The district’s administrative center and beach city of Paphos is located in southwest Cyprus. Old Paphos, now known as Kouklia, and New Paphos were the two places in classical antiquity that shared the name Paphos.
Paphos as it currently exists is located on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Limassol. The A6 highway connects the two cities. The second-largest airport in the nation is Paphos International Airport. The city has the island’s mildest temperatures thanks to its subtropical Mediterranean climate.
Due to the prominence of its historic religious significance, mosaics, and ancient architecture, Paphos was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
It was chosen as the 2017 European Capital of Culture.
Top 10 Paphos Sights
Tombs of the Kings
The famous ‘Tombs of the Kings’ form part of the Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos – one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyprus that has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1980.
The monumental underground tombs are carved out of solid rock and date back to the Hellenistic Roman periods.
Rather than kings, it is actually high ranking officials and aristocracy that were buried here, but the size and splendour of the tombs – some decorated with Doric pillars – gave the locality its grand name.
Some of tombs imitate the houses of the living, with the burial chambers opening onto a peristyle atrium. They are similar to tombs found in Alexandria, demonstrating the close relations between the two cities during the Hellenistic period.
Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos
The Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos is one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyprus and has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 19080.
Nicocles, the last King of Palaipafos moved the city from the previous location to its present location near the harbour at the end of the 4th century BC. Between the 2nd century BC and 4th century AD, Pafos was the capital city of Cyprus.
The park includes sites and monuments from the 4th century BC to the Middle Ages, while the most remains date to the Roman period. The intricate mosaic floors of four Roman villas (the housed of Dionysos, Theseus, Aion and Orpheus) form the impressive epicentre of the finds, and depict various scenes from Greek Mythology. The complex also includes other important monuments, such as the Asklepieion, the Odeon, the Agora, the Saranta Kolones (Forty Columns) Castle, the Limeniotissa ruins of an Early Christian Basilica, and the Tombs of the Kings.
Standing grandly at the west end of the town’s harbour, Pafos Castle was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, and was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, but the dismantled by the Venetians. The Ottomans rebuilt it in the 16th century when they conquered the island. What survives today is the 1592 Ottoman restoration of the western Frankish tower with its Venetian additions. An inscription above the only entrance of the castle bears witness to this restoration.
Pafos Ancient Theatre
The Paphos Ancient Theatre, is located at the northeast corner of the ancient city in Paphos diagonally of the port.
It was possibly built during the first years of the city life, around the end of the 4th century. It seems to be closely connected to the architecture of Alexandria as one would expect Paphos to be as it was the capital of the island during the ruling of the Ptolemais and it is possible that the artistic cultured reflects from the theatre of Alexandria.
There seem to be many characteristics, important for the evolution of the ancient theatre such as semi-circular shape. Only one part of the theatre is built on a hill and the rest was built with a manmade mound on which stone seats were the placed on.
During the third century B.C, to the south side of the theatre, a stone rad was built diagonally to the stage. After excavations of the area, a series of various finding which were dated to the 3rd and 4th centuries came to light. These items were of vital importance. From the 13th until the 15th century A.D there was a large farm at the area which was also important medieval activities in Paphos during the crusades.
Agia Solomoni Christian Catacomb
Located in Kato Pafos, Agia Solomoni Church is a chapel that forms part of a small underground complex of chamber tombs from the Hellenistic period. In Medieval times the site was a popular pilgrimage and has also been called ‘The Chapel of the Seven Sleepers’, or ‘The Seven Maccabees’.
Agia Solomoni was one of the first to reject idolatry and embrace Christianity on the island. According to tradition, Solomoni took refuge in the cave to escape persecution from the Romans, but they walled up the entrance, condemning her to a slow and cruel death. However, when the cave was opened 200 years later, the saint walked out alive.
The Akamas Peninsula is located in the western angle of Cyprus in Paphos and it is considered as one of the most popular places to visit. The name Akamas originates from an Athenian warrior, the son of Theseus who came to the peninsula after the Trojan War.
The villages that are included in the area from the south towards the north are Peyia, Kathikas, Pano Arodes, Kato Arodes, Ineia, Droushia, Fasli, Androlikou and Neo Chorio. The topography of the area covers about 230 square km and includes a plateau of about 500 metres, smaller plains, small rivers, deep narrow valleys, caves, gorges sandy beaches, rocky shores and small islands.
Unlike the other towns in Cyprus, Paphos has two separate geographical locations that developed in different phases in history: Nea Paphos and the Centre of Paphos (Ktima), usually referred as Kato Paphos and Pano Paphos accordingly.
Petra tou Romiou – Birthplace of Aphrodite
Aphrodite’s mythical birthplace ‘Petra tou Romiou’ is an interesting geological formation of huge rocks along one of the most beautiful coastlines on the island, located on the southwest coast of the Pafos district.
Coral Bay is the main bay of the Peyia coast in the Pafos district. It is situated southwest of the Peyia community, around 1.5 kilometres from Kissonerga and about 12 kilometres from the town centre of Pafos.
Blue Lagoon Beach
The Blue Lagoon Beach is one of the most isolated yet beautiful beaches in Cyprus, offering a magical view. The blue lagoon beach could have easily taken the name of heaven. It is also called Isle of Chamili and the largest bay in the Akamas region.