The island of Milos is situated in the southwest of the Cyclades, a chain of islands in the Aegean sea, and north of Crete. A result of an ancient volcanic eruption, it’s exotic terrain, full of wonder and delight, is unmatched by other islands. Full of history, breathtaking views, white-washed iconic Cycladic architecture, spectacularly wide array of landscapes (80 very different beaches, in fact!), and amazing gastronomic experiences by its locals, Milos boasts an island that travelers are looking for, but have yet to be found by plenty!
Not only that, but it is a perfect way to see a Greek island in all of it's glory for way less crowds, AND at a fraction of a penny!
While it still remains unspoiled by chain hotels and restaurants, this is the place that should be on top of your bucket list! Often overlooked by tourists who visit its more popular neighbors of Mykonos and Santorini, this island is as pristine as it was many many years ago... And as selfish as it may sound, all the better for those who are able to spend some private time in its white washed beaches and turquoise bays!
So if you are looking for a nice, relaxing holiday, free of tour buses, hoards of ferries unloading loads and loads of photo-snapping tourists making their way through another stop in their Euro-trip, free of fist-pumping, heart-thumping beats of the nightclubs, and the chance to be able say you've stayed in an island with unworldly beaches,.. then THIS IS FOR YOU :)
This was our first time to Greece..and as you know, you cannot make a visit to Greece in the summertime without island hopping! So we did! Because we were quite short on time we had chosen to visit two--- Milos and (of course) Santorini.
Believe me, if we had more time, Crete would've been in there too! but that's for a different time :)
Now I'm going to be straight with you, and say that I may just have liked this place (a tad bit) more than Santorini..EEEK!!
There. I said it!
Okay, now to my guide! :D
What's there to do?
This tiny jewel in the Aegean Sea is where the famous statue of Venus de Milo was discovered (now found in the Louvre in Paris). With an area of 61 sq miles, and about five-thousand inhabitants, this small island and it's inhabitants have plenty to offer! I mean, as much as I take pride my in work, my photos will not even do this place justice!
Visit the beaches
There are 79 beaches in Milos. I swear, you can seriously stay here for a month and STILL not see them all!
Sarakiniko being the iconic, and Papafragas being a local favorite, and the fact that it is not quite yet bombarded with tourists, you will surely have some relaxing time at any of these beaches.
So, again, if you are looking for a place to party, this is quite frankly not the place for that. It's neighboring island Mykonos has plenty of that :) This is more of a laidback atmosphere.
Visit the picturesque fishing village of Klima
Such a picturesque view, is a fishing village in which the fishermen’s homes (called “syrmatas”).
They are painted bright white, contrasted by colorful doors so that they are easily recognized by their owners.
An ode to ancient history, this fisherman’s village used to be a fishing harbor; Now, turned into homes rented out to vacationers who want an authentic syrmata experience.
Walk the streets of Plaka:
Get lost in the beautiful narrow streets of Plaka, adorned with iconic Cycladic architecture and design of white and blue, draped with bougainvilleas. I swear, every corner of the capital of Milos is just aesthetically pleasing!
This is also the preferred place to watch the sunset in the island!
Also, perched on top of a rock, it is drive via a steep and narrow road, so be mindful when driving.
Dine in Pollonia:
Up on the north east of Milos is this tiny picturesque fishing village. It is considered more to be like a quieter resort town than the busy village/ports like Plaka or Adamas. It only has a handful of restaurants, but man, was it difficult to choose! Most of them had great reviews, and were quite busy as well. So it was more of a choice on which line to wait on. So, if you can, do make reservations, especially for dinner!
Enalion is my favorite restaurant in Milos. I say this because what they had to offer was most representative of Milos. The kitchen staff managed to create excellence out of the simplest and freshest ingredients their island has to offer. Nothing crazy or too fancy. Just simple, clean, and spectacular--just like Milos.
If you are looking to have something other than traditional Greek food, something in the lines of Japanese, then this chic new hot spot in Pollonia is the place to go. Hanabi takes great advantage of local ingredients, and have made amazing Japanese food with it! They also have an excellent cocktail menu.
Price range: $$$
The orange wine at Armenaki was AH-AMAZING. As you can see, i did not take other photos...purely because this was the only decent one I took, lol. All others were unacceptably horrendous due to our consumption of said wine. LOL.
Nevertheless, their food and desserts were delightful! Service was also superb!
Catamaran sailing: Polyaigos, Kimolos, Kleftiko
If there is one thing I will tell everyone who goes to Milos to spend their money on, it would be THIS!! Without a doubt, I can say that this was the BEST day we had in our whole stay in Greece!
It is one thing to go to a beach or hiking to see the views of the waters, but seeing the island FROM the sea just brings it all in an amazingly different perspective!
Sailing for 10 hours on a catamaran in Milos was more dramatically astonishing as I thought. It was unbelievable that we were staring at nature; that the turquoise blue waters I would only see in photos was right in front of my very eyes and it wasn’t photoshopped by any instagram filter of some sort! It was insane.
As we cruised around the island, and saw the giant cliffs in the uninhabited island of Polyaigos(on the north east of the Milos), with its whites, reds, and pinks splashed on its surface; like a canvas sitting massively as the turquoise waters splashed against its jagged edges, a feeling of disbelief came about that I had crossed oceans to be within meters of this gorgeous site.
We made our way along the coastline of Milos, where we were able to see the different rock formations, and beaches that boarder the land and seas of the island. Down to the Southwest of the island, we made our way to the famously lunar-like geographical phenomena that springs up from the brilliant blue waters called Kleftiko. Also known as "The Sea Meteora." Legend says that it was a pirates’ hide out!
It was all more pristine than I imagined.
So if you are planning to go to Milos, book a tour with Milos Adventures! Their highly experienced crew will give you an unforgettable experience! Also, i loved how we had a good amount of people on our catamaran (about 18) Not too many for it's size, in my opinion.
Also, as we sailed, we were offered snacks, an amazing lunch on board, and drinks (yes, alcohol included! :D
But if you're feeling more extravagant, they do have private cruises available to book :)
I cannot stress this enough! I swear, you will thank me later :)
The Venetian castle of Milos, properly called Venetian Kastro of Milos, in Plaka is an old castle (now mostly in ruins) that dates back to the 13th century. Perched on top of a hill in Plaka, it is a point of interest worth visiting for some breathtaking panoramic views of Milos.
Now, it is quite a bit of stairs; and to be completely honest with you, I wasn't prepared for the hike (as you can see in my attire, lol). Our visit to this place was actually unplanned, as we decided to kill some early morning time by walking the streets of Plaka, until we saw signs that said "Kastro (castle)" that led a castle. So in my slippers, shorts, and crop top, I headed on to what seemed like stairs that would never end!
After a good 20 mins of walking from the city center of Plaka, and just following the steps, we made it! The spectacular views were well worth the leg work, I must say!
When to visit:
I imagine the best time to visit Milos to be able to enjoy it in all it's glory, would be during the summer time. During June-September, the weather is lovely (70s-80sF), and the water is perfect to take a dip in. However, I was told by locals that . July & August are their busiest months, so it's best to avoid those ( if you can help it).
Also, the sun sets at around 8:30pm during this time of year, which is great, in that you are able to more throughout the day! Also, now knowing this, you should be able to plan your sunset watching accordingly :)
How to get there
From Athens, it’s about a 3 hour ferry ride to Milos. We took the Super cat ferry line.
I suggest you arrive at the port 45 min before your departure AT THE LATEST, as things can change fairly quickly, and without much notice.
For example, due to bad weather, our small ferry was scheduled to leave at 7:20am. By the time we got there and ready to board, the captain stood outside telling people one by one that our scheduled departure was cancelled. But this wasn’t widely announced, leaving us to go around in circles prior to this, because other employees didn’t seem to be aware of exactly where to send us. Also, the Port of Pireaus in Athens rather large and hectic. So make sure to figure out which port your boat is leaving from, prior to getting there.
So we had to go to the ticket booth, where the line was crazy long, and had to repurchase tickets to the next ferry boat to leave (a bigger one that could withstand the weather).
And no, we could not exchange our tickets. We had to repurchase: so make sure to KEEP your original ticket, so you can go online and ask for a refund. I know, so odd.. :/
The next one left 30 min after, ON THE DOT. Again, purchase your tickets in advance!
These ferries operate on a very tight schedule, so I cannot stress getting there EARLY.
We took Golden Star Ferries for our ferry trips.
Cost: $41/pp one way from Athens
There are also many flights that arrive into their airport, coming from Athens.
How to get around:
Because this island is lesser known, traffic isn’t as bad. So if you aren’t an experienced ATV driver, this may be a better area for you to do so. However, so consider the weather when doing so. It can be pretty hot in the summer time.
Like I said above, temperatures can rise pretty high in the summer time in Milos. This was the deciding factor for us when figuring out which mode of transportation to use. We decided to rent a car because we realized that we wanted something cold to get into after spending a hot day at the beach/ walking the towns.
Parking: strict parking rules apply all over Milos. So make sure to park your vehicle in a designated spot! Since roads can be pretty narrow, and mostly for pedestrian walking, there are free public parking lots in the city centers.
There is a bus system that run from village to village, but I highly suggest having your own vehicle, if you plan to explore the island more freely.
Where to stay?
The main port in which the ferries from other Greek islands arrive is in Adamas. This is their harbor town. There are plenty of restaurants, accommodations, stores to choose from in this village, so this is a busier part of the island.
Perched on top of a hill, this part of Milos serves great views of the Aegean Sea, and is where locals will tell you to go to see the sunset. I personally think this is a great place to see in the day, to see all the iconic Cycladic white-washed houses, with bougainvilleas hanging over the walls, and a great place to get lost in it's winding streets. I mean every corner of this beautiful village is cute! Again, this would be a busier area.
If you plan to rent a car here, chances are, you would not be able to park it close to your hotel, as most streets are only narrow enough for pedestrian walking/one way driving. Hence, you would have to park it in the public parking areas. A bit stressful to drive a car in this village, if you ask me.
We stayed in Pollonia, and I am glad we did. This area is a bit more isolated that the two. It is about a 20 minute drive to Adamas (the main port), and not as easily accessible by bus transport. Pollonia has more of quiet and relaxed Greek island vibes, if you ask me. It is home to many beach houses and small apartment/resorts. It's perfect for couples and families that are looking for something laidback.
We decided to stay in an airbnb/studio in Pollonia called Efi studios. We loved how quiet and simple it was, and how close of a walk it is to the restaurants (5 min)
What I wish we should've done:
1. I really wish we had spent MORE days here! Frankly, the 3 days and 2 nights just was not enough for what I wanted to do, and our energy level (omg, we're getting old lol). So we missed the Catacombs, and some of the beaches that the locals had told us to see (i.e. Papafragas caves and Tsigrado beach). But in all, it was a lesson learned that planning and execution are two completely different things, and that this place had exceeded my expectations for a paradise that has been so low-key.
2. Made dinner reservations at Gialos.
Gialos is a local and tourist favorite in Pollonia that I really wish we had gone to. However, it was just always so full! And looking at people's faces that were eating there, and past recommendations, I totally understood why! So friends, please please do try to plan out your meals (at least dinner) to be able to dine at one of the handful of restaurants in Milos at a good time (sunset).
This only means one thing: There is always NEXT TIME :)
Unfortunately, something so hugely beautiful cannot be hidden forever. More and more vacationers are discovering the understated beauty of this paradise...and we will just have to accept that, in no time, hotel and restaurants will occupy its landscapes, and tourism will boom as it did Santorini.
But for now, be there before it happens, put this place should be up on that bucket list!
I hope this was inspiring and helpful to those who plan to visit this island! If you have any questions or want to share with me your experience in Milos, leave a comment down below! I'd love to hear from you! :)