From the crystalline waters near Pafos was born Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty: in this legend are contained the two ingredients of the tourist success of the most important city on the west coast of Cyprus, namely the myth and the landscapes.
Also called Pafo or Paphos, it is divided into two: Kato Pafos (lower town) and Ktima Pafos (upper town). The lower town is the most touristy, with streets clogged with bars and souvenir stores: but just leave the main streets and explore the secondary ones, ignored by tourists, to discover hidden treasures such as medieval baths, catacombs and small churches.
In the upper town you can breathe a completely different atmosphere. Life has been the same for centuries, marked by small daily rituals. It is an area rich in cultural attractions: here are concentrated the main city museums and splendid colonial buildings that today house government offices.
The coast of Pafos is a succession of sandy shores and inlets, with beaches for all tastes: small and large, free and equipped, within walking distance from the center or remote. The sea is a seductive blue.
The sites of Aphrodite and the magnificent beaches would have been enough to attract droves of tourists, but Pafos also boasts an archaeological site that earned it the title of European Capital of Culture in 2017 (along with Aarhus in Denmark). With a Pafos vacation, you’ll certainly not have the problem of how to fill your days.
The municipal beach in the center of Pafos and Vrysoudia, another city beach, are convenient options for a few hours of relaxation in the sun, but there are much better beaches nearby.
Coral Bay, considered the most beautiful beach on the entire west coast of Cyprus, is located just 12 km from Pafos. A gently curving cove, golden sand, calm and transparent waters: it is perfect for hours of relaxation or water adventures. It is an equipped beach, with umbrella rental and kiosks.
Just 8 km north of the center is Kissonerga, a long sandy beach surrounded by banana plantations and little else. It is a free beach, with few services in the surroundings, perfect for those looking for solitude and nature.
Further away (about 27 km) is the enchanting Lara Beach, a wild beach of fine sand set in a horseshoe-shaped bay. Caretta caretta turtles choose it to make their nests: be respectful of the delicate ecosystem of this area.
The best beach for families in Paphos is Alykes Beach: easy to reach from the center and equipped with all services, alternating sandy areas to rocky stretches. The waters are calm and clean.
If you are looking for romantic views and postcard views here are the best beaches where you can admire the sunset: Akamas Beach, Chloraka, Ayios Georgios, Kissonerga, Coral Bay and the birthplace of Aphrodite. Other beaches not to be missed in Pafos and its surroundings are Blue Lagoon, Yiannakis Beach and Geroskipou Beach.
Don’t miss during your vacation a boat trip to admire the numerous sea caves scattered along the coast of Pafos region.
Discover more about best beaches in Cyprus.
Traces of the millenary cult of Aphrodite are scattered all over the island: here are the most interesting and significant places.
If it were not for the goddess, Petra tou Romiou would be famous as the most beautiful beach of Pafos; however, myth has made it famous as the birthplace of Aphrodite. According to Greek mythology, this is in fact the point where the goddess of love and beauty emerged from the sea.
Not a bad choice: the waters that bathe this enchanting bay are very blue and transparent and the huge rock that overlooks the bay is full of charm and mystery.
Although it is one of the most visited attractions of Pafos, the beach of Petra tou Romiou is really unmissable, both for the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and for the suggestion of millenary stories and legends, and usually it is not too crowded.
You can take relaxing walks, bathe your feet in waters worthy of a goddess or take magnificent panoramic photos from the access road. It is not allowed to climb to the top of the rock: this privilege is reserved for the gods of Olympus; swimming is dangerous because of the currents.
After seeing where she was born, went to see the Baths of Aphrodite, a spring of water inside a small cave where the goddess loved to bathe and where the fateful meeting with Adonis took place.
From the parking lot of the Baths of Aphrodite you can also reach a small pebble beach with a small fish restaurant. It is a narrow strip of land lapped by the sea behind a rocky promontory, reachable by a short walking path.
Near the Baths of Aphrodite extends the trekking trail Aphrodite Trail, a ring-shaped footpath of about 7.5 km that surrounds the magnificent peninsula of Akamas. The views of the sea and particularly of the Blue Lagoon are spectacular.
The trail is well-maintained and does not present any particular difficulty, except for a steep climb at the beginning. Remember to protect yourself from the sun and bring an abundant supply of water.
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite is one of the most historically important places related to the myth of Aphrodite and ironically one of the least visited.
The complex includes the remains of a temple and a house both from the Roman era, a small sanctuary and a conical stone that represented the goddess before the Roman conquest. The idyllic location on the hill of the village of Kouklia with panoramic views of the sea adds charm to this place of epic breath.
In addition to the ancient ruins you can visit a small museum with artifacts from excavations in the area.
Beaches and Aphrodite sites are enough to fill a whole vacation, but if you love history and culture you can add to your travel plans in Pafos numerous other attractions.
The top attraction is the archaeological site of Nea Pafos, west of the lower town: here you can see what remains of the ancient city of Pafos, founded in the 4th century BC and once surrounded by massive walls. Conquered by the Romans in 58 AD, it remained the most important political and administrative center of Cyprus for centuries.
The real wonder of the park is the splendid collection of mosaics that once decorated three luxurious Roman villas in Pafos: the House of Dionysus, the Villa of Theseus and the House of Aion. Almost all of them are decorated with stories from Greek mythology; the two most famous are the mosaic of Theseus in the Labyrinth and the mosaic of Scylla and Charybdis.
Inside the park you can also admire the remains of the Agora, the Askipieio (dedicated to the god of medicine), a semicircular theater and the medieval fortress Saranta Kolones.
The second unmissable attraction of Pafos is another jewel of antiquity: the Tombs of the Kings, a necropolis from the Hellenic and Roman periods so named for its magnificence.
The seven tombs brought to light are scattered in a large desert area close to the sea: the most impressive is number three, with an open atrium below surface level and surrounded by a colonnade.
Their uniqueness lies in the fact that – rather unusual in Greek antiquity – the architecture of these tombs is strongly influenced by Egyptian tradition and the belief that the burial place should resemble the homes of the living.
Another important archaeological site of Pafos is that of Panagia Chrysopolitissa where you can admire what remains of an imposing early Christian basilica: the foundations, a series of magnificent marble columns and some mosaics.
On the west side of the basilica is the Column of St. Paul, to which the saint was tied for being whipped. After 39 frustrations it was not he who gave in but his tormentor, a Roman governor who converted to Christianity.
Do you have any more time left? Good, because the list of things to see in Pafos can still be lengthened with these attractions:
Family-friendly attractions in Pafos include: zoo, water park, donkey tours, jeep safari, go kart track, and easy level bike trails.
Pafos offers a wide choice of hotel facilities, with proposals for all budgets and all types of vacations.
Families can choose between comfortable houses and vacation apartments and mid-range hotels with good value for money. Couples on a romantic getaway will find adult-only hotels that guarantee discretion, silence and charm. Low-cost travelers will find some good budget options such as family-run guesthouses and hostels. Those looking for luxury and comfort, on the other hand, can choose from a couple of exclusive beachfront resorts.
Pafos has an international airport connected to several European cities by low-cost and charter flights. From the airport you can easily reach the city center, only 6 km away, by shuttle bus.
Even from Larnaca airport you can reach Pafos by bus via Limassol: the journey time is about 50 minutes, with a run every hour or so.
What's the weather at Pafos? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Pafos for the next few days.