The Magical Island of Milos
The island of Milos has been on my radar for a couple of years now and it’s always nice to finally tick off one of those bucket list places you’ve been eyeing up for while. Like finally getting to kiss your crush if you will and my first embrace with Milos was 100% worth the wait. After the thrill of the chase, it actually took me a couple of days to really warm up to Milos as the reality of the fantasy was a lot windier and more barren than I first anticipated. Relentless wind (not a trait anyone wants in a crush let’s be real) is a bit of a perennial problem on Milos and tends to batter the north and north east of the island for weeks at a time. We were staying up in Pollonia which seems to bear the brunt of the pelting warm winds and at times the wind can almost feel a bit oppressive and maddening, to the point you can almost understand the craziness of Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights when they were dealing with those wild winds on the Moors on a daily basis. However as soon as you get down to the likes of Plaka, Klima and the southern beaches, the wind dulls down to be a light breeze which you’d suddenly grateful for in the thick heat of day. Wind aside, we really liked staying up in Pollonia and split our time between the pretty white-washed Salt Studios and Nefeli Sunset Studios just up the road. If I went back, I would definitely spend a few nights renting one of the waterside fisherman cottages on Firopotamus beach. I totally fell in love with the dream of waking up to the lapping waves and have barbecues on the terrace every every evening. Skiopi Lodge looks like a beautiful, architect-designed place to stay too, the only reason we didn’t shoot for it in the end is because it’s quite deserted and we like being able to walk for dinner and breakfast sometimes but I’d again love to stay there next time for something different. The breakfast was pretty pathetic at Salt Studios but we much preferred our room and the decor to that of Nefeli (our room was barely big enough to fit us and our luggage) and Salt also boasts a great place to have a sundowners and watch the sky turn crimson.
We spent our days on the scooter (without question you need a scooter or a car), heading to different beaches each morning before hitting the road for a late lunch and another spot for a swim in the afternoon. Most of the best beaches are totally unserviced with just a small van at the top of the beach track offering waters, sodas and crisps so make sure you stock up on supplies before getting to the beach. We’d load up on water, watermelon, olive bread sticks, tzatziki and sandwiches for a picnic on the beach so our rumbling stomachs wouldn’t dictate when we needed to leave the beach or seek shade in a local taverna when the beach heat got too much for us. Sunset on Milos is something of a holy hour so make sure you work your evening around getting to a good spot for a drink as the sun goes down; they really are the some of the best golden hours I’ve ever seen. I thought I might be a bit too late to the party with Milos and perhaps the charms of the island had gone the same way as Mykonos; still very much in tact but with a lot more fluff to wade through to find said charms. But this wasn’t the case; the island is still very undeveloped in parts. The roads are petty crappy in places and the best restaurants on the island are super popular without being remotely sceney or glitzy which I love. We were there mid-August, peak time and while yes the beaches were busy and we had to queue a couple of times for dinners, I was pleasantly surprised at how there still seemed to be little beaches and pretty alleyways that felt quiet and discoverable. I’m going to list below all the places we went and loved, from food and cocktail spots to the beaches we fell in love with.
- Firopatmos beach was definitely a favourite and we went back twice. Try and get there before 10 in peak times if you want a bean bag lounger for the beach, otherwise just lay your towel on the sand or go and find a spot on the hot concrete of the fishing jettys. Come with supplies as there’s only a little truck for waters and coffees. There’s a beautiful church, a jumping-in spot where tiny kids are doing daring back flips and the water is so perfectly clear and turquoise.
- One of my other favourite beaches was Provatas (the small one not the big one) which we accessed via the little taverna called Tarantella. Grab a delicious greek salad and some fried sesame cheese drizzled with honey overlooking the water (aka crack) before heading down to the sandy beach below. A pretty magical place for lazing away the afternoon reading while sheltered from the wind and dipping into the super calm, shallow water.
- Saranaiko beach is a must and is a bit of an iconic spot in Milos for it’s otherworldly, Mars-like appearance. Not somewhere you’d necessarily want to spend the entire day as it’s not the comfiest place to lie down for hours (saying that we spent a good three hours chilling, eating lunch and wandering up around the headland to get the best moon-like shots.
- Tsigrado beach is a real must but I’d get there as early as you. Accessed only by a ladder, a rope and a narrow gorge through the rocks (not nearly as scary as it sounds!) when it gets busy it can be a bit of a queue and a one up, one down situation to get on and off the beach. But the tiny cove below is worth the hassle.
- Firiplaka beach (super close to Tsigrado) is another great option for lazing away the day. Long, sandy with shallow, calm water, it’s family friendly and pretty but be aware that any photos you see online of sun loungers, umbrellas and beach bar are all out of date as when we were there there was none of these to be seen so like the majority of Milos’ prettiest beaches you’ll need to bring your own umbrella and sun hats if you’ll be wanting any hint of shade.
- Klima at sunset really is magical. Wander down the brightly-painted fisherman’s houses and get a gin & tonic at the Astakas Restaurant in the centre of Klima. We had dinner here one night and the food wasn’t up to much at all but the location is hard to beat.
- Dinner at Medousa restaurant is a real must. One of the most well-known restaurants on the island and 100% worth the hype, the food is simple but perfect. All the usual fare (salted-baked fish, grilled squid, fava and roasted aubergine with feta) but deliciously done. Perched right on the water in the tiny but beautiful little fishing cove of Mandrakia, get here before dark to take in the scenery and get in line for a table.
- Nab a table at Utopia cafe in Plaka by 6.30pm for a front row seat to the Milos’s fiery sunsets. One of the best spots for sunset but you need a table to order a drink so get there before the rush – or do as we did and talk nicely to someone who’s already there and squeeze onto their table).
- We made a bit of a adventurous pilgrimage to the untouched west of the island one day. Honestly the best afternoon we had on the whole week, so much so I’m almost reluctant to share it because I’d love this little beach at least to stay our little secret. Make sure you’ve got a full tank (in a scooter at least) and plenty of water as the 45 minute journey down bumpy tracks where there’s not a single soul or sheep to be seen makes you very grateful you’ve got the peace of mind you’ve got both. We stopped for lunch at the tiny, simple family-run taverna Embourios before continuing down the dirty tracks (clinging on for dear life) to Triades beach, a wonderfully quiet sandy beach with the kind of water I swear makes you live longer after just one swim. There were maybe three other people on the beach when we were there. The sand is marbled black and white and the peace and quiet was almost meditative. We had to tear ourselves away to make the hairy journey home before it got dark; I could have stayed there bobbing around in the water until the sun went down.
- Have dinner at Avli Restaurant in Plaka. Don’t confuse this with the big, heaving restaurant in the square where the foot looks pretty basic; Avli is tucked around the corner in a little alleyway and serves up delicious plates of baked eggplant, shrimp saganaki and stuffed vine leaves.
- If you’re staying in Pollonia, make sure to have breakfast at Kivotos ton Gefseon. We loved having sage tea and scrambled eggs in the shade at this sweet little Greek cafe. They also make amazing breads and pastries if you want to grab something for the beach too.
- Deck in Pollonia was a great little spot for cocktails in the evening and for takeaway bagels and wraps way nicer than anything else we found on the island.
- In Pollonia itself, we tried Enalion and Akrotiri Seafood Obsession, the latter of which we liked slightly more than the other, just be prepared for a long, leisurely diner; Greek service isn’t the speediest. Even if you’re not staying in Pollonia, it’s definitely worth coming for dinner one night as the pretty harbour is great for wandering down (there’s a picture perfect blue and white church at the far end) and have a seafood dinner followed by a stroll with a scoop of gelato to-go.
- Oh Hamas! for dinner (or lunch) is a must and as it’s a bit of a institution on Milos. Get there early; we made the mistake of getting there at 9 and queuing for an hour before getting a table. Every menu is meticulously written out by hand and the family-run restaurant is always heaving and full of character and charm. We actually really didn’t like the food but perhaps we ordered badly. We went for the goat and lamb respectively and it felt very heavy and fatty but maybe that was in comparison to all the fish and greek veggies we’d been consuming up until that point. But it’s definitely worth a visit and is at the top of a lot of people’s Milos recommendations.
- The aforementioned crazy-making wind made boating impossible when we were in Milos (another reason to go back) which was a bit gutting as everyone says it’s the best thing they did while on Milos. If I went back I would def organise some kind of boat trip out around the coast of Milos, journeying to either Kimolos or the Klemtiko caves and Poleygos. All looked stunning and the water is apparently even bluer and clearer out there than on Milos’ beaches. Next time…
Dress| Realisation Par
Bikini | Cooke & Kin
Top | Solid & Striped
Shorts | Levis
Dress | She Made Me
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