by Janis on 24th May 2022 / 0 comments

Explore its culture, history, shipwrecks, and wine

If you’ve decided to visit the ancient city of Paphos in southwest Cyprus, then you’re in for a treat.

You could be exploring the magnificent archaeological sites, strolling the coastal bays and inlets, savouring the atmosphere around Paphos Harbour, or venturing into the Troodos Mountains.

Paphos and beyond is your oyster!

Cyprus is located within the shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and is perfect for soaking up the sunshine all year round on a summer or winter break.

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During our winter sun break in Paphos, we stayed for a week at the 5-star Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos with Jet2holidays. The fully-inclusive Olympic Lagoon Resort is beautifully located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and was perfect for a peaceful winter week away.

We explored Paphos and beyond at a very relaxed pace during our weeks’ stay, combining history, culture, coastal walks and hiring a car for a few days to discover the rural landscape.

Where is Paphos, Cyprus?

How to get to Paphos

- By Air
Here are your UK departure options for Jet2 flights to Cyprus;

  • Belfast (BFS)
  • Birmingham (BHX)
  • Bristol (BRS)
  • East Midlands (EMA)
  • Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Glasgow Intl (GLA)
  • Leeds Bradford (LBA)
  • London Stansted (STN)
  • Manchester (MAN)
  • Newcastle (NCL)

If you adore wandering in the footsteps of ancient history, you’ll love visiting Nea Pafos Archaeological Site; it’s breathtaking.

This magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site is located just by Paphos Harbour, so there’s no excuse not to visit, as I’m sure you’ll be strolling around the bay many times.

An open-air, colourful circular mosaic in the House of Theseus in the Nea Pafos Archaeological Site
A mosaic in the House of Theseus

Amongst the pre-historic ruins, you’ll discover temples and mosaics from incredibly early civilisations of the Neolithic period through the Hellenistic and Roman eras and onto the Byzantine times.

For just €4.50, you’re free to explore the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park at your own pace on a self-guided tour.

During the 2nd-century BC and the 4th-century AD, Paphos was the capital of Cyprus and many of the remains within the park date from the Roman period.

Ensure your visit the intricate mosaics in the House of Aion, meander through the vast floorplan and the columns of the House of Theseus and head within the covered House of Dionysos.

Looking up at the tiers of stone seats from the centre of the semi-circular Odeon theatre in the Nea Pafos Archaeological Site
The Odeon Theatre

The other areas of the archaeological park that I loved strolling around were the striking Odeon, a restored 2nd-century amphitheatre used by the Romans. A little further around was the Toumpallos, an underground complex of caves, halls and corridors carved into the natural rock.

Take your time to wander around the ancient site as it is exposed to the sunshine and can get very hot.

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During your stay at Paphos, you’ll undoubtedly be ambling around the bustling picturesque harbourside. Enjoy the warm sunshine, relax amongst the palm trees, and watch the world pass by. Why wouldn’t you? The views are stunning.
The view across Paphos harbour with the Castle in the background
Paphos Harbour

You’ll be soaking up the welcoming atmosphere and mixing with local families and tourists alike all around the harbour.

Grab yourself an ice cream and stroll around the bay. Admire the vibrantly painted fishing boats bobbing up and down in the crystal blue waters of the Med, ready to head out for the following day’s catch.

A row of small fishing boats lined up in Paphos harbour on a bright day under blue skies.
Fishing boats moored in Paphos harbour
Alternatively, pop into one of the local harbourside restaurants, indulge in the freshly caught seafood, jump aboard a local cruiser, and head around the scenic bay.

A visit to Paphos Old Town must undoubtedly be on your agenda. The rustic town is full of charm, old and new, overflowing with character and a pleasure to stroll around.

Paphos Old Town is around 2 miles (3.5km) from Paphos Harbour and takes about 45 minutes to walk, as it is uphill. You can also hop on a local bus; the no. 610 is the one to look out for.

The tree-lined pedestrian alley in Old Town Paphos between brightly coloured shops
Colourful lanes of Old Town Paphos

Allow plenty of time to amble around the ancient lanes, ensuring you head off down a few tiny side streets; it’s like stepping back in time. Elderly gents were playing board games in doorways, and local ladies were chatting openly across either side of the streets.

Also, keep an eye out for the incredible street art emblazoned across the unlikeliest walls.

Paphos Old Town is a perfect place to stop for lunch, visit one of the modern-day restaurants or mingle with the locals in a traditional café.

We visited Aphrodite’s Rock when we were out and about on one of our road trip days.; however, you can hop on a bus from Paphos Harbour. The route is no. 631 and is named Kato Paphos - Petra tou Romiou.
Aphrodite's Rock set in beautiful blue waters on the coastline to the south of Pathos, Cyprus
The iconic Aphrodite's Rock

Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty, elegantly rose through the sea waves at ‘Petra tou Romiou’, Aphrodite Rock.

It’s believed that if you swim around Aphrodite’s Rock three times, you will be blessed with eternal youth and beauty. Unfortunately, I should have done this about 30 years ago.

The coastline along this part of Cyprus is stunning; the azure blue seas stretch for eternity across the horizon.

Another ancient site for the history lovers amongst us is the ‘Tombs of the Kings’, also part of the Paphos UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tombs of the Kings is slightly north of Paphos harbour and can be reached by hopping on the bus route no. 615, which continues to Coral Bay.

In my opinion, you should allow at least two hours to explore this historic necropolis; it is fascinating and certainly worth €2.50.

Looking down to the columns that line the inner chamber of Tomb 3 in the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, Cyprus
Looking down to Tomb 3

‘Tombs of the Kings” dates from the Hellenistic period to the Romans, and like the Nea Pafos Archaeological Site by the harbour, you are free to wander wherever you wish. However, be careful as the catacombs lie beneath your feet.

Even though no Kings we ever buried here, it was named as such for its grandeur and would have been the last resting place of Paphos aristocracy and their families.

Strolling around the site is incredible as most of the vaults and catacombs are buried underground and carved out of the solid natural rock to create the majestic burial chambers

Search out Tomb 3; you won’t be disappointed.

While you’re exploring Paphos harbour, you must visit Paphos Castle, the iconic medieval fort that stands guard at the harbour entrance.

The eye-catching sandstone coloured castle was built in 1592 and dates from the Ottoman period; however, due to earthquake damage in 1953, it needed to be fully restored. The original Byzantine fortress was also destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1222.

The sandy coloured 16th-century stone Pathos Castle under a blue sky
Paphos Castle

You approach Paphos Castle across a charming arched bridge, and immediately you enter the central enclosed courtyard. The rooms on this floor were once used as barracks and prison cells.

One of the best views across Paphos Harbour can be experienced from the rooftop of the fortress. Head up the steep steps and soak up the magnificent views across the Mediterranean coastline.

During our week’s adventure in Paphos, we hired a rental car to head off and explore the rural countryside beyond the coastline.

Yes, we were venturing through Paphos Forest and into the Troodos Mountains, hoping to get a glimpse of Mount Olympus, and we weren’t disappointed.

A view over the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus from a roadside layby
The stunning Troodos Mountains

The scenery through the forest roads and across the mountainous landscape is stunning; the incredible aroma of cedar and pine trees fills the air.

We weave our way amongst the twisty-turny narrow lanes, navigating the switchbacks beneath the glorious blue Cyprus skies. In late February, the ‘E’ roads were easy to navigate and very quiet. However, we were surprised to see snow piled up to the side of the roads higher up.

The view over the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus from a layby at the edge of the road.
Troodos Mountains
Touring through the mountains, you’ll spot remote monasteries dotted around; we discovered Kykkos Monastery along the ‘E912’. It was so tranquil, and just a handful of people around.
Strolling along the coastal path in Paphos was a delight; as we stepped out of the Olympic Lagoon Resort, a beachfront hotel, we were immediately greeted with a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Janis standing with her feet in the Mediterranean sea in the bay next to the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos, Cyprus
Me in the sea

Wherever you are staying in Paphos, I urge you to head to this coastal path as the vista across the bay is breathtaking.

Ambling in the direction towards Paphos Harbour, there are craggy inlets all the way. Waves crash into the rocky bays creating mesmerising rockpools amongst the rugged shorelines.

The clear blue waters of the Mediterranean sea from the coastal path outside the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos looking towards Paphos Harbour in Cyprus
Paphos coastline

The rustle of palm trees is a soothing sound, and delicate grasses and wildflowers sway in the breeze. A few Paphos Blue Flag beaches are dotted along the coastline. It wasn’t quite sunbathing weather in February; however, these welcoming beaches are kept clean and safe, often with their dedicated lifeguard.

Another beach in Paphos to visit is Coral Bay, around 8 miles (13km) north of Paphos Harbour. This can be reached by hopping on the bus route no. 615 and goes via ‘Tombs of the Kings’.

There are a couple of shipwrecks to look out for off the coastline of Paphos. The first is the shipwreck of M/V Demetrios II, which can be seen from Paphos Castle and the ‘Tombs of the Kings’.

This cargo ship ran aground 500 metres off Paphos Lighthouse on 23rd March 1998 in heavy seas; it carried a cargo of timber from Greece to Syria. Attempts were made to tow it away, but it proved impossible.

The shipwreck EDRO III leaning away from the rocks that have trapped it on the Cyprus coastline
EDRO III shipwreck

The second wreckage, just north of Coral Bay, is EDRO III. Unbelievably this shipwreck is just a stone’s throw from the shores; you’ll be amazed at how close it is. There is even graffiti daubed upon it.

EDRO III ran aground off Peyia on 8th October 2011, during a severe storm. It was carrying cargo from Limassol to Rhodes; after fighting the raging waves, EDRO III became stuck on the rocks just 200 metres from the sea caves in the bay.

Go on, take a look; it’s incredible.

For something a little different and a bit further afield, head to one of Cyprus’s wine-producing villages. We choose to visit the picturesque village of Omodos in the Limassol district of Cyprus.
Timios Stavros Monastery at the end of a cobbled street in Omodos wine village
Omodos village

Omodos is located nearby the Troodos Mountain region and is full of so much character and charm. Omodos is a very traditional winemaking village; around the cobblestoned main square are old stone-built houses with sun-drenched balconies, the Monastery of Timios Stavros and a medieval wine press.

Take a stroll amongst the delightful lanes and stop at one of the welcoming traditional tavernas. What could be better than basking in the dappled sunshine, sampling the local wine and enjoying delicacies from the Cypriot cuisine.

There you have it, 10 incredible things to see and do in Paphos.

Venturing off with Jet2holidays to Paphos

The perfect way to relax and enjoy Cyprus

Jet2holidays offers several departure locations around the UK, we selected to hop aboard the Jet2holidays flight from London Stansted Airport. Stansted Airport is easily accessible by car from the M11 motorway. You can catch the Stansted Express rail link from London Liverpool Street, which departs every 15 minutes.

If you choose the driving option, you can book your car parking through the Jet2 Extras website, and you’ll also get a discount.

The Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos pool area, lined with palm trees under a clear blue sky.
The pool area of the Olympic Lagoon Resort, Paphos

Our experience during our Jet2 flights to Cyprus was incredibly smooth and stress-free.
When you hop off your flight at your chosen destination, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that your hotel transfer awaits. Also included in your package holiday to Paphos, you’ll have a generous baggage allowance of 22kg and a hand luggage allowance of 10kg.

If you wish to make the whole in-flight experience even less stressful, you can pre-book your seats and meals for a charge.

Additionally, ensure you download the Jet2holidays app; it is effortless to manage your booking.

The main pool in front of the terrace at the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos as the sun goes down.
The Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos

If your perfect break is relaxing under palm trees by the poolside of a stunning all-inclusive beachfront resort, we highly recommend the 5-star Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos with Jet2holidays.

The beautiful Olympic Lagoon Resort surpassed all our expectations, from the moment we stepped through the doors and observed the ocean view beyond until we said our final farewells to the ancient city of Paphos.

This was our first adventure on an all-inclusive holiday with Jet2holidays, so it would be a new and enjoyable experience all around.

Discovering more of Paphos

If you want to discover more of Cyprus, then why not check out our post 'Escape to the winter sun in Paphos, Cyprus.'

Stroll along the coastal path to the harbour, explore its historical sites, or even pick up a car with Jet2 Extras and venture further afield.

Disclaimer

We were invited to Cyprus as guests of Jet2holidays to stay at the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos. However, all our views, opinions and personal experiences are our own.

Would we recommend a winter sun stay at the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos with Jet2holidays? Unequivocally yes, we would return tomorrow. You instantly start to unwind and feel a wave of relaxation flow through you.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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