Introducing Milos

Volcanic Milos arches around a central caldera and is ringed with dramatic coastal landscapes of colourful and surreal rock formations. The island’s most celebrated export, the iconic Venus de Milo, is far away in the Louvre, but dozens of beaches (the most of any Cycladic island) and a series of picturesque villages contribute to its current, compelling, attractions. The island has a fascinating history of mineral extraction dating from the neolithic period when obsidian was exported to the Minoan world of Crete. Today Milos is the biggest bentonite and perlite centre in the EU.

Milos offers over 70 beaches ideal for swimming. Unfold your map and pick a beach, check wind directions, or, even better, ask any local about the weather patterns. He or she will observe the boats, trees and clouds and offer you the best advice on which beaches will be the most favorable that day. The island’s large number of beaches offer great variety. Some beaches are tucked away while others are more out in the open. You can pick from sandy, rocky or pebbled, fully serviced or without any amenities.

Whether you’re looking for family beaches ideal for children or spots more appropriate for couples, the island has it all. If you want to see as many of them as you can, board a giradiko, or boat offering a trip around the entire island, at the Adamantas quay.

The Thalassitra boat (Tel. +30 6947.276590) comes highly recommended and has an experienced skipper and entertaining crew.

This village has few inhabitants, but its two-storeyed houses are a sight to behold. The bottom floor is known as the syrmata, where fishing boats and equipment were stored, while the families lived on the upper floors.

© Perikles Merakos

But it’s not the unusual architecture that has visitors flocking here, it’s the unbelievably colorful doors. Every door sports a different color. The number of fishermen by trade has dwindled over the years but recreational fishing remains popular.

For holiday snaps of cats lazing in doorways of every color, there is no better destination. The wider area around Klima is home to two ancient acropolises and along the ancient city walls, you can find the spot where a fisherman discovered the island’s most famous daughter, the statue of Venus de Milo, in 1820.

Milos is home to a dormant volcano. Its power may be experienced at Kalamos, one of the island’s oldest volcanic centers. The volcanic steam and gases emitted into the atmosphere reach temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius.

For a more complete experience involving the volcano, begin with the Milos Mining Museum and then select and explore one of the marked routes, an initiative organized by the Miloterranean group.

The result of the volcano’s presence on the island’s geology has made Milos rich in minerals. A significant proportion of the island’s population works at the mines, which make up a large part of Milos. The Aggeria mine is Europe’s largest bentonite mine. Bentonite clay is used as a detoxification aid. Kaolin is also widely present and ideal for homemade beauty treatments.

The sunset experience on the island is stunning, rivalling, or even surpassing, the world-famous sunset of Oia in Santorini. The Panagia tis Korfiatissas church in Plaka is the ultimate spot to catch the sunset. Utopia bar is also a good spot. But space is limited so get there early to find a place to sit.

© Perikles Merakos

The view from these points is sensational and takes in the gulf, Cape Vani, as well as the islet Antimilos, west of Milos. As the sun goes down, look for the lighthouse located by the two islets, the Arkadies, at the gulf’s entrance. Once it lights up, it signals the beginning of another beautiful evening on the island.

Like every island in Greece, Milos too has its own unique culinary fingerprint, one which you will have a great time exploring. Begin your day with pitarakia (traditional local cheese pies with onions and herbs) and ladenia (a pizza-like regional speciality) at either the Artemis or Xydous bakeries in Adamantas.

If you’re prepared to drive for food, then it’s worth trying the Mouratos bakery on the road from Adamantas to Plaka. For full breakfast meals, Paleos (Tel. +30 22870.23490) in Plaka and Kivotos ton Gevseon (Tel. +30 22870.22651) in Pollonia both offer warm family environments, local products and delicious sweets.

Don’t forget to stock up on Milos’ famous flower honey as well as the island’s flavor-packed capers.

*Milos can be reached by ferryboat from Piraeus port (5-7 hours/from €76 return), flying dolphin (2½-4½ hours €112 return), or airplane (roughly 30 minutes from Athens, approximately €140 euros return).