Paphos has been growing as a tourist destination of choice for several years. Named European City of Culture in 2017, the town is full of history, and home to several Greek, Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites. It’s also a popular destination for its pristine beaches and safe, family-friendly atmosphere. There are now direct flights from dozens of European destinations, many in the UK. If you are thinking of adding Paphos on your destination wishlist , you won’t be disappointed, with a wide array of places to stay such as this beautiful Aphrodite Hills villa just along the coast from Paphos town.
Let’s take a look at what this captivating town and surrounding area has to offer whilst you stay:
Tomb of the kings
A Unesco heritage site close to the Paphos beach 2km north of the harbour. The Tomb Of the Kings is a large necropolis with tombs carved underground, many of which date back to the 4 th century BC. Despite its name, you won’t actually find any kings buried here. Instead it understood that the site was used to bury wealthy aristocrats and nobles. The name however does seem fitting for the true magnificence of the place.
It is possible to spend several hours here exploring the magnificent tombs which have been uncovered here, carved into the solid rock thousands of years ago. Many of the tombs here are very well preserved, however their secret treasures have long since disappeared at the hands of robbers. The Tomb of the Kings is very accessible, just €2.50 (at time of writing), children can enter for free. There isn’t a who lot of information once you get there, so it’s best to pick up a booklet or audio guide to explain the history as you venture round.
Paphos Archaeological Park
For those interested in Greek and Roman archaeology, the park is a great place to indulge in perfectly preserved mosaics which would have floored three of the large roman villas on the site. Some of the mosaics in this area are generally considered to be among the most magnificent examples of Roman mosaic art in history. The villas range in age from the 2 nd – 4 th century AD and were deemed to be abandoned after an earthquake swept through the area in the 4 th century AD.
If you’re a fan of hiking and the great outdoors head for Avakas Gorge, you won’t be disappointed. A 40 minute drive northwest of Paphos, the gorge is a favourite with hikers and adventure lovers. It’s a challenging hike, more than 3km and does get narrow in some places. The walls of the gorge span up to 30 meters in height, where the limestone was carved from thousands of years of erosion from a nearby stream.
Avakas Gorge is a charming, dramatic canyon that’s full of wildlife, rare plants and characterizing rock formations. You will find natural fig trees, cypresses, junipers and the endangered centuauria akamandis plant. The best times to visit are in the spring and autumn when the Cyprus heat is less intense.
In the same direction as Avakas Gorge is Paphos zoo, home to one of the largest collections of exotic birds in Europe; more than 165 species. The zoo spans a large area of unspoilt natural beauty and in addition to the many birds that call it home, so too do hundreds of other mammals and reptiles such as the Aldabra giant tortoise (one of the largest in the world). Pafos Zoo is an excellent day out, especially for families with children where they can learn about over 700 different animals.
Aphrodite’s rock, also known as Petra tou Romiou (rock of romans), is not only the so called mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Goddess of love, beauty and pleasure. It’s fitting that the area itself is a beauty spot in its own right. Sitting halfway between the towns of Paphos and Limassol. Aphrodite’s Rock is also a 5 minute drive from the aforenamed Aphrodite Hills golf resort. The winding roads along the coastline offer an equally stunning experience, as you gaze out over the turquoise rich Mediterranean waters.
Aphrodite's Rock Microbrewery
For fans of craft beers, ciders and something a little bit different consider visiting Aphrodite's Rock Microbrewery. The self-proclaimed “first craft microbrewery in Cyprus,”. Cyprus of course is not known for wine or beers, however there is a fast growing community of craft beer producers on the island Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery is among the best. Confusingly it’s not in fact in the same location as Aphrodite’s Rock. However the brewery is founded on its own beautiful countryside setting, restored from an old winery. The journey to the brewery is very scenic and all part of the experience. The standout experience perhaps is the tour, quite like any other and if you’re lucky enough you may get onto one of the free tours available.
The Paphos coastline is popular with a large number of tourists for its pristine beaches. If you prefer quiet, uncrowded beaches however, Toxeftra is a true gem which is also close to the Avakas Gorge. Away from the many beach resorts in Paphos itself, Toxeftra is very clean and the road to get there is a little bumpy, and likely a good reason so few people visit. But don’t let that put you off as it truly is a lovely beach.