Paphos is an enchanting mix of modernity and antiquity: gleaming hotels and sleek seafront bars rub shoulders with archaeological sites, mountain villages and Byzantine monasteries. Making it an intriguing place to stay. The long-held tradition of winemaking and ancient Greek mythology sit alongside pioneering wildlife conservationists, thrilling jeep safaris and modern water parks. To make the most of the city, here are 10 of the best things to do in Paphos.
Hike to the top of Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the highest point in Cyprus, at a lofty 1,952 metres. At the centre of Paphos, it looms above the other peaks of the Troodos Mountains, offering some of the best views over the island and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s quite a challenging hike, so demands a level of fitness – but it’s worth the effort. In the winter, the slopes are blanketed in snow and are perfect for skiing.
Go wine-tasting at local villages
The history of winemaking in Cyprus can be traced back around 6,000 years. Many wine tours visit Kolossi Castle, once an important location for winemaking, whose surrounding vineyards are responsible for the island’s best – and oldest – wine: Commandaria. A scattering of grape-growing villages continue the tradition; some of the best wineries include Vasilikon in Kathikas and Vouni Panayia in the eponymous village. A much-anticipated wine event in October and November sees the villages preparing tastings and festivities; Kilani is one of the best places to visit in Paphos for the annual grape festival.
Visit Aphrodite’s Rock at sunset
Aphrodite’s Rock, or Petra tou Romiou, is said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. According to legend, Aphrodite rose from the sea, and came to shore here. While local fable states that anyone who swims around the rock three times will be blessed with eternal beauty, the rough sea conditions discourage this. Visit instead at sunset when it’s at its prettiest – by far one of the most romantic things to do in Paphos.
Go on a turtle-spotting boat trip
Sea turtles nest on the sandy beaches north of Paphos from May to August. While you must not approach the creatures or the nests, you can visit Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station to see hatchlings and learn about their work. Ask any wildlife lover what to do in Paphos and they’ll suggest a boat trip to see turtles swimming in their natural habitat; Atlantis Turtle Watching Cruise offers a number of excursions.
Scuba dive an underwater shipwreck
Around a mile out to sea from Larnaca, the Zenobia shipwreck lies on a flat bed of sand and rocks, 42 metres beneath the surface. The former Swedish ferry, complete with 104 trailers and trucks, sank just off the fishing harbour in 1980. Today, it’s home to many species of fish, and dubbed one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world – truly one of the best things to do in Paphos (and clearly, the world). It’s one of the more active day trips from Paphos, with many scuba diving tours including Zenobia – try Dive Point or Cydive.
Bathe like Adonis
A waterfall cascades into the Adonis Baths, creating a clear swimming spot near the village of Kili. A wall of overhanging trees encircles the pool, giving the water its luminescent green colour. You can swing into the water from a rope dangling from the trees. Legend has it that the falls are the birthplace of many of Aphrodite and Adonis’s children, with an on-site museum tracing the area’s history. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Paphos, so can get busy.
Take to the nature trails of Akamas
Akamas is one of the last-remaining untouched regions on the island. The wild, untamed peninsula provides habitat for endemic plants and rich wildlife – from monk seals to sea turtles. The national park is crisscrossed with trails, leading to one of the best beaches in Paphos: Lara Bay. Tackle the paths on foot or by bike, or rent a 4WD for all the vistas, with none of the exertion.
Splash around in Cyprus’ largest water park
Fasouri Watermania is the largest water park on the island – one of the best things to do in Paphos with kids. There’s something for all ages here: paddle boats and baby swings for young ones; climbing walls, water slides and adventure routes for teens; a spa and sun-loungers for adults.
Taste olive oil at a rural farm
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and Cypriot cuisine is no exception. If you’d like to learn more about this liquid gold, head to Oleastro Olive Park in the rural village of Anogyra where you can see farming and extraction first-hand. Sprawling groves wrap around an ecological olive mill, alongside which is a restaurant, museum and shop selling the bounty of the land. Your ticket includes a free tasting.
Take a jeep safari of the island
Many corners of Paphos are inaccessible on foot or by car, demanding a jeep or boat instead. For one of the best things to do in Paphos as a day trip, sign up for a jeep safari to reach the island’s remote corners. Many combine the secluded Blue Lagoon bay and rocky Avakas Gorge with sea caves, banana plantations and waterfalls; try Eco Tour Adventures for a sustainable focus.
Our luxurious and stylish villas in Paphos are within a short distance to various activities around the area. Spend your days getting adrenaline-fuelled highs, and then retreat back to your villa for well-deserved R&R. We’ve also got a concierge team who can help you sort out any added extras, like local in-house chefs, maid service or even just ensuring you have a fully-stocked fridge upon arrival!