Paphos – birthplace of Aphrodite. I’m not sure what she’d think of the resort that has sprung up around her mythical home but, amidst the hotels, bars, shops and restaurants, there is still enough charm in this 12017 European City of Culture to hold your attention for a few days at least…
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the top tourist attractions on the island. If you love mosaics (as I do!) then you’re in for yet another treat. Depicting scenes from everyday life as well as mythology, the mosaics were discovered by a farmer in 1962! These villas must have been astonishing in their heyday.
Besides the villas, the extensive site includes the ruins you’d expect from an ancient city.
The nearby lighthouse dominates the skyline nowadays….
Open – Summer 08.30 – 19.30 / Winer 08.30-17.00. Admission €4.50. Don’t forget your hat and water.
Tombs of the Kings
No – there are no kings buried here but the underground tombs – dating back to the 4th century BC and carved out of solid rock – are believed to have been the burial sites of local aristocrats and officials.
Much information has been lost over time – proximity to the sea hindered the preservation of the bodies while grave robbers have long vanished with the rich contents of the burial chambers. However, amphorae have been found with manufacturing stamps on the handles, making it possible to date the burials.
The views out towards the Med are stunning ……
….but the ever encroaching ‘development‘ is very close indeed!!!
Open – Summer 08.30-19.30 / Winter 08.30- 17.00 Admission€2.50
Around the Harbour
As you’d expect – a palm fringed seafront and promenade with an abundance of cafes, restaurants and shops intermixed with agencies trying to get you out on the water…
Paphos Castle dominates the western end of the promenade. The Byzantine fortress was originally built to protect the harbour and was rebuilt several times. The 12 cannon that once graced the battlements were removed by the Ottomans in 1878 when administration of the island was handed over to the British. The castle then took on new purpose as a salt store until it was declared an ancient monument in 1935.
Old Town (Ktima)
Up the hill from the harbour lies Ktima. Most visitors stop briefly to admire the view before hitting the shops. The 1920 municipal market that once sold fish, meat and vegetables has been transformed into tourist stalls and shops. As well as the usual souvenirs, it’s also a good spot for local handicrafts…
Paphos claims the longest coastline region on the island. Of the 27 beaches in the area, 16 have Blue Flags. Coral Beach – 6km north of the city, is the most popular.
So that concludes my roundup for now
We’re going back in April 2022 to explore other parts of the island…. so watch this space….
Before you go:
Have a look at
#4 Troodos Mountains / Painted Churches
9 thoughts on “VISITING CYPRUS? 5 FAVOURITES (FROM A FIRST-TIMER’S PERSPECTIVE!) #5 PAPHOS”
Hi Marie, I went to Paphos in 2007 and experienced the same clash of ancient relics and burgeoning development, so much so that I couldn’t make my mind up whether I liked it or not! But I have good memories so obviously the positive outweighed the negative in the end.
The great thing about all the archaeological sites is that you can wander and enjoy while completely ignoring the surrounding development. Its only when you look beyond towards the panorama that you become aware of the extent of the construction.
Agreed on every level.
It looks really interesting to explore, and I’d definitely love to visit Cyprus one day. Thanks for sharing 🙂
We’re hoping to get to Northern Cyprus in April so that should make for an interesting contrast…
I really must go back there but where to place it on the list of ‘must-go-back-this-year’? Your images are great and I’m glad you managed to convey the charms of the place despite the growth of tourism. As someone who went there before the major tourist breakthrough, I have to think how good it has been for the locals some of whom were just getting by. But that applies to most places. And isn’t there something refreshing when the ruins aren’t packaged and sealed off from present-day life as most places are. I was first aware of this feeling in Turkey when we were in ??? (another senior moment) and there were goats and sheep wandering all around the site and the shepherds were sitting on the ruins eating lunch. It somehow brought the past and the present together.
You’re absolutely right and that’s a lovely image – the ruins not packaged and sealed off….. Unfortunately, the explosion in tourism in the past few decades has made it very difficult to preserve that fine line – offering access to such amazing sites while protecting them from the masses.
I’d like to go back to Cyprus and I would want to stay on the Paphos side of the island this time.
We’re heading the other way! Aiya Napa was a very popular destination for Irish Leaving Certificate Students after their exams – including our own fella – which was enough to put many people off the town as you can imagine! But reading about it, the place sounds lovely so we’re going to spend a few days close by – before the students arrive of course!!! but we’re finishing up in Paphos and hoping to explore a bit more of that corner.