Welcome to Paphos
Paphos is a coastal city in southwest Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. Paphos is renowned as the birthplace of Greek goddess Aphrodite and in the ancient times was the capital and main cultural city of the island. Modern-day Paphos is divided in two, with the upper section up the hill being the commercial center, and lower Kato Paphos containing the main archaeological points of interest and tourist services. Linked by a traffic artery, Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos) and Ktima (Upper Pafos; 3km to the northeast) form a contrasting whole. Kato Pafos is geared towards tourists, with bars and souvenir shops lining the palm-fringed seafront. Dive into the backstreets to discover historic gems such as medieval baths, catacombs and a simple fishermen’s church. But the grand-slam sight is one of the South’s richest archaeological locales, the Pafos Archaeological Site, just one reason the city was awarded joint European Capital of Culture in 2017. Standing here, surrounded by acres of history and fields of wild flowers, feels a world away from the busy resort just beyond the entrance.
Built on the southwest coast of Cyprus, known for its long history and its rich culture, Pafos awaits you to discover it. It is a beautiful city full of museums of attractions and cultural venues. In the urban fabric of modern and neoclassical buildings coexist harmoniously alongside the architectural relics of the past. Although it is more known for its great archaeological treasures, it has nevertheless managed to highlight and remarkable modern civilization. Apart from the visited archaeological sites and monuments in the city you will find a large number of museums where you can admire the treasures of Pafos from all periods of history. The Pafos District Archaeological Museum and the Ecclesiastical Museum of the Holy metropolis of Pafos are two of the best you can visit.
Take your place among the greatest story ever told. Immerse yourself in a symphony of majestic locations, historical masterpieces, diversity, and adventure. Pafos is a natural wonder. A recipe for the soul.
A universal experience. Beautiful one day, perfect the next, Pafos has so much to discover. Surrounded by the vast translucent waters of the Mediterranean, sun-soaked beaches, images, and traces of the deeds of deities, passionate people and endearing villages, Pafos will strengthen your cultural awareness and deepen your sense of legacy. Visitors to Pafos are genuinely spoiled for choice: be it our long and fascinating history, or the visual delights which have been unearthed and carefully conserved to allow us to dip into the past and move back in time to discover thousands of years of the region’s history.
Every destination has a story to tell. Pafos’ rich historical sites are bound to propel you into an exciting chapter. From prehistoric temples and monumental underground tombs to decorative floor mosaics and intriguing landmarks, the region offers a wealth of ruins dating back thousands of years. Both sacred and rare, the Pafos region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is bound to take you on a journey of exploration, starting from the Stone Age, taking you through to classical Hellenistic and Roman times, and ultimately leading you to the glory of the Byzantine era. Whether a culture lover or explorer, our innovative apps provide a personalised and enhanced experience of this unique destination.
Pafos Archaeological Park (UNESCO)
Located in Kato Pafos, this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site includes monuments that date back to prehistoric times, the Middle Ages, and the Roman period. At the heart of this archaeological park is the site’s most prized possession. Considered among the finest in the eastern Mediterranean, the intricate floor mosaics are feted for their excellent preservation and vibrant colours, depicting various scenes from Greek mythology. Palea Pafos (Old Pafos) was in fact Kouklia, southeast of today’s Pafos and the site of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite. At the time of Nea Pafos, Cyprus was part of the kingdom of the Ptolemies, the Greco-Macedonian rulers of Egypt whose capital was Alexandria. The city became an important strategic outpost for the Ptolemies, and the settlement grew considerably over the next seven centuries.
The chance discovery of fragments of mosaic floors led to a systematic excavation that brought light to a remarkable residence dating back to the Roman period. Originally thought to be the palace of a Roman proconsul, it later became clear that the elaborate and ornate décor characterised that of a wealthy residence from the same period. Painstakingly crafted from limestone, these incredibly preserved mosaics belong to the last buildings that we erected in the area, over the ruins of older ones. Occupying an area of 2,000 square metres, of which 556 are covered with mosaics, the site is named after the Greek god of wine, Dionysos, who is depicted throughout the intricate flooring.
Medieval Castle of Pafos.
Located at the west end of the town’s harbour, the Pafos Castle is one of Cyprus’ most iconic landmarks. Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, the castle was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th Century and was later dismantled in 1570 by the Venetians. Throughout its long-standing history, the Pafos Castle was used as a prison, and even as a storage area for salt when Cyprus was a British colony. In 1935, it was declared an ancient monument and has now become a major tourist attraction. The landmark site also serves as the official venue and backdrop to the annual, world-renowned Pafos Aphrodite Festival, an artistic operatic event that takes place in September, attracting an audience of thousands from across the globe.
Tombs of the Kings.
Imagine yourself surrounded by ancient tombs in a desertlike landscape where the only sounds are waves crashing on rocks. The Tombs of the Kings, a Unesco World Heritage Site, contains a set of well-preserved underground tombs and chambers used by residents of Nea Pafos during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. Despite the name, the tombs were not actually used by royalty; they earned the title from their grand appearance. Located 2km north of Kato Pafos, the tombs are unique in Cyprus, being heavily influenced by ancient Egyptian tradition, when it was believed that tombs for the dead should resemble houses for the living. The seven excavated tombs are scattered over a wide area; the most impressive is No 3, which has an open atrium below ground level, surrounded by columns. Other tombs have niches built into the walls where bodies were stored. Most of the tombs’ treasures have long since been spirited away by grave robbers.
Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church
It was built in the 13th Century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. Originally seven-aisled, the church was later reduced to five and features some of the most well-preserved floor mosaics and standing Corinthian-styled columns made of granite and marble. Following extensive restoration, Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church is used as a place of worship for Anglican, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and other Christian denominations, and is also a popular wedding venue. Located within the compound is Saint Paul’s Pillar where, according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty-nine (forty but one) lashes for evangelising Christianity in Pafos.
The easy-on-the-eye Pafos Region is renowned for its sun-drenched beaches, clear waters, and wonderful coastline. The entire district boasts 27 beautiful beaches that are open to the public, 16 of which feature the iconic blue flag in recognition of their high environmental and quality standards. An intriguingly beautiful place, the Pafos Region is a popular destination for year-round swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. The entire region is also home to over 50 coastal hotels, ranging between luxury, boutique, and budget, set in gardens a pebble skim from the beach (mainly used by guests staying at the hotels), affording a sense of serenity. Pure water, clean coasts, safety, and access for all. The Pafos Region is home to numerous Blue Flag-awarded beaches, reflecting their excellence in environmental education, management, water quality, safety, and services.
-Timi – Mandria is a long stretch of sandy and pebble beaches, located to the east of Pafos International Airport.
-The beach located near the Pafos International Airport is a natural and unspoiled stretch of coastline, famous for turtle conservation.
-The beaches west of the Pafos International Airport leading towards Pafos Town, are all within the tourist developed area and are Blue Flag-awarded.
-The beaches located between Pafos and Cape Drepanon are all within the tourist developed area and are Blue Flag-awarded. Agios Georgios Beach, also known as “Fisherman’s Bay,” is a small sandy beach with some development potential.
-The beaches from Cape Drepanon to Lara Beach are long stretches of sandy coastline. These beaches are nature protected and are renowned for their turtle conservation.
-Between Lara and Cape Arnaoutis are small, secluded rocky and sandy beaches ranging between 50 and 100 metres. These beaches are included in the Natura 2000 – a network of nature protection areas in the territory of the European Union.
-From Cape Arnaoutis to the Baths of Aphrodite, there are small, secluded rocky and sandy beaches ranging between 50 and 100 metres. The most famous of these is the Fontana Amorosa and the pebble beach by the Baths of Aphrodite. These beaches are included in the Natura 2000 – a network of nature protection areas in the territory of the European Union.
-Asprokremmos Beach is a 2km stretch of pebble and sandy coastline, suitable for swimming. Both the Anassa and Aphrodite hotels are in the area.
-Latchi Beach is a long stretch of sandy coastline, adjacent to the picturesque Latchi Marina, with high potential for upgraded development.
Getting to Paphos
Paphos International Airport is the second-largest international gateway of Cyprus. The airport is managed by Hermes Airports Limited, and handles both daily and seasonal flights. An array of facilities and amenities are available, contributing to a pleasant experience. Paphos International Airport is located 7 km to the southeast of Paphos. You’ll find yourself a convenient 15 minute drive from Paphos’ town centre. There are a number of transport options to choose from, including taxis, airport shuttles and car hires. However, the bus is the only available public transport option, with two lines that operate from the airport to the city.
Sources: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/cyprus/the-republic-of-cyprus/pafos, https://www.visitpafos.org.cy/, https://www.visitpafos.org.cy/, http://www.explorepafos.org/ & https://touristjourney.com/getting-to-and-from-paphos-airport/