Visiting Paphos - What to See and Do
(Paphos International Airport PFO, Cyprus)
Set in the south-western corner of Cyprus
, the charming town of Paphos
has the perfect balance of ancient Cypriot history and modern resort amenities. It is a bit remote, but it has an airport all its own to make travel quick and easy from other cities on Cyprus and directly from many cities in Europe
The entire town centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which alludes to the rich quantity of history and style awaiting visitors. Trendy little art galleries, boutiques and cafés dot the old town centre, while just outside the town, the landscape transforms into olive groves and vineyards.
Add to that a solid selection of classic Mediterranean beaches and there's little need to even leave Paphos. However, it is certainly worth renting a car for a day or two, just to explore the amazing countryside and the dozens of little traditional Cypriot villages situated within easy striking distance of Paphos.
Ten things you must do in Paphos
- The Roman-era mosaics at the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park are reason enough to visit this top historic attraction. They are among the world's finest, worthy of their UNESCO World Heritage status. This site also has a lovely castle and amphitheatre, and is home to the Saranda Kolones fortress. Summertime concerts outdoors often take place here.
- The beaches at Paphos are one of the highlights of any visit, and there are several to choose from. Vrisoudia, Municipal, Pachyammos and the quiet Alikes Beach are tops for families, due to their proximity to Paphos. Head a little up the coast and the wind surfing and water sports are excellent at Coral Bay and Laourou.
- The Tombs of the Kings is another top historic attraction just outside Paphos. These amazing royal tombs were carved into the rock caverns next to the sea, creating a very special final resting place for a king. Dating to the Hellenic era, this is a fantastic day outing.
- Rent a car and head into the Troodos Mountains, where ancient Cypriot villages are still following their traditional lifestyles. There are dozens of great destinations to visit with a car, including the wineries of Cedar Valley.
- There are a number of impressive monasteries and churches in Paphos, but one not to miss is the 12th-century Ayia Kyriaki. It is said that Saint Paul was persecuted right here on this site. Either way, this is a beautiful church with an amazing atmosphere.
- If you visit during the summer months, as many tourists do, head out to Lara Beach to witness the rare nesting period of the loggerhead turtle. The beach is protected by the Lara Turtle Conservation and is a special opportunity to learn more about this interesting and endangered creature.
- Have some fun and keep cool at the Aphrodite Water Park. It has a full range of watery fun, from the huge wave pool to several slippery water slides. There is even a Lazy River for a chilled tube ride, and plenty of special areas for kids only.
- The best wildlife venue around Paphos is the Pafos Bird Park. Despite its name, there is far more to this zoo than just birds, although they are a major highlight. You can see giraffes, giant tortoises and other exotic creatures here. There is even a separate play area just for the kids.
- It may not be Ayia Napa, but Paphos certainly has its night-time party zone. The place to go is Agiou Antoniou. Its nickname, Nightlife Street, should give you an idea of the scope of entertainment on offer along this strip. From all-night dance clubs to sports pubs and youthful bars, there is always a great scene after dark in this area.
- The Pafos Aquarium is a nice way to spend some time off the beach, whether you have kids in tow or not. With some 70 different tanks onsite, there is a wide range of sea creatures mostly from the region. The aquarium is located right in the Kato Pafos area, and so it is easy to add this attraction to any holiday itinerary.