Paphos is a best-of-both-worlds escape, with ample ops for relaxation and discovery along Cyprus’ southwest coast. Here’s how to fill two days exploring sun-soaked Mediterranean beaches and bays, world-class archaeological sites, and the rugged and undeveloped Akamas Peninsula, which juts out into the sea 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of town.
Day 1: Historical Highlights and Water-Based Activities
Morning: Start the day with some water-based fun. Join a snorkeling or scuba diving tour, or set sail on a half-day cruise during which you can swim, snorkel, canoe, and tuck into a barbecue lunch. Families traveling with children will enjoy the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark, or a pirate-themed cruise with onboard games and face-painting.
Afternoon: Delve into local history with a a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, where you can see Roman remains, ancient mosaics, and the ruins of the medieval-era Saranta Kolones Castle. For self-directed sightseeing, opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour instead.
Night: Come evening, head back out on the water with a cruise around the harbor. Sip drinks from the onboard bar and dine on a buffet dinner while admiring the sunset, and live music and dance performances. During the return journey, watch as a fireworks display lights up the sky above the sea.
Day 2: Akamas and Aphrodite’s Rock
Morning: Get out among nature in the wild and unspoiled Akamas Peninsula. Much of the promontory is not accessible by paved road, but you can explore it as part of a guided all-terrain vehicle tour or on a boat cruise along the coastline.
Afternoon: Embark on a self-drive ATV tour along the coastline south of Paphos to reach Aphrodite’s Rock, a beautiful, oft-photographed place. According to local legend, this sea stack marks the spot where the Greek goddess of love and beauty first emerged from the foamy Mediterranean waters.
Night: For dinner, venture inland and away from the more tourist-oriented harbor area to Ktima Paphos, the old town. The Turkish Quarter is filled with low-key cafés and traditional tavernas serving mouthwatering meze dishes; some establishments also offer views over the coast.