The region around Paphos (and also Kolossi, near Limassol) contains more sites of interest than any other part of the island,embodying some of the most important archaeological finds in the Mediterranean. This part of Cyprus is a little greener than the rest of the island. The coast road is very picturesque, ranging from gentle sloping beaches to distinctive white cliffs, with glorious photographic opportunities. The Akamas peninsula in particular is very spectacular.
Paphos is the ideal base to see the local historical sights, explore the western mountain villages,old monasteries and walk the beautiful Akamas nature trails. The largest blue flag sandy beach in the area is Coral Bay, just a 15 minute drive to the north.
Kato (Lower) Paphos
Paphos was the original island capital and contains a wealth of historical sites. It was founded in about 300 BC, soon becoming an important administrative and commercial centre. The lower town,by the sea, has now expanded rapidly as a tourist centre. The harbour area being the main attraction with its medieval fort, cafes and restaurants.
The coastal region, southwest of the harbour, contains a long strip of hotels that stretch for about 2 km along the coast. The beaches here are small but many are sandy and good for swimming. Visitors staying in this area can enjoy a refreshing coastal walk to the harbour area. However, there is a regular bus service along the coast road for those wishing to take things a little more easy. The west coast above the harbour incorporates more hotels and many self catering apartments. There is also an excellent coastal walk from the harbour around the outside of the Archaeological World Heritage Site, and along the headland towards the old lighthouse. The path way is wide and flat, suitable for wheelchairs.
Paphos Old Town
The older town of Paphos sits on a plateau overlooking the west coast. It is a place of government buildings, old churches, museums, a thriving market and many old shops that have remained unchanged over the years. The market, to the left of the town near the local bus terminus, is an ideal place to shop for a bargain. Stalls sell everything from souvenirs, jewellery, paintings, clothes and locally produced leather goods, metalwork and lace.
A row of cafes near the market afford excellent views across the coast, providing a peaceful place to relax and buy some much needed refreshment before leaving the busy town. A small Turkish bath (now a museum - admission free) is tucked away just below the bus terminus, near the car park. Located within is an quaint little restaurant serving Greek salads, coffee and cake.
Things to do:
Glass Bottom Boat Trips
A short cruise over the Mediterranean, where you'll get up
close to fish, natural sponges, reefs and even a shipwreck.
Trips run from the harbour area, depending on the season and weather conditions. Admission charge.
Aquarium (Sea World),
has a spectacular collection of fish. The Aquarium provides a unique
undersea setting of illuminated caves and rippling water, with an array
of colourful fish from various oceans, seas and rivers from around the
Located near the harbour on Artemidos Street. Open daily. Admission charge.
Lots of water chutes and slides set in 35,000 sq miles of landscaped
grounds, providing a varied selection of rides and attractions. The
park is also equipped with handicap facilities.
Located at the far eastern end of the Kato Paphos coastal road. Open daily. Admission charge.
Paphos Bird and Animal Park
Zoo, containing a wide range of exotic birds, plus animals
as giraffes, gazelles, reptiles and monkeys. Also includes a children's
petting zoo, playground, restaurant and snack bars.
Located 15 km north of Paphos, near Pegeia. Open daily. Admission charge.
Other activities include: crazy golf, ten-pin bowling, horse riding, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, para-ascending, jet-skiing, go-karting, sea fishing trips and water skiing. Several championship golf courses are located within a short drive from Paphos.
Historical sites of interest:
Built by the Lusignans on the harbour entrance to
defend the town against seaborne attack.
reused as a prison when
the Ottoman Turks
captured Paphos. Visitors may enter
across a drawbridge to explore the dungeons or climb to the battlements
to experience extensive views across the bay and harbour.
Located on the western end of the harbour. Open daily. Admission charge.
Early Christian Basilica, St Paul's Pillar
A place of great reverence for Christians, containing the pillar at which St Paul was allegedly given 39 lashes when he came to the island to convert the governor to Christianity. The governor then later relented and became a Christian. The pillar (now just a stump) stands to the left of the site, identified by a small plague at the base. To the right are many more pillars covering an extensive area of excavations, thought to have originally been the Roman forum.
The small Roman Catholic church of Panagia
Chrysopolitissa (Agia Kyriaki), built on the east of the site in the
12th century, is
still used for Catholic mass.
Located on Stassandrou Street. Open daily. Admission free.
Agia Solomoni and Agios Lamprianos Catacombs
catacombs are very old. Investigations at the site indicate that some
the original graves date back to the Hellenistic period. During the
Byzantine period, Agia Solomoni was used as a Christian church. The
centuries old terebinth tree outside is adorned
with pieces of cloth left
by pilgrims in the hope that they will cure the afflicted area on which
they have been rubbed.
There are around twenty steps to climb down to actually see the church, where you will find the eroded remnants of 12th century religious paintings covering the walls and some holy water. Christmas time is when Ayia Solomoni Church springs to life, when hundreds of visitors come to the catacombs every year to watch the Christmas nativity scene, which is reenacted between the 21st to the 24th December.
Located on Leoforos Apostolou Pavlou. Open daily. Admission free.
museum in the upper town, close to the arches
of the Bishopric. It houses mainly religious items, Byzantine icons and
Open daily (except Sundays). Admission charge.
District Archaeological Museum
Large museum housing finds from local excavations, including:
Greek, Roman and medieval, pottery, jewellery, glassware and lamps,
sarcophagi, statues. Larger statues and column tops are contained in
Located on Leoforos Georgiou Criva Digeni. Open daily (except Sundays). Admission charge.
Ethnographical (Human Culture) Museum
This small museum is an ideal place to catch a glimpse of the lives of the local Cypriot people, from ancient time’s right through to present day. Its two floors are crammed with artifacts, collected across half a century by local archaeologist George Eliades. The first floor contains a large selection of fine silverware and jewellery, pottery, coins, and fossils. Two large wooden chests in the hallway are of particular interest. Usually made of cypress wood, these chests were used to store the daughters dowry, representing the outcome of a lifetimes work.
The lower floor exhibits include wood carvings, embroidery,
pottery and a potter's wheel, neolithic
axe heads, hand mills, ancient farming tools and a vast array of
household utensils. There is also
a country kitchen and a
reconstructed bridal chamber, with traditional costumes and furniture.
The sunken garden at the rear contains an original wood fired
oven, used to bake the bread for the village. A small chapel and two
tombs from the 3rd century BC are carved into the rocky hillside
surrounding the garden.
Located on Exo Vrisis Street, near the Bishopric. Open daily. Admission charge.
Tombs of the Kings
This is an atmospheric place and very interesting to explore. The many underground rock cut tombs are spread across the rocky landscape by the coast, many with spacious courtyards and Doric columns with decorative entablatures. For further details and photographs visit the Tombs of the Kings page.
Located 2 km north of Paphos. Open daily. Admission charge.
Paphos Archaeological Site
This is an extensive historical site covering the west side of Kato Paphos. It contains several sites of antiquity, including the Paphos Mosaic houses, Saranta Kolones Castle and the Odeion.
Located next to the harbour entrance. Open daily. Admission charge.
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