Though refined Paphos is one the trendiest resort towns in Cyprus, it is also home to some of the world's finest ancient archaeological treasures. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest town on the island's western coast. Its bays and peninsulas offer spectacular views over the Mediterranean. The town core is filled with art galleries and shops, and vineyards and olive groves blanket the inland countryside, dotted with tiny villages that have changed little over the centuries.
Bordered by palms and close to the harbor, the Pachyammos, Vrisoudia, Municipal, and quiet Alikes Beach are favorites with families as they are easy to reach and close to town. Further along the coast to the north are the sandy beaches of Laourou and Coral Bay, both popular haunts for wind-surfers, water-skiers, and boaters. Lara Beach, north of Coral Bay, is the summertime nesting ground for the rare loggerhead turtle and is protected by the Lara Turtle Conservation Project team.
Things to Do
Paphos harbor is dominated by the medieval fort and the nearby Kato Pafos Archaeological Park. The world-famous ancient mosaics here depict pastoral scenes from Greek mythology. Along the north coast is the Tombs of the Kings, a Hellenistic necropolis where royalty were buried in carved underground caverns by the sea. Churches and monasteries in Paphos include the Agia Kyriaki, a 12th-century church said to be the site of the persecution of St. Paul.
Eating and Drinking
Paphos harbor enjoys a lively cafe scene and has international restaurants serving French and Italian to Asian and Brazilian cuisines. Tavernas, lively informal restaurants specializing in traditional local recipes, are the best place to enjoy authentic Cypriot dishes of fresh seafood and roasted lamb or pork. In the surrounding villages, men still spend their days playing backgammon and discussing the day's issues in the coffee shop -- and welcome visitors to join in.
The inland Cedar Valley and the Troodos Mountains have sweeping views of the sea and ancient villages tucked among the foothills. Follow the coast road to the Agios Georgios harbor, Cape Drepano headland, and Avakar Gorge beyond, each often-deserted with wild beaches and craggy rock formations. Divers and snorkelers will find shipwreck sites just off the Paphos coast, while hikers will delight in exploring the flora and fauna along the trails of the rugged Akamas Peninsula.