Things to do in Paphos

Top 10 Things to do in Paphos

 

Our Top Ten things to do in Paphos - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Paphos has to offer


Paphos is the main holiday resort on the western end of the island and home to the largest UK expatriate community on Cyprus. It has beautiful beaches, many of them uncrowded, even at peak times of year and within 30 minutes of the beach you can be driving through pine scented valleys, sleepy mountain villages and sampling the true Cyprus. I’ve visited Paphos many times and these are my top ten attractions of the area.
1 Visit The Archaeological Sites Around Paphos Town
Visit The Archaeological Sites Around Paphos Town
If you’re an archaeology buff, you’ll like this one. Within a ten minute walking radius you have the chance to visit varied and spectacular sites. Begin at the Tomb of the Kings where you’ll see the catacombs where dignitaries from the time of Ptolemy were buried. The entrance fee is very cheap and the visit is worth it to marvel at the engineering involved in carving the underground tombs out of the solid rock so as to make them look like they’d been constructed on the surface. Then head to the House of Dionysus to view the beautiful mosaics. Onwards then to St Paul’s Pillar where the apostle was whipped. There are also the catacombs of Agia Solomoni, including the tree where votives are hung to plead for cures.

2 Go To A Concert At Paphos Fort
Go To A Concert At Paphos Fort
Held regularly throughout the year, there’s a range of concerts staged in front of Paphos Fort. Seating is erected specially for the occasion and with the illuminated backdrop of the Venetian fort any concert is dazzling. The best part is that it’s only seconds from the restaurants along the harbourside so you can dine at your leisure then stroll to the concert after your dessert. I saw an opera performed there and the setting and acoustics were amazing. It did seem a little strange though that the characters entered the stage from a wooden footbridge across the moat!

3 Green Monday At Geroskipou
Green Monday At Geroskipou
Join the crowds at the start of Orthodox Lent on the beach at Geroskipou. You’ll see barbecues and picnics being held by the extended Cypriot families. Shellfish are the traditional food but you’ll detect a strong smell of lamb souvla wafting in the spring breeze. Marvel too at the traditional kite flying that takes place across the island, reputedly to send our sins and unclean thoughts up to heaven to be forgiven by God. On the occasions I’ve attended, I’ve been invited to join with the locals in their celebrations. A great way to introduce yourselves to the religious customs of Cyprus

4 Easter in Paphos
Easter in Paphos
Cyprus celebrates Easter like Europe celebrate Christmas, spectacular religious ceremonies, fireworks, feasts and more. I was invited to take part in all of the Easter celebrations by a family I met in Kissonerga. It began with a ceremony carrying the icons in a candlelit procession around the village then I was invited round for a plain meal and a sombre evening on Easter Saturday before walking to the local Orthodox church with them just before midnight. The church was dimly lit and although the service was conducted in Greek I had a reasonable idea of what was happening. I’d been given an unlit candle to hold as I went in and on the stroke of midnight the priest went into the sacred enclosure behind the iconostasis which represents the divide between earth and heaven. He emerged with his candle lit and declared ‘Christos Anesti’ – ‘Christ is risen!’ and lit the candle of the person nearest him. The light spread through the church as he declared Jesus, Light of the World is risen and everyone spilled out onto the church courtyard where a big bonfire was raging topped with an effigy of Judas. The next day a huge party was held for the villagers and guests with entertainment, free food and drink. It was a wonderful atmosphere and rounded off perfectly the celebrations of Easter.

5 Lara Beach
Lara Beach
A beautiful, secluded beach on the Akamas peninsular made even more special when on my visit, as the sun set and the moon took over the illumination of the beach, a turtle heaved itself from the lapping waves and struggled up the beach. I gazed on in awe, but from a distance, as she dug a pit with her flippers and deposited her eggs, before covering them and returning to the sea. Throughout June and July turtles visit the beach after journeying thousands of miles from their feeding grounds.

6 Practice Your Greek In A Village Taverna
Practice Your Greek In A Village Taverna
This will take some bravery, especially when you are faced with seemingly stern faces that look up at you from a game of backgammon, but provided you are reasonably modestly dressed, arm yourself with phrases from a guide book such as ‘Kalimera’ (Good day) and ‘Ti Kanete’ (How are you?) and the smiles will break out and you’ll be welcomed to join them, possibly with the universal Cypriot welcome ‘Kopiaste’ Come and eat with us! You’ll make new friends who will help you with your Greek too!

7 Get Invited To A Greek Wedding And Join In A Greek Dance
 Get Invited To A Greek Wedding And Join In A Greek Dance
On every occasion I holidayed in Cyprus I saw weddings taking place and since moving to the island I’ve been informally invited to join in the celebrations as I watched the ceremony taking place. There is such romance in an Orthodox wedding with the exchanging of flower garlands between bride and groom and the energetic dancing, accompanied by much local spirit, after the ceremony. I was regularly dragged up to dance; mostly I think to entertain the wedding party with my crazy interpretation of the moves.

8 Visit a Garden Centre
 Visit a Garden Centre
You might think this is a strange idea; I first did it on a holiday to see if I could find any unusual seeds to take home. I was so astounded by the different outdoor plants that were on offer, many of which would make spectacular houseplants back home that I now visit on a regular basis. Often the plant areas are full of the perfume of gardenia, citrus and jasmine and the vivid reds and oranges of Mediterranean plants made me long for the chance to grow such tropical beauties.

9 Drive a Wine Trail
 Drive a Wine Trail
There are wine trails marked all around the Paphos area and the local CTO office will give you free guides to them all. They’re clearly marked out by brown road signs so if you’re doing one on the spur of the moment you’ll easily pick them up. My favourite is the one around Kathikas that takes in some well known wineries where free tasting is the order of the day. A few of the wineries are now offering restaurants on site serving delicious meals accompanied by the wine of the estate so plan ahead and make a day (and evening) of it!

10 Watch a football match at a Cypriot ‘Premiership’ ground.
 Watch a football match at a Cypriot ‘Premiership’ ground.
For a fraction of the price you’d pay back home you’ve got APOP (Cyprus Cup Winners a few years back) and Paphos. Choose your matches well and you could be seeing some top class football played by stars of the English premiership from days gone by and now running out for the likes of Omonia, the Man U of Cyprus or Apollon, the top Limassol side. It’ll be like the old days of UK football with concrete terraces and players so close you could almost touch them.

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