The city of Paphos, located on the west side of Cyprus, is a perfect holiday destination for everyone – whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, a memorable adventure or simply a break away rich with history and culture – and plenty of sunshine. Sophie Brannon explores
Paphos in Cyprus is believed to be the birthplace of the Greek Goddess of love and beauty ‘Aphrodite’, and this small harbour has grown into a highly attractive holiday destination. Never failing to give visitors something to do – there’s with endless possibilities during the day and in the evening to keep you entertained.
Aphrodite’s Rock, the legendary birthplace of Venus, or Aphrodite © Stav
Be a culture vulture…
Being one of UNESCO’s world culture heritage sites, Paphos has no shortage of history and culture to delve into. A highlight is two nature trails, the Aphrodite and Adonis trail, which take around 3-4 hours to complete and take in the historic Baths of Aphrodite (one of Paphos’ most historic sites), as well as various other archaeological sites such as the Agia Solomonis Catacombs – the final resting place of seven local Machabee Brothers who were buried in this tomb around 2,200 years ago and of course the Tomb of the Kings. The Tomb of the Kings dates back to 4th century BC and although no actual kings were buried here, many of Paphos’ important people’s remains are contained within this tomb. In addition to this there is also the Paphos Fort dating back to the 13th century and is located at the end of the harbour. It is now venue for the Paphos Aphrodite Festival – an annual opera is held here in the summer.
You can wander around freely with just a small admission price (if any) and enjoy all of these historical spectacles, and you will not be wondering why Paphos is one of the best chosen cultural heritage sites in the world.
Other things to do…
If culture and heritage doesn’t quite take your fancy, and going to the beach isn’t your idea of fun there are plenty of other things to do in Paphos.
Ride in Cyprus is rated highly by previous visitors, especially those looking for a bit of adventure on their holiday. The horseback riding stables overlook Paphos forest where you can ride beautiful horses across the varied countryside in and around Paphos. Choose from sunset rides in the summer and longer treks in the spring and autumn.
There’s also Elea Golf Course – an 18-hole course suitable for beginner and experienced golfers. The award-winning food on offer is an added reason to go, choose from breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Make a day of it…
- Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station
- Church of Agia Kyriaki and post St. Paul
- Paphos Zoo
- Super Aphrodite Waterpark
- Paphos Karting Centre
- 6D Cinema
- Looney Land (for the little ones)
Cyprus is known for its year round sunshine. Paphos benefits from the Mediterranean climate of long hot summers and short mild winters. Check out our 14-day forecast, annual averages and next month’s averages.
Hit the beach…
With a total of 27 beaches (with 12 of these having been given the blue flag award, which acts as a guarantee to tourists that the blue flag beaches is one of the best in the world), Paphos is perfect for swimming, diving or snorkelling all year round. Find out more about blue flag beaches here.
These beaches range in size and surfaces, with some beaches such as the Baths of Aphrodite beach being a pebble beach, Latchi beach is long and sandy and between Lara and Cape Arnaoutis there are lots of small rocky and sandy beaches. One of the beaches near Paphos International Airport is unspoilt and protected as there have been many sightings of turtle nests.
Coral Bay beach, one of the beaches open to the public, is known for its wide range of water sports, suitable for anyone, from the extreme adrenaline seekers, to those who simply want a quiet fishing trip.
These water sports include: parasailing, jet-skiing, banana boat, fly fish, crazy shark, pedal boats, boat trips and many others. For more information visit Coral Bay and Coral Beach water sports and diving school’s official website.
Almost every cuisine is catered for in Paphos including a wide range of options for vegetarians and vegans. But one of the best ways to experience all types of Cypriot food would be to take on a Meze. This selection of local dishes compromises of delicious dips like tzatziki, humus and taramasalata (trust me, the dips you can buy in your local supermarkets give poor justification to the explosions of flavour that you’ll get when you try one of these authentic dips prepared for you in its homeland). A Meze also includes varieties of vegetables, meat dishes like souvlakia (Cypriot kebab), loukanika (spicy sausage), different meat stews like stifado (beef), afelia (pork) and kleftiko (lamb). National favourites such as calamari, vine leaves and halloumi (speciality grilled cheese) are always worth a taste.
Watch out though: a Meze can include around 30 dishes and they will keep on coming until you beg the chef to stop! A typical Meze will cost around €15 – €20 depending on the restaurant.
The local beer in Paphos is Keo, and can cost from around €2.50. It is a light straw colour with a thick head, and has been compared to a pilsner in taste.
The local wines include Agios Onoufrios (dry red) which has been widely regarded as value for money and Vasilikon (dry white) which has a fruity aroma of peach and apricot. Both can be bought from local stores for around €5 a bottle.
For night owls…
If you’re looking to head out after a day of lying by the pool, going to the beach or exploring the city and all of its wonders, Paphos’ Bar Street is the place to be. Known by the locals as ‘Agiou Antoniou’, the strip is not unlike something you may find in Ayia Napa or Zante – just simply smaller and quieter.
The strip doesn’t usually get busy until around 8/9pm but when it does, you’ll embrace the atmosphere with open arms. There are lots of bars and clubs on the strip that will suit everyone’s taste including:
Flairs – a dance club and bar popular with a young crowd – who like to drink…
Boogies – a karaoke bar which offers a fun night out with cheap drinks and is one of the few bars that stays open until 4am on week nights.
Splash – a slightly different style of club as it has a swimming pool right in the centre. Splash often holds pool and foam parties. Check out their Facebook page if you fancy a drink n’ dip.
Linekers Bar – The only club on the strip that offers weekly boat parties called Booze Cruises. They also hold some of the biggest party’s at the end of the season with 2014’s closing party including artists Romeo, Lisa Maffia, Cameo and Ironik. Check out their Facebook page for more info.
There are also many bars, cafes, clubs and pubs to be discovered across the sea front and city centre including ‘Different’, ‘Namaste Live Music Bar’, ‘Lighthouse Beach Bar’, ‘The Rose Pub’ and ‘Dodici’ club.
Lay your head…
There always comes a time when a budget holiday comes in handy and Paphos can cater for just that. With hotels and apartment complexes such as Damon hotel apartments, Crystallo apartments, Nereus hotel and Roman Boutique Hotel, all of your needs can be catered for at the price you can afford. Ranging from room only to all inclusive, you will never be left without a bed when visiting Paphos. Click here for traveller’s reviews.
A holiday that will be determined to give you the ancient Cypriot tradition of genuine hospitality. Anything you want and need can be found in Paphos without having to spend more than you can afford. Hotels and complexes such as Kefalos Beach Tourist Village and Basilica Holiday Resort will be there to give you the holiday experience you have been looking for.
Go on, you know you want to. Paphos is ideal for a splurge holiday with its 5* resorts, top beaches and almost the whole of Paphos being named as one of UNESCO’s world culture heritage sites. With accommodation such as Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites Hotel, Annabelle Hotel and InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel with their luxurious rooms and stunning facilities, your splurge in Cyprus is not one you’re likely to forget.