Looking for a sunny retreat steeped in ancient history? A trip to Paphos is in order.
I love a cultural city-break on a budget and Cyprus is dotted with ruins, churches and archaeological sites, as well as huge sandy beaches and clear blue seas. We nabbed the flights for just £100 return with Ryanair and bid farewell to rainy London.
When to visit
We visited in April and it was around 25 degrees every day. Spring is a perfect time to visit as it is warm enough to sunbathe, swim and tan but not so hot that you can’t enjoy a bit of sightseeing.
How to travel…
Paphos is so full of history it has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO and was named European Capital of Culture in 2017. We decided, as we were only staying for four nights, to explore by foot and bus.
You can find details of buses here and all of the hotels and locals were helpful in telling us how to get from A to B.
The hotels often arrange transfers to and from the airport (30€) but if you’re booking on your own be careful to agree on a price before you get in the car, or you’ll get ripped off!
For a longer trip, I would recommend renting a car to allow for effortless exploring of the beaches and mountains around the island.
WHERE TO STAY
For a luxury retreat…
Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites Hotel
For our first couple of nights, we stayed at the Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites Hotel. The company owns several resorts in the area, all luxury hotels and offering either full or half board.
Asimina Suites is a five-star adult-only hotel and a complete luxury experience. From the moment we arrived, we were treated as VIPs – bags carried, drinks brought to us and constantly checked on by staff.
The resort has an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as a private beach, with cute cabanas which you can rent out. In the hotel’s Elixir Spa there’s also a sauna, steam bath, a gym and a salon.
The hotel has a selection of luxury suites, all light and spacious, with balconies for relaxing on. The beds were so cosy and there was a nightly turn-down service with complimentary bedside water bottles (of course, darling).
We decided to spend most of our time outside, soaking up the sun. The hotel is situated a 30-minute walk from the harbour, alongside Poseidonos Avenue, which is a lovely seaside stroll.
Junior suites start at £314 in summer; one-bedroomed suites from £369. Breakfast and WiFi included. Book here
For a modern feel…
The Amphora Resort & Suites
The Amphora Resort & Suites was meant to be our cheap option. And, at £45pp per night with breakfast, it was a bargain but the stay was anything but budget.
The resort has a simple and modern feel. It’s made up of clusters of concrete buildings surrounded by palm trees and grass. There is a pool, with a swim-up bar (YAS) and it is a ten-minute walk to the beach.
The calm neutrality of the place, means you are immediately relaxed. Our room had a clean, modern feel with a balcony overlooking the sea (Note: you have to request a sea view, or you might be left wanting).
WiFi and Breakfast were included, the staff were incredibly friendly and even opened the buffet early to accommodate us.
It was a simple, serene and quality stay at an amazingly affordable price.
Double rooms from £90 with breakfast and WiFi included. Book here
WHERE TO VISIT
Paphos is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty and the city is filled with monuments to worship her. The most notable site is Aphrodite’s rock, a 30-minute drive away from Paphos. We got the bus from our hotel which cost 5€ and dropped us off right next to the beach.
Petra tou Romiou, as it’s also known, is said to be the exact spot where Aphrodite was born, rising from the waves and escorted on a shell to the sand.
The sea stack and clear blue waters are overwhelmingly beautiful to bathe in. Legend says that if you swim around the rock naked, it will bring eternal youth and beauty. (Here’s hoping!)
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
For another whiff of Paphos culture, head back down to Paphos harbour and visit the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, which houses ruins and detailed Roman mosaics.
The House of Dionysius contains impressive mosaics, including a colourful series telling a cheeky tale of binge drinking.
The park is large and also contains an ancient Odeon, Asklipieion and the “Tombs of the Kings”. Take lots of water and your history hat!
Tickets cost 4.50€ for adults
Paphos Wine Tours
Cyprus has been making wine for nearly 6,000 years but it is rarely exported. So, naturally, we wanted to make the most of sampling the local delicacy.
We booked a VIP tour with Paphos Wine Tours and were picked up from our hotel in the morning. The tour involves visiting a church, a monastery, sampling donkey-milk liqueur (yes, really), as well as visiting two wineries, so you really got a chance to familiarise yourself with the scenery.
At each winery – we visited Kolios and Vouni Panayia – we sampled their wines, learnt how they were made and were given the chance to buy some bottles. The wine was good quality, affordable and very drinkable!
Our tour guide was a little unprofessional, insisted we made purchases at each stop and hinted heavily about her own tip. The tour was also meant to include an ‘artisan gift’ which we did not receive.
Tours begin at 40€ per person and you can book here
WHAT TO EAT
Vouni Panayai Winery
We ate at the Vouni Panayia winery as part of our tour. It put on a delicious spread of hot and cold mezze. The salads and meat were delicious, I only wish I could have finished it all!
It was a lovely family-run company, and the owner came to speak to us during our meal, offering us more wine and more (can you believe it?!) food.
Our meals at Asiminas Suites were as delightful as our stay. Breakfast was a buffet by the pool, including cooked breakfast with a chef making eggs to order.
At lunch, I had a salad while my friend Emily sampled the seafood – it was fresh and delicious.
For dinner, another buffet with a huge range of hot and cold foods – whatever you fancied eating, they had it! It was such good weather, we ate outside every time.
Suite48 Grill & Lounge Bar
Finally, we stopped twice at Suite48 it was so good. The service was so friendly and the food so tasty that we had to return for more. On the first night, we ordered souflaki, which is chicken kebabs with salad and chips – yum.
On the second, we ate burgers and pasta.
Again, the al-fresco dining made the experience all the more enjoyable.
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I hope you enjoyed reading about my time in Paphos. Have any recommendations for my next trip? Please let me know in the comments. CC x