Paphos takes pride that it is known as the city founded on the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. The rock that is said to be her exact birthplace is the perfect place to visit for any mythology lover. The Rock of Aphrodite is where Aphrodite rose out of the ocean. Legend says that anyone who swam to the rock would gain eternal youth. Sounds great, but know that swimming to and climbing on the rock is not permitted due to very rough waters near the stone. The rock also goes by the name The Stone of the Greek, where another legend says the Greek hero DigenisAcritas threw the very rock into the sea to scare off the invading Saracens. The nearby beach would be the perfect place to have a have a picnic. You can reach it by taking the B6 south east out of Paphos until it touches the coast. Seeing as it’s the patron town of Aphrodite it only makes sense for there to be a temple in her honour. The Temple of Aphrodite was the area of worship of her cult and a place of pilgrimage for people all over Greece. It dates back to the 12th century B.C. Located in Old Paphos, the temple is now in ruins but many of the beautiful mosaics have survived. Near the ruins is a museum that has artefacts from the temple and explains how the people worshiped. There is a four and a half euro entry fee for adults to see the temple and museum. You can get to it by visiting the nearby village of Kouklia and going South West. The site is open every day of the week from 8am to 4pm and open till 5 pm on Wednesday.
Paphos is known for having tons of well persevered and detailed mosaics depicting scenes from Greek and Roman myth. The mosaics are spread out amongst a group of what were very opulent homes. Each home is named after the mythical characters Dionysus, Theseus, Orpheus, and Aion. Another house is known as the House of the Four Seasons because it has a mosaic depictions of them. The archaeological park where the sites are located is near Paphos Harbour and is open 8:30 am to 5pm in the winter and until 7:30 pm in the summer. There is a 4.50 Euro fee at the entrance. Of all the places to visit in Paphos this is the one you can’t miss.
Another sight that connects to the ancient Greeks is The Tomb of the Kings which was a burial site for the elite families of ancient Cyprus. Built in the 3rd century BC it contains very impressive architecture. When early Christians came to Cyprus, they used the tomb as a burial site adding to the history of the place. The tomb of the kings is located to the north of the Elysium Hotel and is open 8:30 am to 5:00 pm in the winter and until 7:30 in the summer. There is a two and half Euro admittance fee.
One of the most famous historical sites in Paphos is the coastal Paphos Castle. Originally built by the Byzantines as a fort to protect the nearbyharbour, it has been torn down and rebuilt twice. Each time leaving behind the builder's influence on the structure. In 1222 A.D. an earthquake destroyed the fort, until it was rebuilt by the Lusigans later that century. The Venetians tore it down in 1570, likely to use as material for other stone building projects. When the Ottomans captured the city, they again rebuilt it. When Britain took control of Cyprus, they used the seaside fort as both a prison and as storage for salt. The castle is located near the boardwalk of Kato PhaposHarbor and is open to the public from 8:30am to 5:00 pm. The story of Paphos Castle matches the history of Cyprus so it’s a must see.
Paphos has many churches that are worth visiting. One church that is very special is PanagiaChrysopolitissa, which contains the pillar of Saint Paul. The story is that Paul was imprisoned in Paphos and during his imprisonment was tied to the pillar and whipped. The pillar still stands in perfect condition and is considered a holy sight. The church built on the site is very old in its own right and contains many mosaics and is still holds mass. You can get to this church by going directly west form the archaeology park across the B20. Saint Solomoni is a church that has a 12th century with the original frescoes still attached. At the front of the church is a tree that is said to cure anyone that hangs an offering on its branches. The church is on a road named AyaisKyriakis. AyiosNeophytos is a monastery that was in part built from what a hermit carved out of the mountain side and has frescoes that date back form between the 12th and 15th century. The monastery is at the end of AgiosNeofytos Ave in the village of Tala.
Even if history isn’t your thing there are still plenty of things to do. Those visiting in the summer may want to take a day to visit the Super Aphrodite Water Park, you can find it off Poseidonos Ave and has a 20 euro entry fee. If you’re looking for even more water related fun you can find Nick's Water Sports Centre behind the Amathus Hotel, they offer parasailing and jet-skiing.
Diving and fishing are also popular sport here, especially since the waters are so pure and clear to look at. Bold divers can go lower and actually see underwater ruins and wrecks from ages ago, not to mention plenty of marine life in the Mediterranean Sea. Fishing is all year round and freshwater, so it’s an angler’s paradise. Remember to get a license if you want to fish in the dams. However, saltwater fishing at specified locations is free-reign.
Animal lovers will want to see the Paphos Zoo; it's open 9 am to 5pm in the winter and till 6pm in the summer.There is a 15.50 Euro admission for adults and 8.50 Euros for children 12 and under. The zoo is located on Xylomantrou Street. The zoo offers some excellent wildlife viewing, including 700 birds and 165 avian species, along with large mammals like tigers, primates, giraffes, rodents and marsupials. There are even bats counted among the 5,000 mammals. Reptile exhibits feature crocodiles, snakes, lizards and tortoises.
Horse riding at Eagle Mountain Ranch is a cant miss and is located 10 minutes outside Paphos on EvagoraPalikride. The ranch offers both one hour and three hour rides.