay.
The Paphos transportation system may not be as varied as those of other large cities in Europe but they do maintain a bus system that runs well, with various lines inside the city and outside in the rural areas. Most of Cyprus runs on a combination of inter-urban public bus services, urban buses, and rural buses. Bus routes travel within the cities and suburbs. One-way tickets are around €1 for all routes. National bus lines cost around €10.
Taxis are also in high demand, as well as a new ferry service between Greece and Cyprus. Intercity taxi services are four to eight-seat minibuses that travel between different small towns on the island. Urban taxis provide 24-hour service, and can be flagged down on the street, but it is advised to reserve them in advance. Ferries run to nearby Limassol port, and from there you can take a taxi to Paphos.
Fat Mama’s (47 Tombs of the Kings Avenue) is the kind of restaurant that will suit a variety of tastes—perfect for those travelling with their families or in groups. The price is reasonable, and the two distinct menus keep everyone happy. It is a great place to go for special occasions and celebrations, as diners will be entertained by choreographed dances for birthdays and weddings. The restaurant is always full of people, so go early to get a seat. The fillet steak and chocolate cake are highly recommended.
Diners will enjoy a fusion of Italian and French cuisine at the Colosseum Ristorante (101 Danaes Street, Olympian Complex), the product of Chef Nicos’ years of travelling and subsequent culinary exploration. The result is a scrumptious mix of tasty pastas, stuffed mushrooms dishes, large steaks, and enticing seafood platters. Throw in an attractive wine list and this place has it all.
Try typical Mediterranean treats at the Sienna Restaurant (Chlorakas Avenue, Parareti 3 Court, Shop 16–17). This restaurant offers fine dining for couples, and also accommodates larger families. Parents looking to enjoy a quiet dinner can have their children amuse themselves in the designated play area. Menu favourites include anything pasta, Sienna chicken, and the sirloin steak.
Tex Restaurant (22 Iasonos Street) features standard fare like grilled steaks, fish and chicken platters, and a wide array of starters, as well as some delicious dessert options. One recommended sweet is the halva ice cream with pistachio nuts and Macedonian halva.
Guests looking for relaxation and beauty can find it just 40 kilometres north of Paphos at the Baths of Aphrodite. As the myth goes, Aphrodite used to bathe in the natural grotto close by underneath a fig tree, and tradition says that those who bathe in the waters will be given eternal youth. Visitors might be disappointed to learn that bathing is not permitted, but the baths do have a walking trail that lead guests to some of the island’s best views.
Adventurous tourists who want to see something beyond Paphos’ ancient history can rent jeeps to explore the nearby Troodos Mountains. Nature lovers will enjoy the mountains’ many waterfalls, cool creeks, and distinct ecology. History buffs will not be bored, however, as they can spend time in the various Byzantine churches, monasteries, and villages where local foods, handcrafts, and other artefacts from the region are sold.
Head over and visit the medieval castle atop the mountain overlooking the harbour in Paphos to enjoy the early morning hours of the day. With great views of the promenade and busy port, this may be the best spot in the entire city to get a photo. The castle also has unique historical importance for those wanting a glimpse into Paphos’ past so marked by conflict. Sunrise offers the best opportunity to shoot a photo because the castle walls project a fire-red casting upon the light-green water.
About 12 kilometres north of Paphos, Coral Bay might just be the island’s most beautiful beach cove, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The bay has a natural beach that extends over 600 metres in a crescent moon shape. Travellers will enjoy the soft, white sand, great swimming, and opportunities to catch some rays of sun. The water around the bay is not too deep, making it great for kids. Adults can enjoy water sports like water-skiing, banana boats, jet skis, and windsurfing.
Paphos has no compulsory vaccinations, and water quality is acceptable, yet because of the amount of limestone in the region it should be drunk with caution. Bottled water is a safer option in the summer. Some popular brands include Dalia, Pedoula, Al Vera and Montano.
The health infrastructure of Paphos is of extremely good quality. The medical equipment and medical staff are good, and most cases can be treated locally.
In the case of an emergency, visitors should call 112. Some good clinics include Makarios Hospital III on telephone number (02) 22 49 36 00, The General Hospital on (02) 22 45 11 11 and the Evangelistria Medical Centre on (02) 22 67 15 80.
Criminal assaults are infrequent, although petty crime is increasing, so you are advised not to walk alone at night, or with jewellery or other attractive objects that catch attention. The country has had political tensions within the last 30 years, as Turkey controls the north section and the Republic of Cyprus controls the south. Try to avoid speaking on the subject of the Turkish Republic. It’s recommended that you carry photocopies of travel documents in case the originals are lost or stolen. Remember to drive on the left, and do not leave the scene of an accident without waiting for the police. The possession and consumption of drugs are severely punished. Photos of military sites on the Turkish side are prohibited.