Magnificent Milos, Greece




When I think of an ultimate Greek vacation, I imagine pristine beaches, warm azure water, sun, and no crowds. Unfortunately, for summer travelers to some of the most popular islands, what they see are touristy villages and crowded beaches. Not so in Milos. With Milos, you are left speechless at every turn. Milos is an island of exquisite beauty and yet extreme simplicity.


Milos is what I imagine Greece should be... the Greece of your parents' era, when crowds were unknown, and ohhhhh the beaches. Even though this island in the Cyclades region of Greece is quite small (only 60 square miles), there are over 70 beaches, each unique and beautiful. You'll also see rocky rainbow-colored cliffs on the ocean's edge, moon-like volcanic areas, and water eroded caves visited by pirates in the 1500's. It is just magnificent.


And did I mention how blue the water is?



Two full days here are not nearly long enough to partake in all that Milos has to offer. But it certainly is long enough for this island to become my favorite.

Let me take you on a voyage to Milos and you can see for yourself that it is truly paradise!


Arrival evening:
We arrive in Milos at 4pm after taking the 2 1/2 hour ferry from Santorini. If you have the option to fly, I would, because, first of all, the flight is only 40 minutes from Athens, and second, the ferry is quite basic. Somehow, we were lucky enough to get seats in the first row, which gave us a view out of the front window, but for most passengers, there isn't much of a view, because there are no outside decks on the ship.


The sleepy port town of Adamas is adorable, with a white crescent avenue and lots of sailing vessels waiting in the center docks.


We rent a jeep, (which turned out to be our smartest move, as many of the roads are...well, er, uh...narrow paths?) and head off to our hotel on the southern part of the island. Paliochori looks so far away on the map, but it is only 15 minutes away to the southern border of Milos!


Our hotel, the Artemis Deluxe Rooms, is right on Paliochori Beach, and it is lovely. We check into our room, which has a deck and a small hot tub (the latter alone makes Jeff a happy camper!) 



After checking out our room, we go for a walk down Paliochori Beach, which is a golden  stretch of sand and tiny pebbles. We see one other couple on the beach. Already we are in paradise.



The cliffs above the beach are a work of earthly art, minerals like sulfur and iron giving the rocks the look of chalk paintings.

Then a few more people at the far left, which is a local nudist beach! In the center of the crescent beach is the main area for the hotel, set up with beach chairs and umbrellas. To the right is another long stretch, with some thermal springs that you can snorkel around in. (We didn't find the springs, although we had a good time snorkeling and saw a lot of pretty fish!)



We eat at Sirocco restaurant, and enjoy the sunset on the rocks, while plotting out our next day. The food is outstanding for a taverna.



Day 1, touring the island: 8:00am departure
After a tasty omelette breakfast at the hotel, we take off towards the north, with a singular goal--- to hit as many beaches as we can in one day!

But, the ROADS!!! Good thing we have a 4 wheel drive! We find out later that Google Maps doesn't really support roads in Milos, and continually takes us down paths that we decide are meant for herding goats!
We pray that we don't get stuck, then break out in laughter, because we actually find it hilarious that these are the actual directions. When we finally emerge on a real road, we kiss the ground.


And the Goats! they cross the road in front of us, and we almost hit one. Then one just pops up as I am taking a photo of a village. Hello, goats!



Sarakiniko Beach
The first beach we visit is Sarakiniko, the most photographed spot on the whole island, due to its smooth bone-white volcanic rock formations. We want to get there early, since we imagine that it will be crowded. But, there is only one other couple there, taking fashion photos, and they soon leave this beautiful beach, and we have it to ourselves.  We take loads of photos, but it's a bit early to stretch out our beach towels, so it's off to the next spot!








Papafragas Beach
When we arrive at Papafragas, which was my favorite of all, we see a few people below, but can't figure out how on earth they got down the steep cliffs. Finally, we notice some narrow stairs carved out of the rock, and we make it down to the beach. This is not for the faint-hearted or for those with balance issues! 
Once you are on the beach, it feels like it is your very own. Tall, rocky walls contain it on 2 sides, and there is a beautiful arch that brings in the water from the sea. You can swim through a small hole, into the next cove, and the water is dazzling turquoise. 



And there is another, more tame section, just to the west, with more people, and some very cool volcanic arches. Both beaches are nice and sandy.




Mantrakia
Yes, there is a beach here, (which you will see as you come down the hill), but the draw of Mantrakia is the dreamy fishing village with colorful fishermen's boat garages (called Syrmata), and the fresh cuisine of the Medousa restaurant. 





Plaka
Next we head up to the Plaka, following Google maps through more tiny streets until we hit a charming warren of whitewashed homes, deserted streets (except for the cats), windmill homes and beautiful churches overlooking the sea. 











Ancient Theater/Catacombes/Venus de Milo
We walk down to the Ancient Theater of Milos, and try to find the spot where the original Venus de Milo was found.No luck! There are also ancient catacombs just a bit further down the hill, but those will have to wait until next visit, as we still have more beaches to discover.


Klima
Just nearby is very colorful village of Klima, so we stop and take a few photos. Apparently, you can rent a Syrmata through AirBnB, which would definitely be a unique dwelling experience. 








Firiplaka
Back on our beach finding mission, we head back to the south island and to Firiplaka, the quintessential perfect long, sandy beach! With giant monolith rocks jutting from the ground just where the ocean meets the sand, it looks like a travel ad! And like "our" paliochori beach, the colorful rock cliffs seem to be painted with pastel chalk. 



Tsigrado
Right next to Firaplaka is Tsigrado, but it is not for the faint-hearted! This tiny beach is surrounded by huge cliffs, and the only way down is by a rope and two ladders! My white shorts will never be the same after this experience, one that I won't forget!


If you make it down, the beach is sheltered and private. And apparently there are beautiful caves, but somehow we missed seeing them! And, I'd also recommend going earlier in the day, because by the time we were there, around 5pm (?), the beach was somewhat shady. 





Aghia Kiriaki
Our last stop of the day is to explore the beach next to where we are staying, and in order to get there, we travel yet another rutted "road". There is very little signage on this island, but we thinkkkkk we are going the right direction, so we continue and are rewarded by another completely deserted beach. 


On the way out, we drive up the hill to have a look at the beach from above and we see a sign for a restaurant... hmmm, it's dinner time, so why not explore? 
The path (I refuse to call it a road) leads to Psaravolada Restaurant, which is perched at the top of a cliff and has stunning views of the sea and the small fishing boats returning from their daily runs. 


There is only one other table of people in the restaurant (which since it is around 6:30, should be expected, knowing how late they eat dinner in Greece), and so the waiter had to convince us to stay, by casually letting us know that this is the #1 restaurant in Milos. oh! well then, ok!!!
And it was a delightful dinner, with fresh food sourced the world over, and although we love love love Greek food, it was nice to eat a more European style dinner for once on our vacation. 


And... bonus, our waiter told us about the private beach just 300 (haha) steps down from the restaurant. looks lovely, but 300 steps! :)


Now, back to our perfect hotel, for a pool and hot tub experience, before falling asleep to the sound of waves.


Day 2:  Boat ride on a Pirate Ship 

We start the morning in a more leisurely way, with a lounge at the pool. pure heaven.

Then, around 10:30 we head off to Adamantas to meet our sailing ship, Leloudo. Our departure is set for 11am, and we will cover the western side of the island, and end at the Klefika caves before returning 6pm. 








The weather is perfect, the ship is a beauty, with brown sails and 2 masts, the food is AMAZING (a chef below deck spends the entire 7 hours cooking for us!), and we stop at Klima to see the boat garages, a secluded cove for swimming, and at Kleftiko for some cave exploring. 
On the way back, we were to stop at Sikia, but it is already late, so we will have to save that for next time. (and now that we've done a large sailing vessel, next time we'll take a small speed boat (called volcano boats), so that we have the flexibility to see more of the caves. On the other hand, the food was realllly good on this boat! and the other passengers were so fun. hmmm, choices)









We arrive back just in time for dinner at our local Sirocco Taverna in Palliochori, where we have Lobster spaghetti, yum!


We finish our evening with a short drive to see the sunset from the church in the small village of Zefiria. 


Sadly, our two days are over, and we head for the airport in the morning, to take our 40 minute flight to Athens. 


Out the window, we are taunted by one last view from the plane of this beautiful island.



Next trip! Already dreaming of next year 
TOP 10 yet to see are:
1. The entire western half of the island. Did I mention that 1/2 of the island is uninhabited, in order to protect the almost extinct Milos Viper? You can only get around the western side with a 4 wheel drive vehicle (which really makes me wonder just how rough are those roads?). Challenge Accepted!!!
2. Pollonia. This town is in the northeastern side of Milos. Our friends Ali and Simon stayed there and say it is lovely. From there, it is also possible to take a short boat cruise to the island of Kimolithos for lunch!
3. The Old Sulphur Mines
4. Sykia cave 
5. Catacombs (considered the 2nd most important in the world)
6. Plaka Castle at Sunset
7. Firopotamos Port
8. The one and only lake
9. The volcano
10. 64 more beaches!











Ohh, do we really have to leave this magical island? 








We'll come back and explore every last nook.






Comments

  1. Wow, wow, wow, really excellent trip.

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  2. Good Article! Greece certainly is home to some of the pristine & serene islands in the world. Travelers willing to relish warm waters, sun, scuba diving, swimming & myriad of maritime activities can head to Greece with family or friends. A Greece Visa UK is all that one needs to get to this seraphic destination.

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