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My Guide to Milos Island, the Hidden Jewel of the Cyclades

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Milos is one of those destinations that I’m hesitant to write about. It’s a hidden treasure that hasn’t been overrun with tourists, and I almost want to keep the secret. But at the same time I can’t really keep quiet about how amazing this island is. It was definitely my favourite island in the Cyclades. If it wasn’t for how much I loved Chios, it easily could have been the best place I visited in Greece.

The reason Milos is still such a secret is that it was once the preferred island of Greeks travelling domestically. They would book accommodation almost a year in advance for their summer holidays so foreigners found it hard to book any sort of accommodation on the island.

It is only recently, as Greeks have stopped coming because of the crisis, that it has really boomed in terms of foreigners arriving on the island. Milos is an island renowned for its natural landscape, similar to Santorini, it is volcanic and it has many towns built up in the centre of the island.

I like to think of Milos as a quiet and cheaper version of Santorini, in the same way that Paros is a quieter and cheaper version of Mykonos. I’m beyond happy that a recommendation from a blogger and his snapchats from his time on the island convinced me to land here.

Day 1- Adamas and Sarakinkio

We had arrived on a very late and very delayed ferry the night before. Having suffered from really rough sea conditions for the whole five hour ride from Naxos, both of us decided that the best possible thing to do on our first night on the island was head straight to bed. We weren’t even feeling up to dinner.

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As a consequence we woke up for our first day on the island with lots of energy and lots of excitement to explore the island we had heard so much about. We had decided to stay in the harbour tour of Adamas- all the buses left from here as well as the ferries and the sailing boats that we wanted to take a trip on. It was logistically the easiest place to stay.

We started our first day with a huge breakfast by the port, as we were starving from not having eaten the night before. I went for my usual Greek breakfast of Greek yoghurt with honey while Kristine went for the waffles (as usual). After a quick breakfast we were more than ready to explore the town of Adamas.

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It only took us a good 20 minutes before we realised that there wasn’t a hell of a lot to see. Some of the streets of Adamas are really charming and beautiful, but they didn’t hold a candle to the old towns we had visited on Paros and Naxos. Adamas was a logistically good location but it wasn’t exactly the jewel of the island.

We instead decided to hop on a bus to Sarakinkio, one of the highlights of the whole island.

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Sarakinkio is described as a beach but that isn’t really what it is. It’s more of a watering hole or a swimming spot than a beach. You’ll find very small amounts of sand here and the preferred way to the water is to jump off a rock rather than walking in from a sandy beach.

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Sarakinkio was formed by a volcanic eruption and the result is amazing white ash rocks. As we walked in we saw rocks in different shapes and sizes and kind of forgot that we were on an island at all. Actually we kind of forget we were on planet Earth because the rocks kind of looked like moon rocks or space rocks. They didn’t seem to belong in the real world.

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Sarakinkio also makes an amazing swimming spot as its so easy to jump straight into deep water but also to paddle in shallow water if you aren’t a confident swimmer. There are also so many places to explore; I went wandering through the caves surrounding the area for ages and I swam around coves. You can even catch sight of a shipwreck just a little further up the coast.

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If you are braver than me this is also an awesome place for cliff jumping. There is one big rock that is relatively safe to jump off and chances are you’ll see someone fling themselves off it. Kristine decided it was a great idea to try it herself. Unfortunately she didn’t jump the right way and ended up with one very painful and very bruised thigh. She could only hobble for days after that. Lesson learned; make sure to pin drop not bomb off the cliffs at Sarakinkio.

Day 2- Sailing around Milos

This day was perhaps the day I was most excited for during my whole month in Greece. I just knew I wanted to do a day sailing trip at some point when I was on the Greek islands and it turns out Milos is the perfect place to do it. There are lots of sailing boats that leave from Adamas. Some are all day excursions, whole others are only a couple of hours. Some include food while others you’ll need to pack a picnic.

On the recommendation of a friend we decided to go sailing with a company called Oneiro. They also happen to be the number one on tripadvisor for tours in Milos. And for a good reason; the day I spent sailing around Milos with Elias and Dimitris was one of my best days not just in Greece, but in the whole of my trip. I’m a water baby and being on the water and out in the sun all day is basically my idea of heaven.

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We started the day by sailing past amazing rock formations that make up the cliffs of Milos. The whole island and area was transformed by a volcanic eruption and that is evident from the red lava rock, as well as the black and white ash rock. As we munched away on a breakfast of juice, fruit and pastries, Elias talked to us about the island, the formations and about the rock quarry that used to exist in the area.

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We finally arrived at our first stop of the day; Sykia cave. It was actually my favourite stop of the day. Elias had thought of everything and we got in the little speedboat attached to his sailing boat and whizzed off into the cave. It was a much better way to arrive than all of the people on another boat that I saw- they had to swim all the way in.

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We got to climb up the rocks surrounding cave to get awesome views of the water below. It also made a pretty amazing swimming and snorkelling spot. The different colours of the rock here was amazing- it was almost like looking at a kid’s finger painting except all of the colours were occurring naturally.

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Our next and longest stop of the day was Kleifiko. This place is the main reason that sailing trips are so popular in Milos. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the island but it is only really accessible by boat. Kleftiko literally translates to Pirate’s cove and for a good reason.

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The caves of this inlet were the perfect hiding spot for the pirates operating around Milos. They would lay hiding in the caves while shipping vessels entered the cove to take shelter from bad sea conditions. Later the pirates would then take the ships.

As we once again whizzed through the tiny caves in the little motorboat it is easy to say why the pirates loved this area so much. There are many hiding places. After our little boat tour of the different coves we had time for a swim and a snorkel while Elias and Dimitris prepared lunch.

When the tour said lunch was included I was thinking we would be given something like a sandwich. Being in Greece, I really should have known better than to make such assumptions. Instead we were fed Greek salad made with fresh organic ingredients from Elias’ garden and seafood pasta with prawns and mussels. We also got to drink as much wine and beer as we wanted to. And if that wasn’t enough they made homemade Greek coffee frappes for us after our meal. It was incredible!

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Our final stop of the day was Kalorgies bay, an equally beautiful spot. But the highlight of this stop wasn’t the beautiful view or the amazing warm water we got to swim in. Being in Greece and everything we should have realised that lunch wasn’t the end of food for the day. Instead it was time for Meze and Ouzo. Meze is basically the Greek version of tapas; it’s lots of small plates served with the famous Greek spirit ouzo.

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We had grilled Octopus (the best I had the whole time in Greece), anchoives, dolmades, salad, bread and dips. It was amazing. As we sat around shooting ouzo and eating together it really felt like a family. Elias, our skipper seemed to be having the time of our life and as always it is amazing to see someone enjoying his or her job as much as he was. He is really what makes the whole day so special.

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We had just enough time to sail past the famous fishing housing and villages of Milos before arriving back in Adamas. Needless to say- we didn’t eat much that night for dinner.

Day 3- Pollonia, Papafragas and Plaka

Our final day in Milos was a day of alliteration as we set out to visit Pollonia, Papafragas and Plaka on the bus.

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We started our day by catching the bus straight to Pollonia. This area is one of the most popular places to stay on the island. I can’t say I was that enamoured, it was pretty and charming but seemed a little sterile compared to other parts of the island. I think it would have been nice to visit at night for dinner as I’ve heard the atmosphere down there is super lovely.

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From Pollonia we hopped back on the bus for a short distance to stop at Papagragas. Everyone gets off the bus at Papafragas looking for a great swimming spot but is solely disappointed. Papafragas itself isn’t accessible. It is super beautiful and a great place to visit but you can’t access the water anymore because of the chance of landslides. But if you walk up the road a little bit you’ll find an equally beautiful place where it is safe to swim.

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We decided to skip the swim and head straight back to Adamas so we could catch a bus to Plaka. Plaka is by far Milos’ most beautiful town. I really wanted to stay here but it was just too expensive, and in hindsight it probably would have been logistically difficult. This is the place to head for dinner and a sunset, the whole town is very much like Santorini. There are amazing terraces to see the water below and watch the sunset. The whole town is also picturesque even if you go for a short and lazy walk around it.

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I’ve heard the view from the castle at the top of the hill is also amazing but Kristine and I were far too exhausted to make our way up there. But Plaka was definitely the perfect end to our magical trip in Milos!

Practical Information- Where to Stay and How to Get to Milos

We stayed at Areti’s Milos Rooms, a tiny little guesthouse with I think only one or two rooms. An old Greek guy was waiting out the front of our guesthouse for our arrival and handed us a key and showed us the room. We then didn’t see or hear from anyone for the rest of our stay until their daughter who spoke English arrived to take our payment. I really couldn’t fault the room at all; there was bottled water waiting in the fridge, the room was comfortable, it was cleaned every day and the air conditioning worked.

AirBnB is also a great option if you are on a budget or looking for a bit of space.

For all of your bookings, whether hostel or hotel I always recommend Booking.com, specifically because most of the time you can make a reservation without a deposit and many bookings are fully cancellable and refundable. I love being able to lock in my accomodation early, but then shift things around if my plans change!

Booking.com

We arrived on a ferry from Naxos and left on the same ferry back to Santorini. Milos is best combined with a trip to Santorini. If you are planning a trip to many islands in the Cyclades it makes logistical sense to start with Milos as there is a direct ferry straight from Athens and that way you won’t find yourself backtracking like we were. There is also a small airport with small flights to and from Athens.

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