The city of Paphos has always struck me as a rather eclectic and somewhat disjointed city in Cyprus.
Not only because the city is split into Lower Paphos and Upper Paphos but by its clash of superb heritage and mildly tacky tourism.
This seaside city is full of charm and splendid contradiction. Cultural and archaeological sights sit alongside tourist-friendly harbour bars, souvenir shops and huge party boats pumping out 80’s music.
If you are wondering what to do in Paphos, it’s certainly a city that caters to a range of visitors.
What to do in Paphos
Culture fans can marvel at the various mosaics, catacombs, ruins and archaeological sites on offer at this UNESCO world heritage site.
Sun worshipers will find beaches, bars, boat trips and resorts to keep them entertained.
I find it’s best to actually embrace the contrasts and enjoy a mix of the two in this sprawling and intriguing city. Walking shoes by day, party shoes by night. Sorted.
Things to do in Paphos
I’ve created a guide to some of the best things to do in Paphos so that you can make the most of your time there.
Enjoy a mix of beaches, historical sights, bars and places to eat to make your Paphos holiday memorable.#Paphos has so much to offer including beaches, bars, boat trips and resorts, as well as a range of historical and sights.
The harbour is also home to the iconic Paphos Castle, originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour.
It has functioned as a sea fortress, prison and a salt warehouse over the years and is now a popular tourist attraction and focal point of the harbour.
The entrance fee to Paphos Castle is just €2.50, a proper bargain for history lovers and photographers.
If you visit early in the morning, you should also be able to get those postcard-perfect shot for ‘the gram’ without too many tourists in your shots!
Strolling around Paphos harbour with its gentle sea breeze and turquoise blue water is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Stop for a cocktail or a glass of local wine at one of the many bars and eateries on the waterfront.
Many of the bars will also offer a huge range of dishes including Cypriot cuisine as well as a range of international dishes and British classics.
Some of the best bars and restaurants in Paphos Harbour include:
- Steve’s Cafe
- Kings Cafe
- Captain’s Bistro
- The Harbour
Paphos Habour boat trips
You can also jump aboard a Paphos boat trip to try and spot wildlife and shipwrecks.
There is a variety of boat trips that leave from the harbour to choose from depending on your budget and where you want to go.
Here are some popular boat trips you can take from Paphos
- Jolly Roger Pirate Ship Cruise from Paphos
- VIP Ocean Flyer Cruise from Paphos
- Deluxe Night Cruise with Fireworks – Adults Only
- Blue Lagoon Sea Star full day Cruise from Paphos
Go turtle watching in Paphos
Paphos is famous for its sea turtles, who pop up on rare occasions to delight visitors.
Several beaches in Cyprus [such as the secluded Lara beach], are protected areas as turtles come to shore to lay their eggs.
If you want to know more about turtle hatching book a Jeep Safari at Lara Bay tour, as these tours will give you lots of information about turtle conservation and how the eggs are protected.
Turtle watching trip Paphos
Your best chance of spotting turtles in Cyprus is on a turtle watching boat trip.
One of the best turtle watching tours in Paphos is with Atlantis Turtle Watching Cruise.
Their boats depart from Paphos Harbor to the reef and there you can watch the turtles from the boat’s ‘submarine room’ that features huge circular ‘watch windows’.
I would recommend going on a sunset trip, especially if you are looking for romantic things to do in Paphos.
Have a beach day at Coral Bay
Soak up the sun at the popular Coral Bay, a touristy beach located in the Peyia municipality, just 6 km north of Paphos.
You can easily get a local bus to Coral Bay. Just get the 615 bus from Kato Paphos Harbour to Coral Bay.
You can spend an entire day relaxing and swim in the sandy 500-metre long Coral Bay Beach and enjoy the clean waters and lazy pace.
There’s also a range of useful facilities on the beach including sunbeds, toilets, showers and changing rooms.
Snacks and drinks are available from the small beach cafe and you can even grab a few cold beers to enjoy on the beach.
As a British person, this is somewhat of a revelation, normally we can’t be trusted with booze on the beach.
It normally results in an intoxicated brit snoozing on a driting out dingy and a coast guard rescue.
Coral Bay bars
Just up the road from the Coral Bay beach is a strip of bars and restaurants that are delightfully tacky.
Think flashing neon signs, huge menus with photos of the food [In case you have forgotten what a burger looks like], Sky Sports and terrible karaoke. It’s a holiday strip from the bygone days.
Best bars in Coral bay
If you can set snobbery aside it’s actually a fun place to stop for a drink and a bite to eat before you head back to Paphos.
Yes, sunburnt Karen will be belting out ‘I need a hero’ wildly out of tune, whilst clutching a lurid blue cocktail, but she is having the time of her life.
After a wine or three, you find that kind of slightly wobbly, drunken ‘i’m on my holiday’ joy, is a tad infectious.
Bar hopping in Coral Bay is definitely one of the more fun things to do in Paphos at night, that’s for sure.
A lot of the bars also have entertainment that includes traditional Cypriot music and dance shows, modern lounge singers, and tribute acts.
If you are tempted, a few of the best bars in Coral Bay include:
Tomb of the Kings
Tomb of the Kings is an important historic and archaeological site and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. History fans will love it here and photographers will be in their element.
This ancient necropolis site contains many large tombs dating from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century AD.
Whilst there isn’t a massive amount known about the site, archaeologists believe it served as a final resting place for local nobility, rather than royalty, as the name suggests.
Tombs of the King’s entrance fee
The famous ‘Tombs of the Kings’ is actually part of the Archaeological Park of Paphos.
The cavernous underground tombs date back to the Roman period and rather impressively are carved out of the solid rock.
Confusingly Kings aren’t actually buried here, rather high ranking officials and aristocracy were buried here. It’s the grandness of the place that gives it its name.
The palm trees and turquoise blue ocean also make for a beautiful and calming backdrop to this historical sight.
You could spend hours wandering the site and going into the actual tombs. I personally enjoyed roaming around the tombs pretending I was Lara Croft [minus the heaving bosom].
The site is open 8.30 am to 5 pm daily and the entrance fee for the Tombs of the Kings is €2.50.
Sunset drinks at Sea You Beach Bar
A short drive up the road from Paphos centre is the Sea You Beach Bar. This slightly remote beach bar is located in Potima Bay, which is the large bay on the coastal road heading towards Coral Bay.
The bar is decked out in repurposed wood, hipster chic. think shells, distressed beach signs and wood pallet seats.
The real selling point of the bar is the incredible sunsets. You can kick back with a cocktail, or walk along the beach outside of the bar and watch the sky blaze with colour.
As soon as the sun starts to dip, there is a mad rush to the front of the bar to get as close to the sea as possible for an unobstructed sunset view.
The Paphos mosaics is an incredible collection of Roman mosaics and archaeological finds.
Accidentally discovered in 1962, this UNESCO World Heritage Site contains mosaics that are 2000 years old.
You can find the Paphos Mosaics within the Paphos Archaeological Park, located near the harbour.
Paphos Archaeological Park
The museum authorities have constructed a series of criss-cross boardwalks that allow you to view the fragile and historic mosaics from above.
There are several viewing points and information panels to give you an insight as to what the mosaics depict.
Definitely go here with a guide if you can though, as there are so many stories and insights behind the mosaics.
The Paphos Archaeological Park entrance fee is €4.50 and is well worth a visit for culture and history fans.
Photograph a Paphos Shipwreck
The Edro 111 shipwreck is located near the beguiling Sea Caves area of Paphos.
The wreck is right on the shore and is a great place to get some macabre shots, especially at sunset. It’s definitely one of the best free things to do in Paphos.
The 2517 ton cargo ship was on a fated voyage from Limasol to Rhodes in 2011 when bad weather and stormy seas caused the ship to wreck off the rocks.
It’s now something of a tourist hotspot as visitors flock to get their Instagram shot of the wreck. You’ll often find crowds of visitors at sunset with their cameras set up, especially during the peak season.
Watch the sunset on the wreck with a cocktail or two at Oniro by the Sea bar, the views are insane!
Enjoy a jeep excursion in the Akamas Peninsula
Spend an afternoon having a guided jeep excursion in the Akamas Peninsula area, a short journey from Paphos.
It’s a fantastic way to cover a lot of ground and learn more about the island. Many jeep tours depart from Paphos, so you can get a tour from your hotel easily.
I went on a jeep tour with ‘George’s jeep safari’ and went off-roading around the beautiful Akamas Peninsula and secluded Lara Beach.
You can pack so much in during a short time on a jeep excursion. This is ideal if you are on a short break in Cyprus.
You can book a jeep tour for Cyprus online so that you can get a great deal in advance!
The Akamas Peninsula is one of the undeveloped and beautiful parts of Cyprus.
Exploring the area requires four-wheel drive off-roading, a keen sense of adventure as well as tolerance for dirt tracks and potholes.
On our tour, bumped along dirt roads and gazed out towards rugged and remote scenery as our driver gave us a rundown of Cypriot history and facts.
It’s a great day trip from Paphos if you are looking to get out of the city!
Go wine tasting in Paphos
Cyprus’s wine industry is over 5000 years old and has a growing reputation for quality wines that score well in International Wine Challenges.
They also have its own indigenous grape varieties that include Xinisteri for white and Mavro and Maratheftiko for red.
There are several villages in the Paphos region where you can visit wineries and sample a few glasses of local wine. Going wine tasting is actually one of the fun things to do in Paphos when it rains.
Some of the best wineries in the Paphos area include:
Cyprus wine tours
The best way to experience a range of local Cypriot wines is to go on a Cyprus wine tour. Spend some time learning about the winemaking process as you sample a few cheeky glasses.
Some of the best wine tours in Cyprus include:
- Paphos Private Tour – Food & Wine Pairing Lunch
- Tastes & Traditions from Paphos
- Troodos Mountains Tour through Food & Wine
- Roses & Rosé (Food & Wine Small Group Tour with Picnic Lunch)
- Omodos Odyssey (Food & Wine Pairing Lunch with Village Tour
Watch Cypriot sweets being made
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Arsinoe Delights make their famous Loukoumi Geroskipou, a soft and chewy sweet covered in sugar powder.
In this small shop, workers make a variety of Cyprus delights, peanut brittle, sesame brittle, coated almonds and coated cashews.
Aphrodite Delights has been using the same recipe for over a hundred years for their traditional sweets.
You can purchase a range of sweets from their shop, with several different flavours and with or without nuts. The hardest part is choosing from their vast range of flavours.
Where to stay in Cyprus
From luxury resorts to mid-range apartments to budget hotels, there is a huge range of accommodation in Paphos.
Elysium Beach Resort Paphos
Spoil yourself with a luxury hotel in Cyprus and stay at the Elysium Beach Resort, one of the best 5 Star Hotels in Cyprus.
You can book the Elysium beach resort in advance and get yourself a great holiday deal for winter.
The Elysium Beach Resort is a most luxurious stay in Paphos, with swimming pools, private beach, spa and fine dining.
It’s perfect as a couple’s romantic getaway in Cyprus and has a huge range of facilities and amenities.
Winter in Cyprus is a great time to visit as hotels are often cheaper during the off-peak season in Cyprus, so you can get yourself a great deal on a luxury Cyprus hotel.
Roman Boutique Hotel
The Roman Boutique Hotel is built on a preserved archaeological site and dear lord do they take the ‘Roman theme’ seriously.
The interior is extensively decked out in what Grand Design hosts would enthusiastically describe as ‘Colosseum chic’.
All the rooms, reception area and pool and spa area at the Roman Hotel are decorated with scenes from Greek and Roman mythology. It is ridiculous and lovely all at the same time.
Roman boutique hotel facilities
It’s a really kooky hotel that is surprisingly affordable for the Paphos area.
Our favourite part of the hotel was the ornate swimming pool that is overflowing with pink bougainvillea ornamental vines, giving the poolside a real rustic feel.
There’s also a poolside bar serving drinks, snacks and lunch dishes. Perfect for a lazy day at the pool.
What do you think of my what to do in Paphos Cyprus guide? Are there any activities you really want to try? Let me know in the comments below!
Planning your trip to Paphos
Ready to book your trip to Paphos? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
- Search for the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Search for the best hotel deals on Booking.com
- Get the best travel tips with a travel guidebook
- Book an Airbnb and have £25 towards your first booking
- Get the best destination recommendations from TripAdvisor
Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!
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