When in Paphos, it’s very tempting to pitch up a sun-lounger on the beach for the duration of your holiday. And I wouldn’t blame you if you did – from May to October, temperatures rarely drop below the 20°C mark, meaning a dip in the crystal clear sea is a perfect way to cool off.
On my first day on my trip to Paphos with icelolly.com I spent a few hours before my evening meal lounging by my hotel pool. Although it was great to just chill without having anything to do but sip cocktails, after a few hours I did find myself having itchy feet. I was eager to explore the local area, get booked up on some tours, and uncover more of what Paphos has to offer.
So, what exactly is there to do in this coastal city?
Look beyond the tourist shops lining the harbour area, and you have a whole host of things at your disposal. Harbour-side restaurants, gelato stalls and bars/clubs are just some of the things that can be found in this area, while it also puts you in the perfect position for virtually everything else on this list.
Glass-bottom boat trip
Around the harbour area there are a tonne of stalls dedicated to drawing in customers for boat trips and tours. One of the ones we went on was a glass-bottom boat trip out around the nearby coast which cost €10 for one hour.
The boat we went on had a downstairs deck featuring glass bottom panels at an angle, so that wherever you stood you were able to take a glimpse into the subaquatic world. As well as the odd fish, sponges and reef, we also saw the Vera K shipwreck that sunk to the sea floor in the 1970s. A slightly disconcerting sight, but an impressive one none-the-less.
Medieval Castle of Paphos
The city’s medieval castle is one of the coast’s most distinctive sights. Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, the castle has been knocked down and rebuilt several times over the last few centuries. Nowadays it’s used in various cultural events throughout the year, but it’s well worth the €2.50 entrance fee to get in and look around, not to mention the opportunity to look out over Paphos harbour from the top floor (see the picture above under ‘harbour area’!)
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
While Paphos itself brims over with mountains of history, Kato Paphos Archaeological Park transports you right back to the Roman period. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is just around the corner from the Medieval Castle, so it’s something that can be seen in the same day. It’s also relatively cheap at €4.50 per person.
One of the most impressive sights in the park are the mosaic floors of four Roman villas. What’s so encouraging to see is the fact they’ve obviously been well looked after and lovingly restored, so you don’t feel like your presence is imposing too much on their future!
Tomb of the Kings
If there’s one thing on this list that I could recommend, it’s this one. The site is a subterranean warren of tombs carved into solid rock, many of which date back to the 4th century BC. Despite the name, no kings were ever buried here – but they were the final resting place of many Paphitic aristocrats and high officials. Rather, the name comes from just how grand the site is. When you’re there you’re able to wander around the excavated sites, peering into ancient tombs which have long since been emptied. The entrance fee is €2.50, and the site is best reached via the City Sightseeing bus.
Buy food and feed the stray cats
OK, this probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re an animal lover it’s hard to ignore the little creatures!
Paphos is home to hundreds of stray cats which seem to be well looked after. Most (if not all) of the cats you’ll see have a small little ‘V’ shape cut on their ear, meaning they’ve been taken in by vets, vaccinated and neutered. Many of the cats we encountered were incredibly affectionate, and would love to come up round our feet looking for some scraps of food. We did this for a few days, and then we just went to a local supermarket and bought a big bag of cat biscuits (which they weren’t so enamoured with…). Basically, stock up on some meat at breakfast time, and watch as cats follow you around like you’re the Pied Piper.
The old Paphos town is a vibrant hub, home to multiple shops, markets and bars. As you’ll find out in this post, I didn’t quite get the best of Paphos town, but so many people I met were raving about it.
One of the best things I did on the holiday! Eagle Mountain Ranch offer horse treks through the nearby Mesogi countryside area, either for full-day tours or 90-minute strolls. You don’t have to have ever been on a horse before to take part, and the team are so friendly and knowledgeable – read my full review here!
Baths of Aphrodite
The beautiful Baths of Aphrodite are so named after the Goddess of Love who reportedly used to bathe in these waters. This is one thing I sadly didn’t get to do on the trip due to timing issues, but I’d LOVE to return just to see this. It looks absolutely magical!