Cyprus, a ray of Mediterranean sunshine
If you’re looking for a relaxing, laid back and welcoming holiday, then Paphos is for you. Especially if you are searching for some winter sunshine.
Paphos is located on the southwestern shores of Cyprus, and this beautiful island lies within the shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
I must admit Gary and I don’t particularly choose a location for its sun; however, visiting Paphos in February really suited us. Some days it was beautiful blue skies, at around 20 degrees which were perfect for strolling into Paphos old town and exploring the ancient sites.
On other days when it was slightly overcast, we jumped in our hire car and explored different areas of Cyprus; we even spent one day touring around the Troodos Mountains region.
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)
Visiting Tombs of the Kings
One of our many highlights whilst visiting Paphos was exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ‘Tombs of the Kings’. This breath-taking necropolis is vast and equally fascinating to unearth.
For just €2.50, you are free to discover the underground catacombs until your heart’s content, but obviously, be careful. I would allow at least a couple of hours to explore the ancient ruins, as they are stunning.
Just as a little spoiler, there are actually no Kings buried here. The name comes from the grandeur and magnificence of the vast burial ground.
The cemetery was used for Paphos Aristocracy and their families and local noblemen. The necropolis was needed for the principal residents of the Nea Paphos further south by the harbour.
Exploring Paphos harbour
Oh, I love anywhere with a coastline, and strolling around Paphos harbour was so enjoyable. The glistening opal waves from the Mediterranean Sea gently lapping onto the Cypriot shores was incredibly relaxing.
We ambled all around Paphos harbour, relishing a mouth-quenching ice cream and just watching the world flow by. There’s something quite gratifying about sitting on a bench and pursuing a touch of people-watching.
I particularly loved the charming bay around Paphos Castle and the harbour arm. The colourful fishing boats bobbed patiently in the quay, waiting for their next outing to bring in the daily catch.
We soaked up the welcoming atmosphere all along the bay, mixing with local families and tourists alike, contemplating which harbourside restaurant to sample the local cuisine.
Venturing into the Troodos Mountains
Prior to our arrival in Cyprus, Gary and I knew we wanted to discover beyond the historical city of Paphos and explore more of the Cypriot countryside and surrounding landscape.
We’d pre-booked our hire car for Paphos with Rentalcars.com,and after a hassle-free handover, we were on our way. We’d planned a route which took us inland from Paphos, and we toured through Paphos Forest and wound our way amongst the twisting roads and switchbacks towards the Troodos Mountains.
It was a stunning journey through the forest, cedar trees stretching high into the skies leaving an enchanting scent of pine in their wake.
Sections of the route we took were extremely quiet, and a few small rocks and tumbling pinecones were strewn across the way. As we weaved our way higher and higher, the mountainous landscape became more and more visible, and yes, we caught a glimpse of Mount Olympus.
While journeying through the beautiful scenery, take time to appreciate the breath-taking views across the Cyprus skyline and, if time allows, stop by one of Cyprus’s incredibly remote monasteries.
Discovering the Nea Pafos Archaeological Site
Another ancient site in Paphos, which is not to be missed, is the Nea Pafos Archaeological Site, also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Nea Pafos Archaeological Site is located just by the harbour and a few steps from Paphos Castle, so you have no excuse not to visit. Also, it’s just €4.50, and you’re free to explore the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park at your own pace on a self-guided tour.
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.
Ensure your visit the intricate mosaics in the House of Aion. Then meander through the vast open-air paths which would have once been a very palatial villa, and wander amongst the columns of the House of Theseus.
Where to stay in 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.
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.
Strolling the historic lanes of Paphos Old Town
To get a true feel of local life in Paphos, head up to the historic Old Town and enjoy a delightful stroll amongst the narrow lanes and winding streets.
Paphos Old Town is located around 2 miles (3.5km) from Paphos Harbour and takes about 45 minutes to walk, as it is uphill. Alternatively, keep a lookout for the no. 610 bus, which will help you along the way, it does get hot in 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 play board games in doorways, and local ladies chat openly across either side of the streets.
Paphos Old Town is a perfect place to enjoy a little shopping, especially in the colourful market. After a spot of retail therapy, why not stop for lunch? You have the choice of the modern-day restaurants or mingling with the locals in a traditional café.
Discovering Cyprus’s shipwrecks
I never realised the Cypriot coastline was so treacherous; it has undoubtedly had its fair share of shipwrecks over the years.
The first one you can see from Paphos Castle, which lies around 500 metres off the shores of the shore of Paphos Lighthouse, is M/V Demetrios II. You can also spot his shipwreck whilst visiting the Tombs of the Kings archaeological site.
The M/V Demetrios II was a cargo ship that ran aground on 23rd March 1998 due to heavy seas. I understand that attempts were made to remove it, but it was going nowhere.
The second wreckage, just north of Coral Bay, is EDRO III. This shipwreck is just a stone’s throw from the shoreline; it’s almost within touching distance. There is even graffiti daubed upon it. If you have a car, it’s certainly worth heading to; it’s incredible to see.
EDRO III ran aground off Peyia on 8th October 2011 during a severe storm. This cargo ship was carrying freight from Limassol to Rhodes; after fighting the raging waves, EDRO III became stuck on the rocks just 200 metres from the sea caves.
Staying at the Olympic Lagoon Resort, Paphos
Gary and I had never stayed at an all-inclusive hotel before, and I must admit I was sceptical prior to arriving. Well, how wrong was I? The Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos surpassed all my expectations.
The staff were fantastic and so helpful, the facilities throughout the hotel were incredible, and the pool area was idyllic. Palm trees were swaying in the gentle breeze, and the crystal blue waters of the welcoming pool were very enticing.
The choice and quality of cuisine in the hotel were undoubtedly 5 stars.
If you're intrigued about visiting the historic city of Paphos, then why not check out this Paphos travel guide? Full of helpful advice, interesting facts and how to live like a local.
You can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Visiting Aphrodite’s Rock
You cannot visit Paphos without heading to Aphrodite’s Rock; I’m sure it’s against the law if you don’t.
We visited Aphrodite’s Rock when we were out and about on one of our road trip days. Although, you can jump on a bus from Paphos Harbour to Aphrodite’s Rock. The route is no. 631 and is named Kato Paphos - Petra tou Romiou.
Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty, gracefully emerged through the ocean waves at ‘Petra tou Romiou’, Aphrodite Rock.
It’s thought that if you swim around Aphrodite’s Rock three times, you will be blessed with eternal youth and beauty. In hindsight, I think I should have given it a go.
This area of Cyprus is blessed with a magnificent coastline, and the glistening azure seas stretch as far as the eye can see.
Strolling Paphos coastal path
Another reason I loved the Olympic Lagoon Resort location was its vicinity to the coastal path. You just step out of the hotel grounds on the beachfront hotel, and you’re immediately on the shoreline footpath.
Whether your accommodation is located by the Mediterranean Sea, or you are slightly inland in Paphos, I highly recommend that you head to this coastal path as the views across the bay are breath-taking.
It was pleasant strolling in both directions along the walkway; however, I particularly enjoyed the vista towards Paphos Harbour. All along the footpath are craggy inlets and rocky bays, and waves roll in amongst the rugged shorelines creating glimmering rockpools.
Along this section of the bay are a few of Paphos’s Blue Flag beaches; as it was February and not quite sunbathing weather, we just admired them from a distance.
Seeking out a Cypriot wine-making village
Prior to visiting Cyprus, I never realised that the country had a flourishing wine-making production. So, it would have been rude not to call upon one of their wine-producing villages.
We choose to visit the picturesque village of Omodos in the Limassol district of Cyprus.
While we were out and about during one of our road trip days, we headed to Omodos, located near the Troodos Mountain region. This delightful village is full of so much character and charm.
Omodos is a very traditional wine-making village; around the cobblestoned main square are old stone-built houses and welcoming traditional tavernas. Take the opportunity to soak up the Cypriot sunshine, enjoy a tipple or two of the local wine and sample some of the regional cuisines.
One for next time
We didn’t get a chance to visit Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus. I have read some fascinating things about the historic city. So, Nicosia will definitely be on our list when we revisit Cyprus.
I’ll do a little research into the Green Line, the United Nations Buffer Zone.
Off-peak season travel
We enjoyed our seven nights in Paphos; it surpassed my expectations. My only slight disappointment, and it is slight, is that we stayed at the all-inclusive Olympic Lagoon Resort during the wintertime and a couple of their restaurants were closed.
I must add that the restaurants which were open were fantastic and had an incredible selection of fresh food; however, I would have loved to try the Pan-Asian restaurant.
Driving in Cyprus
During our week’s adventure in Paphos, we hired a rental car so that we could head off and explore the rural countryside beyond the coastline.
We pre-booked our hire car for Paphos with Rentalcars.com. Rentalcars.com allows you to select which hire car company suits you best, offering all the required options and additions at competitive prices.
We chose SIXT, located between Paphos Old Town and Paphos Harbour and just a 10-minute taxi journey from our hotel.
It was a pretty seamless experience with SIXT, and what made the service even better was that SIXT came and picked up our hire car from the hotel car park free of charge.
All we had to do was refuel the car and drop the keys off at the resort reception.
You’ll notice that the number plates are red; this indicates that your vehicle is a rental car. Perhaps an indication to the locals to give you a wide berth.
Gary did all the driving while we were in Cyprus; and commented on how patient the local drivers were. Ok, so I did jump into our KIA Ceed once to see how she faired.
Discovering more of Paphos, Cyprus
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.