Paphos (or Pafos), a city rich in history & culture, is a gem of Western Cyprus. There is archaeological evidence supporting the city’s existence from the Neolithic period. Believed to be the birthplace of Greek Goddess of love and beauty ‘Aphrodite’, Paphos proudly boasts the remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs that belong to Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. A site with such remarkable architectural and historic value is an ornament to the city and thus has been included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites as a natural and cultural treasure. Paphos, roughly divided into Old Paphos and New Paphos, is also famous for its sun-kissed, white sand beaches. The city was valued as a major port and the capital of Cyprus during Roman times. Later, when the British colonized the island, the city started losing its value, especially after Nicosia gained importance. Today, this small harbour has slowly and steadily, emerged as an attractive tourist destination.
Top 10 Paphos Landmarks
Located on the edge of Paphos harbour, Paphos castle is one of the most famous landmarks of the city. A number of archaeologists have taken an interest in excavating and investigating the castle as it dates back to the Roman era. The Byzantine fort, originally built to protect the harbour was destroyed because of an earthquake in 1222. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13 th century and since then has seen a few more reconstructions till date. It currently serves as a background for the annual open-air Paphos cultural festival, which takes place in September.
Aphrodite’s Rock – Petra Tou Romiou (Birthplace of Aphrodite)
Named after the Greek Goddess of love and beauty; Aphrodite, the rock located between Limassol and Paphos is believed to be sacred. Legend says that this is the point where Aphrodite emerged from the sea in a surge of amazing sea foam in 1200 BC. She herself chose this rock as the ideal location to begin her life as a mortal.
Tombs of the Kings
Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolis burial ground situated about two kilometres north-west of Paphos harbour in Cyprus. Many of these underground tombs that date back to the 4th century BCE, are sculpted out of solid rock. Believed to be the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats and high officials, some of the tombs have frescoed walls and Doric columns. The tombs are listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their archaeological magnificence.
Paphos Archaeological Park
Paphos archaeological Park is famous for sites and monuments that date back from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. However, most of the remains in the park date to the Roman era. Spectacular mosaic floors of four Roman villas are the highlight of Paphos Archaeological Park.
Situated in close proximity of Odeon, Paphos lighthouse is a golden point of the city as it can be seen from any corner of Paphos. If you are fit enough to climb the staircases successfully, the top of this lighthouse offers you an opportunity to catch panoramic, magnificent glimpses of Paphos. Once you reach to the top of this lighthouse, a look at the historic and scenic city of Paphos makes your visit worth a treasure.
Akamas Peninsula, Paphos
The most beautiful location on the entire island, the Akamas Peninsula is located to the west of Cyprus. The peninsula covers approximately an area of 230 square kilometres surrounded by mountains and densely wooded, almost inaccessible forests. These forests incrude around 530 plant species endemic to Cyprus and hence enjoy a great biodiversity. Because of its ecological significance, the Akamas peninsula is not only a tourist attraction, but also of great interest for botanists from all over the world.
Ayios Neophytos Monastery
The historic Ayios Neophytos monastery takes you back to the ancient life of Cypriot hermit and writer, Neophytos, who carved the monastery out of mountain rock in the year 1159. Today, home to only a handful of monks and a museum, the monastery is famous for the grottoes dating back to the Byzantine Empire. Located just 20 minutes from the busy Paphos town centre the monastery holds a two-day religious fair in January to sell Cypriot arts & crafts.
Agia Solomoni Church
Originally, a Christian catacomb, Ayia Solomoni Church was carved underground out of limestone rock. Home to several 12th century frescoes, the church also houses some of the original graves that date back to the Hellenistic period. The remains of the old frescoes from the 12th century and some holy water are the main attractions of Ayia Solomoni Church.
Considered as the richest museum of Cyprus, Ethnographical Museum was known as the Folk Art Museum until 1971. It holds a collection of woodcarvings, jewellery, tapestries, woven goods, pottery, embroidery, and national costumes from the 19th and 20th centuries. Today it is famous among tourists, especially among history and art lovers as an excellent place that introduces the lives of the people from the prehistoric era.
The Mosaics of Paphos
Famous as the finest mosaic in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Paphos Mosaics are located beside the harbour. The mosaics seen in the Villa of Dionysos, Orpheus and Aion, and the Villa of Theseus depict compositions from Greek mythology. They are made from small cubes of marble and stone called tesserae. Additionally, glass paste was used to develop the range of colours.
Walking Tours/Town Walks
Paphos town walk, also known as strolling around Ktima can be enjoyed every Tuesday free. Organized by Paphos municipality in collaboration with CTO and the Cyprus Tourist Guides Association, the tour takes tourists to various archaeological sites dating back to the Chalcolithic, early Bronze Age and to the present. Avail this tour, as its goal is to introduce tourists to Ktima and the evolution of its lifestyle from the late Byzantine and Medieval times until today. It offers a chance to see a variety of UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites such as the Mosaics, the Tombs of the Kings and the Temple of Aphrodite. This town walk is a great opportunity to know better local life, year-round atmosphere in Paphos and its continual cultural development.
Address: 3, Gladstonos Street, 8106 Paphos
Tel.: +357 26 932 841
Paphos Aphrodite Festival
Paphos Aphrodite Festival aims to promote Paphos as an international centre of high profile cultural events. Planned by Company Pafos Aphrodite Festival Cyprus (P.A.F.C), the festival welcomes music fanatics to enjoy opera performances and take a deep dive in the world of music. Organized at the Medieval Castle Square in Paphos, the festival invites world famous, internationally acclaimed companies to perform at the festival during the first weekend of September.
Location: Paphos Medieval Castle Square, Kato Paphos
Tel.: +357 26 822 218
Aphrodite Water Park
Set within 35,000 square meters of natural landscaped grounds, the park is situated at the far eastern end of the Kato Paphos coastal road. A day out at the Aphrodite Water Park is a great way to spend quality time with a family. The place offers entertainment and appeal to every generation. Packed with a variety of attractions, the park has a snacks bar and a varied selection of rides among which the rafting ride is the biggest family rafting ride in Europe. Its location is ideal for tourists as it is situated about 300 meters inland from the Cypria Maris, Paphian, and Pioneer and Phaethon hotels. A large free car park in front of the water park adds up to the visitors’ convenience. Ideal months to visit are between May and October.
Location: Tourist Area, Off Poseidonos Avenue, Kato Paphos
Opening Times: May – June: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
July – August: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
September – October: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tel.: +357 26 913 638
Situated near Agios Georgios/Coral Bay Pafos Zoo is set in a natural setting with lakes, ponds and gardens. It is unique in Cyprus that it houses the third largest bird collection in Europe. The zoo is open to the public and has a tremendous variety of birds and animals from around the world. From ponies, giraffes, monkeys, tortoises and exotic parrots to emus, ostriches and swans, this park also have a children’s farm where children can interact with cute bunny rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks and goats. The amphitheatre of the zoo daily arranges acrobatic owl and parrot shows with educational programs in the intervals. Children’s birthday parties can be arranged at this park, as it is open all year round from 9 am until the sunset, including Christmas day.
Opening Times: Winter season 1st October -31st March: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Summer season 1st April -30 September: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tel.: +357 26 813 852
Diving In Paphos
Paphos is an excellent choice for a diving holiday. Home to thousands of excellent diving spots such as underwater cliffs, valleys, coral colonies, and ancient shipwrecks, the city is surrounded by crystal clear seawater. Absence of dangerous underwater currents in the seas near Paphos is ideal for taking deep dives. The city offers well established diving schools equipped with fully qualified instructors to welcome the novice divers to plunge into the seas near Paphos. Any time of the year is good for diving in seas near Paphos.
Paphos Karting Centre
Paphos Karting Centre is located at just 5 minutes walk from Paphos harbour. From Limassol, it takes only 35 minutes to reach this centre famous go karting centre. The floodlit track is the only bridge and tunnel track and one of the biggest karting tracks in Europe. Booking in advance is not needed to enjoy the thrilling tracks at Paphos Karting Centre. The centre also provides a snacks bar, which offers food & drinks, a cafe, restroom etc.
Location: 40 Konstantinou Palaiologou, Riverside Block 2, 8201 Geroskipou
Opening Times: November to February, Daily, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
March to May, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
June to October, 9:00 am to 11:00 pm
Tel.: +357 26 913 435
Akamas Jeep Safari
Paphos holidays are incomplete without a jeep safari to the Akamas Peninsula, a nature preserve and the most scenic corner of the island. Home to 168 species of birds, 12 mammals, 20 reptiles and 16 butterflies, this magical and unexplored countryside unfolds the beautiful landscapes and coastal area; indeed a jewel in the southern crown of Cyprus. By availing this safari, tourists can visit historic spots such as birthplace of Aphrodite, Avakas Gorge, Lara Bay, Baths of Aphrodite and Polis etc, to add more.
Old Venetian Camel Trail
The camel trail is one of Paphos’ most adventurous activities. The Old Venetian Camel Trail takes the trailers to the remote parts of the island while passing through the south of Chryssorogiatissa Monastery. The adventurous trip by jeep or enduro bike lasts for about half a day, but is a treasure to cherish. The route is spotted with three ancient bridges: Kelephos, Elea and Roudias further west. Legends say that these bridges were built to enable pack animals, especially camels, to cross the river and trade copper from the Troodos mines to Paphos.
Paphos Byzantine Museum
Located in a mediaeval fort near Paphos harbour area, Paphos Byzantine Museum is one of the best museums to show off the city’s beauty and history. The museum holds an interesting collection of artefacts from the Byzantine era, including icons dating back from the 12th to the 18th century. The other museums such as the museum of St. Neophytos Monastery, the Byzantine Museum of Arsinoe, and the Omodos museum feature ecclesiastical treasures including icons, frescoes, manuscripts, woodcarvings, gold and silver covered gospels, and embroideries among which many artefacts trace back to the 7th and 8th century.