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30 Reasons to Visit Paphos, Cyprus

Updated on February 7, 2015

Paphos

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1. The Cultural Hub of the Mediterranean

Paphos view
Paphos view | Source

Did you know that Up until the middle ages Paphos was the capital of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus? Or that Paphos was a major city during the Roman Era, or that it was a cultural and religious hub in antiquity?

The entire city of Paphos has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to the abundance of cultural and natural treasures the city unfolds!

Below I have put together a list of some of the best must-see sites in Paphos you all need to explore when vacationing on the isle. Feel free to add you favourites too!

2. Pano Paphos (Upper Paphos)

Pano Paphos
Pano Paphos | Source

Upper Paphos, known as the Ktima area, is the modern part of the city which in the past was separated from the old town. At present, Ktima has developed so much it is hard to distinguish where the new ends and the old begins.

3. Kato Paphos (Lower Paphos)

Paphos old town
Paphos old town | Source

Kato Paphos is the Old Town, where the traditional character of the neighbourhood has been maintained.

Strolling through the alleys is as if taking a trip into the past, where the majority of sites still stand as they did thousands of years ago.

4. Petra tou Romiou (the Rock of the Greek)

Aphrodite's Rock
Aphrodite's Rock | Source

Petra tou Romiou is a legendary spot and a must-see for two reasons. First, this is where Aphrodite, the Greek goddesses, was born emerging from the foam of the sea.

Also, in this exact spot a brave Byzantine soldier named Digenis Akritas threw massive blocks of rock to Arab pirates attempting to invade the island.

5. Paphos Harbour

Paphos Harbour
Paphos Harbour | Source

The picturesque Paphos harbour is a tourist’s dream, decorated with numerous tourist shops, jewellery shops, and shops selling locally produced handicrafts. There are also cafes, taverns and restaurants.

Strolling through the harbour is a real delight as you will meet the city’s celebrity, Kokos the pelican!

The harbour is mainly a fishermen’s port, but you will also find boats taking tourists to Lara Beach, Blue Lagoon and many other remote bays.

6. Odeon

The ancient Odeon
The ancient Odeon | Source

The ancient Odeon is traced back to the 2nd century. It is a semi-circled structure made up of a stage and 12 rows of seats completely made out of limestone.

Musical and theatrical performances are still held at the Odeon all through the summer months.

7. Agora

The Roman Agora
The Roman Agora | Source

Near the Odeon lie the remains of the old city’s walls and its Roman Agora, a huge plot used as an open-air market traced back to the 2nd century.

8. Acropolis

The Acropolis of Paphos
The Acropolis of Paphos | Source

All Greek cities have one thing in common-their Acropolis! Although little has survived from the Acropolis of Paphos, it is still a must-see!

9. Asklepieion

Paphos Asklepieion Temple
Paphos Asklepieion Temple | Source

A group of ancient buildings that were used as Asklepion’s temple and shrines. Asklepion was the god of healing in antiquity and had many disciples.

10. Dionysos Roman Palace

Nea Pafos, the “House of Dionysos”
Nea Pafos, the “House of Dionysos” | Source
House of Dionysos mosaics
House of Dionysos mosaics | Source

A Roman-style palace decorated with elaborate and well-preserved mosaic floors. The mosaics are famed for their beauty as well as being the finest throughout the Mediterranean region.

11. Paphos Medieval Castle

Medieval Castle of Paphos
Medieval Castle of Paphos | Source

Overlooking the Paphos harbour stands the city’s Medieval Fort carrying a long and turbulent past. Initially built by the Byzantines in order to protect the city’s harbour from enemies, only to be dismantled and re-built by the Lusignans. The fort was again destroyed by the Venetians and re-constructed by the Turks in 1592.

12. Saranda Kolones Palace (Forty Columns)

Saranda Kolones
Saranda Kolones | Source

The 40 columns, hence the palace’s name, were built in the 13th century by the Lusignans and added to the already standing Byzantine castle on the site. The initial castle was constructed by the Byzantine during the 7th century.

Although most of the castle is in ruins, the dungeons and towers are still standing, inviting all to explore!

13. Tombs of the Kings

An aristocratic ancient necropolis
An aristocratic ancient necropolis | Source
Rock cut tombs situated off Tombs of the Kings road in Paphos, Cyprus
Rock cut tombs situated off Tombs of the Kings road in Paphos, Cyprus | Source

An aristocratic ancient necropolis dating back to the 4th century, where the tombs were carved into actual rock and decorated with Doric-style pillars, wall paintings, and other architectural embellishments. Kings do not lie in the tombs. The area was given the royal name due to the tombs magnificence.

14. Paphos Traditional Market

The bench
The bench | Source

Paphos Market or Agora is an open-air bazaar where local villagers gather to sell their products. It is a colourful and buzzy area, full of life and lots of goods to take back home!

15. Fabrica Hill

Fabrica Hill
Fabrica Hill | Source

Fabrica Hill is a tall and rocky hillock where chambers with roofs and wall paintings were carved out of the rock. An inscription found on the site reveals that the chambers were built during the 3rd century.

16. Aphrodite’s Sanctuary

The Sanctuary of Aphrodite
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite | Source

The Sanctuary of Aphrodite dates back to the 12th century. This is the place where rituals were performed in the goddess honour. It is said that Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty transformed into her human form here.

17. Leda and the Swan Mosaic

ile mosaic depicting Leada and the Swan from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Palea Paphos; now in the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia
ile mosaic depicting Leada and the Swan from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Palea Paphos; now in the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia | Source

One of the most noteworthy Roman Villas found in Paphos is the House of Leda, which contains the Leda and the Swan mosaic-probably the most renowned mosaic found on the island.

18. Adonis Baths

Adonis Baths & Waterfalls
Adonis Baths & Waterfalls | Source

Adonis Baths is one of the most beautiful natural settings on the island. According to legends, this is the place where Adonis and Aphrodite created their family and apparently the people of Paphos are their descendents!

19. Paphos Archaeological Museum

Outside the Archeological Museum in Paphos
Outside the Archeological Museum in Paphos | Source

The Paphos Archaeological Museum offers a unique insight to the city’s historical past beginning from the Neolithic Era up until 1700 AD. The museum is made up of four exhibition rooms, where each room depicts the artefacts and findings of a different era.

20. Paphos Byzantine Museum

Paphos Byzantine Church - Agia Kyriaki
Paphos Byzantine Church - Agia Kyriaki | Source

The Byzantine Museum depicts a collection dating from the 12th to 18th centuries. The exhibits include ecclesiastical icons, carvings and other religious-linked findings.

21. Garrison's Camp

Paphos, Garrison's Camp
Paphos, Garrison's Camp | Source

Garrison’s Camp is a group of 4thcentury underground chambers carved into stone. The chambers were probably soldiers’ living quarters.

22. Avakas Gorge

Avakas Gorge
Avakas Gorge | Source

The beautiful gorge is every hiker’s dream due to the stunning views it offers and the rare local flora and fauna found as well as the wild animals that inhabit the area.

23. Lara Beach

Lara Beach
Lara Beach | Source

This magical bay is home to the Caretta Caretta turtles, which are protected in the area. Witness the miracle of nature in the process as the Caretta Caretta give life.

24. Blue Lagoon

Blue lagoon - Akamas - Polis, Paphos
Blue lagoon - Akamas - Polis, Paphos | Source

A paradise-like cove, tucked away within Akamas, is every man’s dream destination! Glistening blue-green waters stretch as far as the eyes can see!

25. The Baths of Aphrodite

Viewing point near Aphrodite's Baths
Viewing point near Aphrodite's Baths | Source

The goddesses’ baths are where she bathed under the shade of a soaring fig tree in a natural spring. As legend goes this is where Adonis and Aphrodite first met and fell in love at first sight! Apparently who ever drinks from the spring is granted eternal youth! Drink up!

26. Paphos Cultural Festival

Aphrodite Festival Paphos
Aphrodite Festival Paphos | Source

Paphos holds a Cultural Festival every September, where ancient Greek tragedies and comedies are brought to life. The performances are held at the famous and ancient Odeon Theatre!

27. Bird and Animal Park

Goat - Paphos (Pafos) Bird and Animal Park (Pafos Zoo), Cyprus
Goat - Paphos (Pafos) Bird and Animal Park (Pafos Zoo), Cyprus | Source

This fascinating park is home to more than 300 species of birds, snakes and mammals.

28. Saint Paul's Pillar

The Church at St Pauls Pillar in Paphos, Cyprus
The Church at St Pauls Pillar in Paphos, Cyprus | Source

The Pillar of Saint Paul was the spot where he was whipped 39 times as a form of punishment for preaching the word of God. Sometime later, Saint Paul succeeded in turning the Governor into a Christian-which led to Cyprus being the first Christian country in the entire world.

29. Saint Solomonis Church

Saint Solomonis Church - The black areas are caused by burning candles
Saint Solomonis Church - The black areas are caused by burning candles | Source

30. Saint Paraskevi Church

Agia Paraskevi church - Geroskipou in Paphos.
Agia Paraskevi church - Geroskipou in Paphos. | Source

An elaborate 10th century Byzantine church, with five domes on the top which form a cross. The church is decorated with fine 15th century murals.

A Magical Destination Filled With Cultural Heritage

Paphos is a magical destination filled with cultural heritage, myths and tales of past civilisations and mystic gods. Above are the 30 reasons Paphos is the ideal holiday destination, a place of beauty and the island’s true gem!

When Paphos will become the European Capital of Culture?

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    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 2 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Wonderful Hub. I lived in Paphos for many years and still miss so much about it. Voted up and awesome.

    • nwd profile image
      Author

      Theodoros 2 years ago from Cyprus

      Thanks Suzie!

      Paphos is my favourite holiday destination and think that I'm a Cypriot

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