A highlight of Paphos Archaeological Park, the House of Dionysos is the largest of four Roman villas, nicknamed the Mosaic Houses for their elaborate floor mosaics. The mosaics, painstakingly crafted from limestone tiles, date back to the second and third centuries AD and remained hidden until a local farmer discovered them in 1962.
The House of Dionysos is full of beautifully restored mosaics that visitors can view from wooden observation decks throughout the villa. The show-stopping centerpiece portrays Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, returning from India on a chariot drawn by two panthers. Other mosaics depict Apollo and Daphne, Ganymede being taken back to Olympus on the wings of an eagle, and a number of hunting scenes. There’s plenty of signposting in English, but visiting with a tour is a great way to deepen your understanding of the site and its significance.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The park is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient history, archaeology, or art.
- Wear solid shoes and a hat/sunscreen, particularly if visiting in the hot summer months.
- The park is partially wheelchair-accessible, but wheelchair users will likely need assistance.
- Combination passes valid at multiple sites for one, three, or seven days are available.
How to Get There
The House of Dionysos is situated inside Paphos Archaeological Park, a few minutes’ walk west of Paphos Harbor. Numerous tours stop at the park, and for travelers arriving independently, there’s a large parking lot in front of the site. The Kato Paphos Main Bus Station is just a few minutes' walk away.
When to Get There
Paphos Archaeological Park is open daily, except on Christmas, Orthodox Easter, and New Year's Day. Hours are 8:30am to 7:30pm from mid-April to mid-September; the rest of the year the park closes at 5pm. Visit early in the day to avoid crowds and heat.
Paphos and Aphrodite
Throughout Cyprus, you'll see frequent mentions of Aphrodite (the local tourism board has even developed an Aphrodite-themed route). It's believed that the goddess of love emerged from the sea onto the island, not far from modern-day Paphos, and mosaics featuring her image can be seen in the House of Dionysos.