Milos is an island that has it all: beaches of unbelievable beauty, eerie settings, catacombs, old pirate stories, volcanic craters, Cycladic hospitality, superb all-suite hotels, and a sensational sunset. In an inexplicable way, the island has an immediate calming effect on visitors. It is home to Europe’s biggest mineral mine and offers over 70 beaches capable of covering all moods and preferences.
Where to go
Firiplaka beach, featuring imposing coloured rocks, Gerontas, with impressive rock formations, caves, and turquoise waters, and, naturally, Sarakiniko, the island’s most renowned beach, with pure-white sculpted rocks, are beaches that must not be missed.
The island’s volcanic crater is still officially rated as active. One visit is enough to convince of this. Its activity, manifested as occasional gas spurts reaching 100 degrees Celsius, is audible. The Milos Mining Museum offers an extensive presentation of the importance of the volcano and mineral wealth, inextricably linked with this volcanic island and its residents.
Spending time on Milos is a life experience. The island has upgraded its accommodation offerings in an exceptional fashion over recent years, small all-suite hotels opening one after the other.
Plaka, the island’s capital, is the most elegant and pivotal village on the island. It features small Cycladic-style houses, narrow cobbled alleys, hidden squares with cafes and small tavernas, as well as exceptional land and sea views. Plaka is an ideal place for relaxed outings and the island’s best sunset experience, from the Venetian castle.
A boat ride to Klima, a gorgeous fishing village made unique by its colours as well as its syrmata, a row of seaside fishermen’s houses with storage space for boats, is truly enjoyable. A visit to the Catacombs, dating back to the Early Christian period, and not to be found elsewhere in Greece, is highly recommended, if not essential.
How to get there
By ferryboat from Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Rethymno and other ports, and flights from Athens.
Where to stay
Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel: An elegant, all-white building situated at an elevated spot, this hotel offers a superb view of the wide-open sea. Its rooms, modern in style, are comfortable and bright, while some are equipped with private pools and hydromassage facilities. Its overflow pool and relatively detached location, ideal for total relaxation, are among the pluses. (Pollonia, +30 2287041084-5, www.milosbreeze.gr)
Kapetan Tasos: The name of this all-suite hotel may remind of simple 80s-era rooms to let, but the sophisticated reality will completely erase such thoughts. An all-white design hotel of minimal style, it offers a variety of suites with superb comfortable beds. The communal pool with jacuzzi may be small, but it is tremendously atmospheric. (Apollonia – Pollonia, +30 22870/41287 www.kapetantasos.gr)
White Pebble Suites: Atmospheric suites of superb modern design, they combine the coolness of white forged cement surfaces with the warmth of natural wood elements. Facial and body therapy, based on the use of organic Cretan olive oil, is available. (Pollonia, +30 697510 9305, www.whitepebblesuites.com)
Melian Boutique Hotel & Spa: Situated directly above the sea with a panoramic sea view of the Aegean blue, Melian Boutique Hotel & Spa is one of the best hotels on the island and one of the few with an in-house spa. It offers suites, some of which are equipped with jacuzzis, as well as basic double rooms. Ideal for the Milos sunset. (Apollonia – Pelekouda, +30 2287041150, www.melian.gr)
Miland Suites: Located just 2.5 km from the island’s port, Miland Suites is spread over a hill in the Korfos area, enabling the facility to offer a panoramic view of the Adamantas gulf. It is equipped with 8 suites, three of which have kitchens. The rather large pool with a hydromassage system and the surrounding space are ideal for relaxation. A family-friendly hotel, it also has a mini pool and playground for children. (Korfos, +30 2287300403, www.milandsuites.com)
Santa Maria Luxury Suites: An all-suite hotel with minimal-style décor superbly combining modern and classical, this facility also offers a very cute and atmospheric little spa. (Adamas, +30 22870 28123, +30 6944223954, santamaria-suites.gr)
Golden Milos Beach: A classic hotel at an elevated spot with a lovely view, its swimming pool space, featuring a wooden deck with sunbeds topped with soft mattresses, wins over guests. Ideal for relaxing holidays. (Provatas, +30 2287031307-8, www.goldenmilosbeach.com)
O Milos Tou Marketou: Two small houses and an old Milos windmill are the features of this unique accommodation proposal. The houses are rented separately, offer fully equipped kitchens, a good view of the Milos gulf and Emporios. It is an ideal option for two couples travelling together. (Trypiti, +30 2287022147, +30 6944733533, www. marketoswindmill.gr)
Where to Eat
Armenaki: Renowned for its fresh fish and delightfully prepared casserole recipes, the fish taverna Armenaki is well worth visiting. Don’t skip its lobster spaghetti. (Apollonia, +30 2287041061)
Arhontoula: This taverna is famous for classic casserole dishes as well as its wild goat in the oven. Ethnic-inclined selections, such as pork curry, also feature among the selections. (Plaka, +30 2287021384)
Gialos: A modern taverna with a menu covering modern Mediterranean cuisine, it also offers a wide range of wines. (Apollonia, +30 2287041208)
Barco: This eatery offers what is generally referred to as simple, honest Greek cuisine, selections including ladera (vegetables cooked in an olive oil-based sauce), salads and seafood. (Adamantas, +30 2287022660)
Sirocco: A seaside taverna, it prepares dishes such as goat with potatoes and juicy fish, both prepared in clay cooking pots under hot sand. (Paleohori, +30 2287031201)
O! Hamos: This family taverna, whose food is cooked with passion, serves dishes prepared with local ingredients and self-produced meat. (Adamantas – Papikinou beach, +30 287021672)
Traditional food products: Flaounes (cheese pies), pitarakia (small pies with feta, thyme, garlic filling), domatozoumi/beltes (tomato paste), skordolazana (lasagna with garlic sauce and tomato), xynomyzithra cheese, domatokeftedes (tomato fritters), Milos cheese (Parmesan-like), koufeto (sweet preserve made with pumpkin, honey and almonds).
What to see
Given Milos’ fascinating past and geological nature, there is never a dull moment on this island, essentially a volcanic island that has been inhabited since prehistoric times; was the favourite island of the goddess Aphrodite, according to mythology; and hiding place for pirates, within the island’s caves, during the pirate era.
Archaeological Museum of Milos: Housed at a neoclassical building from 1870 that was designed by prominent architect Ernst Ziller, the archeological museum was opened in 1985 and includes artefacts stretching from the Neolithic to Byzantine periods.
Phylakopi Archaeological Site: This is one of the Aegean’s most significant prehistoric cities. The settlement’s imposing cyclopean wall, constructed using volcanic rocks, as well as the Mycenaean sanctuary and mansion, are impressive.
Ancient Roman Theatre: Considerably well preserved, it is located between the villages Trypiti and Klima, at an elevated point offering a superb view.
Catacombs: Unique throughout all of Greece, the Milos Catacombs – subterranean ancient burial place – from the early Christian period (1st-5th centuries BC), are situated close to Trypiti and the ruins of ancient Milos.
Milos Mining Museum: This mineral-rich island’s impressive geological traits are presented in the form of objects, images and photographs, shedding light on Milos’ mining history, at the mining museum, situated at Adamantas port.
Thiafa: It is well worth visiting the old sulphur mines in the island’s east, once a beehive of activity, where the old wagons, stone buildings, iron bridges and galleries remain to be seen. This spot can only be accessed via the sea.
Where to swim
The island features over 70 beaches, each with its own style and geological nature. If on the island in August, keep in mind that strong northern winds typical during the period make the southern beaches preferable. If the winds are coming in from the south, opt for beaches in the west and north.
Firiplaka: The crystal waters and imposing rocks of various colours will more than compensate the walk needed along a dirt track to reach this beach.
Tsigrado: Off the same dirt road leading to Firiplaka, Tsigrado, requiring some adventure to get to, may be reached by using a rope and steps for a descent to a wonderful beach with emerald waters and white sand. Well worth the effort.
Paleohori: Red, yellow and white-coloured rocks create a unique setting. The hot springs are another bonus.
Sarakiniko: Locals unfailingly liken this beach to a lunar landscape. And they are right. Its all-white curved rocks, resembling clouds, create a small and fantastic beach with pure-blue waters. Some exploration at the rocks leads to a shipwreck, tilted and semi-immersed in the water.
Gerontas: One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, it is endowed with impressive rocks, caves, turquoise waters and dark-coloured sand. Some walking is required to reach this beach, but, even so, do not miss.
Papafragkas: Small in size, this is one of the island’s most unusual beaches, as it features two caves at the back and a narrow stretch of water between tall rocks, creating an unbelievable setting.
Mytakas, Alogomantra and Agios Konstantinos: These beaches, ideal for exploration, feature caves, natural bridges and small sandy beaches.
Kleftiko, Yerakas, Sykia: Visits to all three beaches, accessed only by boat, are absolutely essential.
What to do
Take a boat ride to the islet Polyaigos, blessed with heavenly waters and pristine beaches; the islet Kalogeri, featuring impressive volcanic rocks emerging from the water; as well as Klima, to see the syrmata, the picturesque row of tiny old white fishermen huts with bright-coloured seafront doors, downstairs, used for rough-weather boat storage, and living space upstairs.
Explore the island’s caves for swimming. Go diving at Fanaras Cave and quartz-shimmering Diamantospilia.
Take a kayak ride to enjoy the island’s incredible coastline, go trekking towards the volcanic crater and sulphur mines, visit Aggeria and check out its bentonite mine, Sarakiniko, and also go to the Konstantakis Winery and shop in Pollonia (+30 2287041125), upon arrangement, for winetasting. It produces Asyrtiko, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano varieties.
Essential: Don’t miss the sunset experience from Panagia Korfiotissa church or the Venetian Castle, both in the capital Plaka.
Info/useful telephone numbers
Milos health clinic: +30 2287360000
Milos Port Police: +30 2287023360
Milos Police: +30 2287021204
Milos Tourist Police: +30 2287021378
Milos Information Centre: +30 2287022445
Milos Municipality: +30 2287360100