Located on the south-west tip of the island of Cyprus, Paphos is by far the most popular resort on the island with UK holidaymakers. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, this purpose built resort of Kato Pafos stretches east from the small port and Ktima Pafos is the ‘old town’ where you will find neoclassical buildings and lively markets. Holidays in Paphos are ideal for people of all ages and all interests. Paphos offers a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets but it is worth noting that most of the accommodation along the Kato Pafos resort strip closes down from January right through to the end of March. The beachfront hotels are separated from the sea by a pedestrian and cycling way.
Most of the resort coastline is rocky with a number of sand and gravel coves. For better beaches you will need to travel further afield (about 2 miles) to Yeroskipou beach which although it has a shingle shore, it does have a sandy base under the water. You will find a couple of beach bars and cafes here but beware of the night-time nude bathers (mainly gay bathers) in the summer, especially when there is a full moon! There is a pedestrian and cycling way that runs from Kato Pafos harbour to the edge of Yeroskipou which gives easy access to the whole of the shoreline.
The pebble and coarse sand beach at Petra tou Romiou is located near Latsi, about 15 miles from Paphos and is popular as a sunset watching beach and photographic opportunity spot. According to legend the rock monoliths jutting out of the sea are missiles hurled at invading pirates by the Byzantine folk hero Dhiyenis ‘Romios’ Akritas.
For sandy unspoilt beaches you will need to travel about 18 miles north of Paphos towards Lara, just inside the Akamas peninsula. Here you will find a cape which separates two sandy coves. The northern cove has low sand dunes and is a protected sea-turtle nesting area. You are not allowed to visit this beach after dark during the summer and you are not allowed to take sun beds and parasols at anytime whatsoever.
Six of the Paphos beaches have the European Blue Flag status, making them ideal for families with young children.
There is a variety of sports on offer at the beaches including scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and volleyball. The waters off Paphos are perfect for beginners and experienced divers with around thirty dive sites offering different degrees of difficulty. Two of the most popular dive sites are the Valley of the Caves and the Wreck of the Achilleas.
Away from the beach there is plenty to see and do including the UNESCO Roman mosaics in the House of Dionysus which is located near the port and the Hellenistic 3rd century BC Tombs of the Kings which are located less than 2 miles from the town. The eerie Tombs of the Kings is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and gives you the chance to explore the maze of underground chambers and tombs, reminiscent of the ancient tombs of Egypt. Just a short drive from the resort you will find the foothill monastery of Ayios Neofytos and his frescoed 12th century cave dwelling. Other popular attractions worth visiting include the Baths of Aphrodite, the Adonis Falls near the village of Kamares, and Paphos Castle which is steeped in history and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the more active there are plenty of activities including scuba diving, bowling, golf and a water park.
Paphos is very popular with golfers looking for top-class courses in beautiful surroundings. The Secret Valley golf course is located close to Aphrodite’s birthplace and is surrounded by a beautiful backdrop of olive and carob trees. The 18-hole Tsada golf course sits in the grounds of a 12th century monastery, 550m above sea level and offers a driving range and putting green.
Paphos offers some nightlife on the single ‘bar street’ in Kato Pafos.
Due to the gentle sea breezes, Paphos is cooler than the more inland areas of the island. Summer months see temperatures in the high 20’s to the low 30s with night-time temperatures around the 20C mark. Spring and autumn are regarded as having the best weather conditions and therefore the best time for a visit. Winter months see temperatures drop to around 17C with night-time temperatures dropping to single figures. Sea temperatures are usually too cold for most people in the early spring but by early May have warmed up enough for most people to take a dip.