Milos is gaining popularity fast, and my fearless forecast is that in a few years time it will be in the running for the most popular cycladic island together with Santorini and Mykonos. What will probably set it apart is that it will never be as congested or overrun with mass tourism. After all, the island's economy doesn't solely depend on tourism but on its mineral resources. Plenty of spots still remains untouched because it's not tourist saturated. So a feeling of authenticity, and a sense of unspoiled still prevails.
Content: (Feel free to jump into any subject that might be of interest to you.)
Things to Do/See
Milos' unique and somewhat bizarre landscape is borne out of volcanic erosion creating a geological oddity so surreal that it screams superlatives. It is this dramatic landscape that have enchanted people from all over the world to experience this topology in person and see what else this little cycladic island has to offer.
Milos is a paradise for beach lovers. It has about 80 beaches, each with its own distinct characteristic, unique shoreline and crystal clear water. Choosing which beach to go can be daunting, so below I have enumerated the beaches we've been to and our personal experiences to guide you in your beach itinerary.
36° 44’ 34.098” N 24° 27’ 29.91” E (4 km east of Plaka)
Sarakiniko is hands down the most popular beach in Milos. You can skip any other of the 75+ beaches but not Sarakiniko. Can you even say you've been to Milos, if you have not visited Sarakiniko?
More than going to a beach, it feels like you've stepped into the moon. Moonscape or lunar landscape is how most people describe it. Its unique morphology makes it a paradise for photographers, a playground for instagrammers, a cliff diving spot for adventurers. It is mostly volcanic rocks and the sandy part is about 700m. A drawback of this geological make-up is that there is very little shaded area, hence not really suitable for lounging all day.
Instead of hanging out the entire day, what I'd suggest is to make several, short visits. Sarakiniko is relatively easy to go to. The road is paved, and from whichever part of Milos you are coming from its not going to take you long.
Best Times to Visit Sarakiniko
My favourite time to come is early in the morning to catch the sunrise! It's captivatingly serene when the sky is a beautiful palette of orange hues and is reflected in the sea. Truly an out-of-this-world experience in every sense of the word. If you are not an early bird, it's ok, go check it out midday to see the stark contrast between the rocks and the water when it is at its most turquoise. Then of course sunset is another magical moment to experience Sarakiniko. If you have the luxury of time, then visit it at all the aforementioned times.
Amenities: Unorganized beach. There is a food truck that starts setting up at around 9:00 am. Bring extra bag for your trash. I only saw 2 bins in the area and it gets filled up fast. Parking Available. Public transportation runs on regular basis in Summer.
36° 44’ 54.894” N 24° 29’ 15.768” E (7 km. east of Plaka)
Inasmuch as I love Sarakiniko, it's not made for a relaxing stay, it gets really crowded and scorching midday. When you had enough of the heat and the crowd, go to Alogomandra. It is a local sea-cret! This is where they flock when seeking for a shade on a sweltering day. For hubs and I, this is a hidden gem we chanced upon, having found the private cove empty on several occasion that we have visited it.
The cove is only about 20 meters long, so I guess during peak of summer it can get crowded. In addition, it might be inaccessible when the northern wind is strong. Double check prior to going. There is a neighbouring beach as another option, without a cove but with some trees that can also provide shade. If that also gets crowded and you are feeling adventurous, go up the rocks on the left side, here is a small rocky island that the seagulls have made into their habitat. An islet is separated from the mainland with a narrow channel (36°44’56.31”N 24°29’1.86” E).
Amenities: Parking Available. Accessible but be warned though that there is about a kilometre of dirt road and near the beach your motorcycle might get stuck in the sand. Unorganized beach. There is a tavern (Galini Sea View Restaurant) nearby.
36° 44’ 33.3” N 24° 31’ 52.374” E (13 km. east of Plaka)
Voudia beach is flanked by red cliff coastline while the shore is covered by multicoloured pebbles. Despite its close proximity to Pollonia (about 5 minutes drive) it is not frequented by tourist perhaps due to the lack of facility or partly because of the factory/quarry beside it, hence a mild sulfur smell in some part of the beach. But if you get past all these flaws, there are areas of the beach that are absolutely spectacular.
Checking out reviews for this beach, people either love it or hate it, I guess it all comes down to preference. If the aforementioned cons are too much for you then its best to skip this one, but if that doesn't bother you and willing to explore this beautiful hidden gem, then go ahead and check it. I personally love it. It's not the best beach in Milos, but it's certainly a diamond in the rough.
Tip: Even if you are not planning to swim, make sure to bring a change of clothes and plastic covers for gadgets to avoid them from getting wet. When the tide is higher, you will need to dip into the water to get past some areas.
Amenities: Non organized beach. Accessible. We were allowed to park in the factory.
36° 45’ 3.072” N 24° 26’ 45.492” E (4 km. east of Plaka)
Mandrakia is a quaint traditional fishing village with tons of photogenic spots. The traditional boats and syrmata - colourful doors built into rocks that the fisherman use to store their boat and gears - form into a concave encircling the harbour bar. On top is the Church of Zoodohos Pigi overlooking it. More than just a photo stop, you can swim and dine at the highly rated nearby tavern Medusa. If you find the Mandrakia Beach a bit too small for you, there are two other beaches close by - Gerania and Tourkothalassa.
Facilities: Parking available. No public transportation. Easily accessible via an asphalt road. Rooms to let in the area.
36° 45’ 3.072” N 24° 26’ 45.492” E ( 3 km north of Plaka)
Another traditional fishing village that is so cute it demands to be photographed is Fyropotamos. This type of fishing village is so typical of the island of Milos and Kimolos, that I often get the photos confused with the others particularly Fyropotamos and Mandrakia. In reality however, you'd soon realize how different this one is with its steep cliffs and huge rock formations around it. This place is at its most beautiful during the golden hour when the sun hits the enormous rocks that magnificently enclaves this tiny village and gives it that golden glow and a shade of dusky orange.
Go up to the site of the ruins where a perfect frame for your photo awaits you. Also check out the beautiful church of Agios Nikolaos. Beach goers will be happy to know that there are trees here to provide shade.
Factilities: No Public Transportation. Limited parking space. With rooms to let. Partly Organized.
36° 45’ 10.32” N 24° 30’ 5.682” E (8 km. east of Plaka)
Kapros is one of the easiest beaches to go to in Milos. It is situated just on the side of the road on the way to Pollonia. It's small but delightful nonetheless with its rocky bridges, caves and coves. A short stop is definitely a must, both for a quick swim and photo op, though not suitable for a long stay as it hardly provides for down times and chilling. We initially intended to go to Papafragas Beach, but with my hampered foot mobility we just decided to stay to the Kapros which has an easier access. In addition, do not confuse this with Papafragas, the sign "Papafragas Studio" on its parking area is in reference to a hotel and the beach.
Facilities: Small Parking. Not organized.
36° 44’ 35.058”N 24° 28’ 41.454” E (5 km. west of Plaka)
A smaller beach with a syrma and might not be a mind blowing as the other beaches in Milos. It's a simple and unassuming beach best for those seeking some quiet serenity because tourist don't flock here. You'd still get to enjoy the crystal clear water descriptive of the Aegean water.
Facilities: Parking available. Partly Organized. Unpaved road
If you want a break from jagged edges, then head on to Pollonia and enjoy the facilities of an organized summer resort. Ideal for a lazy beach day with its long sandy shoreline dotted with trees, sun loungers and restaurants along the coast.
Facitilities: Organized beach. Easily accessible without adventurous walks or drive
There are several other beaches that we wanted to go to but had to cancel due my foot injury, and oh well, because we ran out of time but will definitely be checking out on our next visit. This include Tsigrado Beach, Papafragas, Paliochori, Fyriplaka.
Discover Milos by Boat
We didn't do this but worth the mention, is boating. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Milos are accessible only via boat. Explore Firlingos, Gerakas, Sikia, Kalogeros, Kleftiko.
2. Check out Churches
Scattered throughout the island is about 140 chapels and churches. You don't have to be a religious devotee or on a pilgrimage to appreciate the churches in Milos. For the view alone that these churches offer is enough reason to check it out. Below are some of my favourite among the numerous churches in Milos.
36° 44’ 36.504” N 24° 25’ 17.688” E
Located in the western edge of Plaka, overlooking the Aegian sea. Its courtyard is a popular sunset spot in Milos. If you wish to avoid the crowd go for dawn instead. You might not see the sun, but the sky painted with the romantic shades of sunrise color palette . At any other time of the day, I'd say it's still worth a visit if you are in Plaka. The marble slabs and pebble decor gives this church a distinct character.
36° 44’ 43.092” N 24° 25’ 19.614” E
An iconic spot and the most photographed church in Milos. In all likelihood, an instagrammer who has been to Milos have a photo here. And understandably so, it is magnificent and has a great of view of the Aegean. A sunset spot favourite, but for us we prefer early mornings here where the sun also cast a glorious glow. If you manage to catch the full moon set from here, then you are in for a wonderful treat.
Panagia Skiniotissa (Mesa Panagia Chapel)
36° 44’ 43.284” N 24° 25’ 19.176” E
The smaller neighboring church of Panagia Thalassitra and situated at the topmost of Kastro Hill. It goes without saying that the view here is impeccable from sun up to sun down.
36° 44’ 19.2” N 24° 25’ 11.1” E
Nothing fancy about this church, being tiny and austere looking. But while it's not an architectural wonder, its location ascertain for spectacular panoramic views being at the highest point of Milos. A great sunrise/sunset spot too, with an unencumbered view but not a favoured spot because its not the easiest place to go too.
Other churches you might want to check out on you visit:
3. Immerse Yourself in History
It might be the pristine beaches and unique landscape that takes the cake in attracting tourists in Milos, but there is also an incredible amount of history packed into this little island.
Site of Venus de Milo
36° 44’ 19.17” N 24° 25’ 21.972” E
To history lovers, Milos is the island of Aphrodite or Venus De Milo. This stunning Ancient Greek goddess sculpture was rediscovered on the island in 1820. The original sculpture is currently in display in the Louvre museum, but you can drop by the site rediscovery is in Tripiti. You can combine it with a visit to the the Ancient Theatre of Milos & the Catacombs located just a few steps away from it.
Ancient Theater of Milos
36° 44’ 16.392” N 24° 25’ 13.008” E
Though the theatre has seen better days, it has gone through an extensive renovation so you will find it in really good condition. Test its amazing acoustic, hear your voice resonate and feel its ancient energy vibrate across the theatre. Definitely worth to schedule a visit, not only for its historical value but also for the spectacular panoramic view of the sea. From the slopes where it is situated you will also get a good view of the fishing village of Klima. Noteworthy is that there is no entrance fee and it's relatively easy to access.
Closed on Tuesdays
Another well preserved archeological & historical site of Milos, just 300 meter east of the Ancient Theatre. An engineering and construction marvel that served as a worship and burial site for the early Christians here. Be mindful of the hours. We did miss the chance of going here, belatedly finding out that it is closed on Tuesdays.
Milos is home to several museums: the Archeological Museum, Local History Museum, Mining Museum, Ecclesiastical Museum, War Museum, even a Sand Museum.
36° 44’ 37.332” N 24° 25’ 25.23” E
I only managed to visit the Archeological Museum which is located in Plaka. It houses the replica (exact plaster copy) of Venus and variety of ancient findings.
4. Visit the Villages
Milos have picturesque villages that is sure to steal your heart.
Plaka is probably what your Greek cycladic island dreams are made of – whitewashed cubic houses, a labyrinth of pretty & colorful spots, bougainvilleas hanging prettily over shops and tavernas.
Ideally, I wanted to visit Milos in winter, when there is almost no tourist. As luck would have it, lockdown happened and we had to defer our visit. This worked out perfectly in the end. We visited June-July and it still wasn't congested. And Milos is stunning when all the flowers are in bloom! Plaka is particularly enchanting.
Milos is said to be the 'Island of Colours', and I thought it's because of the colourful syrmata in Klima. Later on, I found out that the color is actually in reference to the varied and colorful rock surrounding the island. Well, who can blame me when the seafront settlement of Klima, is colours galore, right?!
Klima is located at the base of a series of twisting and turning asphalt road commencing from Tripiti. Quite a challenging drive that it made me really anxious. It's a narrow winding road that gets particularly jam-packed in the evening. There is also very limited parking. When there is a surge of people to see the sunset, the side of the 'already narrow road' is where people usually park.
Pollonia is a scenic fishing village that has the second biggest port in Milos. It offers ferry service to its neighbouring island of Kimolos. Tourists are drawn here for its quiet quaint charm. There are multitude of sights to see, ways to wander, and flavours to savour. Tourist come here for a gastronomy experience as it is particularly popular for its seafood and fish.
Tripiti is built amphitheatrically on a slope, a prime position for the wealthy. In the cyclades, not only 'the higher you go, the closer to God', but the richer you are as well. With its elevated location, you are certainly going to be in for a treat of sweeping views of the seascape and landscape of Milos. Well known for its windmills can be found at its highest point, some of which has been transformed to vacation rentals.
Adamas or Adamantas is a harbour town and the largest village of the island. As the commercial hub of Milos this is a hustling and bustling area. There is a vast selection of tavernas, groceries shops, hotels, transportation rental etc. Adamas is also home to two beaches, Lagada and Papikinou and several museums.
5. Experience the Sunrise
Who wants to wake up early during vacation?! In Milos, I would!A beautiful day is guaranteed if you start it with the first light of Milos. Sunrise here is more potent than any caffeine to energize you in the morning. We have frequented Sarakiniko to see the sunrise, and while I try to describe the feeling of being there in hundreds of adjectives, it will still be an understatement. So you will just have to experience it for yourself. Other sunrise spot that you might want to check out are Kastro Hill, Fyropotamos, Voudia Beach, Pollonia.
6. Chase the Sunset
We all love a good sunset! Especially after a day of exploring and beach hopping. Nothing is more rewarding than to watch colours of ineffable hues swirls across the sky as the sun set while you relax and recharge for tomorrows adventure. There are plenty of sunset spots in Milos like Klima, Plaka and Venetian Castle, Sarakiniko, a taverna in Tripiti.
7. Indulge in local delicacy
During our stay in Milos, we have only dined out a total of 6 times. We are budget travellers and my Greek husband cooks authentic Greek cuisine (uhh,modesty aside). Having said that, I will skip restaurant suggestion as with the lack of 'sampling' it will not be enough representation of what is truly good here. I would however, suggest local delicacies in Milos.
This watermelon pie, is exclusive to the island of Milos. It is something that neither I or hubs has come across in other parts of Greece. I was eating this everyday that we were Milos. You can pick it up at a local bakery, but one that I really love is from Palaios in Plaka.
Tip: If you are to say it in Greek, make sure to pronounce it properly "Karpouzopita" and not "karpAzopita" or you might get something else.
Ladenia is not exclusively found in Milos as it hails from its neighbour Kimolos. But might as well try it here too as they make it really good. Essentially a Greek version of Pizza, without cheese and meat!
You might also want to try Pitarakia (mini cheese pie) and Koufeto sweet preserve or desert of the spoon.
Best Time to Visit Milos
The best time to visit a place is highly variable and determined by an individuals preference. Depending on your travel prerequisites its up to you to decide most suitable time to go to Milos. Below are some information to guide you on when to go to Milos.
Spring: March - May
We love traveling around Greece in Spring, when its shoulder season. In Spring the temperature is pleasant, the flowers are blooming, prices are reasonable and without the hordes of tourist. If you place high importance to swimming, you might find the waters to be still cold.
Summer: June- Late September
The beaches in Milos makes it a top summer destination. So for many this is the best time to visit. Therefore, summer is the peak of tourist season. August in particular is the busiest and most expensive month. Local tourism is in full boom. Weather wise, warmest is the last days of June to the first days of August. August is the best time for swimming. A caveat weather-wise is the presence of meltemi (north winds)
Autumn: Sept - Nov
I have been to the cyclades all other season except for autumn. I've been told though that it is actually the best time to visit. Summer in Greece extends into autumn. October - November is also shoulder season. While it's still somewhat tourist season until October, the crowd is noticeably thinner . Establishments are still open. Amenities are still available. The weather is pleasant, less hot than summer but warmer than spring.
Winter: December - February
Winter is the lean season. Milos is at its quietest, calmest and cheapest. The drop in temperature is directly proportional to the drop in prices and tourist.If swimming and soaking under the sun is not your main concern, then probably this is a good time for you to go. Winter in Milos is cold, but not frigid. Do expect rains on some days especially in January. Tourism in the island is not 100% operational. Less ferry service, facilities and services can best be described as skeletal.
As for our personal preference, we do try to avoid to go to the cyclades in August at all cost. The best choice for me would be Spring or Autumn although I would love to see how Milos is in winter as I loved Santorini during this season. I don't mind not being able to swim and hubs is a 'wimhofer' so these might work for us.
How to get to Milos:
Milos is reachable via plane and ferry.
Milos have a small domestic airport. If you are flying internationally, chances are you will be flying from Athens via Olympic Air, Aegean or Sky Express. The flight from Athens is about 40 minutes.
The main port of Milos is situated in Adamas. There are multiple ferry operators that service Milos. Ferry fare from Piraeus port ranges from €22 -€130. A non stop boat ride from Piraeus takes approximately approximately 5 hours. Ships that takes stops at other islands can last up to 8 hours. The duration of a speedboat ride is 2.5 to 4.5 hours. You can book your tickets online or purchase it from the port from any of the travel agencies there. Booking in advance is necessary during peak season.
If you are planning for some Greek island hopping, then a ferry ride is best suited for you. Ferries connects from Milos to several Greek Islands.
How many days to stay in Milos:
Milos is the fifth largest cycladic island. The number of days to stay here depends on ones pace as a traveler. For me who is obsessed with this island I can say, the longer, the better. Not only is there so much to see, but Milos is best enjoyed in slow pace.
To give you an idea: you can cook something up on a 3 day itinerary but it will be hectic and you will beat yourself up for staying too short. But if that's all you got, then its still better than nothing. Locals from the mainland or other island go here on a weekend so it is doable. For a very short stay, it is necessary to have your own transportation to avoid losing time. Also exploring the island via boat is highly recommended so you can cover plenty of spots in a short time.
In 5 days you will manage to see the top attractions in a fast paced manner but you might not have the luxury to get lost and explore off the beaten track. It's best to have a planned itinerary to maximize your time.
In 7 days you will manage to see places in your 'lists to visit' and some more. But believe me you will end up craving for more days.
In 10 days will give you semi leisurely pace and even revisit some of your favourite places. You might miss some spots and so you find yourself roughly planning for your next visit.
As for us we, stayed for 17 days (booked for 12 days, extended for 5 more, and would have extended even longer had we not have other plans) and as you can see we barely scratched the surface. Some people who stayed shorter probably saw and did more. Yes, we did missed a lot of places on our list to visit because we moved in such a leisurely pace due to foot issues. Also some places we kept coming back to, and some beaches we stayed hours. So we missed a lot of other places but confident in the thought that we would one day come back as it has really stolen my heart.
Getting around Milos:
There are various ways of going around Milos.
Milos have a network buses that takes you to some of the most popular tourist spot.Ticket is issued inside the bus. Make sure you have change. Fare range from €1.80 to €2.00. Check routes and timetables here. Public transportation is usually our preferred mode of transportation, but it didn't really work for us in Milos because it's limited time wise and location wise.
By Rented Vehicle
After using the bus for a day we ditched it and decided to rent a scooter (which is my least favorite mode of transportation). Despite my misgivings and anxiety, the scooter did work well for us, as it has taken as all around Milos. Just exercise caution and be prepared for narrow and dirtroads. Milos after all is said to have the largest network of dirtroads in the cyclades. Of all the other vehicle rentals, this is the cheapest at €20 per day.
Car rental is a popular option but there are some restrictions as to where you can go. The rental companies forbids you from going to certain areas. Accidents incurred from violating this is not going to be cover by car insurance, and in some cases can result to fine. So if you live for adventures and exploring off the beaten tracks then maybe a car is not for you. My suggestion would be to rent an ATV. If it's your first time to drive an ATV start slow and easy, and familiarize yourself on how to control it. All of these vehicle rentals requires international license. If you are visiting the island during peak season, prebook your rental online.
There are also taxis around, but not so many so you cannot solely rely on this. Personally, we have not use it during our stay. In some popular areas, you would see their numbers posted around in case you need one.
By Organized Tours
There are various travel agencies in the island that offers various tours. Relieve yourself of the stress of planning and sorting out your itinerary, just book a tour and show up (if that's you thing.)
Although not really feasible for Milos, I find the need to add this as we are avid walkers and this is always our preferred way of exploring. Our Airbnb is situated close to Plaka and Tripiti and have always find it pleasant to walk there. If you travel to hike then you can definitely do so in Milos.
Where to stay:
Milos have all types of accommodation to suit any traveller and budget. From luxurious hotels, traditional syrmata, family owned B&B, even a camping site. Below are some areas you might want to consider on your stay in Milos.
If you are taking the ferry this the first town you will touch base with. The main bus station is situated here. So if you plan on using the bus a lot, this is most plausible option for you. Adamas is usually preferred choice of area for accommodation mainly for the convenience it offers.
Pollonia is an alternative for those wanting to have the facilities that Adamas offers but on a quieter, less hectic note. You will enjoy here the amenities of an organized summer resort. The presence of a playground makes it the best options for people traveling with kids.This resort town is a bit more on the high end and expensive side. Developed for tourism you will have everything you need at hand.
Klima & Fyropotamos
If it's the quintessential Cycladic experience that you sought for, then Plaka is definitely the place you would love to wake up to everyday. A downside of staying in this area is that cars are not allowed in the narrow labyrinth, hence parking can be a challenge. Prior to booking check with your host about the parking situation . Here is one Airbnb listing that I found that has parking.
As for us, we have stayed in Triovasalos. It's a very underrated area but where the best valued accommodations are. For the price we paid, and the running rate in Milos we have certainly found a jackpot in this Airbnb. It has everything we needed. Just a few steps from it is the bus stop, bakeries, tavernas, groceries its. It's walking distance from Plaka and Tripiti. And just a few minutes drive away from most tourist spot.
PIN for Later, Loves!