Paphos Cyprus Nightlife, Bars and Restaurants Guide

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Paphos Castle

Paphos boasts a number of unique claims to fame: it was here that Aphrodite, goddess of love, walked in from the sea to found a thousand love cults across the Hellenic world. It was here that Agapeanor, leader of the Arcadian contingent to Troy, was shipwrecked and it was also here that St Paul stopped off on his way to Rome for a quick conversion of the local proconsul. Paphos is a city where myth and reality mingle freely and where you can see Roman villas, Byzantine churches and Crusader castles within a few minutes walk of the harbour. It is also a city that is facing similar developmental pressures to the rest of Cyprus, although it does enjoy some protection as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Modern Paphos sprawls above the old harbour area in a haphazard fashion; contemporary hotels mingle with ancient buildings as they climb an escarpment first settled by the Byzantines in the first century AD. Traditionally two settlements made up Paphos: Kato Pafos (the harbour area) and Ktima (the hill), but these have recently merged as high rises fill in the gaps in between the two. As Southern Cyprus’ second largest resort, Paphos has expanded rapidly. Although the historic city centre remains relatively intact it is suffering as a result of the Paphos’ shift from sleepy regional capital to modern resort. The airport nearby means that the city is easily accessible and its location as the gateway to the less developed north (and the untouched Akamas peninsula) has also attracted visitors.

Kato Pafos (the harbour area) is pretty tacky; a medley of garish bars, restaurants and discos filled with sunburned Brits. The town centre at Ktima just up the hill is much more elegant and there are a number of sights worth seeing including the covered market, a handful of museums and some impressive Roman mosaics. To the south of Paphos lies the little village of Yeroskipou where loukoumi (the Greek Cypriot take on Turkish delight) is made and you can stock up on earthenware pottery. Check out the ninth century frescoes in the Byzantine church of Ayia Paraskevi (St Friday) and then head north to the Baths of Aphrodite and the wild western coast. After all it might be your last chance to glimpse the Homeric landscape of classical Cyprus before the bulldozers arrive.