Paphos – a gem within a treasure. Loved by locals but even more by visitors, Paphos has what it takes to captivate your imagination with its sun-bathed landscapes, paradisiac coasts and numerous sights and attractions.
But why not let people who have already been there tell us what they think? Below you will find a brief introduction of the eight top-rated tourist attractions in Paphos.
1) The House of Dionysus
Boasting some of the most impressive mosaic pavements that have survived the millennia that followed the wonders of ancient Greek civilisation, the House of Dionysus comes first on our list.
Excellently-preserved and found by pure chance, these mosaics still preserve their vivid limestone dyes, impressively depicting scenes of mythological creatures and heroes of the past, such as Minotaur and Ganymede, Leda and Apollo. The most celebrated of all though, that also gave the site its famed name, is a mosaic portraying the triumphant Dionysus riding a chariot drawn by leopards, cheered and followed by swarms of fervent believers.
Equally imposing and awe-inspiring is the House of Aion, with mosaics depicting how Zeus seduced the most beautiful woman on earth be taking the form of a swan, Dionysus’ infancy and Apollo’s wrath being unleashed on a poor fellow who was foolish enough to challenge the God to a music duel.
2) The Agora & Odeon
Paphos was a prominent metropolis during the Roman Era, and proof of that is everywhere. The most impressive, the Odeon, a theatre excellently preserved and the ancient forum, the “Agora,” which had been the city’s beating heart. The city’s walls, or what is left of it, depict the city’s might and wealth, but even more interesting is to learn a few things about a cluster of buildings known as the Asklepion, a shrine devoted to the ancient Greek god of healing, Asclepius. It would be great to learn how ancients blended here in a unique way philosophy, medicine and pure superstition, as they paid to sleep in the shrine, confident that Asclepius would come in their dreams and divulge a way to recover!
3) The Tombs of the Kings
No more than 2 kilometres out of Paphos, you will find the celebrated Tombs of the Kings. These imposing tombs, cut within a rock formation, go back to at least 2,500 thousand years. Just the idea of having to form a burial chamber within a solid rock is indicative of the wealth and power was in the hands of the persons buried in them.
Another very interesting feature in this cluster of seven regal is their rare worldwide amalgam of ancient Greek and Egyptian architectural styles. UNESCO has designated it as a World Heritage Site.
4) Hrysopolitissa Basilica & St. Paul’s Pillar
The Hrysopolitissa Basilica is another emblem of a bygone era, but of a later one. The Byzantines -as historians later named the Christian, Greek-speaking eastern roman empire – valued Paphos as an important port and base of their rule upon the middle east.
The Basilica was for centuries Paphos’ largest Church, adorned with fine-sculptured columns and stunning mosaics. Dating as back as the 4th century AD, Paphos and the basilica were destroyed by Arab raiders AD 653. At the western end of the site is St. Paul’s Pillar, upon which locals believe Paul, Christianity’s greatest missionary, was tied and suffered 39 lashes for preaching Christianity, according to the New Testament.
5) The Archaeological Museum
Housing a vast collection of artefacts, jewels, weapons, everyday items and votive offerings found in and around Paphos, the Museum covers the site’s history from the Neolithic Age (almost 9,000 years before Christ) up to the time the Ottoman’s ruled the island.
6)The Sanctuary of Aphrodite
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite was continuously used as a place of worship at least since 1200 BC, forming one of Cyprus’ and eastern Mediterranean’s ritual centres.
Worship soon focused on the goddess of love and beauty, the notorious Aphrodite, who was thought to have emerged and come to existence from nearby waters.
7) The Coast
Even if Paphos had none of these impressive cultural and historical sites to magnetise visitors from all around the world, its beaches would still make it stand out as one of the most mesmerising summer destinations in Europe. On the east, the Alykes Beach is an excellent choice for families with small children, while the Kissonerga Bay (eight kilometres away from city centre) is ideal for seclusions seekers.
8) The Akamas Peninsula
Last, a site for people who love exploring nature’s wonders and hiking. The Akamas Peninsula, with its wild and captivating scenery, boasts a staggering wealth of local flora and fauna, hosting at least 35 plant species found exclusively in Cyprus.
But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Wish to marvel them up-close? Most of these sites are part of our Segways’ Paphos tour! Don’t delay, book today!