Located on Cyprus’ southwest coast, the city of Paphos has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic area. It is said that the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, was born here, and today you can still see sites that were built to worship her.
Paphos combines mythology, ancient ruins, and fortresses with more modern Mediterranean city features to create an intriguing place you won’t be able to get enough of. Here’s a look at the best things to do there.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Paphos, Cyprus?
One of Paphos’ best features is its climate. It has hot, dry summers and winters that are still mild enough to allow visitors to get out and explore. That being said, the best time to visit this city is between June and November, when the weather is perfect for spending your days on the beach or swimming in the sea. That sea remains at a fairly constant temperature of 23 degrees Celsius even when many parts of the world are shifting into the winter season, making this a good destination for those whose ideal vacation includes swimming to their heart’s content.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Paphos, Cyprus
Take a Hike
Paphos is full of ancient mystery, but there aren’t many places on the island that have been left completely untouched by modern man. Avakas Gorge, a three meter-long gorge and popular hiking area, is one of such places. Carved by centuries of rushing river water, the area’s 30-meter-tall limestone rocks are a breathtaking sight. You will feel small and in awe as you look up at what nature has created all on its own. Just make sure to wear proper shoes, as the rocks here can be slippery when they are wet!
Try Turtle Watching
Animal lovers will be pleased to learn that Paphos is famous for its sea turtles, which can be seen laying their eggs on the shores during the summer. Many of Paphos’ beaches are protected areas, watched over by environmental groups who make it their duty to keep the turtles and their eggs safe from predators — both animal and human. To increase your chances of seeing a sea turtle in action, you can go on a Turtle Watching Cruise, which departs daily from Paphos Harbor.
Take a Camping Trip
Tourists don’t always think about camping when they think about visiting a foreign country, but Paphos has some fantastic spots for pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars. One such spot is Polis Chrysochou, where you can camp on the beach beneath the umbrellas and eucalyptus trees. For those who aren’t used to roughing it outdoors, don’t worry: there are amenities like bathrooms, showers, and a café nearby.
Some of the Best Attractions in Paphos, Cyprus
Aphrodite may be a myth to most of us, but in Paphos, she was real, and was born here, at Aphrodite’s Rock. This enormous stone, located between Paphos and nearby Limassol, is said to be where the goddess was born, floating up from the waves in a shell. Whether you believe in the legendary nature of Aphrodite or not, you can still enjoy this beautiful beach, where you can swim in the shimmering blue water or climb up onto the rock to see a stunning view of the island.
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
The Kato Paphos Archaeological Park is home to some incredible (and historically significant) ruins built between the Middle Ages and the Roman Empire. Here, you can see the pillars and pieces of ancient buildings that still contain in-tact murals, mosaics, and statues from eras long past. In the same area, you can also see the Tombs of the Kings, a series of underground rock chambers from the Hellenistic and Roman time periods designed as almost pyramid-like burial chambers for important figures in Cyprus‘s history.
Blue Lagoon Beach
Some of the clearest, bluest waters in all of Cyprus can be found at Blue Lagoon beach, which can be reached by boats leaving regularly from Latchi’s harbor. For those who prefer to make their beach trip more adventurous, you can also take a vehicle with four-wheel drive down to the lagoon via an incredibly rough, bumpy road that will make the view when you get there even more worth it.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Paphos, Cyprus
Visitors to Paphos also recommend watching the sunset at Oniro by the Sea, a bar that, as the name implies, gives you a great view of the Mediterranean as you enjoy a meal and a cocktail. Oenophiles will also want to check out the many wineries on the island, whose wine production dates back almost 5,000 years.
If you decide that the mythical, magical island of Paphos deserves a spot on your Cyprus holidays list, then there are only three things you need to bring with you: good shoes, a good appetite, and your spirit of adventure.