Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock & Beach)
Good for: Couples, views, sunbathing
Lonely Planet review for Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock & Beach)
Possibly the most famous and mythical beach in Cyprus, Aphrodite's Beach is most certainly one of the island's most beautiful. Driving along the old B6 road from Lemesos to Pafos (a highly recommended journey), you'll stop in awe as you see the vast indigo expanse of the Mediterranean beneath the intense blue of the cloudless summer sky, the white rock and the beach that curls around it. The view from the road is stunning. The two upright rocks look as if they might just walk out of the water.
Mysteriously, swimmers sit on top of them, making the less-acrobatic wonder how they've managed to climb all the way up. The sea here is cool and fresh, and the beach is wonderful for a picnic and a day of semisolitude. The name of the place in Greek, Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greeks), has nothing to do with Aphrodite, but alludes to the Greek folk hero, Digenis Akritas. He apparently used to hurl large rocks, like the ones here, at his enemies. The actual rock that he is supposed to have thrown is the westernmost one and not the others that seem to be somehow split down the middle. All are equally beautiful. The reason the spot is called the 'Rock of Aphrodite' in English is because legend has it that Aphrodite, ancient patron goddess of Cyprus, emerged from the sea at this point in a surge of sea foam before, no doubt, going off to entertain some lovers. The same thing is claimed by the residents of the island of Kythira in Greece. But who's to say she didn't do it in two places? She was a goddess, after all. Most visitors either stop when they are driving and have a swim, or come for the spectacular sunset, best seen from either the tourist pavilion, or from a roadside car park about 1.5km further east. Skip any kind of eating at the tourist pavilion cafeteria, where you will be charged extortionate amounts for awful snacks. Bring your own food and have a picnic instead. An underground tunnel leads from the cafeteria and car park to the beach on the other side of the road.