Planning to spend some time in Paphos? Here’s some of the best things to do in Paphos, Cyprus including archaeological sites, urban tours, and outdoor adventure!
About Paphos in Cyprus
Paphos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cyprus. Whilst there is an element of ‘British seaside meets Greece' about the tourist infrastructure, it pays to dive a little deeper. Look past the surface, and you'll find out more about the city and the country.
Situated on the western coast of Cyprus, Paphos is a harbour town that like the rest of the country boasts churches, archaeological sites, mosaics, white-sand beaches and amazing views of the land and the sea. What isn't there to love?!
How long to spend in Paphos
Many people choose to spend their entire summer holiday in Paphos. Others decide that a long weekend in Paphos is enough before heading out to explore the rest of the island.
Whether you intend to take a road trip around Cyprus, or would like to use Paphos as your base to explore further, its worth spending two or three days discovering Paphos itself.
Whatever you decide, here's my top pick of things to do in Paphos.
Top things to do in Paphos, Cyprus
Let's begin with the more ancient side of things to see. Paphos is home to a number of historical buildings, archaeological sites, ruins of ancient civilisations, and stunning art. These archaeological sites in Paphos should definitely be on your list of things to do.
1. Tomb of the Kings
If you only visit one archaeological site in Paphos, it should be the Tomb of the Kings. This remarkable collection of underground tombs are carved out of solid rock, and date back to the 4th century BC.
There is some debate as to if actual Kings were buried on the site. It is currently thought, that only high ranking officials were buried here. Still, it is a testament to the power of this civilisation that bureaucrats were awarded such high honours!
If you decide to add a visit to the Tomb of the Kings on to your own list of things to do in Paphos, you should allow for at least a couple of hours on the site. It gets quite warm here – Best avoid the peak heat of the day, and bring plenty of water!
2. Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
Another of the top attractions in Paphos is the Kato Paphos archaeological park. This park (combined with the Tomb of the Kings) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a significant site due to the interesting discoveries made there. The most famous of these are the mosaics.
The Kato Paphos Park has many significant historic monuments that can be enjoyed. These impressive Roman architectural remains include:
- House of Dionysus – the preserved ruin of Roman villas that are known for its colourful mosaics that depict scenes from Greek mythology
- House of Aion
- House of Theseus
- House of Orpheus
- Hrysopolitissa Basilica – once the largest basilica in Paphos during the Byzantine era, Hrysopolitissa Basilica is now marked by a few scattered columns and some remnants of once beautiful mosaics.
3. Take a quad bike tour
One of the fun things to do in Paphos, is to take a quad bike tour. With a guide leading the way on a quad bike in front of you, you will have the chance to drive down rough dirt tracks, and explore the coastline. With tour times ranging between 2 and 3 hours, a quad bike tour of Paphos is great fun!
4. Cycling in Paphos
There are a surprising number of bike paths in Paphos, with one leading up to the Tombs of the Kings archaeological site. Hiring a bike in Paphosis easy, with several companies offering regular bicycles as well as e-bikes. WHy not try it for a half day? Take my advice and try to avoid cycling in the peak heat if you can!
5. Beaches in Paphos
With around 27 stunningly beautiful beaches nearby, it’s no wonder why spending time by the sea is one of the top things to do in Paphos. For your peace of mind, you can visit the 12 beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status, which certifies that they are not only clean but also safe for swimming.
In Cyprus, many of the beaches are organised, which means they are full of parasols and sunbeds for hire. This is not really my cup of tea, but you can still find stretches of beach which are free of them. Visiting in September, we enjoyed our time on this beach, with virtually no-one else to be seen!
6. Aphrodite's Rock
This is often described as one of the highlights of Paphos, but in all honesty it wasn't that special. Aphrodite's Rock didn't look like anything in particular, and the beach itself was (in my opinion) below average. Still, many people rate it as one of the things to see in Paphos, so perhaps you might want to make the trip out there anyway.
7. Check out a Shipwreck
We saw two shipwrecks along the coastline near Paphos, one of which is very near to the shoreline. The Edro III ran aground in 2011, and can be found in the sea caves area. If you have hired a car to see the tourist attractions in Cyprus, it's definitely worth the drive!
8. Get a Taste of Local Delicacies
One of the things Cyprus is known for is its delicious food. You’ve probably heard about Halloumi, a type of cheese that is perfect for grilling or frying because of its high melting point, but there’s more to Cypriot cuisine that you should try when you visit Paphos. Here are some of them:
- Sheftalia – a type of sausage parcel that is filled with minced pork or lamb, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper, and traditionally grilled over charcoal
- Lokmades – also referred to as honey doughnuts, these are deep-fried dough balls are soaked in honey before being coated in cinnamon, crushed nuts, or sesame seeds
- Kibbeh – a cylindrical-shaped croquette that is made of bulgur and filled with minced meat flavored with Middle Eastern spices
Outside of Paphos
Looking for some more things to do near Paphos? Here's some more ideas of day trips from Paphos you can take.
9. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
Paphos’s terrain makes it ideal for adventure-seekers whose idea of exploring a new place is biking, hiking or mountain climbing. The nearby Akamas Peninsula, Troodos Mountains, and the Avakas Gorge are also perfect for outdoor activities, and afford some of the best views you’ll ever see in your life!
Keep in mind that Cyprus can get a touch on the warm side though, especially in August! During my trip, I was really inspired to go cycling in Cyprus, but I didn't have the time. A future trip maybe!
10. Enjoy Some Peace and Quiet in Fyti
A good way to escape the hustle and bustle of the town centre is to go on a half-day trip to Fyti, where you’ll feel as if you’ve gone back in time as you walk along the narrow streets and see the sturdy stone houses.
While there, you can visit the Folk Art Museum to learn how traditional textile was made and to buy cotton products as well as fine silk that you can take home as souvenirs. There's a short video of Fyti above.
Paphos is a land for the romantics where the prehistoric and modern times meet. But whether you’re visiting the area to know more about its culture and history or just to bask in the beauty of the surroundings, you won’t run out of wonderful things to do in Paphos.