Looking for what to do in Paphos? This bumper Cyprus city guide has you covered. Located on the southwest coast of Cyprus, Paphos (Pafos) is a lively coastal city with a temperate climate and plenty of fun things to do.
Paphos is divided geographically into two parts. Connected by a busy traffic artery, Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos) and Ktima (Upper Pafos) are two contrasting and distinctive districts in Paphos.
Kato Pafos is the more tourist-oriented part of the city. It’s where you’ll find swish hotels, resorts, restaurants, and a palm-fringed promenade and seafront.
What to do in Paphos Cyprus
Ktima stands in stark contrast to the busy tourist scene of Kato Pafos. It is the historical and cultural heart of the city.
You’ll find traditional Cypriot architecture, narrow streets, and a more laid-back atmosphere here.
Venture into the labyrinthine backstreets to uncover historical treasures like medieval baths, catacombs, and an unassuming fishermen’s church.
For history lovers, the pièce de résistance is the Pafos Archaeological Site, one of the South’s most culturally rich destinations.
things to do in Paphos
Culture fans can marvel at the various mosaics, catacombs, ruins and archaeological sites at this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sun worshipers will find beaches, bars, boat trips and resorts to entertain them.
I find it’s best to 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.
Based on my extensive travels in Cyprus, 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.
Use my guide to plan your Paphos holiday and create your dream itinerary now!
Paphos Archaeological Park
When visiting Paphos, you must see the awe-inspiring Paphos Archaeological Park in the Harbour area.
It’s one of Cyprus’s most important archaeological sites and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980.
Here, you can step back in time and explore relics from the 4th century BC to the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the splendid Roman period.
You’ll also find an impressive collection of Roman villas, known as the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus, Aion, and Orpheus, showcasing intricate mosaic floors that vividly breathe life into scenes from Greek Mythology.
You can also wander through the grandeur of the Odeon Amphitheatre and delve into the enigmatic Tombs of the Kings.
Tomb of the Kings
Tomb of the Kings is part of the archaeological park and is one of the best things to do in Paphos, especially if you love ancient history.
This ancient necropolis site contains many large tombs dating from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century AD.
Whilst there isn’t much known about the site, archaeologists believe it served as a final resting place for local nobility rather than royalty, as the name suggests.
Confusingly, kings aren’t buried here; instead, it’s the final resting place of high-ranking officials and aristocracy. It’s the grandness of the place that gives it its name.
The palm trees and turquoise blue ocean also create a beautiful and calming backdrop to this historical sight.
The Paphos mosaics is an incredible collection of Roman mosaics, also located at the archaeological park
Accidentally discovered in 1962, this UNESCO World Heritage Site contains mosaics over 2,000 years old.
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 into what the mosaics depict.
Go here with a guide or organised walking tour, as there are so many stories and insights behind the mosaics.
Visit Paphos harbour and Promenade
Strolling around Paphos harbour and promenade with its gentle sea breeze and turquoise blue water makes for a rather relaxing afternoon.
Stop for a cocktail or a glass of local wine at one of the many bars and sea-facing restaurants 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:
- The Harbour
- Sail At Castle
- La Boite 67
- Theo’s Seafood Restaurant
Paphos Habour boat trips
You can also hop on a Pahphso boat trip to try and spot local wildlife and eerie shipwrecks.
There are plenty of trips to choose from, including sunset cruises, glass-bottom boat trips and snorkelling adventures
Discover the coastal gems as you cruise along the dreamy coastline and experience crystal clear waters, sea caves and the occasional turtle.
The harbour is also home to Paphos Castle – a popular tourist spot by the coast.
Built by the Byzantines in the 13th century, this castle has weathered the tides of time, witnessing crusaders, Venetians, and Ottomans passing through its gates.
Over the years, it has functioned as a sea fortress, prison and salt warehouse and is now a popular tourist attraction and focal point of the harbour.
Entry to Paphos Castle is just a few Euros, and you can check current prices and opening times on the official website.
If you visit early in the morning, you should also be able to get those postcard-perfect snaps for ‘the gram’ without too many tourists in your shots!
Have a beach day at Coral Bay
Soak up the sun at the popular Coral Bay, a touristy beach in the Peyia municipality, just 6 km north of Paphos.
You can easily get a local bus to Coral Bay. Just hop on the 615 bus from Kato Paphos Harbour to Coral Bay.
You can spend an entire day relaxing, swimming in the sandy 500-metre-long Coral Bay Beach, and enjoying 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; you can even grab a few cold beers to enjoy on the beach.
Go Bar Hoping at Coral Bay
Just up the road from the beach is a Coral Bay strip packed with buzzing 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 like a ‘Brits abroad’ holiday strip from the bygone days.
coral bay strip
If you can set snobbery aside, it’s 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, clutching a lurid blue cocktail, but she is having the time of her life.
Bar hopping in Coral Bay is one of the more fun things to do in Paphos at night, that’s for sure.
Many bars also have entertainment that includes traditional Cypriot music and dance shows, modern lounge singers, and tribute acts.
Have Sunset drinks at Sea You Beach Bar
The Sea You Beach Bar is one of the best-loved beach bars near Paphos. It’s just a short drive from Paphos centre to Kissonergas.
This slightly remote beach bar is located in Potima Bay, 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 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.
Wander around Paphos Old Town
The heart of Paphos Old Town showcases traditional Cypriot architecture with narrow winding streets, stone-built houses, and charming courtyards.
In 2017, the Old Town received funding to restore its historic buildings and public spaces, so everything looks thoroughly refreshed.
Here, you can dine outdoors in the early evening, admire the churches, and shop at Kennedy Square and Makariou Avenue.
Alongside small shops and family-run restaurants, there are plenty of cultural spots here, including the Ethnographic Museum and Archaeological Museum of Paphos.
You can easily reach the old town by public transport – hop on the regular Harbour Station service 615 bus and pay just a few euros for your trip.
Photograph a Paphos Shipwreck
The Edro 111 shipwreck is located near the beguiling Sea Caves area of Paphos and is a short drive from the centre of Paphos.
The wreck is right on the shore and is a great place to get macabre shots, especially at sunset. It’s 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 a tourist hotspot as visitors flock to get haunting photographs of the wreck. You’ll often find crowds of visitors at sunset with their cameras set up, especially during the peak season.
Go wine tasting in Paphos
Cyprus’ wine industry is over 6,000 years old and has a growing reputation for quality wines that score well in International Wine Challenges.
Indigenous grape varieties, including Xinisteri for white and Mavro and Maratheftiko for red, grow alongside global varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon & Shira
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 one of the fun things to do in Paphos when it rains or if you’re visiting Cyprus in winter.
Some of the best wineries in the Paphos area include:
Cyprus wine tours
Wine is deeply ingrained in Cypriot culture. By joining a guided winery tour, you can discover local traditions, from winemaking to Cypriot wine consumption rituals.
Knowledgeable guides and winemakers also provide insights into the winemaking process, the characteristics of different wines, and the art of wine pairing.
By doing a Cyprus wine tour, you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for the world of wine and get to sip many award-winning local vino.
Visit Aphrodite’s Rock
Located on the Island’s rugged coastline, Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou) is one of the most popular places near Paphos. It’s around a 20-minute drive from the centre to the rock
This huge sea rock is shrouded in the timeless legend of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, who, according to myth, emerged from the sea foam near this very spot.
Aphrodite’s Rock is an impressive sight, rising dramatically from the azure waters of the Mediterranean.
Its colossal presence against the backdrop of the sea and the distant horizon makes it a favourite subject for photographers and artists.
While you can’t climb this huge rock, you can swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters surrounding it or sunbathe on the balmy shoreline.
Discover the Akamas Peninsula
Located on the western tip of Cyprus, the Akamas Peninsula is one of the island’s undeveloped and beautiful parts. It’s also one of the most popular day trips from Paphos.
Stretching over 230 square kilometres, the Akamas Peninsula remains one of the last unspoiled regions in the Mediterranean. It is a haven for biodiversity, with rare and endemic flora and fauna.
Exploring the area typically requires an off-road tour, a keen sense of adventure, and tolerance for dirt tracks and potholes.
Typically, on an Akamas tour, you’ll visit the impressive Avakas Gorge, Lara Beach—home to the Turtle Conservation Project, and the Baths of Aphrodite.
It’s a fantastic way to cover much ground and learn more about the island. Many Akamas tours depart from Paphos, so you can easily get a tour from your hotel.
Discover history at St Paul’s Pillar and Panayia Chrysopolitissa Church
This 13th-century medieval church and pillar in Kato is a historically significant landmark in Cyprus. It’s said to be where Paul the Apostle was tortured when he first arrived on the island to preach Christianity.
This unassuming stone column carries centuries of significance, making it a must-visit site for travellers exploring the island’s rich cultural heritage.
Panagia chrysopolitissa church history
According to tradition, St. Paul, one of the most influential figures in the early Christian church, visited Cyprus during his missionary journeys in the 1st century AD.
He was believed to be flogged on this very spot before converting the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity. The pillar serves as a symbol of this pivotal moment in the spread of Christianity.
The pillar of Saint Paul and Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa church are enclosed in an archaeological site, and entrance is free.
things to do in Paphos at night
Paphos undergoes a mesmerizing transformation when the sun dips below the horizon. The city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to diverse tastes and partying preferences.
From romantic waterfront strolls to lively tavernas and sophisticated cocktail bars, Paphos offers many delightful evening experiences.
Paphos Evening Dining
The Cypriot tradition of leisurely dining extends into the night. Many restaurants in Paphos offer alfresco dining with candlelit tables, lively music and gorgeous views.
Savour the island’s culinary treasures, from succulent grilled seafood to rich moussaka, with a local wine or a refreshing cocktail.
Be sure to visit traditional tavernas in Paphos Old Town for an authentic taste of Cypriot meze, where small plates of flavorful dishes keep arriving until you’re happily satiated.
Paphos is not just about beaches and ruins; it’s a city steeped in arts and culture. Check local listings for evening cultural events, including live music performances, dance shows, and theatrical productions.
The Paphos Ancient Odeon often hosts concerts and plays in a historical setting that adds to the allure of the performance.
Paphos has embraced the art of mixology, and you’ll find chic cocktail bars offering creative concoctions.
Sip on expertly crafted drinks in stylish venues with a sophisticated ambience. Many Paphos bars also offer live music or DJ sets, creating a lively atmosphere for those seeking nightlife energy.
There are plenty of cocktail and wine bars on the Paphos strip or over in Coral Bay, where you can sip expertly shaken cocktails and dance the night away.
Evening Walks in Paphos
Paphos Harbor and the picturesque Paphos Castle take on a new charm at night. Take a leisurely stroll along the illuminated harbour, where the reflections of the boats dance on the water’s surface.
Beautifully lit in the evening, the castle is a backdrop for romantic moments and stunning photographs.
For a retro taste of nightlife in Paphos, hit the strip for a night of drinking and dancing. Known locally as Agiou Antoniou Street, ‘the Strip’ is where the cool kids used to party
This vibrant and lively promenade stretches along the waterfront, offering diverse entertainment and dining options.
While the area has passed its buzzing heyday, having a cheeky drink at some of the city’s more gimmicky bars and taking a few touristy selfies is still worth it.
What to eat in Paphos
Paphos is not just a feast for the eyes with its ancient ruins and picturesque beaches; it’s a haven for food enthusiasts seeking authentic Cypriot flavours and traditions.
Cyprus has diverse restaurant offerings, from fine dining and seafood restaurants to small family-run tavernas and street food.
When eating out in Paphos, look for traditional Cypriot tavernas where you can sample tasty Cypriot dishes.
Tavernas serve authentic Cypriot dishes like moussaka, kleftiko, souvlaki, and halloumi. They often feature live music and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Some of the best Tavernas in Paphos include:
- Laona Restaurant
- Mandra Tavern
Cypriot food culture
Cypriot food culture reflects the island’s historical encounters with Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean influences.
These diverse culinary traditions have been uniquely woven to create a unique and vibrant gastronomy distinct from its Mediterranean neighbours.
At its core, Cypriot food is a celebration of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, vibrant herbs, and the warm hospitality of its people.
Traditional Cypriot Dishes you can try in Paphos
- Halloumi: A true star of Cypriot cuisine, halloumi is a semi-soft cheese, often served grilled or fried. Its irresistible salty flavour and unique texture make it a must-try.
- Souvlaki: Skewers of tender marinated meat (usually pork or chicken) are perfectly grilled and served with pita bread, salad, and a drizzle of tangy tzatziki.
- Kleftiko: This melt-in-your-mouth lamb dish is slow-cooked with garlic, herbs, and potatoes, resulting in a tender and flavorful masterpiece.
- Meze: Embrace the tradition of meze, a delightful spread of small dishes that showcase a range of flavours. Meze is a culinary adventure for adventurous eaters, from hummus and tahini to stuffed vine leaves (dolmades) and grilled octopus.
- Moussaka: Layers of minced meat, eggplant, and creamy béchamel sauce combine to create a comforting and hearty Cypriot dish.
Finding Authentic Restaurants in Paphos
To truly savour the essence of Cypriot cuisine, seek out authentic local and family-owned restaurants. Here are some tips for dining out in Paphos:
- Ask Locals: Locals are your best guides. Talk to hotel staff and tour guides and inquire about their favourite spots in Paphos.
- Look for Crowds: A busy Paphos restaurant is often a sign of good food. If it’s packed with locals, you’re likely in for an authentic experience.
- Explore Backstreets: Venture away from the main tourist areas and explore the quieter backstreets. Authentic restaurants are often tucked away in charming corners.
- Read Reviews: Utilize online resources and apps for restaurant reviews. Look for establishments with consistently positive feedback from locals and travellers.
Where to stay in Paphos Cyprus
From luxury resorts to mid-range apartments to budget hotels, there is a huge range of accommodations in Paphos.
Whether you’re seeking a luxurious beachfront resort, a charming boutique hotel, or a budget-friendly apartment, Paphos has it all.
Kato Pafos (Lower Paphos)
Kato Pafos, also known as Lower Paphos, is the lively heart of the city, situated along the coastline.
This area is ideal for travellers who want easy access to the beach, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife.
If you’re looking for a lavish beachfront experience, consider staying at one of the luxury resorts in Kato Pafos.
Kato Pafos offers a wide selection of mid-range hotels that balance comfort and affordability. The Capital Coast Resort & Spa and the Louis Phaethon Beach are popular choices, providing comfortable rooms and excellent amenities.
Budget-conscious travellers will find numerous apartments and guesthouses in Kato Pafos. Places like the Anemi Hotel & Suites and the Axiothea Hotel offer clean and comfortable accommodations at affordable rates.
Ktima (Upper Paphos)
Ktima, or Upper Paphos, is the historical and cultural centre of the city. This area is perfect for those who prefer a more traditional and tranquil atmosphere.
Ktima is known for its charming boutique hotels, often housed in restored traditional buildings. Consider staying at the Anemi Hotel or the Kiniras Traditional Hotel & Restaurant for a unique cultural experience.
If you’re interested in the history of Paphos, Ktima is the place to be. The Elysium Hotel and the Amphora Hotel & Suites are located near historical sites like Paphos Castle, offering a blend of comfort and culture.
3. Coral Bay
Coral Bay, a short drive from the city centre, is a fantastic choice for travellers seeking a quieter, more relaxed beach getaway.
Coral Bay is renowned for its stunning sandy beaches, and several beachfront resorts offer the perfect seaside retreat. The Coral Beach Hotel & Resort and the Sentido Thalassa Coral Bay are top picks for a tranquil beach vacation.
Families travelling with children will appreciate the family-oriented resorts in Coral Bay. The Azia Resort & Spa and the Akteon Holiday Village provide family-friendly amenities and activities.
Elysium Beach Resort Paphos
Spoil yourself with a luxury hotel in Cyprus and stay at the Elysium Beach Resort, one of Cyprus’s best five-star hotels.
The Elysium Beach Resort is a luxurious stay in Paphos, with swimming pools, a private beach, a spa and fine dining.
It’s perfect for a couple’s romantic getaway in Cyprus and has many luxurious facilities and amenities.
How to get to Paphos
The quickest way to get to Paphos is to fly directly to Paphos International Airport (PFO). However, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are also train and ferry combination options to get you to Cyprus.
You can also book a package holiday to Cyprus and have all your transport, transfers and accommodation organised for you.
How to Get to Cyprus From the UK:
- Direct Flights: Direct flights are your quickest route from the UK to Paphos International Airport (PFO). Numerous carriers, including British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair, operate flights from major UK airports like London Gatwick, Manchester, and Birmingham. Flight times average around 4 to 5 hours.
- Train to European Hub: For an adventurous journey, take a train from the UK to a major European hub like Paris, Brussels, or Amsterdam. From there, you can catch a flight to Paphos. High-speed trains like the Eurostar offer comfortable and scenic options.
- Ferry from the UK: If you prefer a maritime adventure, drive or train to ports like Calais, France, or Bruges, Belgium, and board a ferry to Cyprus. Keep in mind this is a long-haul option with several stops and changes.
From Mainland Europe:
- Direct Flights: If you’re already on the continent, Paphos International Airport (PFO) welcomes direct flights from major European cities, including Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest. Airlines like TUI, Wizz Air, and Eurowings operate these routes.
- Train to Greek Ports: Mainland European travellers can take a train to Greek ports like Piraeus or Patras. From there, board a ferry to Limassol, Cyprus. The train-ferry combo offers a unique and leisurely journey.
- Athena’s Gateway: Athens, Greece, is a major gateway to Paphos. You can hop on a connecting flight from Athens International Airport (ATH) with airlines like Aegean or Cyprus Airways. It’s a quick, approximately 1-hour flight.
- Drive and Ferry: If you’re up for a road trip, drive through Europe to reach Greek ports. From there, take a ferry to Limassol, Cyprus. This option allows you to explore the European countryside at your own pace before island hopping.
how to get from Paphos airport to the city centre
Paphos International Airport and heading to Paphos city centre is a breeze with straightforward transportation options.
Airport Shuttle: Book a transfer and opt for convenience. Paphos Airport offers a reliable shuttle service that swiftly whisks you to the centre. The journey takes around 20 minutes and delivers you right to the heart of Paphos.
Taxi: Taxis are available outside the airport terminal if you prefer a more private ride. The 15-minute drive to Paphos centre offers a comfortable, no-frills option.
Rental Car: For those craving flexibility, car rental agencies at the airport provide a practical choice. Navigate the roads at your pace and explore Paphos and its surroundings. The city centre is easily reachable within 15 minutes.
Public Bus: Traveling on a budget? Jump on the public bus, line 612, which connects the airport to Paphos centre. It’s an economical option that takes approximately 30 minutes.
Recommended travel resources
Flights: To search for flight deals, check out sites such as Skyscanner and Google Flights to compare the costs of flights and to book.
Accommodation: I use Booking.com for most of my hotel bookings as they have fantastic flexibility and cancellation.
Airport Parking and Lounges: Save money on airport & travel extras, including; airport parking, airport hotels, and airport lounges with Holiday Extras.
Travel Insurance: I highly recommend you always get travel insurance – I use the Post Office Travel Insurance for single trip coverage and Safety Wing for comprehensive travel medical insurance.
Car Hire: I use Discover Cars to hire cars abroad as they have free cancellation, free mileage and no card fees.
Travel Money: I recommend Post Office Travel Money as you can get competitive rates and 0% commission for your holiday cash.
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Portia has spent years traversing the globe and having many misadventures. She now works as a freelance travel journalist, editor of Pip and the City and hosts the Travel Goals Podcast. She specialises in adventure travel, destination guides and city breaks. Her work has appeared in The Times, National Geographic and Lonely Planet. She can normally be found hiking, swimming outdoors in icy waters, or drinking coffee in bougie cafes.