There are two areas of Paphos – the old town known as Ktima and the harbour area, Kato. To really get to know the town, you do need to spend some time in both.
This is an unusual place because, after 7pm, it is completely dead. It was incredibly hard to find a single bar or restaurant open after that time, and you are rather thrown back onto your hotel’s resources unless you take the 20-minute bus ride (only 1.5 euros) to the harbour.
The reason is that this is the commercial and cultural centre so that everything shuts and the people go home at the end of the day. From early morning it is busy with shoppers and workers, and there are lots of daytime activities as well as cafes and restaurants to choose from. One of the best areas is the Hammam District. Here you will find the Turkish Baths which are free to visit, and you can wander from the waiting area through the tepid and hot rooms and look at the underground heating pipes. Opposite is Paphos’s street market. Numerous lanes have been covered over and turned into strings of stalls selling everything from souvenirs to nuts, honey, linen, clothes, bags, shoes, fruit and vegetables.
Along the edges of the market are restaurants. They have a surprisingly wide variety of dishes on offer such as rabbit or beef stifado, moussaka, meze (10 dishes including tzatsiki, hot pitta bread, kebabs, olives and tahini), omelettes, grilled fish, octopus and baklava, ice cream or crepes filled with chocolate sauce. Every café also offers wonderful Cypriot coffee (sweet or medium sweet), and both hot and iced teas and coffees (including Nescafe if you aren’t careful).
The museums on offer contain icons, archaeological finds or local history. We went to the municipal art gallery set in central gardens to see two rooms of local artwork. One place worth visiting is the Tomb of the Kings which was a rather hot 30-minute walk away (but there are buses and taxis) and you can wander around deep pits and dug-out areas to see where the top administrators were buried.
Anyone visiting Paphos must come to the harbour area to spend a few hours amongst the wonderfully preserved Roman mosaics. Both indoors and outside, you can stand and marvel at the skills involved in telling stories by way of these intricate and colourful mosaic pictures.
Just outside the gates, you can visit a small fortress that still has some prison cells to look at, or wander along the harbour and sample the drinks and food available from lots of competing restaurants. Highly recommended is frozen yoghurt as you can add your own toppings such as biscuits, chocolate, preserved cherries or chopped fruit to make a delicious alternative to ice cream.
The harbour is where most tourists spend their time. There are shops, cafes and lots of water activities such as paragliding, water skiing and cruises. There is a rich ex-pat society in Paphos and one thing the wives do regularly is put on craft exhibitions in a hall near the fortress.
Further afield, you can play golf on a number of courses in the area.