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Coral Bay Beach, Paphos, Cyprus

The 11 best things to do in Paphos

Expect plenty of love and beauty in the birthplace of Aphrodite, and enjoy the best things to do in Paphos

Written by
Kate Lloyd
Marissa Tejada

Paphos is blessed with a darling location, that’s for sure. The harbour city is found in southwestern Cyprus, where the mountains meet the sea, and it is no great shock to discover millennia and more of culture, life and love. This is the birthplace of Aphrodite, and you know what that means. Love and beauty hit just a little softer in Paphos.

The best things to do in Paphos are all about love and beauty, with plenty of exploration and excitement on top. Paphos is also home to some of the finest beaches in Cyprus, serving up a brilliant combination of culture, history and total relaxation.

Best things to do in Paphos

Aphrodite’s Rock

1. Aphrodite’s Rock

What is it? Also known as the Rock of the Roman, this massive sea rock is one of the most visited sights in Paphos.

Why Go? The story of how Aphrodite came to be here is very much a part of the city’s allure. Why not head to the exact place that, in ancient times, people believed she emerged from? You’ll find Aphrodite’s Rock in a gorgeous landscape fitting for a goddess’s birth. The giant geological formation of rocks stands out on the pristine coastline. It’s forbidden to climb up on the rock – and the sea is usually rough enough to prevent most from trying – but it’s a perfect place to visit on a scenic walk. Best to admire (and Instagram) it all at sunset.

Tomb of Kings

2. Tomb of Kings

What is it? Within Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, you can wander into an underground maze of tomb chambers that date back to the fourth century BC.

Why go? Despite its name, no kings were buried here. However, the impressive state of this necropolis makes it worth a look. The grand burying spaces are set within a series of caves and sandstone tombs. If you are limited on time – and can only visit one room – head to tomb number three, which has a wealth of Doric columns still standing and design inspired by ancient Egyptian culture. Need even more of a history fix? Don’t forget to pop into the Archaeological Museum of Paphos too.

Paphos Mosaics

3. Paphos Mosaics

What is it? The Romans built beautiful villas around Cyprus in the second century, and these mosaics are some of the best remaining examples of their kind.

Why go? This mosaic collection is one of the highlights when visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site Kato Paphos Archaeology Park. The intricate collection of coloured tiled floors was once the proud works adorning four Roman villas. The House of Dionysus, dedicated to the god of wine, has some of the most colourful scenes depicting party life and the merriment of ancient times.  

Paphos Castle
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/senza senso

4. Paphos Castle

What is it? One of the prominent landmarks of Paphos is a centuries-old castle still used by locals as a festival gathering place.

Why go? For a bit of history, exploring Paphos Castle brings you behind the walls of a still-standing Byzantine fort once built to protect the harbour from invaders. Throughout the centuries, it took on other roles, including a place of storage, a refuge and a prison. If you happen to be in town for the Paphos Aphrodite Festival – which takes place every September – the castle is incorporated into the backdrop of the performances. Want to get a great snap of the harbour? Climb onto the castle ramparts here. 

Coral Bay

5. Coral Bay

What is it? This long stretch of beach known for its soft, white sand and crystal waters can be found at Peyia.

Why Go? If you’re exploring Cyprus, a beach day – or a few – should be part of the agenda, and Coral Bay is one of the most stunning beach destinations in the country. The area is dotted by sea caves created by a U-shaped cove flanked by a steep cliff. The idyllic, Blue Flag status beach is popular for Insta-worthy photos. For the beach history buff, a thirteenth-century BC settlement known as Maa-Paleokastro can be explored at the northern end of the bay.

Acropolis and Odeon

6. Acropolis and Odeon

What is it? This second-century theatre and music venue still plays a role in local arts today.

Why go? If you love music performances, time your travel to experience one in Paphos at the historic Odeon. Thousands of years since it was built, this 12-row sandstone theatre continues to host summer music events and theatre under the stars. The surrounding area is also fascinating to explore – you’ll find ruins, including ancient city walls and a Roman Agora marketplace. You’ll also find the ruins of a Roman temple dedicated to the god of medicine, Asklepion.  

Adonis Baths

7. Adonis Baths

What is it? A peaceful two-level waterfall with swimming areas, mud therapy, and statues of the Greek god Adonis and goddess Aphrodite.

Why Go? For those looking for a relaxing spot beyond a beach, the Adonis Baths are a destination to head to in Kili. According to Greek mythology, Adonis and Aphrodite had many children here, and the people of Paphos are said to be descendants of these two famous mythical lovers. Plus, spa day, woo!

Paphos Old Town
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Alan Samuel

8. Paphos Old Town

What is it? The historic city centre of Paphos is one of the most charming places to take a stroll to explore.

Why Go? A few years back, the Old Town received funding to restore its historic buildings and public spaces and currently looks tip-top. Dine outdoors, watch the sunset, and shop at Kennedy Square and Makariou Avenue. The latter is known for its boutiques and farmer’s market.

Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery

9. Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery

What is it? This twelfth-century monastery, in the Cypriot mountains just outside Paphos, was built in one of the most tranquil mountainous spots in the Paphos region.

Why go? The monastery was built in beautiful natural forested surroundings near a quaint village called Panagia. Today, the monastery produces vintage wine, which is worth a taste after you admire frescoes painted more than 300 years ago. A perfect relaxing afternoon.

Saint Paul’s Pillar

10. Saint Paul’s Pillar

What is it? When Saint Paul visited Cyprus, this pillar was where he suffered lashings for preaching his controversial teachings.

Why Go? Saint Paul visited Pafos in 45 AD when Paphos was a crossroads of trade and culture. He had a goal to convert islanders to Christianity. According to legend, he was tied and whipped for doing so – suffering 39 lashes on this plain lump of stone which became known as Saint Paul’s Pillar. You’ll find the pillar next to the thirteenth-century Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa, an impressive church with an elaborate mosaic-tiled floor.

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