MILOS, GREECE – travel guide: Milos beaches, activities and things to do

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If you missed the first instalment on Santorini, check out the Travel Guide: Santorini edition.

RECAP:  We went to Athens (stayed for 3 nights as Marco had his conference there), then took a boat out to Santorini (3 nights), then to Milos (3 nights), and back again to Athens for 4 nights.

Read on for the second instalment – tips and recommendations (including on food, activities, and the ideal length of stay) for Milos!

MILOS – THE GREEK ISLAND YOU SHOULD VISIT

I can’t even begin to describe Milos.

Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to… you know that feeling when you don’t want to ruin the experience by putting pen to paper (or key strokes to blog post)… this is kind of like that.  I am actually so nervous about writing this piece as well because of how much I fell in love with this island so I really hope I do Milos justice – leave me a comment below to let me know whether I’ve convinced you that you NEED to visit this Greek island!

I unexpectedly fell in love… with MILOS

This island is famous for many reasons – the incredible and, quite frankly, unreal landscapes, its many beaches (of which there are more than 70…), and being the site at which the famous statue of Aphrodite/Venus de Milos was discovered (now housed in the Lourve, which I featured in in my post on France)… if this place isn’t on your radar, it SHOULD BE.

Getting to Milos is easy as it’s still one of the popular places for locals and tourists to visit.  You can either do a short speedboat trip or a longer ferry.  The options are bountiful.  We took a long ferry (it was cheaper that the other options as we booked pretty late) – Zanteferries and because the ride was pretty rough (windy weather meant the sea was quite choppy), Marco felt pretty sea-sick the whole time.

Where to stay in Milos

My top picks are Adamantas/Adamas and Pollonia:

  • ADAMANTAS/ADAMAS FOR CONVENIENCE:  You’ll arrive at Adamantas, which is home to the port of Milos and is the most lively township.  Adamas is a gorgeous wee little town with great food options, more of a bustling night life, where most boat excursions begin and terminate, and is also the centre for all public buses.  There’s also the town’s beach which has shallow waters for quite some stretch and is quite a nice spot to just chill.  Although I didn’t stay here I can definitely see the appeal – the main one being convenience.
    • While you’re here, eat at: Oh Hamos!  Beautiful restaurant with amazing local food. At the end of your meal they also provide a complimentary Mastika dessert, which is very refreshing!
  • POLLONIA/APOLLONIA FOR A LOCAL FEEL:  About a 20-minute drive from Adamantas/Adamas is the picturesque fishing village Pollonia.  There is also a mini port in this area and so a few boats leave from Pollonia (for a tour of the island by boat or to hop over to the neighbouring island Kimolos).  Pollonia is also a great spot for seafood – attracting both locals and many Greek and European tourists.  There are a couple of beaches in this village – all within walking distance (about 15 minute walk from each other).  (NOTE:  our accommodation was great and we would really recommend it – more at the end of this post!)
    • EAT at:
      • Kivotos ton Gefseon, of course – a family run gorgeous little cafe/restaurant.  Their breakfast is delicious, delicious chocolate cake, and other traditional goodies.  I also went a bit nuts here and bought a lot of their family produce from their shop.  They are also super sweet and helpful!
      • Armenaki is apparently delicious and famous for its seafood according to a Milos-ian taxi driver we met in Athens!
      • We had delicious food and memorable saganaki cheese at another restaurant along the waterside… unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be on google and I can’t remember its name!  I think it might be Molos… but I’ll get back to you on that one…

What to do in Milos? (and how to get around in Milos)

  • The first thing you need to do when you get to Milos is GET AN ATV (aka. quad bike):  This is such a lovely way to see the island, and as the beaches are scattered all over the island – you’ll love the freedom of having your own transport to explore in your own time.
    • We paid about $45 euros/day and got our ATV from Pollonia (honestly though, ATV hires are everywhere in Milos so it won’t be hard to find one).
    • Right next to the ATV rental shop in Pollonia is a great tourist information centre “Travel Me to Milos“, which I really rate – they’ve got great information there.  They’ve also got an app, which I did download but didn’t end up using much of it because of a great guide book that was available at our accommodation – a pdf copy is here.
    • What I also found super fun as part of the process was mapping our way around the island for our drive on a paper map (y’know, it’s all about the little moments too!).
  • Public buses: The public bus is a perfectly good option – being quite frequent and stopping at all the top attractions and main spots. We actually did a combination of hiring a quad bike and getting around by public bus – so I can totally vouch for the system!
    • Timetable copy: you’ll just need to check out their timetables and make sure you have the timing right – you can take a timetable sheet from the door/entrance of the buses.
    • TIP: Also make sure to always check the front of the bus for the poster/sign as to where they are off to (this sometimes changes at the end of a route (often in Adamas), so just because a bus arrives saying ADAMAS – POLLONIA, doesn’t mean the bus departing from your Adamas stop will be going back to Pollonia! It might be off elsewhere or take a slightly different path!
  • Beach-bums: There’s nothing better than beach-hopping on your rented quad bike (and also on your boat cruise around the island). And as I’ve said, you’re spoilt for choice in Milos.

However (TIP🙂 you will be limited by the direction of the wind on the day you visit – talk to locals, and check the forecast.  We got some really good tips to visit the north part of the island on day 2 and the south beaches on day 3 because the winds on day 2 in the south was going to be crazy.

We didn’t get to visit tonnes of beaches due to the shortness of our stay (but hey, more reason to go back to Milos!).  Nevertheless, here’s a couple that we visited that are truly unforgettable experiences:

    • Sarakiniko – this place is the most out-of-this-world place I’ve ever been. You’ll no doubt have heard about this moon-scape beach, whether through Instagram or just some random passing comment someone has made.  And you’ll probably go “ooh-ahh” at the time (and also want a tonne of pictures to capture this cool landscape..definitely caught myself in a few narcissistic photo shoots#noshame #justownit).  But nothing – nothingquite prepares you for the mind-blowing moment as you walk through and take in your entire surroundings.  And no photo could do this incredible landscape justice.  Trust me.  I’ve tried.  Although most areas where you see people sit and relax are pretty rocky, you can spend days here – just sitting, reading, swimming, and so on.  TIP:  Make sure you bring some nice soft blankets if you’re planning to park yourselves down for ages.  If you’re feeling brave – there’s always a bunch of people cliff jumping!  Also don’t forget to spot the pirate mini cave hideaways!  Sarakiniko was one of the main places where pirates would hide!

  • Papafragas – we visited Papafragas before Sarakiniko and was so excited by the landscape. You should probably visit Papafragas before Sarakiniko though (I feel like Sarakiniko is so crazy that you won’t really appreciate the other incredible landscapes after visiting it).  Papafragas with its beautiful open deep sea caves, was also once a Pirate hideout.  The blue-green water is crystal clear and amazing – its hues changing throughout the day.  This is such a relaxing place to be and feels quite secluded!

And your more conventional beaches but still amazing crystal clear water:

    • Firiplaka – we attempted to find the natural hot springs spot in Firiplaka but, alas, we failed. The beach itself is expansive with such clear water and you little fishes swim!

    • Papikinou (beach of Adamas) – a beach with shallow water for quite some distance, this place would be great for kids while adults just relax and sunbathe on the shore (I saw a lot of that!). We hung out here while waiting for a bus from Adamas’ city centre to Plaka!

  • Pollonia Beach – the first couple of beaches we visited was actually in Pollonia since we were based there. By two beaches I mean one by the main restaurant side, and another about 10 minutes away on the north-western (ish?) side with more of a cliff-life landscapePollonia beach was nice and relaxing – the sand soft, and probably more beach-like in this sense!  And with food being so close, it was easy to simply laze around until your appetite comes knocking.

(NOTE:  there are beaches/places that are not accessible by wheels.  You’ll have to catch a boat!  More on this under “Boat Excursions” below …)

    • Village visits:
      • Klima is one of the traditional fishing villages on Milos (the other picturesque one being Mandrakia). We chose Klima as it was the closest in travelling distance to where we were at the time.  This place is quaint and colourful.  We only stayed for less than half an hour – there was a nearby restaurant but as we’re vegetarians we didn’t think it would be worth us sticking around for dinner.  So we took a stroll and hopped back on our bike to head uphill to:
      • Tripiti village: At the top of the hill, you’ll find an ancient roman theatre overlooking the wide expanse of the Argean sea.  Nearby is the catacombs – but apparently you need a guide to go through it – we were there far too late in the afternoon anyway and just walked around the area enjoying the view.  Also in the area is a sign post where the statue of Venus de Milo was discovered.
      • Plaka: At the top of Plaka, there’s an old church and also a lookout point where you can see a 360 view of the island.  The church is quaint and the view spectacular.  You can also watch the sunset from this view point before heading into the main city square of Plaka for dinner.  We skipped this part itself (because we were hungraaaay and wanted to explore the main centre of the village) but saw the pictures afterwards and it looked pretty amazing.  I loved our time wandering the streets of Plaka though – which was gorgeous, cute, and classic postcard perfect to say the least. We stumbled upon and ate at Archontoula, which had a delicious selection of vegetarian dishes – we sat outside (gorgeous set up) and watched a couple of Greek wedding ceremonies parade by and listened to our waiter blasting traditional Greek music and having a grand time with the pots and pans in the kitchen.  It was super joyous to say the least.

  • Boating excursion:  Much of the Western and South-Western end of Milos is not very accessible by vehicle. So the best way to get to these parts and check out the amazing landscape is by boat.  We ran out of time for this but next trip this is definitely going to be a priority.  Why?  Because of places like Kleftiko and Sykia Caves, of course!  Note that if you’re staying at places like where we stayed which is a family run accommodation – it’s likely that they can hook you up with their boat excursions / their friends’ boat excursions!
  • Greek baths/Hot pools: The main hot pools were closed for renovations when we were there.  But if it’s open when you make your trip to Milos – be sure to check out the hot pools and tell me what it’s like!
  • Other beaches: Honestly you’re spoilt for choice, and I’m sure every beach is worth its own visit.  Some of the more popular ones are Provatas, Traides (http://www.feelgreece.com/en/triades-beach) and Tsigkrado (http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/sea/beaches/milos_beaches  http://www.greeka.com/cyclades/milos/milos-beaches.htm).

Makes your heart ache

How long should you stay in Milos?

With so many things to do and see on Milos, one thing I wished I could have done differently is just simply stay for a much longer time there!

I would say a good minimum is 4 nights, but ideally even 5 or 6 nights so you get some proper relaxing down-time at your favourite places (and no doubt, Milos has something for everyone).

We stayed at Captain Stravas, which we booked off booking.com:

  • Getting there:  after getting off at Pollonia’s bus station, it was about a 15 minute walk with our luggage – pretty easy once we got the general direction right (we asked a local person) and there was some signage further along.
  • Room:  very clean, simple, cute Aegean style abode
  • View:  we got ours with a sea view and the sunset from our balcony was pretty amazing.
  • Boating excursion:  Captain Stravas offers their own boat excursions too.