In Paphos you will see the most beautiful color of the Mediterranean sea, dreamy landscapes and lots of history. Perfect destination for year-round exploration.
If I am not a big fan of sitting in the sun all day at the beach I would definitely choose the western part of the island as my holiday destination. In Paphos you walk in the footsteps of Aphrodite and Adonis, see banana and orange plantation, look for turtles in the Akamas area, venture into canyons and look for waterfalls hidden in hard-to-find areas. It is the area where you have both sea and mountain and a huge National Park only good to explore for off-road lovers. And if you are a golf lover, this is the perfect destination in the Mediterranean area.
Aphrodite’s Stone – Petra tou Romiou
It is impossible to arrive in Paphos and not go to Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) – the place where Aphrodite was born from the foam of the sea. Two big rocks, a perfectly blue Mediterranean sea, white stones like sea foam on the shore, the sky and the sun. And many tourists who visit the area all year round.
Those who came prepared with a bathing suit also enter the water because legend says that if you bathe where Aphrodite was born you will always remain beautiful and young. I haven’t tried it yet, because the water is a bit cold there and too many stones on the shore for my taste, but I still have time, I guess…
The area is easily accessible from the highway and there are also buses that leave Pafos from the Port and run until late at night.
Tips – it doesn’t hurt to have a pair of water shoes in your backpack too!
Coral Bay – resort area of Paphos
Only a few kilometers from the port area of Paphos is Coral Bay, in the town of Peyia. The road from town to there was recently rebuilt and the area looks very good now. In Coral Bay you will find restaurants, pubs, hotels and of course villas for rent.
The beach is not very big and the entrance to the sea did not impress me, but if we are to look at the scenery, the area is great! Especially if you go up to the village and look at the sea… it’s a dream. It can also be reached by bus from the city.
The area is so beautiful that Shakira bought a house here a few years ago.
Sea Caves & the shipwreck
From Coral Bay the road continues parallel to the sea and will take you to the Sea Caves. They are signposted and relatively easy to find. The area was very beautiful until permission was given to build villas right on the seashore, in the area of the caves.
Before you get to the Sea Caves don’t miss the shipwreck of the Edro III, the ship that washed ashore in November 2011. The crew was saved and the ship built in 1966 will remain there forever.
Lara Road and Avakas Gorge
After taking a selfie with the wreck, you can set off on a quiet drive to the virgin area of the Akamas Peninsula. The road – Lara road – is a dirt one but practicable at least on the beginning.
You won’t see hotels, villas, restaurants or shops, so it’s a good idea to have water supplies in your car. At one point, a few years ago, I didn’t even have a phone signal in the area.
However, Lara Road will take you to the canyons of Cyprus – Avakas Gorge. The area is signposted and the road is still dirt. Even in the summer there are still traces of the stream that passes by. The area is spectacular and worth seeing.
If you want, you can also venture out on the roads of Akamas to explore the 230 square km national park. I admit, I haven’t been, but I’ve seen pictures and the area is worth exploring.
Polis – Baths of Aphrodite – Blue Lagoon
If you prefer paved roads, let’s go back to Paphos to Polis, to the north of the island, but still in the Greek area, not in the one occupied by the Turks. To get to Polis, you can also go through Coral Bay – Peyia – with the GPS on, or through Pafos, on the most used road in the area. Anyway, you won’t have a highway to cross the mountains to get there, only national roads with one lane in the direction of travel. However the roads are well maintained.
With maximum attention and following the signs, you will not miss the road that takes you to Latchi, the northern resort. The area is the least developed if I compare to everything I saw on the island. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
The road by the sea will take you straight to Aphrodite’s Baths, where you will find a generous parking lot to leave your car and go for a walk. The path to the Baths of Aphrodite is very short and the area, during the summer, is quite crowded. At least that’s how we got it on a Monday. But the walk is a pleasant one.
A few years ago there was still someone there who also offered donkey rides, and you can also go for a Jeep Safari ride to the famous Blue Lagoon. We also saw tourists venturing in their rental cars on the road leading to Blue Lagoon.
We didn’t dare. The route is about 5 kilometers long and can be covered on foot by those who want to, but I wouldn’t really recommend it during the summer when the temperatures easily rise to 40 degrees.
Argaka – Pomos – Pachyammos
After so much off road, let’s go on asphalt. Before reaching Polis you can choose to turn right, towards Argaka village. The road will run parallel to the seashore and I thought it was spectacular. I mean, I’d like buying a house there with a backyard right on the beach. Doesn’t sound bad at all.
From here to there you won’t find any more hotels, so if you’re thinking of staying over night, the only solution is to rent a house or a room at the guesthouses in the area. You will find them online, on booking sites, and the prices seemed to me to be affordable.
Now, let’s get back on track. From Argaka, you will enter Pomos, and there you will see a statuette on the left side of the road – it is the fertility amulet discovered in the locality and dating back to the 30th century BC. Hr.. You can see the original at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, and you will find copies in all the souvenir shops. Including the sea view is beautiful there so I don’t think you will miss taking some photos.
If you get hungry or thirsty, there is also a restaurant in the area where you can stop. But do not turn back, because the road goes to Pachyammos, the next town, where you will find a beautiful church and especially the virgin beach and the cemetery by the sea and the border with the Kokkina enclave.
The road bypasses the enclave and you can go to Kato Pyrgos, which is on the border with the occupied territories.
Waterfalls – Kritou Terra and Adonis baths
Through the mountains of Paphos we also reached at one point the village of Kritou Terra, near Peyia. The roads in the village are narrow, some of the narrowest I have found around here, and the road to the waterfall in the area…- at one point we found a side of the road to leave the car and started on foot.
It’s not a long walk, I think about a kilometer, but I didn’t regret it. Locals who knew the area ventured out by car, so in the end it’s up to everyone. However, to see the waterfall you will have to go on all fours through a hole in the rock. It is not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia…
Another waterfall in the Pafos area, somewhat more accessible, is Adonis baths waterfalls. Legend has it that here Aphrodite met Adonis, her lover, and spent time together. The road that takes you there is all dirt, on hills, and a bit narrow in places, but in the end it’s worth the effort.
The city of Paphos
Emblematic of Paphos is the medieval castle in the port area, which is also the main tourist area of the city. Also here you will find an archaeological complex with medieval ruins. A little further up, on the main street, you have the entrance to the famous Tombs of the Kings, which is included in the UNESCO heritage. No king was buried there, but the tombs are so spectacular that they ended up giving it this name.
In Kato Paphos there is also the Pillar of St. Paul, to which he is supposed to have been bound and scourged. The Panayia Chrysopolitissa church was built near the pillar.
In the port area of Paphos is also all the action all year round. Here are the restaurants and the promenade, the castle built in the Byzantine period and rebuilt during the 400-year Ottoman occupation. Further up from the harbor is the Mall, for those who want to stay in the air conditioning for a while while they shop.
The beaches of Paphos
The Mediterranean in the Polis area and even in Paphos seemed more … rebellious to me. It is certainly a few degrees colder than in the eastern part of the island and it is even more turbulent. The blue you will see in Paphos, however, I don’t think you can find it anywhere else on the island.
The landscaped beaches are maintained by the municipality, and the natural ones are usually with stones.
Pafos district is famous for being the place where turtles lay their eggs, especially in the Lara road area in Akamas. The area is protected at the moment but pressures have started to start tourism development including there.
How do you get to Paphos
If you land in Larnaca, the easiest is to book the specialized companies for transfers because the prices will be better than those charged by regular taxi drivers.
If you came on vacation in another city and still want to get to Paphos, you can use the public transport company Intercity Buses if you have decided that you do not want to drive on the island and you have not already rented a car.
What you can visit around
Locals prefer to travel on the highway, so the back roads are more open and waiting for tourists eager to see more of the scenery. One that I recommend going through is the one that leaves from the Paphos International Airport area towards Limassol.
I would make the first stop in Mandria, a very small village that is like an English colony, which has a circle of taverns in the center. The beach here is virgin, with stones, but very picturesque. Across the road from the village is the Asprokremmos dam, the second largest after Kouris, Limassol.
The road will take you to Aphrodite’s Stone – Petra tou Romiou – and along the way there are many places where you can stop the car and admire the scenery.
You will immediately enter the Limassol district and pass by the village of Pissouri, impossible not to notice because it is simply perched on a rock. It’s worth getting in the car, parking it and walking the well-kept streets. Next to the village, follow the signs that will take you to Pissouri Bay where you will find a small and beautiful beach that is worth exploring.
From here the road will take you through villages and two military bases to Episkopi, Limassol and the ancient site of Kourion.
From Paphos, by car, you can explore the small mountain villages. It’s impossible not to find something interesting to see in each of these even if they appear on the map as having a maximum of three streets. There is always an old church and stone houses, welcoming people and beautiful scenery. My advice though is to rent a car with an automatic gearbox so you don’t have to worry about that on the narrow and steep roads.
📌Paphos International Airport is 10 km from the city.
📌The public transport company ensures optimal travel for tourist areas – Pafos Buses.
📌Population in the metropolitan area is approximately 90,000 inhabitants.
📌Vacation and city break destination all year round