It’s no surprise that the coastal city of Paphos is one of the most popular places to visit on a holiday to Cyprus. The birthplace of Aphrodite and a gentle hustle and bustle that can be sped up or slowed down, this thriving destination is a blissful mixture of Blue Flag beaches, delectable restaurants, exciting attractions and historical sites with the prestigious UNESCO stamp of approval, making it teasingly diverse and suitable for travellers of every kind. There’s no shortage of things to do on Paphos but just in case you’re stuck for ideas, Olympic Holidays has compiled a list of must-visits that will ensure your holiday is of the highest standard possible.
Described as the most beautiful place on Cyprus, the Blue Lagoon is arguably the best and most unforgettable attraction. The isolated lagoon is tucked into the rugged coastline of Akamas National Park, on a peninsula between Paphos and Latchi therefore easily accessible by boat from either destination. The boat drops the anchor in the lagoon so visitors can swim in the warmest, clearest, most azure waters they’ve ever seen. Brave swimmers can float through the waters at their hearts content while those who prefer paddling can still get the full experience closer to the shoreline. Paphos locals advise to visit the Blue Lagoon on the calmest day possible as this is when the waters are at their clearest but whenever you choose to make the trip, it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.
Tombs of the Kings
The Tombs of the Kings is a remarkable world-famous attraction that simply can’t be missed on a holiday to Paphos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooks the sea and dates back to the era of Alexander the Great and was used for burials of aristocrats and statesmen. The name ‘of Kings’ comes from the grandeur of the elaborate tombs of which the pillars were designed to reflect the wealth of the region. Spend an hour or two strolling through the tombs which boast fragments of mosaics and gorgeous views of the countryside, making sure to keep yourself hydrated and watch your step due to the rough and uneven floors and the winding stairs.
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paphos that will stand strong in your holiday memories is the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park. Here is where you can admire sites and monuments from 4 BC through to the Middle Ages and the Roman period, evident from the intricate mosaic floors of the Roman villas which depict various scenes from Greek mythology. The seaside location is the icing on the cake, as well as the fields of wild flowers that are perfect for stopping for a picnic under the sunshine.
Baths of Aphrodite
Although there are plenty of places to take a scenic stroll in Paphos, nothing quite compares to the Baths of Aphrodite. Engulfed by a majestic history and fascinating legend, this shady pool on the Akamas Peninsular just outside of Paphos is said to be the location where the Goddess of Love went to bathe and is rumoured to make a woman grow younger. The pool is covered from the sunshine by an ancient fig tree while the verdant foliage and twisted branches give the whole area a mythical feel that’s shrouded in magic and complemented perfectly by the gentle sounds of the surrounding wildlife. While bathing in the pool itself is prohibited, the grotto is ideal for walking and hiking with plenty of trails with varying terrain. Stop by the entrance of the site for some refreshments at the café which beautifully overlooks the striking botanical gardens – it’ll be a sight that no picture could ever do justice.
EDRO III shipwreck
Those with a passion for photography can’t miss out on the EDRO III Shipwreck. Located directly on the shore just a few miles from Peyia and the Sea Caves, this 83-metre-long cargo ship looks like an abandoned garden on first glance but once you get up close and personal, you’ll be face to face with a fascinating piece of recent history. In 2011, the ship, donning the flag of Sierra Leone, departed from the port of Limassol and was headed for Rhodes before it crashed in Paphos. Now, it is a picturesque tourist attraction which, thanks to its gorgeous panoramic views, is a popular (albeit unusual) spot for beach weddings. If you’re not looking to tie the knot, simply sit at a nearby restaurant or bar and admire the vistas with a cocktail in hand as the sun goes down.
The gorgeous Paphos countryside lends itself exceptionally well for verdant vineyards, not to mention that the Cypriot wine industry dates back nearly 5,000 years. The award-winning Tsangarides Winery is one of the biggest and most key wineries in Paphos, coupling Cypriot traditions with a youthful energy to produce red, white, rosé and organic wines that are truly distinctive and full of body and character. Travel to the coveted south end of the Troodos Mountains to explore Tsangarides which, as a family-owned establishment, promises you a warm welcome as you embark on a guided tour or a tasting. All the wines produced on the premises are available to buy for a drinkable souvenir and even if you change your mind later, they’re available to purchase online for a little taste of Cypriot sunshine back at home.
Paphos Aphrodite Water Park
For both the very young and the young at heart! Paphos Aphrodite Water Park is the perfect family day out and the biggest water park in the region, so boredom certainly isn’t on the agenda. Think high-speed water slides, a wave surge pool, a lazy river that stretches as far as the eye can see, a splash area for kids, plenty of swimming areas and so much more. Thrill seekers will adore the likes of Kamikaze, Gravity and Aqua Infinity which provide an adrenaline rush like no other. Worked up an appetite? The park has several food offerings from handy kiosks scattered around the park to an international food court and a Chinese restaurant.
The Troodos Mountains are a sight to behold. Set within the stunning 35-square-mile Troodos National Park and considered the beating green heart of Cyprus, these lush valleys, spectacular vineyards and verdant forests are worth every second of the 90-minute travel time from the centre of Paphos. The mountains themselves are the largest range on the island, dominated by the 6,400-foot-high Mount Olympus which is four times higher than Ben Nevis. Expect criss-crossing hiking and walking trails that vary in terrain but also plenty of cycling routes for mountain bikers, perfect for admiring the rivers and waterfalls that are scattered throughout the range on the way to the summit of Mount Olympus. The mountains are the perfect all-year-round attraction too as in winter, the peaks are covered in snow, attracting skiers and snowboarders from all over the globe to gather at the five ski lifts that descend on to a range of slopes.
Paphos Old Town
Everywhere you turn in the Paphos’ city centre you’ll find an abundance of historic charm that will send tingles down your spine. In 2017, the Old Town received funding to restore its public spaces and historic buildings but its authentic charisma still stands – expect to still find the maze of winding streets, quaint boutiques and family-run restaurants where dining al fresco for a spot of people watching is a must. Uniquely, the town has two separate geographical locations that were developed in different periods of time; Kato Paphos and Pano Paphos. Exploring the two different areas on a leisurely stroll under the Cypriot sunshine is a wonderful pastime, ambling around Kennedy Square and Makariou Avenue or even paying a visit to the Fountain of Sleeping Cupid in the Cyprus Museum or the Ottoman Baths which date back to 1592.
A beach day in Cyprus is a given but there’s nothing quite like whiling away the hours at Coral Bay on a holiday in Paphos. This Instagram-worthy Blue Flag Beach is famed for its soft white sands and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The resort has maintained much of its traditionalisms and charms due to the Cypriot government’s controlled development of the area so you can admire the views of the stunning sea caves and surrounding cliffs with no interruptions. Whether you’re topping up your tan while reading the latest best-seller or getting your laps in by swimming in the ocean, there’s no better setting than Paphos’ Coral Bay.
Paphos perfection awaits! Now you’ve got your itinerary of activities, all that’s left to do is book your flights, choose your accommodation and decide on which pair of sunglasses to debut first. While Olympic Holidays can’t assist you with selecting your Ray Bans, we can provide you with excellent selections for your Cyprus getaway from all-inclusive beachfront hotels to charming apartments with views of the landscape. There’s no time like the present…