Situated on the Southwestern coast of Cyprus, Paphos a town where locals pride themselves on the birthplace of the Aphrodite ( Greek goddess of love and beauty), this stunning corner on the island of Cyprus has plenty to offer. The district is Paphos is lined with UNESCO listed town, stroll along the buzzing Paphos harbour, soak in the greek methodology, escape to some of the finest beaches the island has to offer for a relaxing day or even head to the tranquil mountains, try a traditional meze and the delicious Paphine wine … the list just goes on.
We have explored this beautiful island and bring you some of the top things you need to do when in Paphos.
1Stroll along the Paphos harbour
Photo by @Big_Nikkors
One of the best times to visit the Paphos harbour is in the early evening, take a stroll along the harbour just as the sunsets and you might even catch the local fishermen heading back with their catch in the brightly coloured fishing boats. Located just steps away from the Paphos Castle and Paphos Archaeological Park the Paphos Harbour is dotted with restaurants and cafes offering sea view and are famous for their seafood. One of our favourites is Theo’s Seafood Restaurant, grab a drink and some delicious fresh seafood and watch the world go by.
2Soak in the Greek mythology at Paphos Archaeological Park
Not far from Paphos Harbour is the Paphos Archaeological Park which is currently home to 5 roman houses, an outdoor theatre and the some of the most stunning Roman floor mosaics in the world. Perfect for history buffs, Paphos Archaeological Park is a vast site where you can easily spend a day rediscovering ancient Greek and even Roman history. Along with the rich history, this Archaeological Park offers some stunning views over the coast.
A little background before visiting this fascinating UNESCO site – back in the 1960s a farmer, while ploughing his fields uncovered part of a mosaic completely by accident. It is an exciting time to visit the Archaeological Park as it is still a working site. To this day Archaeologists are still working to discover more monument and areas.
3Day trip to the blue lagoons
Trip to The Blue Lagoon in Paphos should be a must on your list when visiting Paphos. It is one of the most isolated beaches and as the name suggests the water is crystal clear turquoise blue. The best way to access this heaven like bay is by a boat, the majority of the boats depart from Latchi harbour, going along the Akamas peninsula then arriving at the lagoon.
Being a shielded bay the water tends to warmer here making it perfect for a swim, the clarity of the makes it great for snorkelling and exploring the reef. Some might argue that it is full of tourist but we certainly think it is still worth a visit and it is a great day out. Just a bit further down the coast of The Blue Lagoon are the famous Aphrodite’s Rocks.
4Promise yourself eternal youth at the Aphrodite’s Rocks
Not too far from The Blue Lagoon is the famous Aphrodite’s Rocks. At first glance, it may just look like normal rocks but this is the point where Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, is said to have emerged from the waves to begin her life in Cyprus. Aphrodite’s Rocks (also knows as the Petratou Romiou) is a distinctive looking group of rocks that stand just offshore on the southwestern corner of the island between Paphos and Limassol.
Local legend tells how any woman wanting to be blessed with eternal youth should swim out to the furthest rock and then swim around it three times in an anti-clockwise direction before returning to the shore. It is definitely fun to do, but we can’t promise that it will work!
While Aphrodite’s Rocks are one of the top things to visit in Paphos, Aphrodite beach is a great place to relax, snorkel and even hike.
How to get to Aphrodite’s Rocks:
One of the best ways to get to Aphrodite’s Rocks is to drive along the stunning coast. If you are feeling a little more adventurous you can even quad bike along the beautiful coastline of Cyprus.
5Taste some good Paphian wine
Much of Paphos district is covered by vineyards as it is an important winemaking region and it also has some of the prettiest hill villages in Cyprus – what better than to combine the two!
Kathikas is the main wine village of the Paphos District and nestles amongst the vines high above the Chrysochou Valley. The village is interesting to explore and has several good traditional style tavernas and a small wine museum next to the church. There are two lovely wineries to visit – Vasilikon which produces a really popular white and good rosé amongst others and offering some of the most stunning views over the vineyards and around sunset. The winery offers wine tasting, plus the chance to buy a platter of charcuterie. The Sterna Winery also produces some pleasing wines and offers visitors a tour which reveals how the bottled wines are stored in small caves. There is plenty of great wine tasting to enjoy too!
6Dine at the Muse Cafe with the panoramic view of Paphos
One of our favourite places in Paphos is the Muse Cafe, located on a hillside overlooking the entire town of Paphos and the coastline. Muse Cafe undeniably offers the best panoramic view of Paphos and the coastline and with plenty of outdoor seating, you’re guaranteed a good view regardless of where you are seating. We recommend visiting Muse Cafe for sunset, not only is this restaurant great for views but the food, cocktails and the ambience is second to none. Given the popularity of Muse Cafe in Paphos we highly recommend booking in advance.
7Learn about the life of the marine turtles at Lara Bay
Lara is a large sandy bay in the Akamas that is home to the Lara Turtle Conservation Station whose voluntary members have worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to help conserve the two species of marine turtles – Green (Chelonia mydas) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) – that come ashore to lay their eggs there. If you are heading specifically to see the turtles, it is advised to check the turtle season. Around June and July is when the females lay their eggs about 3 times and around the period of August and Septemeber is when the turtles hatch from the nest and try to reach the sea.
8Relax over a traditional Cypriot feast
A Mezé in Cyprus is a feast rather than a meal and is meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace with friends and with some good wine. While in Cyprus, you need to experience the traditional Meze experience at least once. One of our favourites places for a traditional Meze in Paphos is Mandra Tavern.
The Mezé begins with an array of savoury dips, accompanied by a bowl of horiatiki (village salad) and some freshly baked bread. These are followed by an array of seasonal vegetables and fish dishes, before there is the opportunity to sample some of the classic oven-baked dishes such as Stifado, Kleftiko and Macaronia Sto Fourno. There is usually the chance to relax and enjoy a short interval before sizzling meats cooked over charcoal are brought to your table with plenty of wedges of fresh lemon. A bowl of chilled seasonal fruits is the grand finale to this wonderful banquet!
9Make a day trip to the Troodos mountains
If you are looking for a change of scenery from the beach and harbour head to the Troodos Mountains, just over an hour away from Paphos. Troodos is home to Mount Olympus which is the tallest peak in Cyprus but if you are not feeling that adventurous, this stunning mountain range has a lot more to offer. Discover the beautiful Chrysochou Valley along the way. In the early months of the year, the roads along the way are lined with citrus trees and the air is filled with their heady perfume.
Almost 45% of the Troodos mountains is occupied by the National park, with stunning waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic viewpoints along with charming villages. Troodos mountains are great for a day trip from Paphos. While you are in the high in the mountains, check out one of the many monasteries Troodos Mountains have to offer. Kykkos Monastery is the richest and most lavish monastery in Cyprus, Agio Neophytos Monastery offers stunning panoramic views of the mountains, plus you are welcome to have tea and cake with the priests. These UNESCO listed churches and monasteries may appear modest from the outside but don’t let that fool you.
10Relax at the natural healing spa Ayii Anargyri
The village of Miliou is where the monastery of Ayii Anargyri was founded by two brothers, Saints Cosmas and Damianos in 1649. They used to travel from village to village caring for the sick and their monastery’s name means ‘without silver’. They built their monastery by a sulphur spring which soon became famous and today is the location of a luxury spa – Ayii Anargyri where the healing waters are still used.
The spa is part of a boutique hotel so it is a perfect place if you are looking to get away from Paphos for the night. Along with the healing properties of the water, Ayii Anargyri also offers time tested remedies and many other outdoor activities.