The resort of Paphos (or Pafos) on the south western coast of Cyprus has been attracting visitors for literally thousands of years. Today, a choice of beaches make it a popular with sun and sea worshippers, and its picturesque harbour is the perfect place to stroll after you’ve eaten your fill at one of the waterfront tavernas.
Visitors who step back in time to explore ancient Paphos will soon realise why the whole town has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historical treasures include a Byzantine Castle, an Archaeological Museum, the Tombs of the Kings which are carved into the rock and St. Paul’s Pillar. But arguably the most famous archaeological site what remains of the Temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty whose mythical birthplace is at nearby Petra Tou Romiou beach.
At Petra Tou Romiou (or Aphrodite’s Rock) the goddess emerged from the waves and was carried to shore in a shell. The area, as beautiful as it is legendary, developed into one of the most revered pilgrimage destinations in the ancient world. Devotees of Aphrodite travelled from all over Cyprus and from every corner of the Mediterranean to worship at her sanctuary. Aphrodite’s Rock and the temple site are nine miles east of present day Paphos.
Paphos can be divided into two parts: the beach resort (Kato Paphos) and the inland town (Pano Paphos). Pebbly coves run along the shoreline in Kato Paphos and the sandy centrally- located Municipal Beach is an easy wander from most accommodation. Well worth the short trip north along the coast is Coral Bay: everyone’s favourite stretch of sand, which arches for eight miles beside clear blue Mediterranean waters.
Paphos prides itself on having something to offer every holidaymaker, from families and couples to the party people who pack the neon-lit bars in Kato Paphos. Water sports are also widely available; so you can pedalo across, parasail above or scuba dive beneath the waves everyday of the week. There are some brilliantly named dive sites nearby, such as the ‘Valley of Caves’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Stan’s Dilemma’.
Away from the coast (around 25 miles inland) are the Troodos Mountains, where walking and mountain biking are popular with visitors and Cypriots alike, especially during the slightly cooler winter months.
Posted : Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 13:01
Kelly Pipes is a writer and editor who has worked in travel and travel publishing for the last ten years, and has enjoyed every single minute of it. Alongside other projects she shares off-beat travel news and authentic travel experiences on her own blog, Sandwagon.