GREECE: Milos

By Michael Chapman

We didn't know we were going to Milos until literally the day before. During the pandemic, we'd been running Salt Escapes in Zakynthos when on the final couple of days, the island went onto a quarantine list. Our options were either to head to London for a two week home quarantine, or pop across to another island for no less than fourteen days of exploring. Naturally, we chose the latter, and so the Milos magic commenced.

Milos is a volcanic island floating in the Aegean Sea, with some of the most varied landscapes, beautiful bays and quaint, colourful villages in all of the Greek islands. With it’s own airport, you can catch a quick domestic flight to Milos from Athens (don’t forget to explore beautiful Athens for a day or two on your way), or you can island hop to Milos via the ferry that floats between the Cyclades (including Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos and others). 

We’d highly recommend hiring a car for your time in Milos - not only will you need it for getting to all the best spots, but Milos can also get very windy, so it was handy to jump in the car and head to whichever protected bay offered some shelter. 

Before we dive into our Milos Best Bits, be clear that if you’re looking for a lively island, Milos is not the one. Instead it offers endless stunning beaches and bays, jaw-dropping coastline and some of the best Greek food we’ve ever eaten. Yamas to that.

 

Sarakiniko

Welcome to the moon! If you’ve seen or read anything about Milos, chances are, it’ll feature Sarakiniko. As one of the most photographed and fascinating spots in all of the Greek islands, this place is a must visit. 

Sarakiniko is a beach, but that’s not why you go. The beach is tiny and unassuming, but it’s surrounded by white volcanic rock that has been eroded by wind and waves to give it it’s famous moonscape look, and make it one of the most unique places to visit in Greece. 

We loved this spot so much, we went back multiple times. It’s just as fascinating when the wind is strong and the waves are crashing against the rocks, as it is when the sun’s shining, the sea is still and the conditions are perfect for some cliff jumping. 

If you can arrive early, get here before 9am when the crowds arrive. It was very quiet during our time in Milos (perks of travelling during a pandemic), but being such an epic spot, Sarakiniko does get busy in normal times. 

Aside from all the cliff jumping, tunnels and caves you can explore around Sarakiniko, head down to the right over the rocks, and you’ll find a shipwreck just off shore that you can snorkel. 

Pack some lunch, pack your camera, and go full explorer mode on the moon.

 

Boat trip

In case you don’t know us, we are the self-proclaimed King and Queen of Boat Day. The Greek islands are up there with our favourite places to Boat Day, and Milos didn’t let the side down. 

We rented our boat through Rent Boat Milos, and picked it up from Provotas beach (south of the island). We can’t remember, but think it was about €120 to hire for the day (a fibreglass boat with 40 HP). In our experience, this rate is pretty standard across the islands.

Our first stop was Gerakas Bay, just east of Provotas beach. Gerakas is a small sandy beach backed by white cliffs, that can only be reached by boat. The water here was incredible, so clear and so turquoise you’ll want to jump right in. We’ve heard this spot can get busy with boat tours in normal times, but luckily we had this place all to ourselves. 

We hopped back in the boat, and headed west to Kleftiko, almost the most south-western spot of the island. Again, only reached by sea, Klefitko is an epic spot for spending an afternoon exploring. Large rock formations spring up from the sea, forming natural swim throughs and caves that were once said to be a pirate hideaway, and stashed full of treasure. Grab your snorkel and go-pro and head off on an underwater treasure-hunt. 

And don’t forget, the proper way to do Boat Day is to pack a lunch full of sandwiches and snacks, a cooler full of beers and Prosecco, and some speakers to play your favourite summer playlist (check out our Salt Escapes playsuits on Spotify). That’s how we do Boat Day baby!

 

Beaches & Bays

The beaches in Milos are so varied, and with a car or an ATV, the island is small enough to hop between some of the best in the same day. Here’s a list of some of the beaches and bays we don’t think you should miss. 

Firopotamos

Located on the north west of the island, this bay is quaint and cute, backed by colourful little boat houses and some beautiful little beach apartments (we very nearly stayed in one for a couple of nights, you can find them on airbnb!). Our first time here it was windy and the sea was choppy, but on our next visit, it was super calm and the water was bliss. Either plonk yourself on the beach, or you can find a spot atop one of the boat houses to soak up the sun.

Firiplaka

Located south of the island, and one of the largest bays backed by colourful cliffs and lapped by calm, clear water. One of the most popular beaches on the island with a small beach bar, and a great place to visit if you're after shelter from the strong winds of the north. Combine visiting this bay with Tsigrado beach (see below). 

Paleochori Beach

We spent a few nights staying at Artemis Deluxe Rooms, which overlooks this beach. The beach is sandy, the water is clear, and the blue hues of the sea make for some gorgeous views, especially contrasted with the colourful pink and orange cliffs. There are underwater thermal springs along the shore, which you can either explore with a snorkel, or experience “volcanic food” courtesy of local restaurant Sirocco,  where they cook using the hot sand. The restaurant wasn’t open when we visited, but what a spot for dinner!

Tsigrado Beach

We didn’t actually make it to this beach, but cruised past it on Boat Day. It's a little more adventurous, as you need to climb down the cliff using ropes and a ladder to reach the beach. Looked fun, would recommend a visit! 

Klima

We didn’t go wild for this place like everyone else seems to (perhaps we visited on the wrong day - it was windy!), but Klima is worth a visit to walk up and down the cute beach huts and grab a colourful snap. 

Mandrakia Bay

I think this was our favourite of the fishing village bays. We loved it here, such a beautiful spot for a swim off the little jetty. It doesn’t have a beach as such, but it does have our absolute favourite lunch spot, Medousa (see below for more).

 

Food

Greek cuisine has never been a favourite of ours (not that you asked, but top 3 are Italian, Japanese and Mexican just in case you’re wondering), but a handful of restaurants in Milos single-handedly changed that for us. 

O’Hamos!

Just along from the port of Adamas, which seems be full of boring touristy restaurants, O’Hamos is a world away from that. Set amongst olive trees and beautiful bougainvilleas, this family run restaurant is as authentic as it gets; if they can't grow it or rear it on the family farm, it won't be on the menu. From the rustic wooden tables and the handwritten menu in a book, to the handmade pottery plates and mugs, this place feels homely, relaxing and wonderful before the food has even made it to the table. 

And then, oh my, the fooood!! Try the braised roasted piglet with cous cous (gourounopoulo metimezako), and absolutely without hesitation, finish with the chocolate-orange-cake-dessert-thingy (portokalogliko). We went back again, and again, and again during our two weeks in Milos. And for Amy, no dessert has ever compared since.

Medousa

Located overlooking Mandrakia Bay, we visited this lovely spot for lunch multiple times. A friendly welcome, a table right by the water and the traditional air-drying octopus metres from the table, makes for a picturesque and perfectly Mediterranean long lunch. We especially loved the grilled aubergine, the swordfish souvlaki, and of course, the grilled octopus. This place gets busy (yes, even during our pandemic visit), and you'll need to book ahead or wait for a table... but trust us, it's worth it. 

Kivotos ton Gefeson (Ark of Flavours)

Up north in Pollonia, this place is worth a special mention. A pretty garden makes for a perfect morning coffee setting, but the real reason to visit this place is the baked treats. Oven-baked pies, cakes and slices provide a Greek sweet treat for a pre- or post-beach pick-me-up.

 

Plaka

We did walk around Plaka, but sadly pretty much everything was closed on our visit. It’s very pretty, so worth a visit, and probably a lot more lively and fun when the shops and restaurants are open. We also heard the sunset from Kastro (the roof of a castle) in Plaka is not to be missed (we didn’t get that memo until after we left, damn it).