Pirates, The Venus de Milo, and Obsidian rock: the volcanic island of Milos is well known for a whole host of quirky and usual things. Inhabited since time immemorial, you may well have heard of Milos thanks to its reputation as the birthplace of Aphrodite (and once you’re on the island, you’ll soon see how the legend came to be- the entire place is breathtakingly beautiful!). Here are the very best things to do in Milos Island, the hidden gems of the Cyclades…
- Where is Milos?
- What is Milos known for?
- 10+ Best things to do in Milos
- Go kayaking
- Explore the Capital City of Plaka
- Learn some history in the Catacombs of Tripiti
- Seek out the obscure in some colourful fishing villages
- Discover the history of the Venus de Milo
- Visit Kleftiko Cove
- Discover the moonscape of Sarakiniko Beach
- Discover the volcanic history of the island
- Visit Milos Mining Museum
- Visit Ecclesiastical Museum of Milos
- Eat local cuisine in Pollonia
- Take a day trip to Polyaigos Island
- Ancient Theater of Milos
- How to visit Milos
Where is Milos?
Milos can be found in the Aegean sea and is a part of a group of islands which are called the Cyclades thanks to the fact that they are set in a cyclical formation. It is home to around 6000 residents and its capital city is the adorable and charming settlement of Plaka, which is set on a high point of the island and is known for its cobbled lanes and little eateries.
What is Milos known for?
In decades gone by, Milos was ‘secretly’ known as a more off the beaten path destination that was perfect for escaping the crowds of islands such as Mykonos or Santorini. Today, Milos is famous for being where the Venus de Milo was (re)discovered as well as for its moonscape like beaches, particularly that of Sarakiniko.
10+ Best things to do in Milos
As you might imagine from a beautiful Greek island, Milos is home to a plethora of water-based activities. One of the coolest is that of kayaking as the waters are crystal clear and you can paddle through caves. This guided tour will show you the beaches of Tsigrado and Gerakas and you may even get to see a sea turtle in person! See full tour details here.
Explore the Capital City of Plaka
First things first, the city of Plaka on Milos should not be confused with the Plaka district of Athens (the capital of Greece). Situated at the very top of the island, Plaka is easily one of the most beautiful towns in Milos, and not just because of its charming architecture and abundance of foliage, including blooming bougainvillea in the late spring and early summer.
Instead, one particularly special highlight of Plaka is that of hiking up to the Venetian Castle, which dates back to the time of the Byzantine Empire. Located above the rest of the town, this fortified area of Plaka offers some of the best views of the blue Aegean to be found anywhere on Milos.
Learn some history in the Catacombs of Tripiti
The Catacombs of Tripiti (also known as Trypiti) are so called thanks to the fact that (as you might imagine) they are located next to the modern town of Tripiti. These ancient catacombs comprise of caves which are cut into the porous volcanic rock that is so synonymous with the island.
Indeed, the name Tripiti is actually derived from words meaning ‘made with holes’. The first attestation of use of the caves near Tripiti date back to antiquity, when the caves were used as burial chambers.
Some even allege that the catacombs of Milos are older than those of Rome in Italy. During the Roman era, the catacombs were used by Christians as places of worship (i.e. churches) when the Romans were persecuting Christians for their faith.
The catacombs were rediscovered during the 18th-century and today only a part of them can be visited as part of a tour. To learn more about how to visit the Catacombs of Milos, be sure to check the official website.
Seek out the obscure in some colourful fishing villages
Milos vacations cannot be complete without discovering some of the most beautiful villages on the islands. Klima, Mandrakia, and Adamas are all small and quaint authentic fishing villages which are just a few of a handful spread across the island.
Adamas is actually where the main port of Milos is located (since the capital of Plaka is set high in the hilltops) and so will likely be your first port of call when visiting Milos. The best way to enjoy many of the Milos towns that the island has to offer is to book a boat tour of Milos like this one.
Discover the history of the Venus de Milo
One of the best activities in Milos is to learn about the ancient history of the island. The world-famous Venus de Milo is now on display in the Louvre Museum in the Paris. But what you may well not know is that the statue was actually discovered quite by accident on this little-known island in the Cyclades of Greece.
It all started in 1820 when a farmer by the name of Yorgos Kentrotas discovered the Venus de Milo statue quite by accident, somewhere between the village of Tripiti and the ancient Christian Catacombs.
Kentrotas had been searching for some stones for building material, and instead stumbled upon what has since been referred to as one of the greatest treasures of antiquity. The Venus de Milo was originally discovered in a small sealed up cave, and broken into two pieces.
Today, you can learn all about this discovery, as well as other important historical Milos finds a the Milos Archaeological Museum, which is on the fringes of the capital of Plaka. The museum covers the period from the Late Neolithic to the Byzantine period so there’s quite literally something for everyone to admire at this incredibly informative cultural space.
Visit Kleftiko Cove
Though there are countless gorgeous beaches in Milos, one which I particularly want to draw your attention to is that of Kleftiko Cove, which is characterised by its sparkling clear waters and block white sea cliffs.
The two main ways are to book a sailing trip to reach Kleftiko Cove (find sailing trip details here) or alternatively drive to the trailhead (with the help of a GPS) and hike down to the cove. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to bring along plenty of water and snacks as well as suncream and comfortable shoes for walking in.
Discover the moonscape of Sarakiniko Beach
If you’re looking for a place to swim where the waters are particularly crystal clear and the landscape is ethereal, then you simply must head to Sarakiniko Beach. Though once somewhat of a hidden Milos gem, you should note that due to the ever-increasing popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram, this secret spot is no more.
Unless you head to Sarakiniko Beach ridiculously early in the day and midweek, you’re incredibly likely to be sharing the beach which resembles a moonscape with dozens of other people. With this being said, you should nonetheless make the effort to visit Sarakiniko Beach during your Milos trip.
Discover the volcanic history of the island
Budding geologists will fall in love with Milos for the simple fact that the island boasts so many interesting types of rock formations which came about as the result of extreme hydrothermal activity.
The best way to discover more about the different types of rocks, geology, and other secrets of Milos is to book a guided Geology & Volcano Half-Day Morning Tour like this one.
Visit Milos Mining Museum
For those who want to delve even deeper into the geology of the island, not to mention those wondering what to do in Milos on a rainy day, then you might want to consider a visit to Milos Mining museum, which can be found in the port town of Adamas. Milos has been mined since as early as the Neolithic Period and Pliny the Elder even wrote about the wealth of sulphur on the island.
Today, visitors of all ages can learn about mining on Milos, as well as get the chance to see various collections of prehistoric tools and weapons which were crafted from the obsidian (a hard volcanic rock) that is so synonymous with the island.
Visit Ecclesiastical Museum of Milos
Set against the backdrop of the Church of the Holy Trinity, one of the more unique hidden gems of Milos is that of its Ecclesiastical museum and displays many collections displaying the artistic heritage of Milos island.
It’s an off the beaten path museum that few tourists venture to, though if you opt to visit you can find beautifully carved altar screens and wooden carvings among other things.
Eat local cuisine in Pollonia
The pretty fishing town of Pollonia is located on the North Eastern tip of Milos and is best-known for its many sea-inspired eateries which make use of the thriving fishing trade on the island.
Of course, there are also plenty of plant based dishes available such as stuffed vine leaves and various salad and feta concoctions. During my time in Pollonia, I personally dined at Gialos (Γιαλός) at sunset.
The food was fresh and the wine was flowing. All this was set against the backdrop of the setting Greek sun- bliss! Other highlights of Pollonia include admiring the traditional Greek architecture, enjoying some of the best beaches on the entirety of Milos island, and going on a Kimolos day trip to the nearby island of Kimolos.
Take a day trip to Polyaigos Island
Milos is close by to several islands, one of the most beautiful of which is that of Polyaigos. Polyaigos is actually uninhabited and, rather humorously, its name actually derives from words meaning ‘many goats’ on account of the fact that goats are the only residents of the island!
One of the best Milos hidden gems that can be seen close to the islands, the easiest way to visit Polyaigos is to book a boat trip from Adamas. Check full tours and availability here.
Ancient Theater of Milos
Milos island attractions are found in abundance and one of the most spectacular archaeological sites from antiquity is that of the Ancient Theater of Milos, which can be found close to the Catacombs of Milos. This ancient theatre dates all the way back to the late Hellenistic period, which is around the 3rd century BCE.
Rather interestingly, only a portion of the theatre has been excavated so far, though what has been uncovered is incredibly well preserved. Today, the theatre is still used for some outdoor performances, though can only sit around 700 spectators although it originally seated around 7000. The theatre has its own car park, which is a few hundred metres away, and is completely free to visit.
How to visit Milos
From Athens , it couldn’t be easier to get to the island of Milos. There are multiple ferries per day, which operate at an increased frequency during the summer months. The journey from the port of Piraeus (Athens port) to Milos takes from 3 to 4.5 hours depending on weather conditions and the ferry company you book with.
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