Things to do in Paphos

Paphos, an ancient city in western Cyprus, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty for visitors seeking a memorable experience. As the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasts archaeological wonders like the Tombs of the Kings, the Paphos Archaeological Park, and the iconic Aphrodite’s Rock.

Renowned for its mild climate and blue flag beaches such as Coral Bay, Paphos invites you to unwind on its predominantly rocky and pebbly shores.

Explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, indulge in Cypriot cuisine at establishments like MERAKI MARKET CAFÉ, and immerse yourself in nature’s splendour at the Akamas Peninsula. With a wide array of things to do in Paphos, from uncovering Roman mosaics in the old town to enjoying the thrills of the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark, this European Capital of Culture for 2017 promises an unforgettable journey.

1. Explore the Historic Sites

Paphos boasts a rich tapestry of archaeological wonders that transport visitors through the annals of history. The Paphos Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to the region’s storied past. Here, you can marvel at the spectacular mosaic floors of four Roman villas, each a masterpiece of intricate artistry and storytelling through vibrant colours and intricate designs.

The Tombs of the Kings

Another UNESCO-listed gem, the Tombs of the Kings, is a vast necropolis that houses underground tombs carved from solid rock, dating back to the 4th century BCE. These elaborate burial sites, believed to be the final resting places of Pathetic aristocrats and high-ranking officials, feature frescoed walls and Doric columns, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient funerary practices.

Aphrodite's Rock and Paphos Fort

  1. Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Roumiou), the legendary birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, is a must-visit site. This iconic rock formation, nestled between Limassol and Paphos, is steeped in mythology and offers breathtaking coastal views.
  2. The Paphos Fort (Paphos Castle), a historic landmark perched on the edge of Paphos harbour, has stood as a sentinel for centuries. Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, it has undergone reconstructions over time and now serves as a picturesque backdrop for the annual Paphos cultural festival.

Mosaics and Sacred Sites

Site Description
Paphos Mosaics Considered the finest mosaics in the Eastern Mediterranean, these intricate works of art dating back to the 2nd century AD have been discovered in various Roman villas near the harbour.
Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church Constructed around 1500 AD on the site of an earlier church, this Byzantine cathedral in Kato Paphos served as the region’s religious hub after the Turkish invasion of 1570.
Saint Paul’s Pillar A sacred spot where legend says St. Paul was tied to a pillar and flogged 39 times during his visit to Paphos in 45 AD to convert the people to Christianity.
Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery Dating back to the 12th century, this monastery is devoted to ‘Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate’ and houses holy books, sacred objects, and artefacts.
From the Adonis Baths Waterfalls, believed to be the love nest of Aphrodite and Adonis in ancient times, to the Agios Neophytos Monastery, a historic monastery carved out of mountain rock in 1159 by the Cypriot hermit and writer Neophytos, Paphos offers a captivating journey through its rich historical and cultural heritage.

2. Unwind at the Beaches

Paphos is renowned for its stunning coastline, boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus. With its longest stretch of shoreline, the region offers a wealth of options for beach lovers to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun.

Blue Flag Beaches

Many of Paphos’ beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status, a testament to their pristine waters and excellent amenities. These beaches provide a safe and clean environment for visitors to enjoy a wide range of water activities.

Coral Bay

Nestled in the Peyia region, Coral Bay is a horseshoe-shaped cove that captivates with its golden sands and calm, shallow waters. This family-friendly beach offers a range of facilities, including sunbeds, restaurants, and cafes, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing day by the sea.

Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Birth Beach)

Steeped in Greek mythology, Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Birth Beach, is a must-visit destination. This pebbly beach is renowned for its picturesque rock formation, where, according to legend, the goddess Aphrodite rose from the sea. While the waters can be rough at times, the breathtaking scenery and stunning sunsets make it a truly enchanting experience.

Hidden Gems

  1. Blue Lagoon: A vast, calm, and clear teal-coloured pool that can only be reached by 4WD or boat, offering a secluded and serene escape.
  2. Lara Bay: A remote, untouched beach that provides an ideal habitat for nesting loggerhead and green turtles from May to August, making it a unique and eco-friendly destination.
  3. Polis: An unspoiled sandy beach with a relaxing, ‘escape-it-all’ vibe, located in the small port town of Polis on the north coast.
Beach Highlights
Alykes Beach Easily accessible beach right in Paphos town, close to tourist accommodations, with sunbeds and a beach club.
Latchi Unique panoramic view where the mountains meet the sea, with facilities like umbrellas, bars, and restaurants.
Faros Peaceful beach with natural surroundings, walking trails, and facilities like restaurants, changing rooms, and convenience stores.
Whether you seek a lively beach atmosphere, a secluded cove, or a turtle conservation site, Paphos offers a diverse range of options to unwind and embrace the natural beauty of its coastline.

3. Indulge in Local Cuisine - MERAKI MARKET CAFÉ

A Vegan Haven in Paphos

Meraki Market Café is a plant-based paradise nestled in the heart of Paphos, offering a delectable array of vegan delights. This cosy establishment has become a beloved haven for health-conscious foodies and environmentally-aware travellers alike.

  1. Culinary Delights: From hearty burgers and gyros to fluffy pancakes and decadent desserts, Meraki Market Café showcases the versatility and creativity of vegan cuisine. Their menu features an extensive selection of salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and freshly squeezed juices, catering to diverse dietary preferences and taste buds.
  2. Eco-Friendly Ethos: Beyond tantalising plant-based fare, the café embraces an eco-friendly philosophy. Visitors can find a range of sustainable products, such as chewing gum, vegetable bags, and toothbrushes, making it easier to incorporate eco-conscious choices into daily life.
  3. Welcoming Ambiance: With both indoor and outdoor seating areas, Meraki Market Café provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests to savour their meals. The café is wheelchair accessible, accepts credit cards, and offers complimentary Wi-Fi, ensuring a comfortable and convenient dining experience.

Whether you’re a dedicated vegan, a curious foodie, or simply seeking a delicious and health-conscious dining experience, Meraki Market Café promises to delight your senses and introduce you to the vibrant world of plant-based cuisine in Paphos.

4. Immerse in Nature's Beauty

Beyond Paphos’ rich historical tapestry and sun-drenched beaches lies a realm of natural splendour, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the island’s untamed beauty. From lush botanical gardens to rugged wilderness preserves, this region offers a captivating escape into the heart of Cyprus’ diverse landscapes.

Loutra tis Afroditis (Aphrodite's Baths)

  1. Nestled near the village of Polis Chrysochous, Loutra tis Afroditis is a verdant oasis steeped in mythology. According to legend, this enchanting spot, with its small pond and lush botanic garden, was the bathing place of the goddess Aphrodite herself.
  2. Visitors can meander along the tranquil nature trails, admiring the vibrant flora and fauna, or simply bask in the serene ambiance of this mythical sanctuary.

The Akamas Peninsula

Hailed as the jewel of Cyprus’ natural wonders, the Akamas Peninsula is a vast, unspoiled wilderness that beckons adventurous souls. As the island’s largest national park, this untamed expanse boasts a unique ecosystem teeming with rare plant and animal species.

  1. Sandy Beaches and Gorges: From secluded coves where endangered turtles lay their eggs to the awe-inspiring Avakas Gorge, a deep chasm carved into the rugged terrain, the Akamas Peninsula offers a wealth of natural treasures to explore.
  2. Hiking and Eco-Adventures: With its network of hiking trails, the peninsula invites visitors to embark on exhilarating treks, uncovering hidden gems and basking in breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Attraction Description
Lara Bay A remote, pristine beach that serves as a protected nesting ground for loggerhead and green turtles, offering a unique eco-tourism experience.
Baths of Aphrodite A picturesque grotto where, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Aphrodite bathed, surrounded by lush greenery and crystal-clear waters.
Pyrgos Tillirias A charming village nestled in the forested mountains, offering a glimpse into traditional Cypriot life and access to secluded beaches.

Mountainous Wonders

The rugged mountains of Paphos divide the region into distinct areas, each boasting its own unique natural attractions. From the Stavros tis Psokas forest station, where visitors can spot the native Cypriot wild sheep (agrino) and explore traditional villages and wineries, to the cascading Adonis Baths waterfalls, perched above Paphos, the region’s mountainous landscapes offer a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Dotted throughout these scenic highlands are quaint villages, ancient monasteries, and historic churches, inviting travellers to delve into the island’s rich cultural heritage while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.

Whether you seek solitude amidst unspoiled wilderness, thrilling eco-adventures, or a chance to connect with Cyprus’ mythological roots, Paphos promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature’s embrace.

Whether it’s your first visit or a return to rediscover its charms, Paphos stands ready to enchant and inspire, offering a seamless blend of past and present, tradition and modernity. So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and prepare for a journey that will leave you enriched and longing to come back. Paphos is not just a travel destination; it’s a vivid chapter in the story of Cyprus, waiting to be part of your own travel story.