Do you like exploring the ancient burial ground of royalty? If so, the Tomb of the Kings should be on your itinerary for your next vacation in Europe.
When planning their itinerary for Europe, most people don’t even consider Cyprus, the small island off the coast of Turkey split into the country of Cyprus and the independent Turkish territory of North Cyprus. While it might be small, there are plenty of activities on both sides of the island. You could explore the castle ruins and monasteries in Kyrenia or watch the sunset on the salt flats in Lanarca.
On the west side of the island is the town of Paphos. Nominated to be the European Capital of Culture 2017 and listed as one of the top destinations in Europe for 2017 by Lonely Planet, the city has been established as a popular tourist destination. The harbor is lined with restaurants and attractions, and there is a walking street full of shops. Yet perhaps the best allure of Paphos is the lack of crowds. It was a bit strange to see the walking street empty, but perhaps Sunday morning just wasn’t a busy time.
There are dozens of archeological sites in Paphos and across Cyprus, but the highlight is unquestionably the Tomb of the Kings. Located on the northern end of town, you can jump on a bus from the center for only $1.50, and the entrance fee is a paltry $2.50.
Before you go, make sure to pack sunscreen and plenty of water. There is very little shade, except underground in the tombs, and the heat is scorching. There is a good hour of walking between the nine main tombs, and you could easily spend three hours wandering around and exploring all the different ruins.
The name is actually a misnomer. There were no kings interred at the location. Most likely it was other members of royalty, but there’s actually surprisingly little information about the location, either at the park or online. There are only a handful of information panels at the site, and they mostly just describe the obvious of what you see in front of you, without any background or historical data.
Yet the mystery is what I personally liked about the Tomb of the Kings. Here is a place that you can wander around, inspect the intricate building designs from centuries ago, and come to your own conclusions about what really happened.