Paphos Castle & Harbour

A visit to Paphos harbour and its castle is an absolute must on any holiday in western Cyprus, even if you're not staying at one of our holiday villas in Paphos!

Paphos Castle

Paphos Castle Since Byzantine times, a fort has stood to guard the entrance to Paphos harbour. The original Byzantine fort was rebuilt by the Lusignan kings of Cyprus in the 13th century, and then demolished by the Venetians in 1570 just in case the Ottomans won control of it. Needless to say, the Ottomans promptly rebuilt it when they invaded Cyprus!

Since then, this four-square fort has served as a prison, a storage depot, and as a warehouse for salt during the British rule of Cyprus. Declared an ancient monument back in 1935, it now looks over the restored harbour front, just across from the entrance to the Paphos Archaeological Park.

Paphos Castle & The Paphos Aphrodite Festival

The square in front of the castle is the venue for music and cultural events all through the year, culminating in the Paphos Aphrodite Festival. Rent a Paphos villa at Festival time in early September, and you can enjoy world-class opera performances from international companies, which often use the castle as a spectacular backdrop.

Paphos Harbour

Paphos harbour quayside has been renovated and is lined with restaurants that occupy parts of the restored old customs house. After a morning seeing the mosaics or the castle, don't rush back to your Paphos holiday villa, but join the locals and tourists alike who take a table at one of the restaurants. You can sit back and watch the boats bob on the waves with a cold beer or a glass of wine before tucking into delicious fresh fish or traditional dishes such as moussaka or souvlaki.

Don't be surprised if a large white pelican or two come to your table looking for scraps - they are well-known to all the restaurant owners and staff, who gently shoo them back out again!

Activities at Paphos Harbour

After lunch, you can join a glass-bottomed boat tour to view wrecks just off the coast, or take a longer cruise along the coastline to the Akamas Peninsula to the west. However, keep an eye on the weather, as the seas can be choppy when the wind gets up.

A short stroll along the promenade will bring you to one of Paphos' town beaches, or find the remains of the Byzantine church of Panayia Limeniotissa, where a Danish crusader named Eric the Good is supposed to be buried. If that all sounds far too energetic, you can always return for an afternoon nap in the shade at your luxury villa in Paphos, before a cooling dip in your own pool!