The Greek Island of Milos is famous as the discovery site of the Venus de Milo … but outside of Greece, its fame usually ends there. And that’s a good thing for you! Neighboring islands in the Cyclades like Mykonos and Santorini get far more attention and tourist traffic. And while Milos is no longer a secret, compared to its famous neighbors, few people seem to realize that Milos exists.
Their loss is your gain. This hidden gem, well off the beaten tourist path and an icon of Greek cuisine, is where you go if you want adorable whitewashed greek fishing villages, relatively quiet beaches, and stunning turquoise water. And while you won’t find the same crowds as more popular islands, you will find an island brimming with traditional Greek charm and hospitality.
Welcome to paradise. Welcome to Milos Island, Greece.
How to Get to Milos
Like all Greek Islands, there are two main modes of transportation, plane, and ferry. Quin and I flew into Milos from Athens and then rented a car to drive around the island. We chose to fly because we were short on time and not planning on visiting any of the other islands in the area. Instead, after Milos, we headed to the stunning island of Zakynthos on the other side of the Greek mainland.
Fly To Milos
Milos Island National Airport (MLO) is located 5 km southeast of Adama. Regional carrier Olympic Air operates two flights daily to and from Athens.
Take A Ferry To Milos
Most people arrive on Milos by ferry. Several companies offer ferry rides between Milos and the mainland, as well as other Cycladic islands. Use FerryHopper to find ferry schedules and rates.
The Best Time of Year to Visit Milos
Anytime from May to October is perfect for a trip to Milos. You will find limited rain and warm weather. The hottest month, August averages 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). That being said, some restaurants and hotels begin to shut their doors for the off-season in late September, so make sure to do your research first.
The Best Things to Do on Milos
1. Captain your own boat and find a secluded slice of paradise
The star of the show on Milos are the sparkling beaches, many of them blissfully overlooked by tourists. Consider renting a charter boat and combing the coast in search of an inaccessible sand nook with a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. Quin and I rented a boat for the day from Poseidon Milos (+30 6987 930 867). As far as we could tell, none of the rental companies require any sort of license to rent a boat. You simply need to know how to swim (not that they test you), be over 18 years old, have an ID or passport, and have a mobile phone for communication in case of an emergency. We met the owner of our boat at Papikinos Beach where he gave us a quick overview of how to operate the boat and then handed over the keys!
2. Swim in the waters around Polyaigos Island
6.2 km off the east coast of Milos lies Polyaigos, the largest uninhabited island in the Cycladic chain. Its epic, unspoiled natural beauty makes it well worth the boat ride. Framed by breathtaking limestone cliffs, the sapphire-blue waters off Polyaigos are a swimmer’s and snorkeler’s dream come true.
3. Take a boat out to Kleftiko Beach
Kleftiko Beach is the iconic image of Milos—magical white-rock terrain, crisscrossed with caves and tunnels, bursting forth from the turquoise water. Perched on the rugged southwest of an island where most of the human settlement huddles in the east, Kleftiko is only accessible by boat or a long hike … but it’s worth all the effort to get there and marvel at its natural beauty.
My biggest regret of our time on Milos is not budgeting in more time for Kleftiko. We only rented a boat for 5 hours while we were there and we spent most of that time cruising along the coast and then exploring Sykia Cave. If I could do it again I would have rented a boat again and spent the entire day enjoying the stunning beauty at Kleftiko.
4. Explore the moon-like landscape at Sarakiniko Beach
If you’ve seen any photographs of Milos on Instagram, chances are it was a photo of Sarakiniko. Sarakiniko, on the north coast of Milos, is justly famous for its otherworldly terrain. Walking over the smooth, undulating white lava rock, eroded by water and wind, is like walking on the surface of the Moon (with much better weather, of course).
Consider an electric bike tour if you need help getting to this spot as it is one of the many hotspots on the island you’ll visit on this tour.
5. Visit Sykia Cave
Accessible by boat, Sykia Cave is an absolute showstopper. Part of the cave roof collapsed in a bygone era, leaving the cave with a massive round skylight. It’s some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Greece.
The day that Quin and I rented a boat we decided to head straight for Sykia Cave. We had the entire place to ourselves and ended up spending far longer than we expected there. So much time in fact that we had barely any time left to spend at Kleftiko on our way back! Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
If you aren’t comfortable renting a boat, you can take a tour that includes this cave.
6. Work on your “European Summer” tan on one of Milos’s best beahces
If your goal in the Cyclades is to veg out on the beach and get a toasty golden brown, Milos is the place for you. Milos rewards visitors with some of the most gorgeous beaches in Greece. You can hardly go wrong with a Milos beach, but here are some of the best:
Tucked under soaring cliffs, Tsigrado Beach on the south coast of Milos is a little tricky to reach. If you are afraid of heights, the steep ingress and egress by ladder may be too much for you. But we found it to be relatively easy to access.
Steps away from an adorable fishing village, the cantina at Firopotamos Beach supports a thriving, youthful social scene. Stepping into the crystal-blue water at Firopotamos Beach is like stepping into a giant natural swimming pool.
This tiny beach slopes into a natural swimming pool formed by spectacular rock formations. For archaeology enthusiasts, the ancient ruins of Phylakope are only a few steps away.
If you are interested in learning about the island’s history and culture, consider this tour that includes a stop at Papafragas Beach.
Located on the southern coast of Milos, Firiplaka is one of the more popular beaches on the island and was a personal favorite. It features a thriving cantina (although they were still preparing to reopen when we were there) framed by rainbow-colored volcanic cliffs. Rent one of the comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas for the day and enjoy!
The crystal clear seawater at this south-coast beach makes it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring, as well as laying out and getting a tan.
7. Go sea kayaking around Milos Island
Sea Kayaking is a great way to get up close and personal with the evocative volcanic coast of Milos. You can paddle a kayak into caves and crannies that a ship—even a small one—could never fit in. I always enjoy activities that make me slow down and enjoy the moment and for me, kayaking fits the bill.
Sea Kayak Milos has a ton of great tour options and will make sure that you have an awesome time out on the water! They even have multi-day expeditions around Milos if you’re looking for a more unique and active way to experience the island!
8. Explore the colorful fishing village of Klima
There’s more than just natural beauty on Milos. The quaint seaside fishing village of Klima, on the north side of the island, is famous for the brightly-colored portals and terraces on the traditional white Cycladic dwellings. Two wings of the town frame Astakas, an adorable seaside restaurant.
9. Watch the sunset at Church of Panagia Thalassitra
This 18th-century church in Plaka overlooks the Aegean Sea to the west—the perfect vantage point to take in a delicious sunset.
We almost missed sunset trying to drive to the church using google maps. So eventually, we just parked in the heart of Plaka and then started heading up! You can see the church sitting on top of the hill from town, so it’s just a matter of finding the path that takes you there. In the end, it was actually really intuitive, although it is a bit of a climb. There’s probably a way to drive up there. . . but we never did figure it out.
10. Enjoy the views from Mother of God Korfiatissa Holy Orthodox Church In Plaka
Korfiatissa Church enjoys a vantage point above Plaka where you can soak in panoramic views—not just of the picturesque town, but of the sparkling blue sea and neighboring Cycladic islands. Make an evening of it, and stop by Verina Cocktail Bar to grab a delicious drink to enjoy the view with firs
I actually stumbled across this viewpoint on one of my random evening strolls through Plaka. It turned out to be one of my favorite nights on the island. I sat on the stone wall and watched as people slowly gathered to see the same natural show I was waiting for. Needless to say, Mother Nature didn’t disappoint any of us that night!
Where to Stay on Milos – Best Hotels and Airbnbs
When we visited Milos we stayed in a tiny rooftop studio in Plaka. It was perfect for us, as we weren’t planning on spending much time there anyway. Plus, the rooftop views were stunning! The other hotel recommendations on this list have been crowed sourced from my social media community. I have included the most highly recommended accommodations from people who have actually stayed there!
Sunset Studio (Airbnb):
Quin and I stayed in this quaint little rooftop apartment in Plaka for three nights while we were in Milos. It earns its name thanks to fantastic western exposure, which means views of the sea and the glorious setting sun. If you have always dreamed of staying in a tiny Cycladic apartment overlooking the sea, Sunset Studio is a great way to go. My only warning is that the parking situation leaves something to be desired – it was a pretty long walk from the provided parking spot up through narrow streets to get to the Airbnb. But I have a feeling that would be the case for a lot of apartments on the island.
Milos Bliss (Airbnb):
This boutique hotel in Plaka is the perfect place to relax, with huge windows and terraces that capture the Aegean air, with white “Greek Chic” decoration and exclusive access to a luxurious outdoor swimming pool. It’s also the perfect “home base” for any number of Milos adventures, including ATV rentals, boat charters, kayak launch sites, and day trips to Klima.
A romantic getaway hotel like no other, Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel lords over Pollonia with a commanding view of the north coast—best enjoyed from one of the suite terraces, stairstep terrace gardens, or the sprawling Infinity pool. Its unique architecture ensures that every room has a view of the Aegean.
Far from living in a cave, Cave Suites Milos epitomizes five-star hotel decor and amenities, including sumptuous suites with private balconies, sea views, and plunge pools.
Decorated with a keen eye toward local tradition and style, Villa Notos offers studio and two-bedroom accommodations adorned with hand-crafted furniture and cast-iron bed frames. From the upper floors, the views of Adamas Bay just get better and better.
Located in Paliochori on the south coast, Artemis Deluxe Rooms epitomize not only the height of luxury but the proud culinary tradition of Milos. The star of the show, of course, is the ocean-facing Infinity pool, the perfect counterpoint for the minimalism of its white-centric design aesthetic.
Best places to eat on Milos
Even compared to its neighboring islands, Milos has a proud tradition of spectacular seafood. The quaint fishing villages that dot its coast spoil locals and visitors alike with a plethora of fish and crustaceans to choose from. You don’t get more “fresh” than the catch of the day at an outdoor restaurant in Milos.
The island’s culinary reputation is on the upswing, so check out some of the following established and up-and-coming restaurants before it becomes too hard to get a table …
Perched above colorful fishermens’ houses near Mandrakia Beach, the high vantage point of Medusa boasts magnificent views of the sea—perfect for sunset. Medusa offers large portions, including mouthwatering thick-cut swordfish steaks and an array of local cheeses, so bring your appetite and someone to share with! Don’t skip dessert, either—the chocolate cake is well worth the cheat day.
This waterfront tavern in the fishing village of Pollonia is the perfect place to unwind and fill your tummy with seafood specialties—stunning fish carpaccio, savory marinated anchovies, and taramosalata, a sumptuous dip made from fish roe.
Smack dab in the middle of the precious colored terraces of Klima, Astakas redefines “seaside restaurant”—charming white tables set directly on the beach. The local catch is the way to go. In this fisherman’s village, you will taste fresh fish like you have never tasted it before—the way it is meant to be enjoyed.
O! Hamos! Tavern:
Foodies in the know add Milos to their Cyclades itinerary specifically to score a table at O! Hamos! Tavern. Forget the beaches and the stunning scenery—they’re here for local classic dishes, ordered from a handwritten menu and served to perfection under parasols and leafy canopies. The reputation of O! Hamos! has registered far beyond tiny Milos, putting the island on the map as only Venus de Milo did before it. Make sure to try the Kleftiko, a rustic traditional lamb dish that melts in your mouth, bursting with flavor.
I challenge you to find a better place to take in a sunset, a refreshing cocktail, and a sumptuous Greek meal than Utopia Cafe, perched high above Plaka. It goes without saying—the view of the Aegean is to die for.
Kivotos ton Gefseon:
The dish that put this cute Pollonia tavern on the map is the watermelon pie—baked with honey, cinnamon, and sesame. Dine-in with it, or grab some for a picnic on the beach. They also serve spectacular omelets, pizzas, and pasta dishes.
Things To Know Before You Go To Milos
1. Rent a car, ATV, or scooter to get around.
You won’t see the best of Milos on foot. It really pays to spread out and find your own secluded corner of this remote island haven. Rent a car, scooter, or motorcycle to go exploring. If you really want to find undiscovered vistas, an ATV is the way to go—you can ditch the roads and find your bliss.
If you are from the US, you need an International Driving Permit to hire a car in Greece. Before you rent a vehicle, Greek law requires you to first obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). Rental companies will accept your home driver’s license, but if the police pull you over you may face fines. You can apply for a Greek IDP through AAA or the National Automobile Club.
2. Pack your dramamine.
Falling in love with Milos happens on boats, winding roads, and bumpy ATV rides. Motion sickness is a real buzzkill. If you get carsick or seasick, don’t forget the dimenhydrinate.
3. Avoid Group Tours.
Savvy vagabonds go to Milos to avoid crowds, not join them. Seek out an individual tour guide if you want the inside scoop on best places to visit, or just strike out on your own. Milos has treasures in store for people who value solitude.
4. Expect delays.
Ferries don’t always run when you expect them to. Don’t get frustrated. Part of the fun of the Cyclades is adapting to a slower form of life. Remember, people have been enjoying these islands for thousands of years. Why begrudge them an extra 30 minutes. . . or day?
5. Google Maps is not always your best friend.
If you are used to navigating terra incognita with the power of Google Maps, that crutch may fail you on Milos. Google doesn’t check up on Milos very often and can’t always make sense of the ancient city planning. Local businesses also don’t bother to update their Google listings, if they even have them. Be prepared to ask for directions and recommendations … or just explore and become lost! It’s an island—you can’t ever get too lost.
6. Be aware of the Meltemi, the notorious Greek winds.
The dominant weather feature of the Aegean Sea is Meltemi, a powerful dry north wind that regularly buffets the Cyclades. Strongest in the afternoon, it usually dies down at night … but Meltemi can last for days.
7. Avoid the tap water.
Whereas tap water is safe to drink throughout most of Europe, including mainland Greece, bottled water is the way to go on Milos. The concern is not bacteria, but salt. It’s still safe to brush your teeth and bathe in, but too salty to drink safely.
From turquoise waters, breathtaking beaches & whitewashed villages Milos Island has something for everyone. I hope that this guide will help you plan the perfect trip to Milos. While I haven’t been to many Greek Islands, there’s no doubt that this one is special!
Have any suggestions for Milos that I missed? Leave a comment below!
All images for this blog post were created in collaboration with Quin Schrock.