Cyprus Real Estate

Pafos Harbour - From Antiquity to Modern Times

  • 21.07.2022
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Pafos harbour is one of the most picturesque places in the city. Yachts, fishing boats, recreational catamarans, a medieval castle, cosy cafes and restaurants by the water, all create a unique and picturesque atmosphere. The harbour offers its visitors a variety of entertainment options. Life in Pafos is comfortable for people with different interests and preferences, there is a lot to do both for a chilled visitor and a more hectic urban dweller.

History of Pafos harbour

The harbour is one of the oldest ports on the island. Pafos is a city of myths and legends and according to one such legend, Pafos harbour was founded by Alexander the Great, who visited it and was enchanted by the beauty and cleanliness of its coastal waters.

Another source claims that Pafos harbour was built by king Nikoklis, the ruler of Pafos, in the 4th century B.C. Before his reign, the capital was about 15 kilometres east of Pafos and Nikoklis decided to move it to an area he saw as ideal for the construction of a port. This is how Pafos ended up where the modern world knows it to be.

Nobody knows exactly which of the two versions is the true one, both have a right to exist, giving the area a special historical mystique. Either way, the harbour of Pafos is over two thousand years old.

During the era of prosperity of the city, the harbour played an important role in its life - it received hundreds of ships from the sea. But as early as the 4th century A.D. the city began to lose its position as the administrative and political centre of the island following a devastating earthquake.

Pafos harbour today

Today Pafos harbour is a bustling place, teeming with activity day and night. The marina area is packed with bars, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. It is also the favourite place for those who chose to rent or buy a property in Pafos. The harbour’s picturesque panoramas and amenities make it a great option for a day or evening stroll, visiting cafes and restaurants and souvenir hunting.

Moreover, the most famous landmarks of the city are close to the harbour.

Many sightseeing tours of the city set off from the promenade, as do recreational yachts and catamarans. Pafos' best beaches with excellent beach facilities are a short walk away.

The harbour can be reached by bus from anywhere in the town. The harbour can also be reached on foot if you wish, as it is about a 35-40 minute walk from the town centre.

What sights can I see around the harbour?

There are several famous landmarks in the area that are a must for every tourist:

  • Paphos Castle. On the western edge of the harbour sits the Castle of Pafos, built in the 13th century to protect the port. The castle is one of the most famous landmarks of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout its history, it has served as a fort, a prison and a salt warehouse. Today it has a museum that is open to the public every day. The area also hosts the annual opera festival dedicated to Aphrodite, which takes place in September.
  • Archaeological Park. Next to the harbour, there is another famous place in Cyprus - the Archaeological Park of Pafos. It is an open-air museum where you can see the excavations of the ancient city of Nea Pafos. Amazing mosaics of the House of Dionysus, the ruins of the Saranta Colones Byzantine fortress, the acropolis, the temple of Asclepius, the theatre and many other unique traces of antiquity await you there.
  • The church of Panagia Theoskepasti. Religion in Cyprus is predominantly Christian. The Church of Panagia Theoskepasti is an Orthodox Byzantine church and is one of the famous sites of Christian pilgrimage. The church is located on a rock near Pafos harbour.

What is a must-do while visiting Paphos harbour?

For those planning a visit, there is a small checklist of things to do to get the most out of the place. So, being in Pafos Harbour, it is essential to:

  • Enjoy the leisurely pace of life. The harbour is an ideal place to watch the local fishermen and boats. Pause for a while to catch a glimpse of the beautiful details of the seaside town’s daily life.
  • Take a stroll along the promenade. A walk will be especially enjoyable if you're with good company - friends, family or a loved one. An evening stroll would be a brilliant idea. The promenade is dotted with lights and the romantic atmosphere is enhanced by the Pafos Castle beautifully lit at night.
  • Have a refreshing cocktail or ice cream. The cocktails served in the cafes and bars are delicious and refreshing. Be sure to try one while strolling along the promenade.
  • Have dinner at a restaurant by the sea. Cypriot cuisine is very special - it combines Greek and Turkish culinary traditions. Pafos harbour is a great place to eat in a peaceful atmosphere with a lovely view of the harbour.
  • Watch the sunset. There is something magical about watching the sun sink into the waters of the harbour. You should do it at least once in your life.
  • Buy souvenirs. The best place to buy souvenirs from Pafos is at the shops along the promenade. They offer a wide variety of gifts - from magnets to expensive gold and silver jewellery.
  • Visit Pafos Castle and the Archaeological Park. A must for anyone interested in history.