Milos is a gorgeous Greek island in the Cyclades, about 160km south of Athens & mainland Greece. Milos is famous primarily for the statues discovered there (Venus De Milo, among others), and gained national importance through its rich obsidian deposits. More recently Milos has attracted tourists for its incredible, otherworldly rock formations and beaches.
We arrived from Santorini and found an island much more at peace, and much less tainted by tourism. The relaxed pace and smiling locals awoke a side of us too long dormant after many years in London; it was almost like we’d returned home to New Zealand prematurely, as much of the scenery and overall vibe can fell quite similar at times.
Our original booking with Hellenic Seaways was cancelled, so we caught a Seajets ferry from Santorini for €52.50 each. The journey lasts 2.5 hours and makes stops at Ios and Folegandros on the way. The seas were quite rough and the tiny Seajet 2 catamaran was thrown about the entire way, which honestly just made the trip more interesting. There’s food and drinks available on board, but we packed sandwiches like clever cookies. We did not however, pack cookies, much to our disappointment.
Ferry will be your main option should you wish to visit Milos. There are flights from Athens and Thessaloniki a few times a week, but a quick ferry is the best way. Departing from Piraeus (Athens port) is close and easy to get to, no check-in or security checks required.
Once landed you are really at the mercy of taxis until you can get yourself a vehicle, unless you can arrange with your hosts to collect you as we did. Ferries arrive right in Adamas town, so if you are staying locally it’s possible to walk as Adamas is small. The airport is a few km away.
There is a bus service on Milos, proudly run by four locals who have their photos up at the ‘bus station’. We never actually saw any buses running, but it was still low season in May, so they might operate with more frequency from June to August. It would be difficult to rely on buses for your whole visit.
Scooter and car hire is common and cheap. We hired a 125cc scooter (I just have a standard UK drivers licence) for €20 per day (two day rate), and it cost €10 to fill. One tank of petrol was more than sufficient to get around the whole island over two days. Car hire starts from €30 per day. About half the roads on Milos are dirt & gravel, which our scooter dealt with OK, but if you want to explore the uninhabited west of the island consider getting an ATV from €25 per day.
Hint – Hire prices are negotiable, and discounts are normal for more than one day. Also, if I were to do it again, I would book ferries the day before or the day of travel. We had constant cancellations and ended up just booking in person anyway.
We found a nice self catered apartment on Adamas hill using Airbnb, it cost €30 per night and was a 20 minute walk to town. Our hosts were a lovely couple who gifted us baked goods on arrival and during our stay, and taxied us to and from the ferry. You can find it HERE.
Hostels don’t seem to exist on Milos, at least I couldn’t find any, but you can get bnb rooms for a good price.
Bnb’s on Milos have double rooms starting at around €30 per night, and you can find Airbnb apartments from €25 per night. The average price for a decent bnb on Milos is around €35 to €40 per night based on two people sharing.
Hotels, villas and apartments are all essentially the same thing and have double rooms starting at €30 per night. The average price for a hotel type double room is €70 per night based on two people sharing.
Wherever you choose to stay, you will need to travel to see the rest of the island, so either Adamas, Plaka or Pollonia would be fine. Pollonia is perhaps a bit closer to the beaches on the north side of the island, and is itself a quaint seaside village with its own beach. Plaka would have a bit more to do, as it’s the largest town, and is situated on a hill with great views. Adamas has the port/airport and is closest the the south beaches, it also has a really nice harbour beach/saltwater lake. I should say again that we were there in what is still considered low season, so it was very quiet, and this advice might not apply in the high season
You go to Milos for beaches. There are other things to see; restaurants, culture, history etc blah blah blah, but the beaches are why tourism exists on Milos. There are beaches like you’ve never seen: colours and landscapes changing cove by cove, thermal springs and crystal clear water. Exploring them all is easy and fun, but here’s a few of the best.
First stop is Sarakiniko; a vast pumice, chalk and clay formation with a small inlet leading to a pebble beach. The water is green, the white rocks are like something out of Star Trek, and there are caves. You can explore the caves, which are man made, and you can climb over the rocks both sides of the beach. Swimming is safe and warm.
Close to Sarakiniko is Papafragas, or ‘Papafrackas’; an intimidating cave with a tiny beach at the end. You can enter via the water from a nearby cove, or you can climb down the cliff directly to the beach. We chose the (seemingly safer) cliff climb then spent 15 minutes plucking up our courage to swim out to the cave inlet in the churning water and seaweed. It was worth it, and is worth visiting even if terrifying swims aren’t your thing.
Paliochori beach is a rugged pebble beach on the south coast that boasts amazingly varied and colourful rock cliffs and thermal springs. We walked up and down, toes digging in the rocks searching for hot water, and finally found it underneath the caves that slightly divide the beach. Careful here, the water seeping through the pebbles is scalding hot; dig yourself a little seat with a rock and settle in, shifting every now and then to mix the hot water with the incoming surf.
Provotas is a calm golden sand beach, great for swimming. Firiplaka was our favourite, with white sand, pebbles, clear water, huge colourful cliffs and an old natural rock port; Firiplaka actually has it all. It’s unspoiled, and just stunning.
Since it was Easter still (the Greek Easter lasts 40 days), there were a couple of traditions to observe. On Easter Saturday people gather at churches at midnight for singing, music, fireworks, and to light candles of the holy flame to take home and burn. It seemed like the locals all have a midnight meal, since it’s the end of the fasting period, but we went to bed. Easter Sunday in Plaka is truly special. Two ‘rival’ churches have a mock battle, throwing dynamite grenades at each other across the field that separates the churches. Starting at midday it’s 30 minutes of absolute chaos and real explosions, the closest I ever want to come to a war zone. Check out my video HERE. After that everyone gathers to cook lamb on a spit on the street and feasts. Go figure.
Food on Milos is excellent, but Easter struck again and the only options open to us were bakeries or restaurants, so I can’t comment on the local produce too much. What I can say is that if you are in Adamas for dinner, go to Oh Hamos; a fantastic local traditional restaurant. We ate local goats cheeses, honey, homemade bread from Milos wheat, wild goat and home-kill lamb, and drank excellent local wines. All up a meal there for two cost €38 and we didn’t hold back. We were even gifted some homemade sweet wine and candles for Easter.
Hint – In Greece it’s common that dessert is on the house, and is gifted to you when you request the bill. There’s no choice, but it’s almost always delicious and is a lovely tradition. You don’t need to pay for this, just accept with thanks and leave a tip if you can/want.
Milos for three nights;
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