The Best Things to Do in Paphos
Heading to Cyprus? Here's what should be on your list for the coastal city of Paphos.
Paphos might just be the most perfect destination ever for a sunny holiday. With a winning combination of crystal clear blue water, a rich sense of history and culture and the fact that it’s rumoured that goddess of love Aphrodite was born here, you’re in for a romantic time. Combine that with the luxurious accommodation Plum Guide can provide and you truly won’t ever want to leave. Here’s our guide to things to do in Paphos, the city on the coast of southwestern Cyprus.
First stop as soon as you check in to your home for your trip is Aphrodite’s rock. This mythical spot is found between Paphos and Limassol and is supposedly where the goddess of beauty and love rose from the waves in a giant shell. Now, we’re not suggesting you should practise rising from the sea in your swimming costume (your kids would be mortified), but this famous place is well worth a visit and shouldn’t be missed off your list of things to do in Paphos.
While you’re not allowed to ascend the rock itself – the sea is generally too rough to even make an attempt – you can swim from the beach and enjoy the romantic atmosphere. Don’t forget your camera on the off chance that the goddess herself chooses this moment to make a reappearance.
Keeping with the theme is this majestic home in the Aphrodite Hills resort between Paphos and Limassol.
Tombs of the Kings
The name of this fascinating historical attraction is misleading – there are in fact no tombs buried here, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting place to visit. A series of tomb chambers located in an underground maze, the structures date back to the fourth century BC (think about that next time you feel old because you’ve found yet another grey hair).
Stroll through the underground chambers and pick out where you’d be buried if you had been able to afford such a sendoff in the times of ancient Greece. Tomb three is a particular highlight, with a design inspired by the ancient Egyptians and with many intact Doric columns still standing.
When you think of golden sands and turquoise seas, countries like Greece might come to mind, but Cyprus is also famous for its beaches, and for good reason. Not wanting to get your hair wet isn’t a valid excuse for not going to one. The Blue Lagoon is one of Paphos’ most beautiful beaches. Accessible only by boat or dirt road (although fair warning, it’s very bumpy and you’ll need a 4x4 to get down it), it has what might just be the clearest and bluest water in Cyprus.
A boat ride, most of which leaves from the nearby harbour of Latchi, gives nature lovers the chance to admire the gorgeous coastline. Some of the boat rides even include food and drink on board, which is ideal if you’re the kind of holiday maker who gets hungry every half an hour (no judgement).
Inside the Unesco World Heritage Site of Kato Paphos Archaeology Park are the Paphos mosaics, one of the highlights of the city. They should definitely be on your list of things to do in Paphos. Built by the Romans when they occupied Paphos in the second century, they’re some of the best remaining examples of their ilk.
There are lots of examples of the intricately arranged tiled floors, but one of the best is the House of Dionysus, dedicated to the god of wine (and worshipped by us all at one point or another, whether that was intentionally or not). The mosaics here are colourful scenes depicting the fun social life and parties held in ancient times. To get your kids interested, you could even call them the morning after the night before social media photos of their day.
This gorge is one of the only areas of the island that still has escaped being touched by modern development. Found in the beautiful Akamas Peninsula of Paphos, it was created by a strong river flowing continuously over limestone. Over time, the water eroded the area into 30 metre high rocks.
The ideal activity if you’ve indulged in a bit too much ouzo the night before and could do with some fresh air, we recommend you wear sensible footwear as the gorge can be slippery at times. Hiking through it will remind you that you really should get outside more.
Acropolis and Odeon
Theatre nerds, this one’s for you. Ever been to a theatre and music venue built in the second century before? Well, now’s your chance.
Thousands of years after it was built, the Acropolis and Odeon continues to host local arts performances, with a summer music event calendar held every year. You can experience theatre as it originally was – conducted under the stars.
If you’re more into exploring than sitting for hours on end in a slightly dusty seat, there are lots of ruins, ancient city walls and a former Roman Agora marketplace nearby, so bring your explorer's hat. You can even see the ruins of a temple dedicated to the Roman god of medicine, Asklepion.
Now you know the best things to do in Paphos, have you thought about where to stay? Here at Plum Guide, we professionally inspect every home we list, and our lodgings in Cyprus are clustered primarily in the excellently located Aphrodite Hills resort. We have everything from apartments with sea views to homes with private pools, so you're bound to find the perfect spot for you and your crew.