When you hear Cyprus, Paphos is definitely not the first one that comes to mind. Paphos is an alternative city, but it will win you over at first glance. A city with awesome beaches, historic archeological sites, good food and hospitable people. Really what else to ask for?
A few words about the city
Paphos is located in the southwestern part of Cyprus and is the capital of the homonymous province and one of the most important ancient kingdoms of the island. Among other things, it was famous as a center of worship of the goddess Aphrodite, since according to mythology it was the place from which it emerged. It is the sixth largest province of the island with 35,961 inhabitants, divided into two levels, the upper and lower Paphos. Upper Paphos, also known as Ktima is the commercial center of the city, with the old town and all the important buildings of the area, while lower Paphos is located by the coast and is the pre-eminent tourist destination of the town. As in the whole island, so in Paphos there are several archeological sites, which are under the protection of UNESCO. So I have chosen for you, what I consider to be worthy of attention for someone who is visiting the city for the first time.
If you want to get an authentic taste of Paphos, I suggest you start by exploring upper Paphos and more specifically the old town. Get lost in the labyrinthine alleys of the shopping center, which are always bustling and reach the municipal gardens and the square of Eros. There is the Municipal Hall and the Library of Paphos, while just opposite a complex of neoclassical school buildings, which all together will make you feel that you are in another time. In the same place you will also find several monuments, the most important of which is the statue of Evagoras Pallikarides, a Cypriot revolutionary and poet. Then go up to the Post Office along with the Agora area and Mouttalos, the old Turkish Cypriot quarter. This neighborhood got its name from its location, as it is built on the top of a hill, above the sea. There lived until 1974 Turkish Cypriots, as evidenced by the architecture of the houses as well as the existence of a mosque and other Turkish monuments.
Then I suggest you move to lower Paphos and its beautiful Port. At the end of the palm-filled coastal promenade dominates the castle of Paphos. This fort was built in the Byzantine era to protect the city, destroyed by a major earthquake in 1222, but restored by the Lusitanians during the 13th century. Then the castle was destroyed again by the Venetians and rebuilt by the Ottomans, who even added new fortifications. Over the years it has been used as a fort, a prison, and even as a salt depot by the British, while it has been declared a protected area. Finally, in the area right in front of the fortress, many cultural events are hosted every year, such as the festival "Aphrodite" of Paphos during which every September are played top works of the operatic repertoire against the background of the medieval castle!
Archaeological Park-Tombs Of Kings
As in all of Cyprus, so in Paphos there are countless sites of archaeological interest with monuments from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. But there are two things you should definitely visit. The first is the Archaeological Park of Paphos, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is a enormous place where you can admire the Asclepius, the Conservatory, the Agora, the Fortress of the forty columns, the Roman villas "House of Dionysus", "House of Theseus", "House of Orpheus" and "House of the Century" with their famous mosaics and the ruins of the early Christian royal church of Limeniotissa. The entrance costs 4.5e.
The second place is also my favorite. I am referring, of course, to the Tombs of the Kings, which also belong to the Archaeological Park, but are in a completely different location. These are impressive underground tombs, dating from the 4th century BC, which are carved on rocks. In fact, some of them are so impressive that they are decorated with Doric columns! The oxymoron is that these are not tombs of kings, as one would expect because of their name, but tombs of high-ranking officials, which are very similar to those in Alexandria, Egypt. The entrance costs 2.5e.
In Paphos there are many interesting museums and art spaces, which will attract your attention. In my opinion, it is worth starting from the Archaeological Museum, located in the center of the city and covers the entire history of Paphos with exhibits from the Neolithic era up to 1700 AD. (Admission free). Very interesting is also the Byzantine Museum, which is located next to the Cathedral of St. Theodore. It hosts an impressive collection of objects from the Byzantine period, giving the visitor the opportunity to get acquainted with the cultural and religious treasures found scattered in the churches and monasteries of the province (entrance 2e). In addition, do not miss an appointment with the folk art and tradition at the Ethnographic Museum of the Iliadis family (Entrance 3e), but also outside the city of Paphos at the Museum of Basket Knitting and the Museum of Fencing in the village of Fyti, known since the Middle Ages for its knitting style and the famous "Phytiotika" fabrics (Free admission to both).
When you visit Paphos, the only sure thing is that you will not miss the beaches. The province of Paphos has a huge 50-meter coastline, on which you will find 27 beaches. The most beautiful of them is considered the Coral Bay. It is an organized beach in the area of Peyia, which even holds a blue flag. It is easily accessible by all means of transport and there is accommodation for rent in the surrounding area. What you should know if you choose to visit it, is that it is always full of people, so I would suggest you go either early in the morning or late in the afternoon!
Akamas Peninsula is one of the most attractive natural spots in Cyprus and is included in NATURA 2000! So I suggest you start from the area of Peyia, just above the Coral Bay to admire the impressive sea caves, which make the scenery look idyllic. Continue towards the Beach of Lara with its pale sand, where if you are lucky you will see huge turtles up to two hundred kilos, gathered there to hatch their eggs! You should also not miss the Gorge of Avakas, which for many is the most impressive on the whole island and the Waterfall of Kremioti in Kritou Terra. Also very interesting are the Baths of Adonis with their impressive waterfalls. Finally, reach the northernmost part of the peninsula and more specifically the village of Latsi and from there take one of the dozens of boats that make cruises in the area. See up close the Blue Lagoon with its crystal clear waters and the famous Baths of Aphrodite.
About 25 km. east of Central Paphos, on the border with Limassol, you will find one of the most famous places in Cyprus, the famous Aphrodite's Rock. According to legend, Aphrodite, the daughter of Heaven and the Sea emerged here through the sea foam, and then, a Shell pulled her up to the beach. Then she went to Olympus, accompanied by Love and desire, to claim her place among the gods. Of course, the area took its name from another legend. According to this story, Digenis Akritas prevented the Arabs from invading the area with his unreal power. With one hand he grasped the Pentadactylus, while the other hand lifted a huge rock and threw it into the sea against the Arabs, who were trying to get ashore!
Shipwreck EDRO III
On the evening of 7 October 2011 the cargo ship "EDRO III", flying the flag of Sierra Leone departed from the Port of Limassol bound for Rhodes. However, due to the intense sea storm, the boat was swept away, crashed into a rock and remained unmanned, resulting in drifting on the coast of the region of Peyia, about 10 km. from Paphos. The wreck is now an attraction in the area, with many travelers rushing to photograph it. In my opinion this particular spot is one of the best to enjoy the sunset throughout the wider area!
How to go
Thessaloniki is connected by air to Paphos and Paphos International Airport, via Ryanair. With proper planning one can obtain tickets starting from 15€ round trip! Also, you can choose a Wizzair flight to Larnaca for 24€ round trip and from there you can reach the city by bus.
Where to stay
In Paphos, as in all of Cyprus, of course, accommodation is quite expensive. That is why I would suggest you to be very careful with what you choose, as the value for money is usually not very good. My suggestion is to choose the upper Paphos for accommodation, so that you are close to everything. So my choice is Valentinos Apartments. It is a complex of fully equipped apartments, just outside the old town, which is ideal for short or long holidays.
How to move
The most significant thing to know about traveling in Cyprus is that driving is from the left, a remnant of English rule on the island. So if you want to rent a car, you have to keep that in mind! Paphos, in particular, is a miniature town, which as I mentioned above is divided into two parts, the upper and the lower Paphos. There are also most of its attractions, accommodation, restaurants and generally everything you will need. The distances are relatively short, and you can walk them, but Paphos has several buses that cover the whole city and its suburbs. The ticket costs 1.5e and you get it from the driver. There are also intercity buses for transportation from city to city with the ticket costing 4e, while you can also issue a return at 7e. Finally, Uber operates throughout Cyprus, so you can use this application to call a taxi.
What to eat
Cypriot cuisine is relatively close to Greek and Turkish cuisine, while it has been influenced by those who passed through the island as well as its neighbors. Due to its fertile soil, Cyprus has a large crop of vegetables and fruits, which are among the best in Europe. As in Arabic, Turkish and Greek cuisine, meze is widespread in Cyprus. It is a set of snacks that, with a large number of ingredients, can be made into a main course. Some of the traditional products-dishes of Cyprus are halloumi, seftalies, koupepia, afelia, kolokasi, karaoloi yachni, ravioles, koupes, potatoes and the meat on the spit. To try authentic Cypriot flavors, I suggest you visit the Ouzeri Koutourou Cafe and the Agora Tavern, while for quality fast food BUR-GER.
In Cyprus we travel with a passport or a new type of Police ID, where the details are indicated in Latin characters.
In Paphos the language used is, of course, Greek. But most, if not all, are fluent in English as well.
The currency of the country is the euro.
Paphos is at the same time Greece (GMT + 3).
In Paphos there is no Greek embassy or any Greek consulate, so if you need anything you should contact the nearest one, located in Nicosia in L. Byron 8-10 and her phone is (+357) 22445111.
Getting to and from Paphos airports is simple, since there are continuous bus services, which take you to the center or the port of the city.
Driving in Paphos is done from the left.
The best time to visit Paphos is either spring or autumn, as in the summer months the heat is sultry.
Suggested excursions → Limassol, Larnaca, Nicosia