Exploring the birthplace of Aphrodite

Paphos is a city with a rich history. In ancient times its location and wealth made it the obvious choice as the island’s capital. Today its combination of natural beauty, archaeological sites, and world class tourist accommodations make it an essential holiday destination.

Day 1

Visitors are picked up at the airport and shuttled to the hotel

Day 2

This day’s highlight is a visit to the Temple of Aphrodite in the village of Kouklia, in Palaepaphos (Old Paphos). Archaeological exploration has recovered, among other artifacts, offerings made by worshippers and statues of the goddess, many of which are on display at the Palaepaphos Archaeological Museum. The trip includes visits to the following sites: the Hill of Marcellus (an ancient fortification); the city walls; the palace; Zacharomylos (a sugar mill built by the Lusignans of the 13th century that has been conferred UNESCO status); and a medieval Lusignan manor. A stroll through the village of Kouklia will lead us to the church of Panagia Odigirtia. Then on to Geroskipou to see the Sacred Garden of Venus and the exhibits at the Geroskipou Folk Art Museum. Visits to two historically significant churches, Agia Paraskevi and Agia Marina, will bring the day to a close.

Day 3

On this day’s agenda, one of the most important arcahaeological sites in Cyprus, New Paphos, founded in the late 4th century BC by King Nikoklis of Paphos. Since 1980 both New Paphos and Palaepaphos (Old Paphos) have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tour includes the House of Dionysus, a palatial edifice from the Roman period constructed in the Hellenistic style; the House of Orpheus; the House of Aion; the Odeon; the Roman Agora; and the Temple of Asclepius. Next stop is the church of Panagia Chrysopolitissa, built in the 4th century AD, where program director Andreas Hadjithomas will deliver his brief talk on mosaics. Visits to the renowned Tombs of the Kings and to Lemba village, a Chalcolithic settlement, will bring the day to a close.

Day 4

The famous “Baths of Aphrodite” are this day’s highlight, an archaeological site adjacent to the stunning Akamas Nature Reserve–a habitat for over 500 different species of plant life, with a network of nature trails that extends through several square kilometers of unspoiled nature. Andreas Hadjithomas’ presentation on the cult of Aphrodite will be followed by a cruise around Akamas in a glass-bottom boat, docking at Latchi village for a meal. The way back to the hotel will take visitors through Drousia village, a real treat for architecture buffs, then Inia and Kato Arodes, before a scheduled stop at the village of Kathikas for a tour of a local winery. Before wrapping up the day, visitors will have a chance to take in the gorgeous sunset views at Peyia and Saint Georgios.

Day 5

Things are kicked off with a visit to the Paphos District Archaeological Museum, which houses an extensive collection that spans the island’s entire history. Then it’s on to the Saint Neophytos Monastery, a building erected not far from the eponymous saint’s cave dwelling. Next stop, the charming Monastery of Panagia Chrysorrogiatissa, which overlooks the entire city of Paphos. Afterwards, a tour of Fiti village has many things in store for visitors, including a unique architectural style; a village square paved with cobblestones, and a stone-built spring and an old oil mill as its centerpieces; and, a Textile and Folk Art Museum with stunning exhibits. Final stops, the nearby Saint Demetrios church, a 19th century construction, and a thousand-year-old oak tree.

Day 6

This day’s highlight is Kourion Hill, a site of immense archaeological significance that contains the remnants of an ancient city built by Achaeans, according to reports by Herodotus. It is the ideal setting for a brief illuminating presentation by Andreas Hadjithomas on certain religious aspects of ancient theatre. Next on the agenda, the Limassol Archaeological Museum which houses exhibits recovered in the Limassol region and spanning a period of several millennia, from the 10th millennium BC to the end of the Roman period. Then on to the remains of ancient Amathus, where several ancient myths converge: it is thought to be the centre of a cult of Heracles, as well as the place where Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, is thought to have been abandoned following her adventure with Theseus and the Cretan Minotaur. Still plenty left to see at the Limassol Castle (Cyprus Medieval Museum) and the Kolossi Castle, another significant medieval monument. The sunset views at Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek), mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, provide a fitting end to the day.

Day 7

A free day. Great opportunity for leisurely activities.

Day 8

Visitors will be shuttled to the airport.

Note: Changes could be made to the program–before or during the visit–in order to accommodate any special needs and requests, provided the local holiday calendar allows it. 

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