Are you looking for a holiday that combines wild and rocky landscapes with tasty seafood cuisine? Then the tiny island of Milos in the Cyclades is where you should be headed. Milos’ namesake originates from the birthplace of the famous Venus de Milo – Aphrodite of Milos – the Ancient Greek sculpture which can be seen in the Louvre Museum. This volcanic island is the most southwestern island in the Cyclades and is known for its well-preserved traditional way of life.
If you fancy isolated wild beaches and clear, azure waters, read on for a few tips on how to best experience the island of Milos.
This highlight comes first as it was the main reason we chose Milos out of all the other islands in the Aegean Sea. A swim on the moon might seem impossible, until you reach the stunning, white dunes of Sarakiniko which transports you into a whole other dimension. The contrasts of light and shadows, of the pearl-colored terrain and blue sea and sky are what makes this location one of the most photographed places on the island – and perhaps its biggest attraction. This spectacular moonscape-like beach is situated in the northern part of the island and is easily accessible by the local bus or by renting a car or scooter.
After some delicious cheesy meals on the local terraces, it’s time for some hiking in search of the secluded and beautiful Tsigrado beach. Unless you arrive by water, the only way down to Tsigrado beach is by a wooden ladder – a treacherous but exhilarating experience if you’re up for it. There is a rope for an extra helping hand, but the most important thing to remember is to wear appropriate footwear. Once you make your way down, all of your efforts are rewarded with a refreshing swim between the yellow cliffs. Another tip for this spot is to bring your snorkeling gear along, as this little cove offers a diversity of marine creatures for you to discover.
We are not done with challenging descents down to picturesque coves! In the northern part of this volcanic island is a strip of sand called Papafragas Beach and Caves. As you make your way down the natural stone stairs on the edge of the cliff, you’ll be presented with views of the turquoise waters. Sometimes this cove can experience high winds, so may not always be ideal for swimming, but the beach is an absolute must if you are looking for a tranquil reading spot.
An easy and convenient way to explore Milos is by full-day tour around the island by boat. This cruise will stop in many outstanding spots only accessible by water. One of them is the largest uninhabited Cyclades island, Poliegos, where the only inhabitants are goats and you can enjoy an amazing turquoise lagoon. Another unique and breathtaking stop is in the southern part of Milos called Kleftiko. The clear, sparkling waters will have you jumping off the boat as quickly as possible, to explore the volcanic caves. The name of the small bay, Kleftiko, comes from the Greek word “to steal” as this cove was once used as a hideout for pirates.
Enough with the beaches? Let’s explore inland! First, be sure to visit Plaka, the capital of Milos. Its narrow streets are full of life in the evenings and there are many unforgettable spots from where you can watch the sunset over the Aegean Sea. One great vantage point is from the terrace of Utopia Cafe, where you can experience a relaxing atmosphere while enjoying a glass of prosecco with dessert. The old stairs which lead up to Plaka Castle are also a dazzling place to watch as the sun sets, although they can get crowded during this time. You can easily reach Plaka by the local bus and is just 15 minutes far away from the harbor town of Adamantas.
If you are eager for more sightseeing and want to venture further afield in the Cyclades, you might want to take the two-hour ferry and explore the nearby island of Serifos. Before reaching Serifos, the ferry makes a stop in Sifnos harbor, where you can admire its crisp, white architecture. Once in Serifos, head up to the hill in Pano Chora, the upper historical part of the town. Here, you’ll find the perfectly preserved windmills typical of Serifos. To get most out of your time on this island, grab a refreshing cocktail and some Greek appetizers from the Piano Piatsa.
Finally, let me introduce you to Kimolos — the less-touristic little sister of Milos. Here, authentic fishing villages remain untouched. To reach Kimolos, take the ferry from Polonia village, situated in the northeast part of the Island. The trip shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. Known as the island of chalk due to its white-washed houses, Kimolos is a quiet alternative to other islands in the Cyclades and is perfect for wandering along the narrow paths, discovering local gift shops, and tasting traditional specialties.
What are your favorite islands to explore in Greece? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!