A coastal city steeped in mythology, Paphos is made up of two parts – the Old Paphos, said to be the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, and the New Paphos, a bustling, modern harbour town. Not many places can be classed as an all-rounder destination, however, this south-west corner of Cyprus blends golden coastlines and a family-friendly resort with a world of history lying just behind it.
A landscape dotted with ancient churches, monasteries, tombs and baths is just waiting to be explored, and colonial neighbourhoods are like a step back in time. Paphos is a city so rich in culture that a holiday there will always be one to remember, whether you’re a beachgoer or a history buff!
Catacombs, medieval baths and the UNESCO-listed archaeological site are all touching distance from our luxurious villas in Paphos, an incredibly romantic harbour town where history comes to life.
Why visit Paphos?
The Paphos Archaeological Site is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus, and one of the reasons Paphos was named the European Capital of Culture back in 2017.
Vivid azure seas lap white-sand beaches, making it the ultimate beach destination.
Cyprus benefits from year-round warm weather, meaning you can have a Paphos holiday even in December!
Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in Paphos have this in spades. We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.
Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.
Paphos has long been a popular holiday destination, and while the hustle and bustle of the palm-fringed seafront and harbour have put this coastal city on the map, it’s the timelessness and rich culture that makes the biggest impression. You’ll find sugar-white and golden beaches fringing the shores, backed by mountainous scenery, sprawling vineyards and lush forests. Catacombs, Byzantine monasteries, ancient churches and medieval baths share the landscape with mountain villages, colonial neighbourhoods and resorts.
The foodie scene of Cyprus is a delectable fusion of Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek cuisines with a traditional Cypriot spin. Fresh seafood on the coast, sharing platters of mezze in local tavernas, and grilled souvlaki, all draw on the local produce. There are also a handful of great local wineries, owing to the vineyard-carpeted hillsides – these make for an idyllic afternoon trip.
Boasting the longest coastline in Cyprus, one of Paphos’ main draws is its beaches. From Blue Flag beaches perfect for families, to wild coves and picturesque bays for the intrepid and curious, you’ll always find a beautiful place to lay your beach towel. Greek mythology doesn’t just lay inland either, you’ll find beaches dedicated to the goddess of love, Aphrodite, too.
Paphos isn’t just about beach lounging and water-sports though, with dramatic mountainous scenery, cycling and hiking trails weave their way across its hillsides. The Akamas Peninsula is a protected nature reserve, and well-known for its dreamy boat trips and thrilling safaris. Hike to the top of Mount Olympus of the Troodos Mountains for stunning views of the island and Mediterranean, go wine-tasting in a mountain village, dive for shipwrecks or explore the impressive archaelogical sites.
There’s so much to do, you could easily have a jam-packed itinerary if you wanted to! We pulled together a list of the top 10 things to do in Paphos.
Why it's perfect for families
Good for babies: If you head over to Paphos in the winter months, you’ll still find pleasant temperatures up to 20°C, which will make it more comfortable for babies. Cypriots are very welcoming to families, and you’ll find plenty of family-friendly restaurants.
Good for kids: Paphos is home to 12 Blue Flag beaches, meaning there are plenty of places for kids to splash about. Even better, there’s the Aphrodite Waterpark with lots of thrilling water rides!
Good for teens: Water-sports at the beach, ogling the animals at Paphos Zoo and spotting wildlife while hiking or boating - there’s plenty of activities for teens to get stuck in to!
It can get really hot in the summer months, and can easily hit 35°C on the coast in July and August – even exceeding that temperature inland. We’d recommend visiting either side of the summer months for more comfortable temperatures – December can still hit 20°C!
If you’re into arts and crafts, but want to make sure you come away with an authentic item, The Place is a cultural centre with over 12 artists selling handcrafted art and products.
Paphos is a small city, so it’s easy (and sometimes more enjoyable) to get around by bicycle or foot. You’ll see way more of the sights, and be able to take in more, this way.
What Oliver loves
The array of things to do across its contrasting landscapes makes it perfect for large groups with multiple tastes, and the fact it's warm year-round (even at Christmas!) means you can take advantage of the weather for a half-term holiday.
Paphos towns and villages
From the old town of Ktima and the modern harbour of New Paphos, to the colonial villages wrapped around hillsides and the palm-fringed seafront of Kato Paphos, this corner of Cyprus is the perfect blend of old and new.
Peyia is situated at the southern end of the Akamas Peninsula, on the hills, sloping down towards Coral Bay – a lively resort on the shores of the Med. The main beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in Cyprus, and great for families due to its Blue Flag status. You’ll also find a handful of other picturesque beaches and bays, and Avakas Gorge, a beautiful nature attraction.
The Akamas National Park is an expanse of gorges, rich flora and fauna, sandy bays and lush valleys on the west coast of Cyprus. Exotic wildlife can be spotted in these parts, and it’s perfect for outdoor adventures as its home to nature trails, the baths of Aphrodite and the paradisical Blue Lagoon.
Built in the mythical birthplace of the goddess of Aphrodite, Old Paphos is steeped in rich history. This charming district village will have you stepping back in time with its Byzantine church (Panagia Odigitria), pilgrimage site from the ancient world, Sanctuary of Aphrodite and local art scene.
Two resorts rolled into one, these island villages benefit from a lovely harbour, golden beaches and great diving schools. Lying next to the Akamas Peninsula, you can easily hike one of the trails from the area to look out over the coastline.
The sleepy village of Pissouri is in the Limassol district, with a great Blue Flag beach where you can go kayaking and paddleboarding. The village centre boasts a fabulous foodie scene too, drawing on local bounty (vineyards, veg farms and fishing) served in family-run eateries.
A charming small village settled 350m above sea level, Choulou is built on its cultivation of local produce such as grains, olives and fruits. With only a small number of inhabitants, a couple of tavernas and coffee shops - this village is sure to give you a taste of authentic Cypriot life.
Getting there and around
Paphos is a small city and relatively easy to get around – until recently, it was actually a traffic-free zone, but they’ve changed this to help tourism. You’ll find the infrastructure has improved since then, making way for public transport and cars.
You can fly straight into Paphos to The Paphos International Airport, and it takes about 4.5 hours to fly from the UK. Airlines servicing Paphos include Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet and British Airways, so it’s a very accessible holiday destination.
While it’s not generally needed, you can hire a car to get around Paphos – which could be particularly useful if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing. You’ll be able to find car rental companies at the airport, or you can pre-book as most have websites that enable you to do this.
There are rural and urban buses connecting tourists to many parts of Paphos – the KEMEK bus lines are well connected, and while they can be cheap, they can also be irregular and inefficient.
You can get service taxis or private taxis while in Paphos – we recommend getting a private taxi because service taxis will be shared by other passengers.
Paphos is an easy place to get around by foot, however, if you’re wanting to zoom around a few sites then by bicycle is one of the best ways – it’s scenic and will get you from A to B, sometimes better than a bus would!
Driving is on the left-hand side, which is ideal for British tourists! Children under 5 aren’t allowed to travel in the front of the car, and you must be over 25 to drive.
Buses only run on certain roads, and if you’re wanting to visit attractions, you’ll often find that buses may not get you to where you need to be.
Tours are a great way of getting around Paphos, as transport is included. There are an abundance of day trips, from winery tours to historic excursions!