● Milos is the most southwestern island in the Cyclades group. Although it can compete with its extremely popular neighbors – Santorini and Mykonos – it is far less crowded.
● The island of Milos is known for giving the world the statue of Aphrodite, Venus de Milo, discovered in 1820.
● Milos is a volcanic island with massive white rocks. It is a charming destination. Make sure not to miss the fishing villages, the colorful syrmata, Sarakiniko beach and Kleftiko beach, one the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Santorini, Crete, Thasos, Naxos, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Rhodes are among the most popular destinations in Greece. And for sure there is a fair reason for that. Each island offers unique experiences no matter what you are looking for: either you are interested in history, architecture or looking for unique culinary experiences. As for the fine sands, azure water and the famous Greek taverns, you can’t go wrong, no matter which island you choose. But now I am very delighted to write about Milos – a small island in the Aegean Sea, in the southwestern part of the Cyclades archipelago. We prepared this unofficial travel guide to Milos island to share some tips and advice.
This unique place conquered us by the mix between white volcanic rocks and turquoise, clean and crystalline waters. And by simplicity. Immersed in crystalline waters, lost in narrowed beautifully colored streets, looking at the small white boats swaying above the water surface, like in a childish game, I felt happy and blithely. It was something I didn’t experience for so long. This place is magical, yet not spoiled by mass tourism. And I hope that it will preserve its authenticity, no matter how many tourists the island will welcome over the years. So let’s get started.
Travel guide to Milos island. What is so unique about this island?
Although it is absolutely spectacular, Milos island is still so little known. Euronews has included it in the list of the most beautiful islands in Greece “that you have probably never heard of“. So, we decided to tell you about our experience in Milos: how did we travel to Milos, how much it cost us to get to the island, about accommodations and places you should not miss. And, of course, how to get to Kleftiko, a fantastic beach ranked by Tripadvisor travelers as the second most beautiful beach in Europe.
Milos: by plane or by ferry? With or without a car?
I have to say from the start that our case was not common – we were already on our holiday in Halkidiki, where we had arrived by car. It was a good thing to do, because traveling by car is way safer than other options, regarding Covid pandemic.
The decision to continue our holiday in Milos was instant. We did our researches earlier, but somehow thought that we should keep it meantime in the wishlist. We had already booked our hotel din Halkidiki and were limited in time and money. However, after being in solitary confinement for so long, we decided to enjoy each day as it were the last. Said and done: we booked our ferry tickets and the next day were driving to Piraeus Port of Athens.
Normally, you can choose the flight to Milos from Athens. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, everything was uncertain, so we wouldn’t have risked buying tickets with time reserves. We also had the option to leave the car in a parking lot in Piraeus, but it would have cost us extra money, taking into account that on the island we would have needed a car anyway. That’s why the best option for us was the ferry – we bought tickets for ourselves and the car.
Before choosing a ferry to Milos
Before choosing a ferry you need to consider a few options. You can travel alone as passenger or with the car or motorcycle, which have a dedicated place in the ferry. You can also choose a faster or a slower vessel. Obviously, the first are also more expensive.
We chose to travel with Zante company, which departs from the port of Piraeus at approximately 14.00 PM and arrives in Milos 7 hours later. Yes, it’s an eternity. But it cost us less. Seajets, for example, provides economy class tickets for 360 euros for two passengers and a car and arrives in Milos in 3 and a half hours. Aegean Speedlines offers approximately the same price. We could not afford to spend extra money. Thus, in total, for two people, plus car, it cost us 276 euros: 39 euros for one person in one direction, economy class (total 156 euros), and 60 euros in one direction for the car (total 120).
In quiet times, when there is no pandemic and so many uncertainties, we recommend traveling without a car. The ferries are comfortable. From my point of view, there is not much difference between business and economy class. People would lay on three chairs to sleep. There is a bar where you can buy tea, coffee, sweets. It’s very clean. We could sit inside (with a mask) or outside, where we definitely enjoyed the most. We could admire the sea breeze, the infinite blue water and a little of each island we saw in our way – Kea, Kithnos, Serifos and Sifnos. The sunsets are absolutely spectacular. You will see people hugging, kissing and taking pictures to capture the moment.
Venus de Milo statue
One of the most famous ancient Greek statues was discovered on the Greek island of Milos at the beginning of the 19th century. It is called Aphrodite of Milos or else – Venus de Milo. While the original is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris, you can still see where it was discovered. The discovery site is located near the village of Tripiti. Not far from where Venus de Milo was found are the remains of the ancient theater of Milos. It is located above the harbor of Klima and has a fantastic view of the sea and the village of Klima.
The Venetian Castle
After the colorful syrmata and the lunar landscape beach (I will mention them a little later) the Venetian Castle (or Kastro Castle) is probably the most photographed location on the whole island. Apart from the fact that it is located on the second highest peak in Milos – 280 meters – the Venetian Castle has a great historical significance. In the 13th century, the Venetians settled here and built this castle. After building it, they created a small village called Chora. Agriculture and naval trade developed tremendously. With the elimination of customs duties, the demand and supply of products flourished. And the population of the small village of Chora began to expand. It is said that the population of Chora in the seventeenth century reached 5,000 people.
The feudal society organized by the Venetians had developed into a capitalist one, a society with a high standard of living for those times. But in 1699 the Turks won the war with the Venetians and began to dominate the settlements. Pirates began raiding the island – they sacrificed, raped, destroyed and stole harvests. They kidnapped people for their ships and the slave trade. After two volcanic eruptions, a strong earthquake and the plague pandemic, the inhabitants decided to abandon the main settlement, and the surviving population moved to the Venetian Castle. The castle was abandoned after the Greek revolution of 1821 and the abolition of piracy. During World War II, the Germans used the castle as a base. Because it has survived so miraculously the devastation of time, the Venetian Castle should definitely be a must-see destination for you.
Plaka, a romantic and charming place
Kastro is settled in Plaka, the current capital of Milos which was founded in 1800, with the expansion of the Chora. The village stretches along the hillsides, joining the villages of Plakes, Triovassalos, Pera Triovassalos and Tripiti. Plaka has traditional Cycladic architecture, with whitewashed houses, colorful windows and doors, balconies full of flowers and narrow, white streets. Although it is a small settlement, Plaka is romantic and absolutely charming. Plaka captivated me with its colors, narrow streets, small souvenir and jewelry stores, its unaltered authenticity, its lack of agitation. Nobody is in a hurry here.
Dinner in Plaka
In Plaka, we had dinner at the Phatses restaurant. They have a generous, tastefully decorated terrace and there was also live music. We ordered here a portion of tsigarida (pork with cinnamon and other spices) and another portion of pork in mustard sauce. And for the starter – a kind of hummus with nuts and garlic. Brilliant! 🙂 We really liked the attitude, the atmosphere and the food, so we recommend it with love and confidence to all tourists.
Travel guide to Milos island: Fishing villages
Some nights, when I try to fall asleep, my thoughts run to the small fishing village of Klima, to the small boats that are swaying on the surface of the water, to the colorful fishing houses that, by the way, are rented to tourists.
Only now, in retrospect, I do understand that a part of my soul remained there. And I dream coming back. You will not see any luxury in Klima, the village is tiny, with only a few houses. But is so awesome. I think it is all about the way you feel things. And in Klima I just lived and tried to sense every moment. By the way, the road to the village is curvy and narrow, so drive carefully. The village is a 15-minute drive from Adamas Harbor.
Another wonderful place in Milos that you should not miss is Pollonia, a picturesque fishing village located in the north-east of the island. It is a charming resort with sandy beaches, traditional white-blue houses and traditional beach taverns. Quiet, with shallow beaches, it is the ideal place for families. Very close are the small islands of Kimolos, Poliegos, Ag. Ghiorgios, Ag. Efstathios – the latter are almost invisible on the map and obviously unpopulated. But there are options for boat tours from Adamas Harbor.
Dinner in Pollonia
In Pollonia we decided to have dinner at the Armenaki restaurant, because of the very good reviews. Overall, this is not a bad restaurant. But we did not like it, because of the excess of politeness. It may sound totally strange. I started to feel really uncomfortable when the host came to pick up a napkin from the table or to take the cutlery and kept saying in one “Thank you, Mrs / Mr. You are very kind”. And so at every step.
It’s nice when in the field of customer relations people are kind, but when it’s too much it gets very uncomfortable. We are ordinary people. We work and save money for a vacation and we absolutely never and nowhere have any sense of superiority and we like to be treated equally. The food was good, but not the same as in Klima, although much more sophisticated. I did not intend to give a bad review, I don’t want people to avoid this place. Just take it into consideration if you have the same feeling about treating clients. In conclusion, if you like that kind of attention, you can give it a try :).
Travel guide to Milos island: Moonscape beach Sarakiniko
Sarakiniko is an absolutely special place due to the massive white rocks, which stretch over the sea. The whole landscape consists of volcanic rocks, which makes an interesting contrast with the deep blue and turquoise of the surrounding waters. For a second I really felt like I wasn’t on earth. And here I must say that the beach is pretty fair compared to a lunar landscape (moonscape). It is an absolutely fabulous place, and the only regret you will have will be that all this beauty is not only for your eyes. Sarakiniko is the favorite place for photographers, vloggers, but also for product photo shootings. Some try to enjoy the sun, others are making photos constantly looking for the best spot, the drones fly over your head. So, it’s not the best place to rest during the day.
I said earlier that Sarakiniko seemed to me a great place, but I can’t say the same about the beach, because it’s very, very tiny. It is actually a narrow canal cut into the rocks. And when it’s crowded, it gets really uncomfortable. And in pandemic times, it is definitely something you would like to avoid. You feel like you’re sharing your home bathtub with some people you see for the first time. Strange feeling 🙂
Come to Sarakiniko early in the morning
So be sure to come to the beach very early in the morning to enjoy some privacy. 9 AM may be too late. Get plenty of water and an umbrella, because you don’t have much shelter from the sun, and there are no restaurants in the area.
There is a food truck in the parking lot, around 10-minute walk from the beach, which can ultimately save you from hunger and thirst, but keep in mind that it’s quite expensive. Sarakiniko is definitely a special place to visit, but as soon as it gets crowded, you can go ahead to visit other beautiful destinations. And in Milos you do not lack alternatives.
Firopotamas beach, perfect for tranquility and relaxation
Firopotamas Beach is located in the northern part of the island, with easy access from Plaka. Previously, here was a summer resort for people living in the capital of Plaka. The view is absolutely beautiful and unique, due to the white church built on the rocks and the small white-and-blue syrmata. The water is clean and, as someone already told, looks like an outdoor pool. We had a windy day, with big waves, but we got a good dose of adrenaline and fun. I really liked the people here – no one cared to immortalize the moment and no one cared about the way they looked. They just took off their clothes and got lost into the big waves. Returning on the sand, some preferred to read, others to sleep. A great joy after the noise from Sarakiniko.
Travel guide to Milos island: Kleftiko, in the top of the most beautiful beaches in Europe
Everyone would tell you that if you somehow missed Kleftiko beach from your destinations list, then you saw nothing in Milos. Therefore, be careful not to miss this absolutely breathtaking destination. Kleftiko is not an ordinary beach, the access is harder – several hours by boat or almost two hours by car and then 40 minutes by foot. You need a lot of determination, but you won’t regret it for a second when you get there.
How to get to Kleftiko Beach
It depends on which route you choose. The easiest way is to opt for boat trips, organized by local tourist companies. They can provide snorkeling masks and even take for your underwater photos, for a fee, of course. If you travel with a lot of friends, you can try this option. Although during the pandemic it is recommended to keep a physical distance and the trip lasts between 6 and 8 hours and there are many other people you may not know.
Because of the pandemic, it was not the best option for us. In addition, for such a rare place, we made sure to get to the beach early in the morning, in order to be alone, at least for an hour or two.
Probably, if you search Google for options to get to Kleftiko, you will find almost exclusively recommendations for boat tours. The land option is most often considered almost impossible. Well, it’s not like that.
So, here is the route to follow, starting from the Adamas harbor. You have to get to the south of the island, which is an isolated area, where there are no facilities – restaurants or accommodation. You will have to drive about an hour. The road is not paved, but it is practicable. To reach Kleftiko beach you can access this LINK.
From Adamas harbor, you should pass Milos airport, Chivadolimni beach, St. George’s church, Theotokos church. Follow the road to Agios Ioannis Siderianos Monastery.
From here continue the road for another km and a half. Previously, due to the uneven road, tourists left their cars in the monastery’s parking lot. And then walked from there. Now the road is pretty good. So we continued to drive until we reached the sign indicating the access on foot to the beach.
40 minutes walk. Watch out for vipers
Once you have arrived, you can leave your car near the sign. You still have about 40 minutes to walk to the beach. Although it is a little difficult, it is not impossible. Be sure to have tracking shoes, to ensure grip and stability. Keep an eye on what you are stepping on. Other tourists have written about the existence of red vipers, which are very dangerous and whose bite can be deadly. Another reason to opt for covered shoes. Well, we didn’t find any crawling animals in our way, just some goats 🙂
The legend says that long time ago pirates hid their gold in one of the Kleftiko’s caves. Obviosly it was never found. Actually the name Kleftiko means “thief” (kleftis, Κλέφτης) in Greek.
Kleftiko’s experience is absolutely amazing. Swim, snorkel, discover the multiple caves. Just enjoy these incredible place and forget about every troubles you may have.
Travel guide to Milos island. Tips for those who choose to walk to the Kleftiko Beach
The access by land to the beach is not as difficult as you will read in many sources. However, it is important to keep in mind some recommendations. I have listed some here. I hope you’ll find them useful:
- Plan to spend a whole day at the Kleftiko beach. You have to drive to an isolated part of the island; then you will have to walk for about 40 minutes. After this effort you will want to enjoy as much as possible the azure water and the white rocks that complete a beautiful image.
- Try to go to the beach early in the morning. In summer the sun is very hot. Take all precautions to avoid sunburns. We went in mid-September and still struggled to withstand the heat.
- Be sure to take with you something to eat – fruits, sandwiches etc. And plenty of water. The road to the beach requires physical effort, and after an hour of swimming you will probably feel hungry. Then don’t forget that you have to go back the same way to where you left the car.
- Make sure you are well equipped, especially if you plan to snorkel. Don’t forget your water shoes either.
- Kleftiko is not a classic beach as many could imagine. But that doesn’t make it any less attractive. On the contrary, it is an absolutely spectacular place, generating adrenaline. Kleftiko is one of the most beautiful beaches also because it is difficult to access and because not everyone can get there. Did I just challenged you? 🙂
Returning to Adamas harbor
I have not read such a recommendation anywhere, so we leave you with a piece of advice: on the way back to Adamas, do not go on the same path you came. Follow the road ahead. It is easy to drive with a 4 × 4, but even a small car can handle it.
About 14 kilometers away you will reach another wonderful destination – Provatas beach. It is a beach with reddish and very fine sand, a real joy after Kleftiko, which is more rocky. There is also a restaurant and a parking lot. From there, you will only have 9 km to drive to reach Adamas harbor.
Where to stay in Milos
We chose an apartment in a secluded area, with a lot of peace and yet very close to all points of interest – just a 5-minute drive from Adamas Harbor. The location is called Glarakia Studios and I don’t know if I have enough words of gratitude for the care we were treated with.
The houses respect the authentic Cycladic style, there are a lot of flowers and the people really took a great care for everything. From the terrace of our apartment opened a wonderful view of the harbor of Adamas. On cool evenings, the terrace was simply an indescribable joy. Every day the terrace was washed and cleaned. I thank the hosts for not scolding me for feeding the cats every night with all sorts of goodies.
If you choose to stay at Glarakia Studios, keep in mind that there is no reception and the host, a warm and welcoming old man, does not speak English. But we got along very well with him and we even joked during our stay. Just don’t ask us how we did it :)))) One night here cost us 45 euros.
For an authentic experience, we also recommend the well-known syrmata from the village of Klima. The view from these houses is absolutely fabulous. Here are two links on Airbnb (Note: we do not get any commission for mentioning them):
What we did not manage to see?
The beaches of Milos – yes, exactly!
There are over 70 beaches on the island of Milos, all with a special beauty.
The Catacombs of Milos
Milos is home to the largest catacombs in Greece. Discovered in 1840 and located near Plaka, these catacombs were built in the 1st century AD to serve as a Christian cemetery. The length of the corridors is 184 meters and they are 2-2.5 meters high. It is estimated that about 2,000 Christians were buried in catacombs until the 5th century AD, when they were closed due to landslides. The Milos Catacombs are considered to be the most important early Christian worship monument in all of Greece.
Papafragas is the name for three sea caves, located about 2 kilometers from the fishing village of Pollonia. They were used as a base for pirates. The access is made on some stone stairs and is a real challenge. But it seems that the crystalline waters that change their colors depending on the temperature and lighting, are worth any effort. Next to the sea cave is the archaeological site of the ancient city of Phylakopi.