A guest post by Jason Briggs
Located on the southwest coast of Cyprus, Paphos is a must for people who come and visit Cyprus. There are two parts to this city the old and the new; the location of the old Paphos is the birth place of the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Paphos is one of the major attractions and is home to many tourists each year that make their way on Cyprus holidays. So here are 12 things to do in Paphos:
Hit the beach
With no less that 12 Blue Flag beaches along its coastline, Paphos offers a haven for sun seekers, and the inviting shoreline will undoubtedly be the first stop for any visitor. From the narrow town beach, overlooked by the majestic Paphos Castle, to the soft white sands and azure blue seas of Coral Bay, one of the best beaches on the island, the coastal areas remain the number one attraction here in the resort.
There’s no getting away from the ancient past here in Paphos. Located near the harbour, the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park is a must-see and offers a real slice of history, making up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at some fascinating visuals, such as spectacular mosaic floors set in a collection of Roman villas, and the upstanding Tombs of the Kings, a burial ground full of well-preserved underground tombs and chambers.
Birthplace of Aphrodite
One of the best photo opportunities in the resort, Aphrodite’s Rock, or Petra Tou Romiou to give it its official name, sits proudly jutting out of the water on a stunning stretch of coastline here. Legend has it that this is where the Greek Goddess Aphrodite rose from the waves, and although the waters around the rock can be quite choppy, it’s said that anyone who swims around the famous attraction will be blessed with eternal beauty – who fancies a quick dip….?
Adonis Baths Water Falls
Another sight steeped in mythology, this deep natural pool is where Adonis and Aphrodite used to bathe, and today these beautiful waterfalls, set in shady trees and complete with a convenient rope swing, offer a unique and refreshing day out, and a real change from the beach.
The warm crystal-clear seas lapping the shore reach 27C in the hot summer months, and conditions remain excellent for scuba-divers of all ability. Dive sites to check out include Amphorae Caves — as its name suggests, a natural formation in the shape of an amphitheater; and the Vera K Wreck – a freighter that ran aground more than 40 years ago, and now sits nestled among a number of tunnels and arches.
Aphrodite Water Park
When the kids are tired of soaking up all that history and culture, head to the water park for some good old-fashioned splashing about. Set in 35,000sq.m of landscaped grounds, there’s a host of heart-thumping slides and chutes, including the biggest rafting ride in Europe, home to drops with terrifying names such as Zero Gravity and Kamikazi – certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station
Lara Bay is a horseshoe-shaped beach serving as a conservation center for loggerhead turtles, located just 15-minutes from the resort. A protected area, home to a vast number of nests, this wildlife station offers an interesting and educational day out, in a beautifully secluded coastal setting.
Eat, drink and be merry
Dining out in Paphos is a true feast for the senses, and for those looking for authentic Cypriot fare, the taverns here certainly do not disappoint. Although the bustling harbor is a great spot for people-watching, follow the local’s lead by sniffing out authentic spots that lie off the beaten track, and enjoy delights such as lountza and stifado, and the freshest squid and octopus, straight off the boat.
Explore the great outdoors
Away from the beach, the interior boasts a stunning landscape just begging to be discovered. Outdoor enthusiasts can head inland on an energetic hike through the countryside, wandering through verdant green forests and stumbling upon tiny little villages steeped in history, and dazzling Byzantine churches seemingly at every turn.
Head further west and rent a mountain bike to follow the E4 footpath which traverses this deserted terrain full of stunning deep valleys and rugged hillsides. A protected region, the peninsula with its dramatic landscape is home to many of the country’s endemic flora and fauna, and seems a world away from the energy of the lively city close by.
A round of golf in the sunshine
Paphos can claim a number of world-class golf courses, and the warm weather and glorious sunshine creates the perfect environment for a leisurely 9- or 18-holes whilst on holiday. It’s a great way to get a little exercise, plenty of fresh air and work on that short game, in a wonderful Mediterranean setting.
Take in a show at the Odeon
For a night out with a difference, you can settle in and watch a modern performance at the ancient Odeon, an original limestone amphitheater dating back to the second century, which boasts some fantastic acoustics and a wonderful stage for any kind of show or musical. Check out the listings, and try and fit in an evening at this one-of-a-kind venue while you are here.
Author: Jason Briggs is a travel enthusiast. Iceland is his favourite destination, he’s been there been there 6 times. Often joined with friends and family, he has traveled to each of the Canary Islands at least once and has been to a variety of places around Europe and Asia. Jason loves food and sports and is a proud Wolverhampton fan, also a big film fan (considers the best film ever made Scarface).@TravelBriggs