A looming stack of rocks standing proud off the southwest coast of Cyprus, the UNESCO-listed Rock of Aphrodite, or Petra Tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek), is one of the island’s most famous landmarks and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, according to Greek mythology.
The Rock of Aphrodite is part of Cyprus’ Aphrodite Cultural Route, and visitors can follow the walking trail from neighboring Kouklia Beach or take a boat trip along the coast. Most travelers visit on a day trip from nearby Paphos, Limassol, or Ayia Napa, often in combination with seeing the ancient ruins of Kourion or sights of Paphos, such as the Tomb of the Kings and the Villa of Dionysos.
One of the most popular pastimes in this area is swimming around the rock, although no one is permitted to climb on the rock itself. The act of circling the rock is alleged to bestow beauty and fertility on those swimmers who complete the loop.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no entrance fee for visiting the Rock of Aphrodite.
- The waters around the Rock of Aphrodite can be quite rough, and only strong swimmers should try the loop around the rock.
- A restaurant and parking lot are situated above the beach, with a view of the rock.
- The Rock of Aphrodite viewpoint is wheelchair accessible, but the beach can only be reached via stairs.
How to Get There
The Rock of Aphrodite is located on Cyprus’ southwest coast, along the A6 highway, about 25 minutes’ drive from Paphos. Buses run directly to the rock from Paphos’ harbor and take about 30 minutes.
When to Get There
It’s possible to visit the Rock of Aphrodite anytime, but day-trippers arrive in droves throughout July and August, so get there early if you hope to take a crowd-free photo. The rock is most impressive at sunset.
The Legend of Aphrodite’s Rock
Guarding the coastline since ancient times, Aphrodite’s Rock is more than just a geological wonder. The sacred rock takes its name from the Greek goddess of love and beauty, who is said to have to have risen from the ocean at this spot. Legend has it that, in certain weather conditions, the waves rising and breaking against the rock create a cloud of sea foam that appears in the shape of a human.