where history & hospitality meet
Paphos (Pafos) region sits at the most westerly part of Cyprus and is characterised by a tourist-friendly atmosphere of golden beaches that intertwine with some of the island’s most significant historical sites and its most breathtaking natural beauty spots.
The main town is split into Ktima (Old Paphos), and Kato Paphos – the new town centered around the harbour and Paphos Castle. Its popular subdistrict of Polis Chrysochous encompasses the tiny Latchi fishing shelter and remains one of the prettiest areas of the island thanks to its proximity to the stunning Akamas Peninsula and Lara Bay.
A tourist favourite
Paphos town is a visitor favourite with its plethora of resort hotels and sunshine holiday vibes. A unique aspect of the ‘new’ town is how its contemporary facilities sit comfortably with its past. The buzz of coffee and ice-cream being enjoyed at the harbour is just feet away from the Pafos Archaeological Park with its impressive mosaics, and Kato Paphos in its entirety has earned a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites thanks to its archaeological wonders.
The legendary Tombs of the Kings – a complex of underground tombs carved out of rock – were the final resting place of nobility during the 3rd century BC and can be found along a bustling strip bearing its name where restaurants, pubs and bars serve multicultural flavours.
Ktima – the older part of the town – rises upwards. It is home to the Municipal Market; an eclectic indoor market and an outdoor farmer’s market that sit in a district of charming old architecture that houses shops, eateries, cafes and the arts, as well as interesting religious monuments and the bustling Kennedy Square.
Although Paphos is small in size, it offers a large number of family-friendly attractions, including mini golf, a funfair, bowling alley with arcade, the island’s biggest zoo, a water park, and a modern mall with cinema.
Paphos is probably best known as the mythical birthplace of Ancient Greek Goddess Aphrodite. The rock where she is said to have been born from seafoam juts out from the sea on the way Paphos town, and her legend continues throughout the region with various sites linked to the cult of the deity.
At her spring in Geroskipou subdistrict, legend tells that the Goddess tempted her love Adonis by making loukoumi sweets (Cyprus Delights) from the natural spring water. In Polis, the Goddess is said to have bathed at a small grotto known as the Baths of Aphrodite.
The Akamas National Park is a wealth of biodiversity set in 230 square kilometres of dramatic gorge, lush valley and idlyic sandy bays, including Lara Bay – breeding ground for Green and Loggerhead turtles, and the mesmerising crystal waters of Blue Lagoon.
The Avakas Gorge – a complex natural formation – is particularly impressive to behold, and heading towards the Troodos Mountains, the equally impressive Paphos Forest is split into different valleys, including stunning Cedar Valley, which unfolds into Stavros tis Psokas where the island’s national animal Moufflon (horned mountain sheep) shyly resides among Venetian bridges and nature trails.
WHERE TO STAY
Cyprus has a large array of accommodation types to suit all travellers, tastes and budgets.
Whether you are looking for an opulent five-star resort; a city hotel that offers independence to explore; a simple hotel apartment as a base, or a rustic agrotouristic retreat, the following are my personal recommendations!