Milos Island, Greece: A Treasure Trove Of Hidden Beaches
It’s Sunday as my boyfriend and I walk from the bus stop to our guesthouse on Milos island, in Greece, and I feel as though I’ve arrived in a ghost town. Square white houses line a gleaming cobblestone street, but each has shutter windows and doors tightly closed. The houses are evidence that the village of Trypiti has residents, but in the six minutes it takes for me to walk its length, I encounter only sleeping cats.
It’s immediately clear to me that Milos island will offer a more relaxed and authentic experience than the neighbouring island of Santorini. Not that I’m complaining, a slice of ‘off the beaten path’ travel is the reason I included Milos on a ten-day tour of the Cyclades.
So, eager to explore my surroundings, I offload a 16kg backpack at my home for the next three days. Then Dave and I set off into the countryside on a rental scooter.
Breathtaking Find Number One On Milos Island – Klima
Just ten minutes into a scooter ride down the rolling hills that descend from Trypiti to the ocean, I find the place that inspired my visit to Milos. It’s a village called Klima, and it contains a dozen multi-coloured houses, sitting in a row on the water’s edge. The houses are separated from the sea by just a metre of concrete. In fact, the tide comes in so close, that a signpost warns tourists ‘Caution, floor may be slippery when wet’.
What’s special about these houses though, is that fishermen live only on the upper levels, using the ground floor to store their boats throughout the winter. They are also the prettiest collection of quaint, colourful houses that I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Dave and I waste a good hour in Klima, studying the quirks of each building. Some are rustic, with fading paint on rickety wooden steps, and others boast pristine white stone stairs, contrasted with boldly decorated doors. A few are painted in the traditional blue of Greece architecture, but others are orange, red, purple, or pink.
“Nothing can beat this part of Milos,” I think to myself as I leave Klima to explore elsewhere. Then I journey to the nearby town of Plaka…
Wandering Plaka During Siesta
By the time our scooter idles into a small car park in the popular town of Plaka, those few residents usually manning stores or walking the maze-like streets, have taken refuge indoors for siesta.
The streets are not unlike Oia, in Santorini. I marvel at the luxury of having the alleyways to explore completely alone, in the middle of the afternoon, something that simply wouldn’t be possible in Oia.
Bougainvillea overhangs the doorways, adding vibrant pink to the otherwise white and blue collection of homes. Ever the Instagram-er, I pause to capture shots of stairs that seemingly lead to nowhere, and hidden pathways just begging to be followed.
Without realising, we while away the entire afternoon by rounding corners and spontaneously choosing alleyways to roam. As the sun begins to set, the town wakes from its slumber and residents and tourists appear in alfresco restaurants and boutique shop fronts selling jewellery and homemade goods.
Returning to our budget yet cosy accommodation in Trypiti, Dave and I enjoy incredible sunset views from our balcony, before sampling traditional Gyros from a nearby bar.
Less than twenty-four hours on Milos island and I’m completely charmed by it.
Day Two – A Walk On The Moon
Having risen with the sun the following morning, Dave and I jump on our trusty scooter and make our way to another novel experience in Milos; a place called Sarakiniko.
Full of smoothly curved rocks that bend around the ocean, Sarakiniko provides ideally sheltered spots for sunbathers and those that wish to paddle in the naturally formed bays.
More than this though, the virtually white rocks rise and fall in a way that almost tricks us into believing we could be on the moon, as we clamber through small crevices and emerge into wide open canyons.
We walk until we are away from most other bathers, and find the perfect resting spot on a rocky peak, overlooking a cave. With no current to wrestle and enough depth to avoid hitting any submerged rocks, we throw ourselves into the ocean – well, after some failed attempts by me (I like to think I’m cautious, but I think it can also be called a ‘scaredy-cat’!).
Swimming through lukewarm water, I explore the cave, wishing I’d brought a snorkel to better see what lies beneath. I bask in the sun’s rays, just floating on the surface of the sea, and note how completely relaxed I feel in this part of the world. So much so, that the majority of our day is spent here, lazing on the rocks like sea lions.
Eventually, we head back to the guesthouse, making a pit stop at the tiny town of Firopotamos. It’s another cutesy row of sea-lined square houses built into the cliff-side, with the obligatory dome-roofed church raised above them.
That evening, we watch the sky turn fiery red as the sun descends behind mountainous islands in the distance, and enjoy the peace of our idyllic guesthouse retreat.
The Final Day – Hidden Beaches & Caves
As I rise for the third and final day on the island of Milos, I am already wishing I’d allowed myself more time here. Still, our boat to Paros doesn’t leave until this evening, so we have time to spend discovering the many hidden beaches and coves that we’ve heard about from others.
Keen to make it to the best spots before anyone else, we are zooming across the island whilst the sun is only just beginning its emergence on the horizon.
Our first destination is Alogomantra beach, which is empty except for a lone gentleman who hurriedly wraps a towel around his naked waist upon seeing us. Averting our eyes (though unfortunately not quite quick enough!) we wait for the man to leave before walking the length of the beach under the shadow of a gigantic curving cliff.
Tossing my flip-flops onto the sand, I wade knee-deep into the water, which is surprisingly warm, and watch the sun cast pink hues on the clouds. Then it’s back to the scooter and we continue our coastal tour to the next stop.
Papafragas – A Sea Cave To Swim In
Upon arrival at Papafragas, it appears that you can only view the narrow and almost completely enclosed sea pool from the towering cliffs above. After a little investigation though, Dave and I find a route down to the sand, which isn’t entirely safe but manageable all the same.
Inspired by how hidden and difficult to access this swimming spot is, I strip off and jump into the water, then take a swim through the parallel cliff walls to the opening of the bay into the sea. It is without a doubt the most unique place I have swum to date.
Thinking that we’ve surely lucked out now and there can’t possibly be any more natural surprises on the wonderful Milos Island, Dave and I drive to the other side of the island in search of Tsigrado Beach.
Tsigrado Beach – Climb Into Paradise
Of course, we are completely wrong.
Arriving at the entrance to Tsigrado beach we find ourselves looking over a fairly small and bright blue bay. The view from above is magnificent in itself and I’m a little awestruck for a minute.
Even better though, is the journey down to the beach.
It turns out that the only way to access the sand lying metres below is through a thin gap in the rock. The climb is steep, but a very nice person in charge at Milos Island has inserted a ladder and attached rope, making it more like a mini obstacle course.
After scrambling our way safely down the wooden makeshift stairs, we find ourselves sharing a glorious sandy beach with only six other people. It’s remote, it’s quiet, it’s calm, and it’s everything I imagined Milos to be.
Regretfully, the time comes to leave Milos Island. I can’t stress enough what an amazing few days I’ve had. If you’re thinking about which destinations to include on an island hopping tour of Greece, I urge you to consider Milos. Unless you hate stunning hidden beaches and fairy-tale-like towns, you’ll love it as much as I have.
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