Cyprus Luxury Holiday Villa - Monte Mare Villa sunset by the pool
Cyprus luxury Holiday Villa - Paphos Cyprus

Things to Do in Paphos (Cyprus)

Paphos was the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite so you can be sure that you’ll have a lot of ancient archaeology on the agenda in this town in western Cyprus. Kato Paphos on the water’s edge is the ancient city where the mosaics of Roman villas are as vibrant now as the day they were laid. It’s a guarantee that you’ll eat and drink well in Paphos, where you can feast on meze and sample the range of wines that are grown in the hills to the east of the town. And for the little ones: A water park, zoo and an almost endless array of beaches. Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Paphos!

Kato Paphos Archaeology Park Paphos, Cyprus

Kato Paphos Archaeology Park Paphos, Cyprus

You could easily spend hours pottering around this fantastic attraction close to the harbour. There are structures here that go back to prehistory, but the most famous remnants are from the Roman era. The ruins of four villas survive from this time and boast stunningly detailed mosaics, all dating to the year 100 and depicting  scenes from Roman mythology. From the same era is the Ancient Odeon, a small arena that is still used by the town as a performance venue, while the Tombs of the Kings is an underground burial complex, supported by intact Doric columns and dating back 1500 years.

St. Paul’s Pillar Paphos Cyprus
St. Paul’s Pillar Paphos Cyprus

This is one of Cyprus’ most significant pilgrimage sites. Back in 45 AD it wasn’t a great idea to try to spread Christianity to places that didn’t want it – if you were interested in self-preservation. Paul the Apostle came to Paphos to convert the ruler from Paganism, and for his efforts got 39 lashes. In the grounds of Panagia Chrysopolitissa, a handsome Orthodox/Anglican church on the site of an ancient basicila, you’ll find the pillar to which the saint was tied for his punishment. The pillar has been eroded down the years but is still standing amid two millennia of ruins that include some stunning mosaics. 

Paphos Archaeological Museum
Paphos Archaeological Museum

This museum documents human activity in western Cyprus from the Neolithic age to the 18th century. The artefacts on display were excavated from as many as 15 archaeological sites, including the ancient settlements that predated modern Paphos and the neighbouring town of Kouklia.

You’ll get a real sense of location when you see the collection of coins that were minted right here in Paphos thousands of years ago. Each room at the museum represents another stage in the area’s history, so after the Ancient Greek exhibits you can admire the wonderful marble sculptures of the Roman era: The Bust of Aphrodite is a real standout here. 

Medieval Castle of Paphos in Kato Paphos
Medieval Castle of Paphos in Kato Paphos

This structure, guarding the mouth of the harbour has had a very chequered history. Originally a Byzantine fortress stood on this spot and this was reinforced by the Lusignans, whose territories extended across numerous Mediterranean locations in the 1200s. Later the Venetians dismantled the old stronghold, but when the Ottomans took Cyprus they built the castle that you see today. It’s a squat, rectangular building that for the past few hundred years has served as a prison and warehouse for salt, but now it’s a cultural landmark and emblem for the city.  

Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery in Paphos, Cyprus
Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery in Paphos, Cyprus

Northeast of Paphos town in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains is this 12th-century monastery, which is beautiful in its own right but also contains a museum celebrating Byzantine art. Some of the monastery’s own hagiographical art is exquisite, including the icons of Christ and Virgin Mary that are lacquered with gold and silver. Within the museum collection is a sculpture of the Virgin Mary crafted from pure silver. Part of the monastery’s appeal comes from its location in the Paphos Forest, gazing out over cedar and cypress-covered hillsides.

Paphos Zoo in Paphos, Coral Bay
Paphos Zoo in Paphos, Coral Bay

This attraction was once the private menagerie and aviary of a local businessman and animal collector, Christos Christoforou. At the turn of this century Christoforou decided to open his zoo up to the public with the aim of showing off his collection and educating visitors about animal conservation. The zoo is situated in a landscaped environment of gardens and ponds, and houses monkeys, giraffes, tigers, white lions, kangaroos, meerkats and more. The bird area is possibly the most interesting, with more than 200 species including a wide range of birds of prey.