In October, myself and 3 girlfriends visited the land of lettuce-free salads, white walls and blue doors for the first time. We picked Greece, because given the weak South African rand, it seemed like a good idea. Starting in the heart of the Greek capital, we made our way over to Milos. We picked Milos, because we’d heard about the beaches and relative lack of tourists.
Milos is a beautiful island of Cyclades and is full of Greek charm and dramatic landscapes. Despite its beauty, the island doesn’t suffer crowds of tourists and is the perfect antidote to a crowded day at the Acropolis. If you’re heading to Milos— here are some things to tick off your bucket list.
Have a long lunch at Gialos— our plan was to find the remains of Filokopi (an ancient settlement) and after zigzagging across the length of Pollonia in our trusty Kio Picanto and landing up in a restricted mining area, we decided to opt for lunch at Gialos instead.
Gialos is set along the harbour, offers incredible seafood cuisine, a great wine selection and an owner who is more than happy to chat through the menu. Highly recommend the Mussels, the Greek Salad (naturally) and the Sous-Vide Salmon with squid ink cous cous. It’s pricier than a souvlaki cart, but well worth it.
Spend a day at sea — we picked a cruise company at the Adamas harbour (there are tons) whose offer included Kleftiko, as well as other two other stops. Kleftiko gained notoriety in the good old days as a pirate hideout and is not to be missed. The only way to truly appreciate a Greek isle is from the sea. We paid around 50 euro pp and this included 3 stops, a visit to the Kleftiko caves, lunch and a sundowner.
Don’t miss the Venus de Milo spot— we nearly did and accidentally discovered it whilst looking for the ancient theatre, which we never found. We developed a track record for wandering straight past areas of historical significance. In our defence, our map loved to provide a vague idea of where something could be. Truth be told, the actual spot is a little underwhelming, but worth a visit if you’re a lover of history.
Skip the catacombs — unlike my 3 fellow travellers, I did not enjoy this. If your idea of fun is going underground and surrounding yourself with dead bodies, then you must do this and also perhaps befriend my friends. Jokes aside, if you do go, the entrance fee is cheap at 3 euros and you get a headset explaining their history,
Hike to a monastery — our continued search for the ancient theater led us on a hike through abandoned olive groves towards a monastery at the top of a hill. The views were breathtaking. There are monasteries and churches dotted throughout the island, so pick one and start walking.
Visit Firopotamus Beach— in Milos you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches. The tiny, secluded bay of Firopotamus was far and away our favourite. The bay is home to a little church, which is also worth a visit. The access road to the beach is quite steep and narrow and is not accessible by bus. Bring your own towels, umbrellas and snacks because besides a chair rental spot (closed in off-season) there is little there.
Rent a car — this was the best decision of the entire trip. Milos is home to a bus network and reliable taxis, but if you want to really explore the island, then you need your own car. We went with Milos car rental and Katie sorted us out with something in the region of 25 -30 euros a day. As you can tell from the picture, we are very happy about the car — or the fact that we thought we’d just found a legitimate Greek donkey.
Go on a beach tour — as mentioned earlier, there are a plethora of beautiful beach to choose from. Grab a map, get in your car and off you go. Sarakiniko — the lunar beach — is alienlike and beautiful. Palleochori has some decent waves. At Tsigrado beach be aware that you need to hike down with ropes and ladders. Papafragas — we never found this beach (damn vague maps) but it’s apparently a must-see.
Watch the sunset from Plaka —sadly the capital of Milos had bad weather the night we went and Instagram tragically lost out on another sunset. The square in front of the church is a great spot to stand if you do go. Despite the lack of specatuclar sunset, it was fun to navigate the higgledy-piggledy streets of the Plaka (allegedly built in such a way as to give locals a chance to escape from marauding pirates) and the little town provides tons of photo ops, especially if you’re into blue doors and white walls.
Eat Baklava and drink Ouzo — not necessarily together, but no Greek holiday is complete without these two essentials. There is a great bakery in Adamas and their homemade baklava, will have you committing carbicide without a second thought. Ouzo is available at any self-respecting Greek establishment and is usually offered on the house at the start of the meal. It’s got a liqourice taste and should be clear and silky.
Where to stay — we stayed at Hotel Eleni — it’s located just off the main road, serves great breakfasts and is home to Mama Eleni — the kindest soul, who is full of ideas, suggestions and advice for what to do in Milos.
Practical Stuff — you can reach Milos by ferry, or a short flight with AegeanAir. There are taxis waiting at the airport (they’re familiar with the flight schedules). Phone reception is terrible, so be at peace with disconnecting with the outside world for a bit. Check ahead of time that your hotel offers WIFI — not everywhere does. We went in October and the weather was stil good and a lot of places were open, despite it being just outside of season. Some parts of the island can only be accessed with a 4x4, so doublecheck before you get stuck.
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This post originally appeared on robynhobson.com. Robyn has spent the last year working remotely and seeing a bit of the world.