Travel: An anniversary with Aphrodite in Cyprus!

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Travel: An anniversary with Aphrodite in Cyprus!

Alex Galbinski and her husband check in to Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus for some much-needed R & R

Alex Galbinski is a Jewish News journalist

The breathtaking view from the swimming pool at The Retreat Spa by Atlantica. Credit: Alex Galbinski
The breathtaking view from the swimming pool at The Retreat Spa by Atlantica. Credit: Alex Galbinski

As we took in the stunning clear blue water by Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou, as it is known  in Greek), our cab driver told us that  according to ancient legend, this was the  birthplace of the Greek goddess of love and beauty. “It is said that if you swim around the rock three times in moonlight, you will find the woman of your dreams and have eternal youth,” said the driver. Without missing a beat, my husband pointed at me. “Doesn’t she look young enough already?”

We were celebrating our anniversary in Cyprus, and our home was a three-bedroom Holiday Residences villa at Aphrodite Hills Resort with its own infinity pool with breathtaking views over the mountains and bright blue Mediterranean Sea.

The award-winning five-star resort, between Limassol and Paphos, lies in the middle of a protected forest and is idyllic, complete with ancient olive and carob trees, manicured lawns and designed gardens. It spans 2.3 million sq metres, of which 92 percent is greenery and landscaping. Winters are fairly mild on the island, so it’s always a good time to visit.

One of the villas at Aphrodite Hills Resort

The accommodation ranges from apartments and junior villas – such as ours – to superior properties, and the exclusive ‘Elite’ and ‘Mythos’ collection with extra benefits. Each comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, entertainment systems and access to private or communal pools.

The resort is a golfer’s paradise; its 18-hole course, which spreads over 6,289 metres over two mountain plateaux, won the accolade ‘European Golf Resort of the Year 2018’ and has recently had a €2.5m upgrade. There are also eight floodlit tennis courts, a horse-riding school for all abilities, nature trails, mountain biking and an exclusive beach club a short drive away.

Although we went without our children, the resort is family-friendly. The Aphrodite Hills Kids Club offers arts and crafts and sports activities for children aged from three to 12, along with a crèche, and there’s a soccer school (with a UEFA qualified coach) and a golf academy.

As it was low season, we enjoyed an all-inclusive arrangement with Atlantica’s Aphrodite Hills Hotel. The huge buffet at the Eleonas restaurant is sure to satisfy everyone, while the Fig & Olive à la carte restaurant provided for more formal and delicious Mediterranean dining. The latter’s pastry chef created a huge chocolate cake for our anniversary dinner that was so big we shared it with the staff.

A short walk from our villa was the ‘Village Square’, with 18 restaurants and bars, including Pithari Tavern (traditional island cuisine), Zimi Trattoria, and Gate to India. The Golf Clubhouse Restaurant – currently under refurbishment – will offer Cypriot and international cuisine. There’s also a supermarket (stocking Israeli brand Ahava and some Waitrose lines), as well as other shops, a Costa Coffee, a Häagen-Dazs and
a 24-hour medical centre onsite.

The Aphrodite Hills Resort’s ‘village square’

The resort is geared up to take care of your every need, and rest and relaxation is high on the agenda. Fancy a beauty treatment? Head to The Retreat Spa by Atlantica, in beautiful surrounds, which has 27 holistic treatment rooms, six heat rooms, a hammam and a private gym. My husband enjoyed his Swedish massage, followed by a dip in the infinity pool and the Thermae overlooking the sea.

We embraced the relaxed Mediterranean holiday vibe, and didn’t miss having a car, but one is recommended for longer stays (the resort has a car rental office). We did, however take the bus into Paphos Harbour, where we explored the old parts of town, stumbling across quaint cafés, shops selling craft wares, walls with interesting graffiti and houses dating from pre-colonial times (Cyprus was a British colony from 1925 until 1960).

Mural by Agios Kendeas church in Paphos. Credit: Alex Galbinski

We enjoyed succulent oven-baked fish at the welcoming Laona restaurant, located off Mararios Avenue, before walking to the Tombs of the Kings, a large necropolis and Unesco World Heritage Site. While no kings were, in fact, buried here, the seven excavated tombs were the resting places of high ranking officials and aristocracy from around the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE.

We took in the stunning scenery as we walked the coastal route back down to Paphos Harbour, where you can also view the mosaic floors of four Roman villas dating back to the 2nd century and depicting scenes from Greek mythology. Nearby is Paphos Castle, originally a Byzantine fort.

The beautiful coastal scenery. Credit: Alex Galbinski

Those with money to burn can buy a villa either to live in or as an investment (Cyprus, which is in the EU, offers citizenship through investment opportunities – particularly attractive post-Brexit), many of which are on sizeable plots with large living areas, and Aphrodite Hills Properties offers management services. The Persefonis villa, at 600sqm, is the priciest at €5.5m and is furnished to a high spec.

While we, sadly, won’t be buying a home there, we’d love to return for another visit.

Alex was a guest of Aphrodite Hills Resort, where junior two-bedroom villas start from 190 per night during low season, and 300 per night during high season.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: