Holidays to Paphos whisk you back to ancient Greece with temples and colourful mosaics – then the lively nightlife brings you right into the 21st century.
An old-meets-new resort
According to myth, when Aphrodite rose from the sea she landed at Paphos. Fast-forward a few thousand years, and the old town is straight-up traditional Cyprus, with cobbled streets and shaded pavement cafés. Downhill, meanwhile, there’s a modern harbour packed with bars and restaurants. But the spirit of Aphrodite lives on in the age-old temples and crumbling ruins that are still here to explore.
Blue Flag beach
The bijou beach here only stretches for around 150 metres, but it’s right in the town centre, so it’s really handy. It’s split into 2 parts – a sandy part and a wooden, decked area behind it – and both have got plenty of sunloungers. There are a couple of beach bars, but most of the stretch is backed by craggy rocks and overlooked by a Medieval castle.
Temples and tombs
The town’s history stretches back to Neolithic times, so there’s a mixed heritage here. A must-see is UNESCO’s Tomb of the Kings – these Egyptian catacombs are carved out of solid rock. There’s also the famous House of Dionysos for spectacular Greek mosaics. And up on the hill, the rugged columns of the Temple of Aphrodite frame sweeping sea views.
Talking of Aphrodite, you can see her old baths at Polis, about 40 minutes away. There’s a really good walking trail that starts from here, too. Alternatively, a 90-minute drive gets you to the village of Khirokhitia. The houses here look like little ceramic pots – they date from the Neolithic period, and were home to the earliest-known civilisation on Cyprus.