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Situated in the warm waters of the eastern Mediterranean, Paphos is the capital of Cyprus' western region. With a picturesque harbour, modern hotels and restaurants and gorgeous beaches, Paphos is a year round holiday destination to suit sun seekers and adventurers alike. Whether a summer holiday on the beach or a winter walking holiday, Paphos offers a lively but relaxing destination with great restaurants, a varied nightlife and plenty of child friendly activities.
The town of Paphos is built around an ancient fishing harbour, filled with open air cafes and traditional tavernas. Paphos enjoys hot sunny summers and short mild winters and when snow falls on the mountains in January and February, it is possible to actually go skiing and have a dip in the sea on the same day. During the summer, there are a variety of water sports on offer including jet-skiing, snorkelling and pedalo hire. The unspoilt nature of the area around Paphos, with its citrus groves and olive trees, make it a haven for walkers and naturalists, particularly during the spring and winter months.
Paphos is a popular holiday destination for families, couples and groups of all ages. The beaches and rocky coves are perfect for lazy days in the sun, whilst further inland, the town slopes gently uphill, and the narrow winding lanes are lined with boutiques and craft shops.
Temperatures in Paphos reach into the 30s during the summer months, from June to September, and this is a very popular time for families to visit. May and October are slightly cooler and quieter outside of the main school holiday period. Paphos is an ideal destination for walking and cycling holidays during the winter months, when the weather is still pleasantly warm. Festivals and Fiestas take place across Cyprus throughout the year, but a good time to visit Paphos is during the first week of September when, amongst other attractions, the Opera Festival is held and there is the chance to see a well known opera performed against the backdrop of the medieval fort and harbour.
Paphos is a popular holiday destination because it combines the convenience of a bustling, modern town with the scenic splendour of an ancient harbour and glorious sandy beaches. Modern Paphos is built above the old harbour and modern hotels mingle with ancient buildings to create a relaxing holiday atmosphere. The town is divided into two parts, the lower part of town known as Kato Pafos is where many of the hotels, apartments and restaurants are to be found. Ktima, the town centre is further up the hill and houses an impressive market with plenty of Turkish delight and local earthenware pottery to buy. Nearby Coral Bay has one of the most spectacular beaches in Cyprus, and with its crystal clear waters, safe swimming and water sport facilities, it has become a favourite destination for tourists and locals alike. Close by there are shops and supermarkets, as well as restaurants and tavernas which serve fresh fish and other local delicacies. A short boat ride from Paphos takes you to Lara Bay, a beautiful remote area with white sandy beaches and sparkling clear waters, known for its turtle hatchery where loggerhead and greenback turtles lay their eggs. Lara Bay is also home to another very rare species, the Mediterranean monk seal.
Paphos is believed to have been the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, and from ancient times has been an important centre for temples and worship. Much of the traditional culture in the area is built around classical Greek Mythology which has influenced the island’s rich heritage of music, drama and architecture.
Many cultural events are held in Paphos throughout the year, culminating in the Paphos Aphrodite Festival in September which takes place in front of the castle on the main square.
When it comes to nightlife, Paphos offers something for everyone. Bar Street, near the castle is lined with clubs and bars and tends to attract a younger crowd looking for music and dancing until the early hours. The Tombs of the Kings Road area is more suited towards the over 25s and families with children, with several restaurants and bars and an informal, friendly Paphos welcome.
Most of the shops in Paphos are in the Ktima area of the town, which also has a market during the week. The main hand crafted items produced by the locals can be found here, such as Cypriot Lace, paintings and pottery, and usually at very reasonable prices.
There is also a market place which runs parallel to the beach, selling fake branded clothes, belts, jewellery and the local favourite, ouzo.
The restaurants around the old harbour offer a range of culinary styles, combined with a fantastic view. In the beach promenade area there is a wide choice of local mezze restaurants as well as the usual range of international cuisine. There are options to suit all tastes and budgets, from take away kiosks to more sophisticated up market restaurants, many offering live music and dancing as part of the experience.
There are no fixed rules about tipping in Paphos, but a 10% tip in restaurants is customary.
Most shops close between 1pm and 4pm each day, and will remain closed on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
It is worth noting that queuing is considered a quaint British custom and therefore most Cypriots will not do it, except in banks!