has a land mass of 151 sq. km, a coastline of 126 km and a population
of 5,000. Milos' distance from Piraeus is 86 nautical miles. It's the most westerly of all the Cyclades. Its many long stretches
of golden sand beach are some of the best in Greece.
Milos is a uniquely beautiful Cycladic island due to its mineral and
morphological formation. Milos, Kimolos and Andi-Milos are of volcanic
origin, like Santorini to the southeast, but have many geological
differences from it.
Brightly colorful minerals abound
on Milos and delight the eye. Obsidian, sulphur, kaolin,
barium, alum, bensonite and perlite have been quarried on Milos for
thousands of years. Neolithic peoples used papyrus boats to reach
Milos to quarry its minerals, particularly the black, glass-like obsidian. Fantastic
rock formations crop up everywhere.
There are many fjord-like inlets, bathed with sparkling turquoise waters, some with thermal springs.
Milos' gently rolling eastern interior
is rich with vegetation while its western mountainous are arid. Milos
has the best natural harbor in the Mediterranean. There are many
archeological places of interest as well of which Phylkopi
on the north coast is most important.
The main port, Adamas
friendly main port, Adamas, (pop. 1200) is where
most tourists stay. If arriving by ferry you will notice mineral formations
at Arkoudas (Bears) just
before turning into the vast harbor.
Buses from Adamas Square. easily connect
with the rest of the island. Although not the most beautiful part of
Milos, Adamas' cobble-stoned streets are where most of the night life
and creature comforts are to be found.
In 1836, Sfakia village Cretans, fleeing their war torn
island and Turkish reprisals, founded Adamas and brought their most
sacred religious items with them which may be seen in the towns' two
largest churches: Aghia Triada and Aghios Haralambos. Ag. Haralambos has a clock tower at the summit of the town.
There's a Mining Museum along the waterfront, which shows much about Milos' geological history.
West of town,
in a cave, you can ease your aches and pains in the warm and sulfurous Municipal
Spa Baths. The cave is divided into three bathrooms. (8-1,
daily, fee, bring your own towel).
Just beyond the Spa baths, you'll find Lagada Beach This beach is popular with families. The Crimean War French Soldiers Memorial at Bombada
is a short walk away. Further along on the reed strewn path bubbling
mud pools lead the way to the Volcano, which is actually just a steaming
fissure in the rock.
Plaka, the island's official capital
a road ascends to the NW passing through the lower villages of Triovasalos and Karodhromos until after three
or four kilometers it reaches Plaka. The attractive
hilltop town of Plaka (pop. 675) is Milos' main town
and officially called Milos. It is built, as were most Cycladic
capitals, in a defensive position, and
its characteristic white washed houses command a view of the NW and the harbor.
On the lower edge of town,
next to the bus stop is the Archeological
Museum (8:30-3, closed Mon, fee) and contains a (thoughtfully provided
by the French) copy of the Venus de Milo now in Paris.
from various epochs from the Neolithic to the Hellenistic are included such as terracotta objects and lily-painted ceramics. The best of the archeological artefacts are in Athens at the National Archeological Museum. There are some nice obsidian finds.
The Museum of Popular Arts (Tu-Sat, 10-1,
6-8), on the other hand, has everything including the kitchen sink. It's in a 19th Century mansion (follow the
signs) with items from Milos nautical pilots past such as telescopes,
charts and costumes.
Take the steps up to the Frankish Kastro or Castle high above (980m). It's the outer walls are formed by houses.
The interior of the keep houses the beautiful 13th Century Church of
Thalassitra. There are fine icons by Skordilis in this church.
Perched at the top was an old church, Mesa Panagia, which along with much of the Castle was destroyed by German gun emplacements
during WWII. The views from here are stunning.
Ancient Milos and the Catacombs
Plaka is built over the ancropolis of ancient Milos. It may also be reached by
a foot path from the north side of Adamas which passes the old obsidian
quarry of Sta Nychia above the village and joins the old road to
Tripiti just below Plaka. By bus ask to be let off at Tripiti, and you can walk to the Catacombs. These catacombs are among the best preserved in Greece and have long corridors of arched niches carved in rock. It was full of bones when first discovered. The catacomb network is 184m long and contained 291 tombs, possibly holding as many as 8000 bodies.
A path from the catacombs leads to where the Venus de Milo was discovered. Look for a plaque by a fig tree.
The Ancient Acropolis Milos
occupies the slope below Tripiti down to the charming quaint fishing hamlet
Klimi and the ancient harbor (ancient Klima on map below). The Athenians
destroyed the acropolis town circa 415 BC and the Romans resettled it later.
Klimi has brightly painted boat houses and ducks on its beach. There's a museum-style reconstruction that shows how the fishing families once lived in the Klimi area.
Further on is the partially restored Roman Theater overlooking the sea, excavated in 1917. In August occasional
plays are performed there.
Around Plaka and the islands northern tip
Near Plaka, the market villages of Triovassalos and Pera
Triovassalos merge to form a market town. It boats churches containing icons from
the original capital, Zefyria, which was abandoned due to plague.
down to several different beaches, some with wonderful colored rocks. One of the best of
which is Plathiena near Arkoudes where you see orange and white rock formations. This is a popular beach for watching the sunset.
path from Plaka leads to Fourkovouni and its cliff carvings. Mandrakia, below
Triovassalos is a beautiful little cove and fishing hamlet topped by a white chapel. Further north
is Firopotamos another fishing village.
The Bay of Milos and some beautiful beaches
The Bay of Milos
has a succession of beaches which improve as you move further away from the airport and
its industrialized outlying areas. The Bay of Milos is the volcano's central vent, left by the volcano that created this volcanic island.
From Adamas the first beach is Papikinou with hotels and apartments. Next and longest is sandy Chivadolimni,
popular with free campers. There's a turquoise saltwater lake just
Alykes near the salt marshes has a quieter
beach. The black cliffs of Mavra Cremna create a beach with interesting rock formations. Around and to the north are
Patrikia and Rivari with
a lagoon once used as a vivarium by the monks of Agh.
Marina Monastery up above.
next with rooms to let and a taverna. It's also reachable by boat from Adamas.
Northernmost is Aghios Dimitriou, which is often windswept.
Villages of central Milos
The Adamas bus crosses
Milos to Zefyria, the island's capital from 800
to 1793, when it was abandoned and everyone moved to Plaka. Its a very
still place today with decaying old buildings and olive trees.
The paved road
continues to popular and busy Paleochori Beach. Further along is quieter Aghia Kyriaki with rooms and tavernas. Komia to
the east has some ruined churches of the Byzantine period and close by
at Demenayaki are obsidian mines.
The north coast–Phylakopi and Pollonia Port
The road from Adamas
leads across the islands NW section and as it approaches the coast,
a fork descends to bathing spot Sarakiniko. There you find huge rounded rocks and pointed peaks whipped by the wind into giant petrified drifts. There's a tiny beach and an inlet. To the east, the fishing villages of Pachaina and Aghios Konstandinos have more interesting rock formations. From there, it's a short walk away are the
three Papafrangas Caves with pristine azure waters
enclosed by white cliffs. There's a mini fiord here, once used by pirates as a hiding place.
Ancient Phylakope lies just beyond Papafrangas and was in its heyday one of the greater
centers of Cycladic civilization. It
was excavated by the British School of Archeology in 1860 and yielded 3
layers of habitation early Cycladic (3,500 BC), Middle (1600 BC) and late
Cycladic - Mycenaean. Finds show Melos traded obsidian far and wide. Tablets were found linking the culture to the Minoan. The site
declined with the advent of metals and their replacement of obsidian as
tools and weapons.
The last stop pf the Adamas bus is Pollonia, the old town of Apollo. It's a small but popular resort with
tavernas, a shaded beach and local fishing boats. You can take a diving class here. Near Polllonia are the Glaronisia, symmetrical hexagonal columns of basalt standing in the water. You can sail between the columns in a caique.
On the Pelekouda Cape you can wind surf, and there are holiday amenities. To the south is Voudia
beach and more mine views.
Other Beaches on the Island
Beach is on Milos ' southwest coast and Triades
Beach is in the bay of Triades on the west coast.
As you can see
from the map below, there are lots of beaches to choose from. Car
rental or scooter is the way to go if you want to see them all.
Drinking and Dining
In Adamas, you'll find good food at reasonable
prices at Barko, Flisvos, and Kynigos on the waterfront.
The famed sculptural
masterpiece 'Venus de Milo', although made of marble from the
island of Paros, was unearthed accidentally in a farmers field on Milos. It was
entire when found. (At the same time, other statues were found on Milos.)
The Venus de Milo was sold, by
the farmer who found it, to the French and then to the Romanians, and
then to the French again, before ever leaving the island. The
arms, one of which was holding an apple, were broken off during the
struggle to load it or as some say during the French negotiations
with the Romanians. Interestingly enough, Milos is the islands'
name and 'Milo' the Greek word for 'apple'.
Early Christians zealots
used to seek out what they considered idolatrous works of art and
in a fervor of religious zeal smash them to pieces. The 'Venus' had
been hidden by an art lover whose secret was lost with their death
for a thousand or more years.
Under the Minoans and Mycenaeans, the island became rich from the trading of obsidian. Minerals are still a major source of wealth, although tourism is booming. Left a rare display of obsidian to be see in Athens' excellent War Museum on Queen Sophia's Avenue.
On a less artistic historical note, Milos' unique sheltered harbor was used by French
warships during the Crimean and First World Wars. Nazi anti-aircraft
battery emplacements may still be seen at Korfos.