It’s no secret we adore the Greek islands and have explored many over the years. It’s basically impossible to find a bad one and if anything the biggest problem is deciding which magical place to visit next ! This year we returned to the Cyclades Islands to visit our old favourite, Paros and then spent 5 nights each on Sifnos and Milos. Whilst Sifnos was terrific Milos really blew us away. It’s quite unique in many ways with some extraordinary topography and natural wonders. It’s has a busy mining industry and is largely undeveloped with tourism a secondary industry for a change. Read here about how we spent 5 days in Milos and why we would go back in a heartbeat !
The fifth largest island of the Cyclades, Milos has been inhabited for over 8000 years. It is known for the statue Venus de Milo (Aphrodite) and its rich natural resources. The island is unique for its astonishing lunar landscape which create unbelievable and imposing rocky formations coloured in deep red, brown, black or glimmering white. This volcanic island is reasonably hilly, with relatively low mountains and without much tree vegetation. The flora and fauna of Milos is quite rich with many rare species including Juniper and Grapes. It is home to almost 5000 people across approximately 160 sqm.
Things to do
There is really quite a lot to do ! Even if the wind is blowing from one direction ( which is tends to do through the Cyclades in Summer) the other side of the island will have great protected beaches and activities. It is an archaeology or geology buff’s dream not to mention the history buffs. We hired a small car and covered a lot of ground in only 5 days but there were still more things we could have done, such as a day trip to the neighbouring island of Kimolos which is only 12 minutes by Ferry.
Here are some of the highlights we covered on our 5 days on Milos.
Plaka means ‘place ‘ in Greek and you will find many of them throughout the country, the most famous being in Athens. On Milos Plaka offers spectacular sunsets, as well as great food, a couple of museums (Folklore & History, and Archaeological) one of the 2 remaining Catholic churches and the traditional Cycladic island architecture with the white-washed houses and the narrow cobblestone-paved alleys.
There’s some good shopping with some funky little boutiques and artisan stores with many specialising in jewelry handmade from local rock and gems. It’s common to find replica Venus De Milos all over the island for sale from bottle openers through to hand-made home decor.
The walk to the Kastro ( castle) is up a very steep and unstable path but the 360 degree views of the island are quite breathtaking and rival those at sunset of Santorini, without the crowds. When we visited we only came across 4 other people in the space of about an hour.
Adamas is the main port of Milos and also a seaside village of white houses shimmering on the blue waters of the Aegean. This village was founded in 1835 by refugees from Crete after the failure of their rebellion against the Turks. Adamas became increasingly important historically because of its large, safe, naturally made harbour, and its strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean.
Adamas is surrounded by many beaches and offers various tourist facilities such as banks, post-office, doctors, tourist agencies, port police, hotel units and some night life. It’s a nice town and you can see why a lot of people choose to stay here due to its central proximity to everything.
Two things we especially enjoyed in Adamas were ;
The Mining Museum
Milos remains the world number one source of Perlite and is still mined for benzonite, silver, sulpher and salt. The Museum is housed in a modern 2 story building the Museum showcases the history of the islands mining industry to the current day in a well thought out and presented display. There are some incredible examples of minerals such as those mentioned above as well as asbestos and the very rare Obsidian made recently famous as ‘dragonstone’ on the hit series Games of Thrones.
Described by my Greek husband as possibly the best Greek food he has ever had this place was so good we went twice ( and would have gone more if we were closer). With an extraordinary hand written menu in 8 languages spanning 30 pages all the food comes from the owners own farm. They offer all the usual favourite as well as a huge range of traditional and often rare Greek dishes such as Pork cooked in Molasses, Artichokes with eggs and Lamb slow cooked in paper.
They have a casual beach cafe across the road on the lovely calm beach and the waiters and waitresses dodge the traffic back and forwards all day in summer. They do not take bookings and there can be quite a queue in the evenings but it’s a big taverna and you will get in before too long.
There are over 100 beaches on Milos and they are all fabulous. Some are protected in the bay and others face exposed ocean vistas with extreme weather. Some have rocky beaches and others are sandy. We swam every day at different ones and Paleochori in the south was one of our favourites. There is a natural hot spring at one end ( it’s not very hot) and there are several tavernas and even a few accommodation places including a luxury hotel. You can rent a sun lounge or buy your own umbrella and mats from town and DIY !
Do not miss a boat trip to the old pirate’s hideout, Kleftiko, also known as the Sea Meteora. This is an amazing region on the far south-west of the island with crystal clear water. and astounding rock formations.
You cannot drive to Kleftiko so the only way to get there is either a very long and dusty walk or by boat. We went on a traditional wooden boat called Zephyros which holds around 50 people and left from the seaside cove of Provatos Bay. We chose a half day cruise which cost 27euro and allowed plenty of time for a couple of swims . We were the first large boat into Kleftiko for the day and when we left there were many more so very glad we chose this one !
Although most of the beaches on Milos are unique and have gorgeous rock formations, many consider Sarakiniko Beach to be one of the most spectacular. Volcanic activity has created both horizontal and vertical rock formations that can be found throughout the length of the beach and the white rocks have eroded over the centuries to form incredible unique shapes.
These photos only show a small section of the area but it’s really quite huge. Many people say its Lunar – like walking on the moon – and you can see why. Truly amazing !
There are a couple of really charming fishing villages on Milos and Mandrakia and Klima are two of the most photographed. They feature the original fisherman’s huts called Syrmata, many of which are still in use today. The fisherman bring their boats and equipment into their syrmata in times of bad weather and have sleeping quarters above.
Klima is a little harder to get to than Mandrakia with a very steep narrow road down from Plaka. Some of the Syrmata however have been converted and can be found on Airbnb for rent.
Pollonia is the islands most fashionable village and the one most geared for tourism. Its is still small enough to retain a quiet village vibe but large enough to dine out every night and always try something different. It’s a lovely town with a flat calm beach that is very family friendly.
The ferry to Kimolos is from Pollonia and is well worth a day trip.
Some of our Pollonia highlights ;
Jordan’s Meating House
We ate twice at Jordan’s which is set back about a block from the beachfront and serves up the best Soutzoukakia( meatballs) in possibly the entire world. They also offer live music and if you’re lucky a bit of dancing, and it is half the price of the waterfront places who mostly offer seafood.
THE dessert shop – Kivotos of Taste ( Ark of Flavours)
We had heard about this legendary shop – and it lives up to its reputation. Located right as you arrive in town and just before Jordan’s this Aladdin’s cave of sweet sublime goodness is open early in the morning and late into the night. They sell great souvenirs such as salt and capers and oil but also make the most amazing desserts – the famous chocolate pie is unbelievable !
We may have visited more than once.
Santorini has some excellent wineries and there are a few on Paros and Naxos too. There is now also a small one in Pollonia and its an easy 15 minute stroll from town.
Vines grow in the volcanic, porous soil of Milos under warm and dry climate
conditions and are stored in an underground labyrinth which provides the
needed humidity and steady, cool temperature. The whitewashed Kostantakis
“Spilia” (Cave) offers wine tasting and they have accommodation on site too. We tried some very good wines and took a bottle home for dinner.
Where we stayed
We stayed in Pollonia in a new villa right across from the beach called Unique Suites. One of only 3 and with all modern conveniences and comforts including our own tomato plants in the back courtyard we just loved everything about it. Our host Stelios was fantastic and quite happy to organise things for us and take my phone calls when we were lost. We spent many hours on the bean bags across the road and the view from the ‘office’ early in the morning was really hard to take.
Find out more about Unique Suites HERE
How to get to Milos
We caught the Ferry from Sifnos via Ios but it’s also possible, during the tourist season, to ferry in from Santorini, Folegandros, Athens and sometimes Crete.
There is a small airport as well and we flew back to Athens as we then had a connecting flight to Malta. It’s a quick 30 minute flight and can often cost less than the sea options.
Wow ! We are quite blown away by this amazing island. Although we only had 5 days on Milos we could have easily stayed another 5. Maybe even 5 months. It really has it all – friendly people, great food, extraordinary natural beauty and a level of authenticity and charm that many places are lacking or losing. It is growing quickly in popularity but luckily development is relatively slow. Still if you are heading to Greece for your first visit or even your tenth make sure you put Milos on your itinerary.
We will most definitely be back !
Make sure you also read the very popular So you’ve been to Mykonos and Santorini – what next !