Paphos Holidays

Romance and history in sunny Cyprus

Beautiful and ancient Paphos has some serious romantic credentials. Not only is it known as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, but it also enjoys particularly spectacular sunsets thanks to its position on Cyprus’s southwest corner. Paphos holidays offer two towns in one. Ktima, the old town, sits uphill and inland, while the more recent settlement of Kato Paphos is centred around one of the best harbours on the Med. It may be ‘new’, but Kato Paphos has plenty of history – its Unesco-listed archaeology park is packed with the remains of Roman villas, ancient palaces and tombs, as well as some of the world’s best-preserved Roman mosaics.

You’ll also find streets of boutiques selling local jewellery, ceramics and handmade lace. The city has several beaches, and you can take your pick of restaurants and bars to try tasty ‘meze’ and sweet local wine. There’s even some great nightlife, of a fairly laid-back and stylish variety. Paphos makes a great place for a family holiday, with zoos and a water park. Further afield, holidays to Paphos offer sleepy villages and olive groves in the shadow of Mount Olympus, monasteries, cedar and cypress-covered hillsides, and a chance to see turtle conservation in action.

Three tips for a top trip

Plan your day

The old and new town are not right next door to each other, which means a 25-30 minute walk between them, or a short bus ride.

Head underwater

Paphos’s warm, crystal clear waters (plus a couple of shipwrecks) make it a perfect dive spot. Complete beginners can stroll the seabed on an underwater walking adventure.

See the stage come alive

The ancient Odeon amphitheatre still hosts live music and drama. You can enjoy a performance under the stars, just as Cypriots did thousands of years ago.

Best attractions to see in Paphos

Aphrodite’s rock

The site where Aphrodite is said to have risen from the waters to start her worldly life makes a particularly spectacular backdrop to some incredible sunsets.

Tomb of Kings

An imposing series of caves and sandstone tombs, this fascinating necropolis, resting place of nobility, dates back to the 4th century.

Ancient frescoes

The 12th-century Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery, in the forested mountains just outside Paphos, is home to many impressive frescoes, and produces some equally impressive vintage wine.

Your Paphos questions, answered

Plenty. There are three in Paphos itself, and 27 in the wider region. The blue lagoon is a stunner – you can get there by boat from Paphos harbour.
Very – Paphos airport is just 30 minutes away. Car hire is cheap, or there’s a reliable bus network that will take you out to nearby villages.
Paphos is at its busiest from June to September, when there are long, hot days that reach a peak of around 32°C in August. Towards the end of the summer season, there are lots of events such as the Aphrodite Festival for opera lovers and the Paradise Jazz Festival, which brings musicians from around the world. Dionysia Festival is also held around this time of year, a three-day celebration of Cyprus wine with lots of fun events and wine tastings. Paphos has a warm, Mediterranean climate all year, so you can visit out of season to avoid the crowds.
Coral Bay is just under a 20-minute drive from Paphos, and taxis are cheap, although you may occasionally struggle to find one in the small hours. Some buses run from Kato Paphos, close to the harbour, going up to Coral Bay and taking about 25 minutes. During the summer months, there are extended night routes that usually run until about one in the morning, so you can stay and enjoy the bars for longer. You should double-check bus times before you go out.
Authentic Greek dishes are well worth seeking out. The traditional meze is found everywhere – lots of little dishes of vegetables, seafood and meat that are great for snacks or a full meal.
Lots of handmade items are sold in Paphos’ markets, and some speciality items of the area include leather goods, decorative lace items, and handmade ceramics and pottery. Many tourists also take home some of the famous liqueurs of the area, including zivania and ouzo, or some locally produced wines. Olive oil made from locally picked olives is also a popular souvenir, with a wide range of infused options that make good gifts.
Paphos is famous for its many cultural and historical sites, with lots of mythology and interesting tales to be discovered. Some of the most famous sites include Paphos Castle and the Tombs of the Kings. Paphos also has a lively arts scene and is host to several festivals throughout the year, with all music genres covered. It also has some small, independent art galleries where you can see work by local artists who’ve been inspired by the beauty of the area.
You may find you get more out of your Paphos holiday if you hire a car. While there are buses from the airport, around the town, and out to popular destinations such as Coral Bay, public transport can be slow and a little unreliable. Hire a car and you can spend the day exploring the Troodos Mountains, find unspoilt beaches that aren’t on bus routes or visit local villages. In Cyprus, they drive on the left-hand side of the road, so UK tourists find it an easy destination to drive.
Paphos is a very family-friendly area. Kids will love the beaches and the interesting historical sites such as the castle. There’s a waterpark, zoo, and plenty of other child-friendly attractions to be found. When it comes to accommodation, you’ll find a selection of hotels that cater to families, with mini discos, kids’ clubs and much more to keep little ones happy. Adventurous eaters will enjoy sampling the local food, but most restaurants serve a menu for kids who prefer simpler dishes, so there’s something for all ages.