Paphos in the west of Cyprus is where the hills meet the Mediterranean. The European Capital of Culture for 2017 has been attracting tourists for many years. Paphos is rich in Greek mythology. It is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, passion, and beauty. There are many Roman and other ruins around the city as well. But it is not just the ancient archeological sites and history, there are also 27 beaches around Paphos along a coastline of 50 kilometers. Many travel to Cyprus and Paphos for the sea, hills, forests and craggy shoreline.
There are also many activities to enjoy on a vacation. There is yachting, kitesurfing, diving, swimming and sailing. There are several marinas along the coast from where tourists can rent a boat on their winter or summer vacation. For the kids, there are water parks and the Paphos Zoo. Several beaches have water sports. For animal lovers, there are turtle nesting sites. There is also hiking close to the city.
The city of Paphos is divided into two parts – the old city or Ktima and the new city or Kato Paphos. Ktima is elegant. It has many museums and stately colonial homes. Kato Paphos is the waterfront area. It has a harbour, castle, Archeology Park, many souvenir shops, British pubs, and restaurants. There are many olives, palm trees, and tree-lined broad avenues. Tourists stay both in the old and new parts of the city.
Paphos has an international airport, which is connected by Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Arkia, Transavia, and other airlines. But most tourists come to the city through Larnaca Airport. It takes about one and a half hours by road from Larnaca.
Where to Stay in Paphos
The city offers accommodation for everyone. There are large hotels, resorts, apartments, and luxury villas to rent in Paphos. You will find them in the old town, close to the waterfront, and even right on a beach. Villas often offer the best luxuries. Guests who want privacy on their holidays often prefer to stay in these properties.
There are many villas throughout the city. Stay in a central location if you are planning a busy trip. Choose a property in the suburbs for a relaxing vacation.
The cost of renting a villa depends on the location, the number of bedrooms, amenities, and the service. It will also depend on the length of your stay. On average, the cost of renting a villa in Paphos will be between 10 and 12 euros for each square metre. The average price per day for short-term renting for a large villa will be from 150 euros. For long-term renting this will be about 850 euros per month.
Renting a Car in Cyprus
The best way to explore Cyprus is by Self Drive Car Rental. Driving in Cyprus is on the left hand side of the road, the same as the UK , Australia and many other countries. The roads in Cyprus are excellent quality and well sign posted in English language. An international drivers license is required for non-EU drivers licenses. There is a very good highway system connecting all major cities and the roads around the coast are beautiful to explore. You can drive right to the top of Mt Olympus in the Troodos Mountains and be back on the sandy beaches withing an hour or so.
The city and its surrounding areas offer everything – wonderful beaches, nightlife, adventure, and water parks. Many tourists, however, travel to Cyprus on their summer vacation for its ancient and historical sites. In fact, the entire city is a Unesco Heritage Site for its historical heritage. The top sites include,
- The Paphos Fort – Located in the harbor area. Initially, during the reign of the Roman Empire, there was just a watchtower here to protect the harbour. However, the tower was destroyed during the rule of the Venetians. The Turks subsequently captured Cyprus and built a fortress in its place.
- Paphos Mosaics – Many consider these mosaics from the Greco-Roman times to be one of the best in the world. Discovered only in 1962, these mosaics are from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine era. These are floor mosaics that show the daily life of the people and also tell the story of their heroes, gods, and goddesses. They are found in the House of Theseus, House of Dionysus, House of Orpheus, and the House of Aion. House of Dionysus has the mosaic of a mythical sea creature Scylla. House of Orpheus shows Hercules.
- Odeon – An ancient Roman theatre built in the 2nd There used to be 25 halls here once, but tourists can only see 12 now. It is very well maintained though. Theatrical performances and festivals are still held here.
- Forty Columns Fortress – It was erected during the Byzantine time to protect the region from Arab raiders. Also called Saranta Kolones, it is named after the granite columns. There used to be a three-metre thick wall, a moat, and corner towers surrounding this castle. A wooden bridge over the moat provided access. An earthquake in 1222 destroyed the fortress.
- Tombs of the Kings – Just north of Paphos, these tombs go back to the 4th century BC. This was a burial ground for the high officials and aristocrats. Like Egypt, many artifacts and jewellery were also placed in these tombs. Subsequently, they were robbed during the rule of the Romans.
- Temple of Aphrodite – 15 kilometers from Paphos. Just after the temple was erected, Cypriot women were ordered to have sex with at least one unknown man to honour Aphrodite, the goddess of passion and fertility. This ritual was carried out within the temple premises. The practice was discontinued and the temple was destroyed when Christianity arrived on the island.
- Petra Tou Romiou – Also called Aphrodite’s Rock, this is believed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite. It is located very close to Paphos, just south of the international airport. Many tourists come on their vacation to swim around the rock to find love and youthful vigour. The water around the rock is choppy, though. So caution is required.
Beaches in Paphos
The Paphos region has a coastline of 50 kilometers. There are 27 beaches of all sizes here, so both the locals and tourists on their holidays have a lot of choices.
Coral Bay, a Blue Flag beach, is of course the most popular. It is a crescent-shaped beach between two headlands just north of Paphos city. The beach has calm shallow water and golden sand. Swimming is safe. Lifeguards are there between April and October. There are sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach. There are quite a few hotels, villas for rent, restaurants, and cafés. Vacationers will also find changing rooms, toilets, showers, trash cans, and first-aid.
Vrisoudia beach is in the heart of Paphos city. Like Coral Bay, this too is a Blue Flag beach. It is a small 300-meter scenic sandy beach with shallow and calm water. Paphos harbour and Archeology Park are both very close. Tombs of the Kings is also close. The Vrisoudia beach also offers good facilities for tourists.
Latchi beach is a 45-minute road trip from the city. This family-friendly beach is pristine and beautiful, so many locals go there on a day trip. There are special facilities for people with physical disabilities as well. It is in the coastal town of Polis Chrysochous. Latchi is very popular for both swimming and sunbathing. At one end is the Latchi harbour for yachting and sailing trips.
The Paphos area has many other great beaches like the Faros Lighthouse Beach, Geroskipou Municipal Beach, Laourou, and Pachyammos that are worth visiting. Check out the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award for the 10 best beaches for 2021.
Day-Trips From Paphos
Many tourists travel to Cyprus for the attractions of Paphos or to relax and enjoy the sun. Cyprus gets 300 days of sunshine in a year. But there are many wonderful places to visit from the city as well.
- Lara Beach – This beautiful beach is 27 kilometers north of Paphos close to the breathtaking Akamas Peninsula. The beach remains quiet and serene. There are no shops, cafes, restaurants, villas, or hotels nearby, just a camping site. So tourists can have their privacy and a peaceful vacation here.
- Avakas Gorge – A narrow gorge half an hour from the city. The canyon has a 2.5-kilometre trail with unique crevices and rock formations on both sides. See the tall limestone walls, juniper trees, and buckthorn bushes. The centaurea akamantis flower blooms here and only in Cyprus.
- Akamas Peninsula – Spend a day away from the city. There are full-day jeep safaris to the Peninsula at the north-western tip of the island. On this trip, you can see the Avakas Gorge, Lara Beach, Baths of Aphrodite, and the Turtle Conservation Project. There are many scenic hiking trails on the peninsula.
- Troodos and Kykkos – The Troodos Mountains east of Paphos have many scenic villages and monasteries. Tourists can visit the Kykkos Monastery, Chrysorrogiatissa, and the Omodos village. The holy rope that was used to hold the hand of Christ is kept here.
- Laona Valley – The valley has some of the prettiest villages in Cyprus like Inia, Kato Akourdalia, Kathikas and Droushia. These villages have many wineries and traditional tavernas.
- Choirokoitia – The small hilly village of Choirokoitia is an hour’s drive from Paphos. It is famous for traditional basket weaving, which is a handicraft of the island. Visitors can see the weaving and even join a workshop.
There are many reasons for visiting Cyprus and Paphos. A vacation to this Mediterranean island can be packed with trips to the hills, beaches, food, culture, history, and seeing the many ancient sites. Cyprus is good for activity holidays too. There is sailing, diving, snorkeling, hiking, and even skiing during the winter. It can also be a perfect getaway for a laid-back and relaxing vacation