Pafos (Cyprus) – the most detailed information about the city with photos and videos. The main sights of Paphos with descriptions and the best beaches in the guide with a map.
Paphos is a city in southwestern Cyprus and a popular coastal resort. It is the mythical birthplace of the goddess of love Aphrodite and the ancient capital of the island. Pafos is not only sun, sand, sea and relaxing beach atmosphere. It is a magnificent cultural and historical heritage, including superb ancient ruins, which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The archaeological sites of Pafos are known far beyond Cyprus. Of particular note are the ruins of Roman villas, whose mosaics are as bright and colorful as they were centuries ago.
Paphos is divided into two parts: Kato Paphos – the coastal part of town, which includes archaeological sites and much of the resort infrastructure and Pano Paphos or Ktima – the upper town, located on a hill, which is the business and administrative center.
Things to do (Paphos):
Cyprus’ Orthodox Heritage.
Visit legendary shrines, see ancient relics and ask for protection from the evil eye and sickness.
€400 for the tour
Pictorial Journey from Paphos “In the Footsteps of Aphrodite
Visit the fishing village of Latchi and see the romantic places associated with the goddess of love
Geography and Climate
Paphos is located on the southwestern tip of Cyprus between the coast and the Troodos Mountains. The city has a hot Mediterranean climate and many beautiful beaches.
Port of Pafos
- Population – 36 thousand people
- Currency – the euro
- Language – Greek / Turkish
- Time – UTC +2
- Visa – Schengen or pro-visa, issued by the consulate of the Republic of Cyprus in the form of an electronic file. The duration of stay on a pro-visa may not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.
Paphos has almost 50km of coastline, on which there are about 30 beaches.
Coral Bay in winter
The best beaches of Paphos:
- Coral Bay, considered one of the most beautiful places in Cyprus and probably the best beach in Paphos. It is located in Peyia area, 20 minutes drive from the city. The beach has a blue flag, golden sand and calm shallow waters, making it an ideal place for families. It is surrounded by a pair of limestone headlands and has abundant greenery, giving it an extra scenic feel.
- Vrysoudia is a 300-meter long sandy beach with calm, shallow waters and is Blue Flag rated. It is located in the heart of Paphos tourist area.
- Alikes beach, located in the heart of Paphos, surrounded by hotels, bars and restaurants. It has everything from sun loungers to cocktails, calm water and soft sand.
- Latchi is an excellent beach in the coastal resort of Polis Chrysochous, about 45 minutes drive from Paphos. The beach boasts golden sand, calm and clear water, and beautiful nature.
- Geroskipou is a gorgeous blue flag beach located in the same name, a short drive or 20 minute walk from Paphos center.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Paphos and beach holidays are from May to June and from September to October (as July and August in Cyprus can be very hot). For outdoor activities and local sightseeing, spring is perfect.
Paphos, founded by Greek colonists during the Mycenaean period, was known for the cult of Aphrodite. It was here that the main temple of the goddess of love and her mythical birthplace was located. During the classical Hellenistic period Pafos was the second largest and most influential city in Cyprus after Salamis. The old town flourished until the founding of New Paphos in the natural harbor and the Roman conquest of Cyprus (58 B.C.). Then the old town gradually fell into decline and was abandoned in the 4th century A.D.
Tombs of kings
New Paphos, which was the port town of Old Paphos, became the administrative capital of the whole island during the Ptolemies and the Romans. In 960 it was destroyed by Muslim pirates. The modern city began to grow only during the British occupation in 1878. The harbor, the center of town life, was improved in 1908 and 1959 but it is still too small to accept large merchant ships, so it serves only the local fishing fleet.
How to get there
Paphos has an international airport, which in season is served by many charter companies. There are regular buses from the airport to the tourist area of Kato Paphos. You can also take a bus from the airport to Limassol as well.
Paphos has a shopping center called Kings Avenue Mall. Also many authentic stores can be found in the old town.
Pafos, like any major tourist center, can offer a wide variety of restaurants, from traditional Cypriot cuisine to Mediterranean gastronomy and exotic Chinese, Mexican and even Indian cuisine. But the pearl of local gastronomy is traditional Cypriot snacks and seafood. For a taste of fresh seafood, head for the harbor, where there are plenty of fish restaurants around the waterfront. For authentic Cypriot food and good atmosphere we recommend visiting the small villages around Paphos.
The main sights of Paphos are, of course, the ruins of the ancient city, including the ruins of Roman villas, the Odeon and the tombs of the kings. There is also a medieval fort and several ancient churches.
House of Dionysus
Mosaics of the house of Dionysus
After the Roman conquest of Cyprus, from about the 2nd century A.D. the wealthy citizens of Rome began to build luxurious villas here. These magnificent buildings contained well detailed mosaics depicting various mythological scenes. The mosaics, accidentally discovered by a farmer, are well preserved under the layer of soil that had covered the ancient city for many centuries.
The mosaics of the house of Dionysus and other surrounding Roman villas are some of the best in the Mediterranean and the main tourist attraction of Paphos. The ruins are part of the larger archaeological site of Old Paphos, which is located on the west side of the harbor.
Odeon and Agora
Although the mosaics of the ancient Roman villas are the most popular sites to visit, the ruins of the Odeon and the agora of the ancient Roman period are also notable sights to see.
The Odeon is a small theater that is still used for summer music festivals and has 12 rows of seats. In front of it is a large courtyard of the ancient Roman agora, the marketplace of the city, where only the foundations of ancient buildings and parts of columns can be seen. Nearby you can also see the collapsed remains of the ancient city walls.
Near the odeon is a modern lighthouse and a rocky hill that is thought to have been an acropolis. There was once a temple here, but little remains of it.
The rock and the beach of Aphrodite
The beach of Aphrodite
The rock of Aphrodite is one of the most famous places of Cyprus. It is not only the myth of the Greek goddess of love and beauty that attracts visitors here. People also love to swim in the cool waters in the summer, some in the hope that they will regain their youth, others just for fun. Here you can witness the natural beauty of Cyprus and admire the views of the vast sea, which the ancient Greeks believed “created” the goddess.
Tombs of Kings
The tombs of kings. Tomb number 3
A short two-kilometer walk out of town leads to an ancient cave necropolis called the tombs of kings. These impressive underground tombs date from the 4th century B.C. and are carved directly into the solid rock. Some of them are decorated with Doric columns. All the tombs have a clear Egyptian influence.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the burial place of ancient Paphos during the Greek and Roman periods and was probably used for high-ranking officials or wealthy members of society. There are seven tombs here. The most impressive one (number three) contains interesting architectural elements with many columns surrounding an atrium.
The Basilica of Chrysopolitissa and the Pillar of St. Paul
The ruins of Chrysopolitissa Basilica and the church of Agia Kyriaki
These vast ruins were once the largest basilica in Byzantine Paphos, and the scattered columns and fragments of once beautiful mosaics testify to its long-gone greatness. The original ancient church was built in the 4th century on the foundations of a Roman forum and was destroyed during the Arab raids in the 7th century. The basilica had a vast atrium with porticoes and was decorated with exquisite mosaics. The interior space of the church was divided by columns whose remains can be seen around the church of Agia Kyriaki.
At the western end is the column of St. Paul, to which, according to legend, the apostle was tied and received 39 lashes as punishment for preaching Christianity.
In the early 14th century, a Gothic church was built northwest of the Chrysopolitissa Basilica, which probably belonged to the Franciscans. During excavations, Renaissance-style statues dating from the 15th century were found here. When the Ottomans conquered Cyprus the Franciscan church was converted into a mosque, but at the end of the 16th century the building collapsed, probably due to an earthquake.
The modern church of Agia Kyriaki was built by the Catholics in the 16th century on the ruins of a ruined Byzantine basilica. The building was rebuilt several times in the following centuries. At the turn of the 19th century, a bell tower was added to the church.
History lovers should not miss the Pafos Archaeological Museum, which has a large collection of finds from excavations in the area. Found in four rooms, the collection contains a well-thought-out exhibition of Cypriot antiquities from the Neolithic Age to the Ottoman Empire.
Paphos Castle stands by the harbor and was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect it. It was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century and then dismantled in 1570 by the Venetians. After the Turkish conquest of the island, the castle was rebuilt and fortified by the Ottomans.
The waterfront is one of the most popular spots in Paphos. It is a long promenade which stretches for about five kilometers along the coast. The southern part of the promenade begins at the castle and stretches to the Louis Phaethon Beach Resort. Along the way, the promenade passes all the central beaches of Kato Paphos with many cafes overlooking the sea.
However, the more interesting part is the northern part of the promenade, leading from the harbor to the tombs of the kings. In doing so, the path skirts the archaeological sites.
Agia Paraskevi is an ancient Byzantine church in the area of Geroskipou (four kilometers southeast of Paphos center). The basilica dates back to the 10th century and has five domes forming a cross. The church is decorated with beautiful 15th century frescoes depicting the life of Christ.
The church of Panagia Theoskepasti was founded in the 10th century. The current building was built on the foundations of an old Byzantine church in 1923. The church is located in the area of Kato Paphos on a small rock base and looks quite picturesque.
Church of Agioi Anargyri
Church of Agioi Anargyri
The church of Agioi Anargyri was founded in the mid 17th century as part of the monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian. The monastery fell into decline along with the church in the 19th century, but when mineral water springs were discovered here it was expanded to accommodate visiting monks. The church, on the other hand, has been reconstructed several times throughout its history, retaining its original thick stone walls and old icons. In the 20th century the monastery ceased to exist and in 1985 it was purchased by a private individual who organized a hotel there. The church of Agioi Anargyri in its current form was restored by his children.
The Akamas Peninsula is a wild and beautiful area, about 40km north of Paphos, ideal for hiking. Here you can see a stunning array of flora and fauna as well as 35 endemic plant species which are only found in Cyprus. All hiking trails are well marked and organized, which means that almost any hiker can enjoy a walk. The most popular route is the Aphrodite Trail, which takes about four hours. It begins and ends at the baths of Aphrodite and leads to the ruins of the Pyrgos monastery along the way.
€180 per excursion
Villages of Cyprus – guardians of time
A walk through the charming Lofou and Langhe, steeped in tradition and flavors of the island.
€260 per tour
Grand tour of Cyprus
All the most interesting places of the amazing island on a rich driving and walking tour
The best beaches in and around Paphos
The best beaches in and around Paphos. Popular, wild and unspoilt, stony and sandy, remote and within the city – all these beaches can be found in Paphos or within 50km of it.
Review of Paphos as a beach resort
Many holidaymakers in Paphos are at first disappointed to learn that there are simply no sandy beaches within the seafront and city center. In contrast to Ayia Napa, where there is a whole bunch of the best beaches in Cyprus, I would not consider Paphos a purely beach resort.
The waterfront and the surrounding area are stony beaches with an equipped entrance to the water like swimming pools.
To the left of the promenade if you walk along the footpath you can find a dozen small sandy beaches near the expensive hotels. There really are very nice and beautiful, they will suit those who live in the neighborhood and on the coast.
To the right of the promenade, if you look at the sea, there is also a pedestrian promenade and a chain of inexpensive bungalow hotels. There are no full beaches in a good sense of the word, besides the strong undercurrents, which are warned of the signs on the shore.
The best, most interesting and wild beaches of Paphos are outside the city. Take this into account when searching for hotels and never trust tour operators. Their task is to sell you “putivochku”, my task is to inform you about where it is good and how to make the rest was richer and more interesting.
In Paphos is good for those who tune in to an active holiday with hiking in the wilderness of the Akamas Peninsula, trips deep into the island or to the interesting surrounding beaches. Paphos will also appeal to those who have chosen the right hotel near the sea with a sandy beach nearby. It’s on the left side of the map from the waterfront or near the famous beach Coral Bay – on the right side of the map from the seafront of Paphos. In both cases, do not deny yourself the pleasure of renting an ATV or a car and drive around the most beautiful beaches around Paphos.
The Fortress in Pafos
Beaches in Pafos city limits
Paphos town beach
It can be called a beach with great reservations and Paphos town beach is for those, who are just lazy to go somewhere and want to take a dip. Located near the seafront of Paphos and the old fortress, the entrance to the water is stony, so it is better to swim in special slippers.
Faros Beach and Lighthouse Beach
If you are looking at the Paphos castle, there is a footpath to the right of the castle, you can walk to the beaches of Faros and Lighthouse Beach in about 30 minutes. These beaches have a beautiful coastline and many stones of coral origin.
The beach at Faros is sandy and has a gently sloping entrance to the water. Nearby, along the coast stretches a chain of small cozy hotels.
These places are good for a quiet beach holiday, along the coast there are a few volleyball courts and a beautiful view of the lighthouse.
The beach of Vrysoudia is within the city limits, on the left side of the promenade, if you look at the sea. In fact, there are two twin beaches, Vrysoudia A and Vrysoudia B. Both are small and cozy, but quite busy because of the large number of hotels, bars and restaurants on the coast. If you like beach life and partying, you’ll love it.
The beaches of Vrysoudia are sandy and pebbly with a good gentle entrance to the water, near the playground, no roads and cars. Suitable for lovers of partying beach life and families with children.
Walking distance from Paphos seafront.
Paphos beaches – waterfront
Paphos Promenade beaches
Coral Bay Beach
The most famous and therefore the most popular beach of Paphos. He is really good! Dark golden sand, not as fine and white as Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa, but nice for walking and beach leisure.
Coral Beach is a sandy beach of semi-oval shape, located in a bay of the same name, 12km away from Paphos seafront. The shallow entrance to the water and the quality of sand, as well as the necessary infrastructure are ideal for family holidays with children in Cyprus.
Infrastructure – sun loungers, umbrellas, water activities, cafes, restaurants and a children’s amusement park.
Paphos Beaches – Coral Bay
It is very close to Coral Bay beach, a similar bay and the same set of infrastructure and entertainment. Near Coralia beach there are many hotels, including high class, so it is quite lively in high season.
Coral Bay and Coralia beaches can be reached by car or by public bus no. 615, which departs from Paphos harbor, close to the waterfront – the very center of town.
Beach of St. George
If you drive west out of Paphos, you’ll meet St. George beach, heading towards Akamas Peninsula. It is located in the homonymous town of Saint George. It is located 6km away from Kato Paphos (Lower Paphos seafront).
Just next to the beach, there is a small marina with fishing boats and a very beautiful church of Saint George on the sea front, with beautiful views.
Paphos beaches – St. George
The beach at Geroskipou village
On google maps it is called Rikkos Beach. Another name is also called Atlantis Beach . Several names for the same beach or village is a common story in Cyprus, do not be discouraged. The beach itself is pleasant for swimming and relaxing, there is a fish restaurant on the shore, near the children’s amusement park.
If you are young parents, you must come here. Mandatory program: swimming – luna park – restaurant!
To get to the beach you can by car or by bus number 606 and number 611 from Paphos seafront. The distance to Geroskipou embankment is 6km and the fare is 1.5 Euros. The road is east of Paphos, on the left looking out to the sea from Paphos seafront.
Paphos Beaches – Geroskipou
The beach of Aphrodite
A little further to the village and beach of Geroskipou you have your favourite and very famous place, the beach of Aphrodite and the Aphrodite’s stone (Petra tou Romiou). The Cypriots have come up with a successful marketing legend that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to this beach every year. This is why the best time to visit is early morning, at any time of the year!
The beach is really beautiful and reminds something of the Crimean coast. For fans of climbing on high rocks and taking selfies on the background – is obligatory to visit, for romantics can be secluded if you move away from the party a little to the right of the beach, from there you can enjoy the most beautiful views of the beach.
Aphrodite Beach can be accessed from Paphos by bus number 631, which leaves from Kato Paphos (waterfront). The distance is 28km and you have less than an hour by bus and half an hour by car, if you leave Paphos.
Aphrodite Beach – Pafos
White River Beach (Akamas Peninsula)
Just before the parking lot near Avakas Gorge, at the entrance to the protected area of the Akamas Peninsula, there is a little known and little known beach – White River Beach. I include it in my chart because there are few people, beautiful, quiet and a lot of nature.
The beach is pebbly with a deep entrance to the water, ideal for snorkeling and swimming in the perfectly clear sea. White River Beach has a very beautiful view from the top of the cliffs.
It is comfortably accessible only by car, which can be parked in front of the beach. White River Beach can be accessed from Paphos by bus # 616, you have to walk about 3,5 km before you reach the Avakas Gorge. It will take you at least 1 hour, not the easiest route. You should have maps.me in your smartphone. Below is a nice video from this beach.
The so called turtle beach, I dedicated a whole article to it – read it for sure. It is located in the protected area of the Akamas Peninsula, further west from White River Beach and Avakas Gorge.
Lara Beach is famous for the fact that it is almost the most sparsely populated in Cyprus, and it is on this beach at the end of summer come ashore green turtles to leave their young.
To get to Lara Beach you can even by car, the road is unpaved, but passable. We drove our rented Audi to the parking lot near the beach and then walked. There is also a parking right near the beach, it too can be reached by regular car, and do not listen to the local guides, who will scare off-road. In the dry season the road is passable, but you have to drive carefully. I have personally tested it.
Lara Beach – Paphos, Akamas
Further beaches you can reach from Paphos
I have included in my review only the beaches on the south coast on both sides of Paphos. But there are also Polis and Latchi, which are within an hour drive from Paphos but on the north coast.
There are some nice beaches there, the most famous are Blue Lagoon, Latchi Beach, Pachyammos Beach. If you want to visit Polis and Latchi, these are must see places. To visit these places for sure you will need a rented car or you will have to spend money for an expensive excursion with a group of tourists.
From Paphos to Polis and Laci it is 65 km, or a 1 hour drive, along a good and winding road.
Paphos beaches – Akamas
How to reach Cyprus
It’s very easy to get to Larnaca or Paphos, there are many direct flights from Moscow, Kiev, Riga, Tel Aviv and other cities. You can choose a flight and buy cheap tickets on aviasales.ru. I recommend you check the availability of cheap air tickets by the low price calendar.
Airport transfers in Cyprus
Cyprus is a top summer destination and it’s not uncommon for cab drivers at the airport to charge high prices for their services. In addition, most of them do not have child car seats. They do not have them because the child seat takes the place of an adult passenger. Because of this, tourists with children have to run around the airport in search of a free car with a child safety seat.
Both problems are solved very simply. Transfer, both individual and group can be ordered online. There you can also choose an option with a child seat. You do not have to overpay the cab driver, and there are no problems with the safety of children.
Everything happens very simply. After ordering, you will be met by a driver with a sign with your name on it. Immediately after leaving the arrivals hall you get into the car and drive to your hotel.
How to rent a car in Paphos
In Cyprus, there are expensive multinational car rental companies as well as many small car rentals. Local car rental companies are now grouped together on one site. There is Russian-language support. I used them in 2017 and 2018, everything is fine.
How to find a cheap hotel or apartment in Paphos
I will not reveal any secrets – I use a proven Booking.com and the aggregator site RoomGuru (HotelsCombined). The choice of accommodation, even for such a small island as Cyprus, is huge, but I recommend to book in advance as the best options are sold a couple of months before the high season.