• Danik Bates

One day sightseeing guide to Paphos

Updated: May 7

Paphos (Pafos) is a fantastic place to stay and take a vacation on the western side of Cyprus (Greek side). It has the beaches, resorts, good restaurants and bars, fantastic local people who will always greet you with a smile and of course, sometimes the sounds of Greek music and smashing plates can be heard (we were actually surprised to hear this on the island but we did). We spent most of our time in Paphos actually relaxing and getting away from the stress of work back home but on our seven day trip here whilst staying at the Louis Imperial Beach hotel on the eastern seafront of town, we did actually go and do some sightseeing.

We can tell you now we wish we did even more sightseeing as we left this towards the end of our trip. There is so much history here in Paphos so we are wondering what the rest of the island is like and because of this, we are already looking at doing a second trip to Cyprus.


Here are the top sights we saw and recommend to anyone checking out Paphos:


Paphos Castle


Located next door to Paphos Harbour is the castle and can be seen anywhere along the coastline when approaching from the north and east. Built in the Byzantine era to protect the harbour then an earthquake came along in the 13th century and was destroyed. Eventually the area was dismantled by the Venetians (a nice bunch they were we hear), but after they were booted out by the Ottomans, they restored the castle. The castle which stands here today is how the Ottomans built it. Since then it has been used as a fortress, a prison and when the British Empire came along and took the island in the 19th century, the castle was used as a warehouse to store salt. When Cyprus gained independence from the British in the 1960s the castle is now just a tourist attraction and sometimes serves as a backdrop to a cultural festival which is held annually in the summer months.



Paphos Archaeological Park


This has to be the highlight for us as we have a lot of interest in history. This park did surprise us as we walked around the area and saw the different types of ruins and historical monuments we were looking at. Quick introduction, the park entrance is next to the harbour, a stone throws away from the castle and when we came here, it only cost €4.50 a person. This was a bargain we felt. The park (which excavations are still taking place) has remains from when the Roman Empire took the island. The park itself is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is what we discovered in the park (despite having a three-year-old, she loved running around and spotting the different types of buildings and artwork).




The area (according to historians) was built by Nicocles, the last king of Paphos way back in the 4BC and by 2BC, the area became the capital of the island. There have been a few finds from this era but most of the ruins are from the Roman Empire and they do make up the main sights.


After walking up the long stone staircase from the main entrance, we turned right at the top and right again and came across the ruins of Saranda Kolones, a castle built in the Byzantine era. The castle was built to protect the nearby harbour and this part of Paphos which was known as Nea Pafos (New Paphos) from a lot of Arab raids. The castle was destroyed by an earthquake in the 12th century.


North of the ruins is the Agora, where only the foundations are preserved today. Just to the west of it is an Odeon (but we like to call it an outside theatre) and is still used for cultural events today. The complex around here dates back to 2AD. At the top of the Odeon we found this to be a great viewing point to look at Modern Paphos to the east and also imagined what it was like to sit at the highest stone slab and watch a performance from down below. The odeon is well preserved and one of our favourite places to visit in the park.


Just behind the Odeon is Paphos Lighthouse. Not part of the historical monuments we know but it is still worth a visit. Built in the late 19th century by the British Empire, the lighthouse was built here as the island was a key military base protecting ships which were traveling from the United Kingdom to the British colonies in Asia via the Suez Canal. Next to the lighthouse is a shed (as we call it) which acts as a little museum and has displays on the walls of the history of the lighthouse but to be honest, we only came here to get away from the midday heat of the summer sun to keep cool.

Heading south now we came across the House of Dionysos which was built in 2AD but after earthquakes hit the area around 4AD, the house was abandoned. After a good clean up operation and restoring some of the building, a lot of mosaics were found in very good condition and shows scenes of hunting, the old times and some stories which were mythological. At the entrance to the building there is a pebble mosaic which shows the mythical sea-monster Scylla which we thought was pretty cool. There are two other buildings nearby, the house of Orpheus, the house of Aion and the villa of Theseus which also displayed some fantastic mosaics and columns.


We spent a couple of hours here and didn’t explore the whole area (thanks to a little one who was very tired and needed food...sigh) but one place we did regret seeing and hope to see on our next visit to Cyprus inside the park is the Tomb of Kings which is slightly north of the main area of the park and are basically underground tombs set inside caves.

The best sunset spot in Cyprus


There is even a sign claiming this next to the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodroxy church on the eastern side of the town beside the sea. We have to admit, the sunset was fantastic to see over the rocky shoreline and the waves calmly hitting the rocks. The church itself is quite small but when we walked inside, there was chillout music being played, not a soul in sight and saw some beautiful artwork which describes the religion and its role in Cyprus as well as the usual saints being painted high up on the ceiling. The best way to get here from Paphos harbour and if you have time is to walk it. It would take about an hour each way but the walk is nice, easy and there is a nice breeze in the evenings. There are a few bars on the way if a drink is needed but there are some beautiful rocky shorelines to take in as well as the four and five star resorts which the path walks through.





And last of, for the children


We can’t forget something for the kids can I? Well, we got one now (and one on the way) so we had to check out Paphos Luna park. The fun area for children (aged under 10’s) is located right on the eastern outskirts of Paphos (not too far from Saint Nicholas Church), the place has food, bar, gift shops but more importantly, rides to keep the little ones entertained. The pricing system is a bit weird but to keep it cheap (and to get the money’s worth), we paid €25 for Kiddo to use as many rides as she liked and we paid a few extra euros each to go on the Big Wheel with her. All the other rides which require very small children like Kiddo, the adults get to go free. So it wasn’t too bad, we think we paid €30 in total. There was the caterpillar train (the most popular ride for the little ones, a roller coaster which goes around the course three times and does go fast in places), a carousel, bumper cars, another train ride, and a pirate ship which goes up and down. After spending a couple of hours here, the little one sure had fun and fell asleep in the buggy on the way back to the hotel.


Afterthought


We really loved our day out from escaping the resort, to get a taste of the city and to be honest, there is still more to cover and by the looks of it, the rest of Cyprus has a lot to offer, so we are already looking at a second trip to the island. Definitely recommend a visit to the city if you love history, the food, the sea or even if you have children. They would totally love the place, we are sure of that.


Have you been to Paphos? What was your favourite thing about the area? Any good tips you can give? We would love to read your tips and views.


Unique family vacation at the Louis Imperial Beach, Cyprus with TUI


Whilst in Paphos we stayed at the Louis Imperial Beach resort. We decided to do an all-inclusive package with Europe’s biggest tour operator, TUI and got a fantastic price for what we got when we booked up less than eight weeks before departure. Our readers will know that we are not the type to stay in a resort for a whole week and be lazy all the time, but for once, it was time just to do that. We haven’t done an all-inclusive package for a while, the last being in Cape Verde which was also a TUI package. This was also a little present for Olga as we are expecting our second child so it was nice to get a week’s break away in the sun before the birth due in January 2020.


Why Cyprus?


We have to admit, we wanted to tick off a new country to my list and wanted to avoid the Euro currency (as Danik write this, my government haven’t got a clue how to handle the #BrExit situation). We were looking everywhere and TUI came up with an all-inclusive package in their ‘Platinum’ range. Looked at the dates, flight times, price, the room, what the resort has to offer for children and this was the one for us. Being an all-inclusive package meant that we didn’t really need to take much money with us (the British Pound is taking a hammering at the moment and is very weak against the Euro currency), only for the odd meal out (if needed), souvenirs or the odd sightseeing. It was time to give Cyprus a chance (and also meant that we have now ticked off all the European countries who have the European Union membership before the UK leaves the club).

An introduction to Louis Imperial Beach


Tui have partnered up with Louis Hotels who are a company based in Greece and Cyprus and have resorts all over the place. There were three resorts we spotted in Paphos along the seafront as we took walks beside the water, located south of Paphos old town. The Imperial Beach is rated a four stay hotel (and 4 star plus on Tui’s website), and has everything needed to make a vacation here an enjoyable one. Now it’s time for me to give you the lowdown on the resort.


Arrival


After the transfer from the nearby airport (only a twenty minute drive away), we were greeted by the resort manager and other members of staff and were given a welcome drink followed by cakes. As we arrived late in the evening (and way after the evening meal) we were given the chance to go to the snack bar (located next to the main restaurant) for a night time feast. The front of house staff spoke very good English and checked us in very quickly. Luggage was also brought up to our room on the second floor, which was very much appreciated.


The room


Ok, we have to admit, when we paid for the package, we also upgraded the room. When you have a young child you want to be in the same room all together but also have a part of the room where if the child goes to sleep early or has an afternoon nap like my Kiddo, you want the room to have a separate area for this. Then the adults can still chill on the balcony or in their part of the room. We had room dividers and the child slept on the sofa (which can be turned into a single bed) and there are two of these in the room. The double bed for us was huge and comfortable and managed to get a great sleep, then the next morning we were fully refreshed.

Also in the room was plenty of storage space, a huge wardrobe with a small safe. A table was also in the room with draws and a great place to put the laptop on and do some work (when required). There is a television in the room and we switched it on once (just to see what was on) and it was mostly news channels from various countries around the world (but also why would you want television when you are on a vacation...eh?). A mini bar is also here and everything in it is free of charge and everyday someone would knock on our door asking if we needed any more water or soft drinks for the fridge.


The bathroom is fantastic. Plenty of worktop space around the sink and a huge mirror above it. Plenty of floor space and there is a bathtub (handy for bath nights for children) along with a powerful shower. There is soap/shampoo provided, shower caps and plenty of towels and hand towels. Also provided on arrival in the room were beach towels which can be replaced twice a week (via the lifeguard).


As well as booking a room which is separated, we also booked a part of the hotel which is quiet. Basically away from the entertainment stage, restaurant, swimming pool. The room for us was near soundproof, very rarely we could hear people in the next rooms or the cleaners when they were talking in the corridor. It was brilliant. As we love our quietness, this room was really ideal.


The view from the balcony was not too bad. We were right on the western side of the building. Our view did include one of the sea and overlooking the swimming pool but to the right, there is a bit of no-man's land until the next resort comes into view. However we were only on the balcony to hang our wet clothes from the pool and at night just to sit on a chair, listen to the sound of the waves (or music from the far distance stage) and look up at the stars (where we were teaching Kiddo where the North Star was and getting excellent views of the moon).


Eating at the Amoroza Restaurant and Avra Coffee Shop


This has to be a highlight of the resort, FOOD! We have been on all-inclusive packages before (as mentioned earlier), and with all the buffet style food on offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snack time if needed in between, the food can get a bit boring and bland by the end of the stay. However this was not the case here at the Louis Imperial Beach. From the first meal to the last, the food has been excellent, well cooked, local produce used and has a different variety and styles of food every day. There are themed evenings like Cyprus night, Italian night, Middle East night and so forth and we weren't let down. There is even a children's section (on a table lower down so the children can help themselves to food) and Kiddo, well, she ate her food all the time (and sometimes a bit of mummy’s and daddy’s food as well, not bad for a three year old!).


Everytime we went to the restaurant for a meal, the staff (waitress, waitiers or even the management) were always there to greet us, find us a table and take our order for beverages. They would also like to have a banter with us and sometimes when we look across to other tables, they would try and communicate with other visitors who were non-English speaking, to improve their language skills for future guests. If there were any problems, the staff would resolve very quickly and always with a smile (if that makes any sense). Last of all we have to mention the beer. Usually (again we say this), when we go to all-inclusive resorts, the beer is either weak or watered down. Not here. The beer used is Keo, a beer brewed in Cyprus. A lovely not-so-heavy lager to go with any meal (or when sitting beside the pool). We didn’t have the chance to try out the local wine but we totally recommend the beer out here.


The Swimming Pools, spa and fitness


While I (Danik) let the wife chill out on the sun loungers, I was on babysitting duty. Kiddo loves the water and because of this, we tested out three of the five swimming pools provided. The first one is for children with a slide and water spraying everywhere and the water is not too deep. Great for the toddlers to walk around in and at one end of the pool is only ankle deep so babies can crawl around in this area. Then there is a very small circular pool, again for children but the water a bit deeper. It is here where Kiddo was practising on how to get to the side of the pool if she got into difficulty and also seeing how long she could hold her breath underwater.

The biggest pool is located next to the restaurant and great for a relaxing swim. However Kiddo wanted to go in here and this was the pool we were using our inflatables. In this pool we also took part in Aquafit which was usually around midday for thirty minutes, just to keep the fitness levels up. There are two other pools, one was indoors and for adults only (I only tried this once after a gym session) and the other pool is on the eastern side of the hotel (located next to the lounge bar) but never tried it out. Seemed like another adult-only pool as I didn’t see any children here also but I could be wrong.


There is a spa on the resort (which we didn’t try out, we have to admit) but we did speak to a member of staff and describe what packages they did, massages and treatments provided and how long the sessions would last for. If it wasn’t for Kiddo, we could see ourselves having a nice relaxing all body massage after a long day of doing nothing by the poolside. The gym is located next door to the spa and indoor pool and did use this a few times. The basic equipment is provided which is ideal from the exercise bike, cross trainer, treadmill and weights.

Keeping the children happy


There is a children’s club during the daytime (didn’t use it as Kiddo loves the pool) but in the evening at the main music stage (next to the poolside bar) there was forty-five minutes entertainment for the children where they would dance and take part in games. Kiddo was shy at the start of the stay but by the end of the week, she was in her element. Also on the grounds is a pool table near the restaurant and a playground near the beach.


Private beach


The beaches in Paphos are small but when there is a bit of sand, they are set in beautiful locations. The beach at the Louis Imperial Beach resort is smooth and sandy and there is a small lagoon so the water is quite shallow here with rocks surrounding this area. Beyond that is the wide open sea and when we were here in early September, the water wasn’t that rough. Sun Loungers from the hotel also go all the way to the beach which is fantastic (and the poolside waiter service is still available in this part so visitors don’t have to keep walking up to the bar for drinks).

Overall


Already before we published our review, we had a lot of families asking us what the resort was like (as they are probably thinking ahead already and looking to book their vacations for the following year). Here is our honest opinion and it is also what we told them as well. We totally recommend the Louis Imperial Beach. It didn’t quite have the WOW factor, don’t get me wrong but the staff, food and comfort makes up for that. We were totally made to feel relaxed and welcomed here. The food is excellent and apart from my all-inclusive five star stay in the Maldives, this is probably the second best resort I have come across for food. Again the staff are excellent, the beach is small but sandy and nice, the room had everything we needed, what more can we ask for? So if you are thinking of an all-inclusive family holiday then you can book at the following:


Booking with TUI if coming from the UK (if booking via TUI in other European countries, please check their TUI websites): Click here


Booking direct with Louis Imperial Beach: Click here.


The other factor we have to mention is the weather. We went in early September (as mentioned) and even then it was still hot and we mean hot! Cyprus is located on the outskirts of the Middle East and is the gateway between Africa, Asia and Europe, so during the day we had +31 temperatures and +23 at night. We've been told July and August can be extremely hot so the best time to travel is May and June then September and October for those sun seeking holidays.


A personal note from us, our time at the Louis Imperial Beach Hotel was paid for by ourselves and was not sponsored in any way by the company. The opinions in this post are our own and are totally honest. We would like to thank the staff for making our short stay here an enjoyable one.


Like this blog? Pin it on Pinterest! Click the pin below!


19 views0 comments