Legend has it, Aphrodite (the notoriously philandering Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality) was born here in Cyprus, emerging from the seafoam around Petra tou Romiou and floating to shore on a scallop shell.
She was said to be so beautiful that Zeus worried about her causing fighting between the men of ancient Greece, so he married her off to the ugliest of the bunch.
That didn’t stop Aphrodite’s game, she still found a way around it, and took her lovers to a special bath slightly outside the town center. You can see why she’d come to this area, it’s beautiful and romantic, and oh so private. We saw maybe 3 other people while we were there.
Since the ancient days, the Cypriots have been obessed with Aphrodite. She literally had a cult following, with the most famous and important place of worshipping her headquartered in Old Paphos. Today, this means that you’ll find just about everything you could imagine with her name on it: restaurants, stores, bath products, boats, trinkets, statues, books, historical sites, the list goes on and on.
But the most wonderful thing Aphrodite’s name is on is her rock, well, more accurately, the beach around the rock where she was born. On the road from Paphos to Limassol, right before you get to Pissouri, you’ll see dramatic white cliffs and rock formations out into the water.
There’s a small parking lot and a skinny tunnel which will pop you out on the rocky beach.
This is one of my most favorite beaches I’ve ever been to, because it feels exactly like how I imagine Mediterranean beaches should. Crystal clear water, a light breeze, plenty of rocks for climbing and jumping off of, warm water for swimming, and a fairly dramatic background with major historical significance to top it all off.
Supposedly if you swim out and around Aphrodite’s Rock, you’ll be blessed with eternal beauty. Let’s see if it works!
P.S. Known as Venus to the Romans, you’ve probably seen her image tons of times, perhaps most famously in Botticelli’s stunning The Birth of Venus, circa 1485, housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.