Just back from Milos. Report and photos
We were in Milos as part of a six week Italy/Greece vacation. Milos was the third of the islands we visited along with Crete, Rhodes and Naxos. While the other three islands are dear to our hearts I don’t believe any of them can compete with Milos for the diversity of the landscape, the brightly coloured rocks, the wild formations, all those great beaches and charming little fishing villages. It is a photographers dream location.
We were first introduced to Milos two years ago when we had to change our planned trip when my wallet was stolen in Athens. My drivers license and credit card were gone so we couldn’t rent the car for a week in the Peloponnese so we hopped a slow ferry to Milos. We realized Milos is best visited with a rental car as the public bus service is somewhat limited in the early season. This time we had the car for 5 days and made the most of it.
We decided to stay in Plaka because of the marvelous views up there and chose a tiny studio called Studio Betty. It literally had a 180 degree ocean view from the balcony perched high up in the town. Our view also included a church on a hilltop and some walls reminders of the ancient town. From our perch we saw seabirds, round the island tour boats, the Greek navy, ferries and fishermen surrounded by gulls. We spent hours with the binoculars and a glass of wine just taking it all in. One thing we didn’t consider was the wind. It was unusually windy on Crete and Rhodes last May so we realized that it could be windy on Milos too but the first day we literally couldn’t stand out on our balcony. See the second and third photo in our Milos 2013 album.
I do have to pause here for a moment and talk about Studio Betty. It has a web page but no listings on the normal booking web sites. You have to book directly with them. This is an old style Greek hotel requiring cash payments with a western union prepayment. That did work out ok but felt like it was a bit risky. As far as I could find there are no reviews on this hotel so I booked it strictly based on the pictures from their web site. I did a review but as far as I can tell TA didn’t publish it because it was an unknown property for them.
We visited the places we missed the first time including Klima a delightful little fishing village near Plaka. We sailed past it on the first trip but actually walked around this time. There is something calm and reassuring about this brightly painted little town. We had read that there were several similar but less known fishing villages so we set out to find them. Our favourite was Mandrakia. It is not as colourfull as Klima nor as large but it does have a beach and an amazing coastline full of little bays. Mandrakia is right next to Saraniko so the white rocks here give a hint at the marvels that are around the next headland. We also found Ag Konstaninos and Mytakas but Fyroptamos eluded us.
Milos is known for its beaches. The whole island is lined with them. Some are sandy others are in long narrow rocky rock formations. We visited beaches at Mandrakia, Mytakas, Polonia and Provatas. Provatas has the most beautiful coloured rock formations and the little pebbles on the beach seems to be made up of multicoloured marble. Milos certainly is blessed with great beaches and unbelievable seascapes of rugged coastline evident at Papafagas, Pollonia and of course Sarakiniko. I had seen pictures of Sarakiniko previously but was not prepared for was just how white those rocks are. The contrast between the rock formations and the water was remarkable. They reminded me of Glacier Park in Alberta so white. We also found tunnels excavated into the soft rock at Sarakiniko. We wandered around in there thinking they almost seemed like bomb shelters but I suspect there is a better explanation than that. We didn’t bring our flashlight and I slipped down a little two foot incline in the dark. Fortunately the plastic bottle of wine in my fanny pack broke my fall by my pride took a beating.
Another day we walked from Plaka through Trypiti and visited the catacombs. We skipped the tour and found several open catacombs in the hillside just before the official site. To me these unofficial ones were something special as if they were there just for us to explore. Of course all the footprints n the dust proved that we were not the first tourists to stumble into this place. From there we walked took the small hillside trail following an ancient wall with huge stone blocks. This leads directly to the Archeological site at the ancient ampatheater. Two years ago we walked right through it by taking this path but the officials must have figured that one out because there was a gate and a no entrance sign. We also hiked up to the little church on the big hill that is located directly across from our room. It has unbelievable views of Plaka, Trypiti and out to the ocean.
That evening we decided to walk up to the Kastro for sunset. It is on the highest peak at Plaka and there is a 360 degree view around the whole island. It really puts into perspective the volcanic origins of Milos and its perfect arrangement with the sea. I think that may actually have been a bit too much walking for one day. The cure was a liter of wine and two ouzos at dinner.
We tried to drive to the old sulphur mines but after 5 kilometers of rough dirt roads winding through barren countryside I realized our Fiat Panda didn’t have the clearance nor did I have the nerve to go any further. This may be a job for a 4 by 4 on our next visit.
We chose Plaka because I had read about the tourist flocking to there for the sunset and dinner. I had assumed that meant there were tavernas all along the hilltop so we could sit and watch the sun setting but that turned out to be wrong. The tavernas are tucked away in the centre of town so it is necessary to find the best location for the sunset then try to get a table along with everyone else after sunset. The kastro, our hotel and the big church seemed to be the best places for the view out over the next island as the sun slips slowly into the sea. The church in particular draws a crowd and seems to be a meeting place for young couples. Perhaps there is something to this Milos is for lovers campaign. We found a tavern down a back alley called two doors because it had entrances from two separate alleys. It is tucked away and hard to find but the aromas wafting down the alley quickly drew us in. There were dishes on that menu we have never had before. That chef sure knows his business.
We concentrated on visiting new place so we did not go to Adamas the port or take the round the island boat tours. We particularly do recommend a sailboat trip to Kleftiko with its high cliffs and sea caves. To get the full impression of Milos it is probably best to view the 2011 and the 2013 albums. The links.