Holidays in Cyprus
Places to Visit around Paphos
If you really want to get out and about during your holidays in Cyprus
and take in the surrounding Paphos area, hire a vehicle and take to the road.
Paphos and Kato Paphos will provide the best all-round bases on the island during your Cyprus holidays, with access to many historic on-site attractions, beaches, Troodos Mountains, the Akamas Peninsula and village life.
We have listed below many of the varied and interesting places on offer in this region and certainly don't recommend that you try to take them all in during your first holiday in Cyprus. A brief explanation is given on each site for you to make your choices.
Paphos has been transformed from a sleepy fishing port into a fully-fledged tourist resort. Visitors looking for more than just the idyllic sand and sea Mediterranean holidays will have plenty of choice for places to visit in Paphos or further afield and will return enriched by the history, beauty and local humour that holidays in Cyprus have to offer.
Paphos became the capital of Cyprus under the successors of Alexander the Great. It continued as the island's first city for more than seven centuries, retaining its importance under Roman rule. But Paphos history dates back a great deal further. In fact the whole area abounds in historical and archaeological treasures.
KATO PAPHOS (Lower Pafos)
The harbour at Kato Paphos is one of several picturesque places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus and provides a safe haven for both fishing and sailing boats.
The harbour is one the those places to visit when all you wish for is to while away a perfect few hours when you have had enough of shopping or too much sun on the beach. Take a meander along the harbour wall, watch the local fishermen and call into any of the local restaurants for either a drink or a meal and simply watch the world go by.
PLACES TO VISIT AROUND PAPHOS DURING YOUR HOLIDAYS IN CYPRUS
Open daily 9am - 6pm (summer)
9am - 5pm (winter)
Small Admission Fee
Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, it was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, and rebuilt by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century. Over the centuries the fort has taken on many guises from a Roman fort, a feudal castle, a Turkish tower and finally a British salt warehouse. It is now an empty shell, but during your holidays in Cyprus, is well worth the visit for the small admission fee and is one the best places in Paphos to benefit from the wonderful all round view from the rooftop
Open daily 9am - 7:30pm (summer)
9am - 5pm (winter)
Small admission fee.
This group of mosaics constitute some of the most important specimens in Cyprus history and are housed in the remains of two Roman houses depicting a life of luxury from the 3rd Century AD. The houses are named after the most prominent Gods depicted in the Mosaics, Dionysos and Aion.
I was truly impressed by these mosaics and the stories they tell and would suggest you allow yourselves at least a couple of hours to visit both houses and walk around the grounds. During the summer months this is a very popular attraction and tends to become very busy in peak times. A further dig is taking place during 2005 and they have
already uncovered further mosaics which can be viewed as they progress.
Click the links for further information and pictures on places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus, especially the House of Dionysos and the House of Aion
Kato Pafos, near the harbour.
Excavations have established that this was a French crusade castle built at the end of the 12th Century and destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. It can be found just across the harbour car park and can be identified by the impressive arch. Be aware that there are no formal entrances or signs, it is open 24 hours and one of the absolutely free places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus.
An excavated 4th Century AD Christian Basilica. This site can be found on the road taking you down towards the harbour from the main town, Leoforos Apostolou Pavlou (meaning St Paul's Avenue). The church was immense with seven isles and in places you can make out mosaic pavements showing geometrical patterns and floral scenes. Arabic script found on some of the green and white columns date back as far as the invasions that destroyed the church in 653.
Look out for the column called St Paul's Pilla. The apostle St Paul was tied to the pillar and lashed 39 times for preaching the Gospel.
CATACOMB OF AGIA SOLOMONI:
As you wander further up the hill (Leoforos Agiou Pavlou), you will come across what is often described as one of the intriguing phenomena experienced during holidays in Cyprus. Bemusing to the Western eye, a sacred tree festooned with hundreds of handkerchiefs and rags will be seen. This practice is common in the Near and Middle East and is similar to lighting a candle in a church in the West i.e. the handkerchief is given as a token of remembrance.
This sacred tree marks the entrance to the Catacomb of Agia Solomoni, which was once regarded as the place where miracles would happen and diseases would be cured. The catacomb was originally Christian and retains some 12th century frescoes in places.
TOMB OF THE KINGS:
Open daily 9am - 7:30pm (summer)
9am - 5pm (winter)
Small admission fee.
Spread over a vast area, these impressive subterranean burial chambers were built from 3rd Century BC to the 3rd Century AD. They are carved out of solid rock with some being decorated with Doric pillars. The magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.
One of my favourite places to visit and definately one you should include during your holidays in Cyprus....Well worth the small admission fee!
Click the link for further detailed 'holidays in Cyprus' information and pictures on
Tomb of the Kings
PAPHOS DISTRICT ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM:
Griva Digeni 43, Tel: 26 940215.
Attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Paphos area, dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD.
A. Ioannou 3 Tel: 26 931393
An interesting collection of objects from the Byzantine period, including Byzantine icons from the 7th to 18th centuries, and the oldest icon found yet in Cyprus of the 7th or 8th century.
AYIA PARASKEVI CHURCH:
Geroskipou village, 3 km east of Paphos.Tel:26 961859
One of the most interesting and attractive Byzantine Churches on the island, dating to the 9th century, with a vaulted basilica, a nave and two aisles surmounted by five domes, with later frescoes dating to the 15th century. A must to put on your list of places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus.
SANCTUARY OF APHRODITE:
Kouklia village, 14 km east of Paphos, Off the Limassol-Paphos road. Tel: 26 432180.
This is Palaepaphos,(Old Paphos) one of the most celebrated places for pilgrimage of the ancient Greek world, and once an ancient city kingdom of Cyprus. Here are the ruins of the famous Temple of Aphrodite, the most ancient remains, go back to the 12th century B.C. The temple was one of the most important places of cult and pilgrimage of the ancient world, till the 3rd-4th century A.D. The Museum, housed in the Lusignan Manor, which is small but impressive with many finds from the area and excavations continue on the site.
PETRA TOY ROMIOU - BIRTHPLACE OF APHRODITE:
Aphrodite's Rock/Petra Tou Romiou.
25 km east of Pafos on B6 Paphos to Limassol Road.
According to legend, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. It is easy to be sceptical about the myths, but we honestly have to say that this is the most awe inspiring piece of coastline to be seen, when the sun is out, and I defy any couple, regardless of how young or old, to not be bewitched by it's spell.
The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou (The Rock of the Greek), is however, nothing to do with Aphrodite but is associated with the legendary frontier guard and hero, Romios, of Byzantine times. Romios was obviously endowed with amazing powers as he kept the marauding Saracens at bay with amazing strength by heaving this large rock (petra) into the sea destroying the enemy's ships.
Please click the link for further detailed 'holidays in Cyprus' information and pictures of
Aphrodite's Rock (Petra Tou Romiou)
One of the most popular places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus.
NORTH OF PAPHOS
MONASTERY AND CHURCH OF AGIOS NEOFYTOS:
10Km North of Paphos
Open Daily Apr-Sep (9am - 1pm and 2pm - 6pm)
Oct- Mar (9am - 4pm)
Small Admission fee for Entry to the Museum and Caves.
The church has some very fine icons and frescos dating back to the 16th century. The main attraction however is the 12th century Enkleistra, (meaning hermitage) from which the monastery was formed. The Enkleistra, which was carved out of the mountain by the hermit Neofytos with his own hands, contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th to 15th century. One fresco shows Neofytos himself flanked by the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Please put this on your places to visit list while on your holidays in Cyprus.
For more details on:
Byzantine churches to visit on your Paphos holidays
12Km North of Paphos, located in Tala. Admission Fee.
A 4-wheeled drive vehicle is recommended for this journey, which can prove a little hairy to the less hearty and adventurous amongst us. I have to say that I did not do this journey in a 4-wheeled drive and although it was an adventure, it gave cause for a few expletives and shrill gasps, but the much loved 'boys prized possession' came out in one piece at the end even though we looked like we had been dragged through the bush. It is a lot of fun and worth the story at the other end. Of all of the places to visit on your holidays in Cyprus, this is probably one of the most adventurous.
AGIOS GEORGIOS HARBOUR:
A small and very beautiful fishing refuge, just 4.5 km from the village of Pegeia. The ruins of two early Christian basilicas can be seen with some very interesting mosaic floors. Take a stroll down over the rock face in front of the church and in places you will see rock-hewn tombs of the Roman period built into the hillside. We would
recommend that if you were not in the vicinity around sunset, that you make a special effort to make the trip your number one priority during your holidays in Cyprus. Take along the camera or video and make sure you have plenty of film as this is one of those special places to catch the most romantic of sunsets in Cyprus. Sit on the harbour wall and enjoy!
Click the link to view some of our own
in what has to be one of the most idyllic places to visit in Paphos at this time of day. We promise the results of your photography will be a perfect reminder of your holidays in Cyprus.
40 km north east of Paphos, turn right before Stroumpi village.
Set in beautiful surroundings, this monastery, dedicated to Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate, was originally founded in the 12th century but the present building dates to 1770. The monastery has a collection of important icons and treasures. An impressive religious ceremony and celebrations are held on 15th August. Recently the old winery of the monastery was reopened and produces some of the best vintage wine available in Cyprus. Wine lovers, add this to your list of places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus.
On the west of Troodos 1 1/2 km from Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery.
The birthplace of President Makarios. The house, where he was born, has been turned into a museum.
Cyprus is famous for its monasteries and convents. In the mountainous Troodos region, 20 km west of the village of Pedoulos, is the most famous and richest monastery in Cyprus, Kykkos Monastery. It possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to Saint Luke, chandeliers, silver oil lamps, wall paintings and a unique ecclesiastical museum. Fairs are held here in August and September.
Also in Troodos you’ll find nine beautifully painted Byzantine churches, so remarkable that they are listed in UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List. Those of you who have enjoyed holidays in Cyprus before will, I am sure, agree with us that a visit to a chosen few of the Byzantine churches are well worth the visit.
BATHS OF APHRODITE:
Polis - 48km North of Paphos
Lakki Harbour, a relatively low key resort to the north of Paphos is picturesque and a pleasant place to stop for refreshments. The harbour itself is the gateway to the Akamas Peninsula. According to legend, the goddess Aphrodite used to take her beauty baths in the pool of this natural grotto, shaded by a fig tree. Nature trails marked from the Baths lead to other areas of the Akamas where you will enjoy unforgettable unspoilt views. Drop in to a local Cyprus Tourism Organisation office for the special nature trail leaflets.
The Akamas peninsula is one of the few unspoilt places of wilderness to be found on the Island and is currently a major battleground between developers and environmentalists. A 4-wheeled drive vehicle is recommended if following the paths from Polis to Paphos or visa versa as the road is not bitumen and can be a bit of a bone shaker. The coastline is spectacular and the protected Lara Bay area is home to the nesting of loggerhead and green turtles.
Please click the 'holidays in Cyprus' link for further photographs and information on
The Akamas Peninsula
Another must for your list of places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus.
DISCOVERING A PAPHOS VILLAGE:
PANO (Upper) AKOURDALIA and KATO (Lower) AKOURDALIA
can be found in the northwest of the Akamas region. These villages are fantastic places to visit to experience some real Cypriot culture and enjoy the panoramic views of the Bay of Khrysochou that is approximately 15kms to the north. The village of Akourdalia has its very own herb museum (Chryseleousa Herb Garden) and is well sign posted throughout the village. At the entrance stands a huge circular stone, which was once used as an olive press. The herb garden is actually named after the tiny church Panayia Chryseleousa, situated on the opposite side of the road.
The herb garden houses over 40 species of aromatic plants, of which 6 are endemic to Cyprus. The herbs are dried and packaged and can be purchased on site. The building was once the village school and has two rooms, one that houses the museum and the other is now a small tearoom. The village itself is being lovingly restored to its former glory under a project being undertaken by The Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside. Houses are being revamped in keeping with the village but are being equipped with luxury items and all modern day amenities for the enjoyment of a perfect holiday in Cyprus.
In the Troodos region, almost 1100 metres above sea level. A 19th century church now stands on the site of the monastery of Panagia Eleousa, founded by monks from Constantinople in the 9th century.
This mountain village provided a very gracious welcome to us as new arrivals to Paphos on one of our first holidays in Cyprus, when we stopped at a village taverna for lunch and thought we may have gate-crashed a local wedding. The Taverna was full of locals, which is always a good sign, enjoying a mid-week meal of meat and fish from the BBQ in the car-park. We sat, no menu was given and we were told what was on offer by a friendly waiter speaking extremely good English. (Well his English was far superior to our Greek at the time). We enjoyed a very wholesome meal of chicken, pork and fish, potatoes and salad with two large Keo beers for the total sum of CY £10.
One of our most enjoyable memories of our holidays in Cyprus and one of the best village lunches.
The atmosphere in this village is very special. Donkeys can be seen going about their business of transporting people and goods about the village. It is an unspoilt area and still enjoys the tranquillity of mountain life.
Various local products can be found in the village, such as hiromeri" (smoked ham), "loukanika" (spicy, smoked sausages), "lountza" (smoked fillet of pork)
and also Agros is famous for it's roses, from which Rosewater is produced as well as Rose Brandy, perfumes and candles.
Sit in one of the coffee shops and enjoy the tranquillity of the mountain village and the special ambience. Listen out for the bells as the goats are moved from one place to another. Anyone that knows Cyprus or has already had previous holidays in Cyprus will tell you this is the best way to sample real Cypriot life.
(the Artists Village)
Lania can be found on the main road to Troodos. It is one of the most picturesque places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus, especially in summer due to the lovely show of hanging baskets. It is well worth a walk within the maze of small narrow street to view the old buildings, many of which are beautifully preserved and are a fine example of traditional stone and wonderful wooden stable doors and window shutters. Some of the buildings are now home to a few resident local artists. The village is also known for making Kommandaria, the best dessert wine in Cyprus and most of the local shops will be only too pleased to give you a sample tasting, hoping that you will take a sample home to remind you of your holidays in Cyprus.
Pronounced 'tro-dos' by the locals and not 'true-doss)
The Troodos mountain area is a welcoming place to visit if your holidays in Cyprus coincide with the hot summer months. The air is fresher and cooler and there are a splendid collection of Byzantine churches to visit and many wonderful walking trails. The road up the mountain is an experience in itself and winds through villages that are actually perched on slopes. You will experience orchards in the foothills and pine forests at higher altitudes and the scenery is awesome. Skiing holidays in Cyprus are now a serious pastime in winter, near the resort of Troodos and if skiing is your thing or you think you would like to learn, maybe you should consider this for a winter holiday in Cyprus.
Many of the most popular walks start at the town of Pano Platres. These walks cater for most ability levels and details can be obtained from the Cyprus Tourism Office. The Kaledonia Falls walk (2 kms can be recommended. It is very pretty and very well marked.
The village of Omodos has been renovated and is one of many attractive places to visit during your holidays in Cyprus. However, sadly it has now become over commercialised and the many tour buses that make a stop here have destroyed the peace and atmosphere that was once known. We suggest an escape to the peace and quiet in the Monastery of Timiou Stavrou.
The resort of Troodos itself has decent ski slopes and in spring and autumn abounds with nature lovers using the walking trails. If at all possible we would suggest that you avoid midsummer when the resort changes it's guise and becomes a mass of continual tour buses and stalls selling cheap souvenirs. A little further on by foot or road is Mount Olympos, Cyprus's tallest peak at 1,951m. The views from this point are not over spectacular but you will be rewarded during your holidays in Cyprus if you tackle one of the two trails that circle the summit, the Atalante or the Artemis.
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