Milos is a pearl. Along with Santorini, with which it shares the volcanic origin and the richness in colours of its beaches, it is one of the most objectively beautiful Greek island. No other island has so many beaches all different from each other, it is so colorful and yet still undiscovered by mass tourism (its airport has one tenth of the passengers of Mykonos, for instance). It is a rough, unforgiving island with a dramatic beauty that will make you love it, instantly.
Or perhaps hate it, if you’re looking for comfort. Milos is not an island for those looking for a relaxing vacation due to its still wild and undiscovered nature. More on this later.
Nor it is a cheap destination. Reaching it is not as straightforward as the bigger Cyclades Islands, like Paros, Naxos, Mykonos or Santorini. It has a small airport visited by a handful of companies and the ferries reaching it are just 3 lines, one of which basically goes only to Crete. You’ll have to flight to Athens or a nearby island and bet on a good combination with a ferry that won’t entail you to spend a night waiting for the it. Moreover, the tourists that do reach Milos aren’t many and I guess the locals try to squeeze as much money out of them as possible: prices are on the medium-high range for the Greek islands.
It is again, similar to Santorini, minus the boutiques.
So, overall, why going to and what to do in Milos?
Unsurprisingly, beaches are one of the main points of Milos. The island has dozens of beaches and, luckily, they are well spread across the whole coast. Whenever you’re going to stay, you’ll have a beach not very far from you. This is a great advantage as you can be free to stay anywhere on the island and be sure there’s at least one beach nearby.
The disadvantage of it is that most of the west coast and a part of the beaches in general are reachable only by the sea. For a list of the best beaches in Milos and to know which ones can be visited with a car or need a boat, read my previous article, where I selected the best ones.
The island’s capital is perched atop of a hill around 220 meters above the sea. And directly over the sea. Think of Santorini and you’ll visualize the beauty of Plaka.
Unlike Thira in Santorini, Plaka is small and can be walked from one side to another in 10 minutes. But like the more famous capital of Santorini, Plaka faces the sea on its western side and that guarantees amazing sunsets. It is a tradition among tourists to come here from all over the island to enjoy a drink at sunset, at least once per visit. Which is what I suggest you to do too. Right at the top of Plaka there’s the main church, which is more like a large chapel, and a vast terrace facing the sea. Around it you will find plenty of bars to have a cocktail while watching the sun going down over the sea.
Between a drink and a picture, wander among the small boutiques in search of souvenirs to bring home. It is the best place to shop on the island, higher prices but higher quality also.
This delicious, and deliciously tiny, village on the sea is the most colourful of the island and will probably remember you of Little Venice in Mykonos. You won’t be wrong as there’s a striking resemblance between the two areas.
Klima lacks the amount of restaurants and bars straight on the seafront but also the hordes of tourists crowding them. It’s way more laid-back and difficult to reach: you can take the, numerous, steps down from Plaka or, easier, book a boat tour to it from Adamas. We did the latter and it was perfect, as the village is that tiny that visiting it would have required less time than reaching it. Either way, do make sure you come here, it’s pretty enough to be one of the must of Milos.
As an alternative, a smaller village is Firopotamos, west of Sarakiniko. Same array of a dozen, tiny greek houses right on the sea, in a blue waters bay.
There are plenty of boat tours available, mostly from the main port, Adamas, or the second one on the east, Pollonia. Nearly all of them include Kleftiko, which is a must, while only some also Sarakiniko, another must. Very few also pay a visit to the nearby islands of Kimolos, Poliegos and Antimilos.
If you have the time, a whole day boat tour of the island, leaving and returning to Adamas, is recommended. You get to visit all the best places, see the whole amazingly coloured coast of Milos and have enough time to suntan and swim. For those shorter on time, at least a boat tour that starts from the southern coast, often in Provatas, and visit Kleftiko and part or all the west coast is due, as it is the most dramatic-looking side of Milos.
Either way, definitely do plan one of either as many of the best spots in Milos can’t be reached by ground and it would be a real shame to miss them. It’s not a comfortable island, after all, you have to go after the best places.
Rent a car
Moving around Milos is not easy. There’s no train and the local buses are limited in range (they mostly cover the area between Adamas and Pollonia and the airport). To get around the island renting a car is strongly advised.
Many renting agencies will offer you an ATV/quad car as the roads in the western side of the island are in really bad shape, where existent at all. If you are planning to go in that area, an ATV is a must. For anybody else, and my advice would be to stay in the central/eastern area of Milos, a car will be sufficient and slightly cheaper than an ATV all things considered (more comfortable and more space). You can reach most of the beaches with a car and the ones that can’t, you could only see them from above anyway as they must be accessed from the sea, no path leading down some of the high cliffs of the western coast.
Renting a small, 4×4, car is thus the overall best way to explore the island. What to do in Milos? Rent a car would be my fist answer.
Try local delicacies
What trip would be complete without trying the local cuisine? Milos makes no exception to this rule and it is a typical Greek island in this regard: moussaka, greek salads, grilled fish and meat, souvlaki, Ouzo, local beer and wines. You can’t go wrong with any of these dishes, most of them are made with local ingredients so you’ll also have low environmental impact. Win win.
One of the restaurants I liked the most was Mikros Apoplous, in Adamas. Right on the sea, you can actually dine 20cm from the water, it offers all the typical Greek dishes but with a modern twist. Try the ceviche which albeit not Greek, is prepared with local fishes and is utterly delicious.
I’m personally not a huge fan of greek desserts but found some to my liking in Raptis, in the center of Adamas. It is a bit more upper level patisserie than most in Greece so beware the prices, but the choice is large and quality top notch.
For a typical greek night out, in Plaka, you can try Phatses, on the lower part of the town. It is amid a square, with olive trees covering the tables and plenty of cats roaming around. Live greek music most of the evenings, local cuisine, on the expensive side as most of Plaka is unfortunately. Quite enjoyable though as it all feels like the whole area is for you (the restaurant is not in the most crowded area of Plaka).
Other areas are too small to offer great restaurants, the choice being limited even in Pollonia, the second port of the island. If you are staying far from the capital area, do use your car to go out in the evenings.
Milos is complex and sometimes difficult island but so worth it
This article is already getting long so I won’t keep you reading for much longer still. I hope I’ve convinced you to try Milos during your next vacation in Greece as it is the island that most positively surprised me, and I’ve seen more than a dozen of Greek islands. Uncomfortable at times, not easy to navigate and rough around the edges overall, but so desperately full of beauty at every corner.