Greece – Milos

Milos is a wonderful island of the Cyclades. It’s full of surprises, charms and beauties. The island is unique for its astonishing lunar landscape which creates unbelievable and imposing rocking formations colored in deep red, brown or glimmering white. Those fantastic hills and rocks are often emerging from a turquoise sea, bordered by fine golden, white or gray sand. Apart from sunbathing and swimming, this is an excellent island for snorkeling because of its many caves. Villages and small towns are charming and very attractive. The main town is Adamas where the ship will be docked. In Plaka, Milos’ capital, there are quite a few things to see. You can visit the archaeological museum where various artifacts from the excavations on the island are displayed. One of the most famous sculptures of the ancient world, Venus de Milo, was found here on the island by a farmer. There are a few shops in Adamas and Plaka, and you can get your own copy of Venus. Most bars and clubs are located in Adamas and Plaka.

14 Sep: Milos had long been anticipated on our Greek Island itinerary especially after our cruise director, Dario, mentioned that it was his favorite stop on the 2 week circuit. After a bit of research on our own, we decided to rent a car and spend the afternoon on a whirlwind tour to explore Milos’s beaches (Papikinou, Provatas, Firiplaka, Tsigrado, Paleohori, and Sarakiniko), visit Tripiti’s ancient Roman amphitheater, discover the site where Venus de Milo was uncovered, and watch the sunset from the Plaka’s Thalassitras Church and Frankish castle. Quite a busy agenda, especially considering we weren’t able to get off the cruise until noon! By 1210, we had already rented a car from KozzMozz rental for 40 Euros/day, and we pulled back into Adamas harbor to pick up Bob and Ann. Since we had decided on a picnic lunch for the day, we pulled up next to the first supermarket we saw in Adamas and bought cheese, sausages, taramasalata (a pink puree of fish roe, oil, and lemon juice) spread, and a 5 liter box of dry red wine (one of the best bargains we saw in Greece as it was priced at only 9 Euros). The supermarket didn’t have any fresh bread, but the salesclerk readily pointed out a nearby bakery where we were able to get a fresh loaf of bread. After ensuring we had everything necessary for a decent picnic, we headed south out of Adamas and passed Papikinou Beach. It looked like a long stretch of empty beach, but the wind was blowing strongly, and we figured we’d get more shelter from the wind on the south side of the island.

Our first stop of the day was at Provatas beach, which had a nice stretch of golden sand. While we wanted to jump in the water, we figured we’d hold off for a while until our next stop, which was Firiplaka Beach. The view overlooking Firiplaka was absolutely amazing! We had read about Milos’s dramatic terrain and crazy rock formations (due in part to its volcanic origins), but seeing it for ourselves firsthand was awesome. We decided to have lunch here at Firiplaka, and afterwards, wandered down the entire length of the beach. Little did we know that a nudist colony appears after a break in the rocks further on down the beach…we kept walking and walking and then hello! It wasn’t a big deal, just a surprise and we decided to stop taking photos of the dramatic landscape as we didn’t want anyone to think we were taking photos of them! Except for Robby who took a cheeky shot (literally) of a naked guy walking past Becky who is trying her best to avert her gaze.

Afterwards, we headed over to the neighboring beach of Tsigrado, which was absolutely the best find of the day. To get to the beach, you have to hold onto a rope and lower yourself down the craggy rocks. We were rewarded with pristine turquoise waters that felt absolutely refreshing and wonderful. And we really did need to take a dip after climbing down to Tsigrado Beach as the wind had blown up a sandstorm on our way down, and now every single one of our crevices was filled with sand! Robby found an underwater passage off to the right of the beach amongst the rocks embedded in the water, and we took turns holding our breath and swimming through…it was a ton of fun.

After drip drying in the sun, we figured we’d head over towards Paleochori to check out what had been touted as Milos’s best beach. It was long and sandy but just OK…we definitely enjoyed Tsigrado Beach more. Next beach on our agenda was Sarakiniko, which had lovely white pumice rock formations, a cave complex, and a shipwreck on the rocks just around the bend. Bob really wanted to explore the cave, but since time was a-ticking, we decided to forego the cave explorations for Tripiti’s ancient Roman amphitheatre. Navigating through Tripiti’s narrow streets was quite a feat, and we were glad we rented a compact car. While walking on the footpath towards the amphitheatre, we came upon a signpost that marked the spot where Venus de Milo was uncovered. If you want to see the sculpture today, you’ll have to visit Paris’s Louvre Museum.

The view from the Roman amphitheatre was quite magnificent, although given the state of the crumbling ruins, we weren’t sure if concerts are performed from this lovely location. Since we had already checked with the tourism office and knew that the Christian catacombs were off limits due to ongoing renovations, we just saw them from a distance and made our way up to the old town of Plaka. After parking our car in the tiny town parking lot, we strolled past Plaka’s white houses and made our way through its labyrinth streets up to the castle. The walk uphill to Plaka’s Thalassitras Church was fairly straightforward, but we wanted to get up to the Frankish Kastro (castle) for the mesmerizing 360 degree view. This was definitely the place on Milos to watch the sunset! As the sun’s last rays of light painted the Thalassitras Church, we felt pure contentment at another beautiful day in paradise.

Plaka is about 5 km uphill from Adamas, so we navigated downhill in the dark towards our awaiting cruise. After dropping off our beach supplies and returning the rental car, we headed right back out for dinner at Flisvos. Flisvos has a fish taverna and a psisitaria (grill house), so we ordered a mixture of seafood and grilled meat, along with the obligatory tsatsiki, Greek salad, grilled octopus and beer. The pork souvlaki here was delicious, but both Bob and Ann said their seafood dishes were nothing to write home about. Ann was also bothered by the smokers next to our table, so she ate in a rush and did some window shopping in Adamas while the rest of us finished our meals.

The next morning, the ship’s captain advised us that we would be pulling beside the famous Kleftiko rock formations on Milos’s south west coast, so we joined the rest of the Easy Cruisers to admire these impressive rock formations. Apparently the only way to see these formations are to sign up for a tour boat excursion, which stops at the best beaches and coves around the island.

Overall Milos gets a cheery smile from us, although we definitely ran out of time on this island and would love to return back to experience it some more. There is so much to see and do here that one day just doesn’t do it any justice.

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