Our ferry arrived in Milos under the cover of darkness. We were met at the port by Gina, a friendly member of the local council. After picking up our rental car we drove a short way to our home base, Hotel Rigas, located in Adamas, the main town on the island.
The hotel is located just 30 metres from the sea and consists of 10 studios. The kids were wrapped that they had bunk beds and Mia wasted no time picking the top bed.
The next morning over breakfast at the hotel, we mapped out a plan of attack. It quickly became clear that there was so much to see and do on this island, we weren’t going to fit it all in. It was larger than the previous 2 islands we visited, so we started with a road trip along the northern coast in the general direction of Pollonia, at the northeast end of the island.
Navigating the island requires a closer look at the map and GPS since there were many more roads than the smaller Cycladic islands we visited previously. Our first stop, about 10 minutes out of Adamas, was Sarakiniko. The only way to describe this beach is a barren moon landscape. The white wind-eroded rocks created smooth curves and long lines that joined to create one of the most unique landscapes we had ever seen, and arguably the most beautiful beach in Greece.
A small inlet provided a shallow, safe area for the kids to splash around. The beach was shared with only 3 or 4 others, plus a very friendly dog, which induced endless giggles from Mia and Caius.
The kids explored all the nooks and crannies, and Caius savoured his favourite pastime – throwing rocks in the water. Around the west side of the beach, the rocks extended into cliffs and caves, which were simply mesmerising – cold white contrasting against the deep blue Mediterranean.
In the kids’ exploration, they found a shadowy man-made tunnel so we all explored it a little using our mobile phone LED to illuminate the path. That was until we found a dangerous pit we almost fell in, so a quick retreat was necessary.
You must believe how amazing this beach is! I would have loved to just spend an entire day at this beach, lazing like a lizard on the warm rocks, but there was still so much to see and do on Milos.
Lunch at O Hamos
Time had flown by having fun at the beach, so we returned to Adamas for lunch. O Hamos (Oh Hamo) was a delightful family-friendly restaurant that came highly recommended. From the moment we walked through the lush green entry, we knew we were in for a treat. They had an outdoor playground for the kids, which was very well maintained.
The cute menus were decorated with little wooden utensils and completely hand-written in 5 different languages. More details about our food exploits on Milos can be found here.
Next, we drove to Pollonia in search for a playground. The one we found in the centre of town was a little rundown and rusty, not that the kids seemed to mind. But Mia spotted a giant swing on the beach which more than made up for it.
Returning back towards Adamas, we stopped by chance at Papafrangas (Fallen Cave). There wasn’t much signage, but we spotted the tell-tale metal gate and flower-lined field. The beach in this scenic location can only be accessed by climbing down a cliff, so we just had a quick look around the top and continued on our road trip.
Mandrakia was our next stop. This is a small summer beach destination for locals, and a gorgeous place to grab a tan. There wasn’t much here other than a church, so make sure you bring some food and water if you’ll be here for a while. In summer, the water becomes so clear that the boats look like they are floating on air!
Driving further west, we stopped at Firopotamos. This had to be our favourite family-friendly beach on the island. The bay was protected by a high cliff, forming a bay with still, clear water for the kids to play in. There was also plenty of shade on the beach and we just lazed around for half an hour. The only other life on the beach was a holiday home 50 meters away which pumped out a few loud local tracks and induced dancing and clapping which was entertaining to watch. Oopah!
As the sun was getting low, we packed up and jumped back in the car and continued west. Driving through Tripiti we reached Klima, which was filled with cats. Mia counted 29 along the road through the town.
Sitting On The Top Of The Bay
Caius had fallen asleep by this point so we parked the car next to Apoplous, a restaurant on the bay in Adamas near our hotel. He stayed asleep for our entire dinner while Erin, Mia and I sampled gorgeous local cuisine. The sunset was almost as delicious as the mouth-watering food.
The next day after breakfast, we met up with Gina and fellow travel writer, Marc from Canada. All together we drove to Tripiti, navigating through the tiny cobble stone roads until we reached the Catacombs Of Milos.
These underground man made structures date back as far as the 1st century AD. Along with catacombs in Rome and Israel, these are one of the most important early Christian monuments of worship in the world. Early Christians used these as a burial site as well as a place of worship and protection from persecution by the Romans. They were only re-discovered in 1844 and systematically researched in 1928. Recent excavations between 2007-2009 revealed even more areas. However, only a relatively small portion of the complete catacombs is accessible by the public. But what is visible is quite amazing. This site is considered by many to be the biggest tourist drawcard of the island.
After Gina showed us to a nearby secret catacomb that no one else knows about. It’s so secret, that even she had a hard time finding it. Peeling back a layer of non-descript bushes revealed a clandestine cave opening. I’m not allowed to share with you the exact location, but it was pretty cool seeing what an unpreserved structure, with no tourist traffic looked like.
Klima & Museum
The next stop was at Klima, a small fishing village just north of the island’s capital. We saw the discovery location of arguably the world’s most famous statue – Venus of Milos. Nearby an ancient Roman amphitheatre was under restoration, with beautiful views of the bay.
On the theme of history, we drove to Plaka and visited the Milos Museum, which held a number of intriguing artefacts found around Milos dating back as far as 3200 BC. As you enter the building, you can’t miss the plaster cast replica of the iconic Venus. The original statue was taken by the French when it was discovered, which is another whole saga (it is now displayed in the Louvre Museum, Paris). Interestingly, the Venus statue was made of marble from Sifnos, which has a particularly unique property in the way it conducts light. It’s one of those things that can’t be explained, even with a photo. You’ll have to see it in person to fully appreciate the beauty of this marble. But I’ll just say that it glows.
The museum is housed in a small neoclassical building and contains a large collection of obsidian (volcanic rock), which was used for tools and weapons.
The museum follows the history of Milos through the ages and the artefacts are very well organised. If you come to Milos for more than the beaches, spending 45 minutes slowly strolling around this beautiful building will be an easy way to grasp the richness of the island’s history.
After leaving Gina and Marc, we drove to the south of the island to Paliochori. Here we enjoyed a lunch at Sirocco on the beach. The restaurant’s playground grabbed the attention of Mia and Caius while Erin and I relaxed.
On the way back to our hotel we stopped by Hivadolimni beach for a little while. It’s a flat, sandy beach situated at the southern end of the bay of Milos. There’s not much in the way of parking here, so we just stopped the car on the side of the road. We virtually had the beach to ourselves and the kids played in the calm waters.
Milos Mining Museum
By this time the kids were worn out so we took them back to the hotel for a rest while I took a whirlwind self-guided tour of the Milos Mining Museum. As far back as the dawn of the Neolithic age (8000 BC), mining on Milos has been a source of great wealth for its inhabitants. This modern museum displays a collection of tools, photos and equipment used in the mining process on this island. In addition, my favourite displays were the rocks and minerals on the 2nd floor. I witnessed substances I had only read about in high school chemistry class. In the basement level, a video presentation portrayed stories of locals who had lived and worked in the mines, sharing their first-hand experiences. Not only was the museum educational, but it also helped me to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation about the character of Milos.
After the kids nap, we drove to the centre of Adamas for dinner at Yankos, a restaurant specialising in Italian cuisine. Mia and Caius started devouring their pizza before I could even catch a photo.
Gina had invited us to a traditional late-night Greek dinner with fellow journalist Marc, however the kids were wiped out. Erin took them back to the hotel, and I decided to join Gina and Marc for a second dinnerin Tripiti (one is never enough anyway), at the popular restaurant, Barriello.
This was easily one of the highlights on Milos. While the owner does not have a great deal of classical training in food, he does have one thing that really stands out – an enormous love and respect for food. This is evident in the type of dishes served and the tender care that goes into each plate. Most of the produce is grown fresh on his family’s own farm on Milos. The restaurant is located in an old renovated building, but still retains the charm and character. The ambient music, soft lighting and trendy décor all combine into a really unique experience for all the senses. You can’t leave Milos without coming here.
The next morning, we returned our rental car and Gina generously bestowed the kids with ice cream. That certainly topped off their experience on Milos, and left a permanent smile on their faces as we hopped onto our next ferry headed to the adventures that waited on Ios.
The warm Greek hospitality and deep love of food we had come to know was demonstrated in spades on Milos. But what set this island apart from the rest? The unique landscape fashioned from volcanic activity in eons past provided us with beach experiences that were more like being on the moon. And a treasure trove of archaeological discoveries shed light on a rich history filled with political manoeuvrings, underground religious movements (literally), and unmatched wealth from the earth’s mineral riches.
Or if you’re just looking for a beautiful sunny beach to kick back and relax, then you’ll find those in spades as well.