Part 2 of 4: Adventures in Greece
We spent three perfect days exploring Milos, Greece in September, 2018. Milos is a small island in the Cyclades. Needless to say, charming is the perfect word to describe Milos. Less touristy than most places. There is an abundance of Greek culture and great food in the towns and villages. If you prefer unique beaches you will find plenty, considering there are over 70 beaches around Milo’s. You can even explore ancient ruins and catacombs. Like everyone we met in Greece, the people are warm and friendly. Milos is not busy like Santorini, hence, you can rent a car or an ATV and drive with barely any traffic. We were definitely looking forward to exploring Milos, Greece for the next three days. Looking for a quite peaceful perfect get away packed with things to do? Milos is your perfect destination!
Steve and I arrived by small plane from Athens after a 35 minute flight. We were going to explore Milos for three days. We knew we were in for a special treat when we saw the island from the air and landed at the small airport. After renting a car we began to explore. First stop was the Ancient Roman Theatre and Catacombs located near the village of Tripiti. Immediately we fell in love with the countryside along with the small villages we were traveling through. The Roman Theatre was beyond expectations. The marble Theatre sits on a hillside overlooking the sea. Built during the Hellenistic period, around 3 BC then completed by the Romans around 7 or 8 BC.
Hike to Prophet Ilias Chapel
We noticed a small chapel above the Roman Theatre on top of a hill and decided we wanted to climb up and see the chapel. Therefore, we followed a dirt path that led up hill, hoping it would reach the chapel. Walking through the countryside was tranquil as we passed age old walls handmade of stone. The walls were made for farming terraces, and appear to still be in use today. Meanwhile, hiking up, chickens and roosters were cackling and crowing in a small barnyard while a dog barked in the distance. My kind of thing! Here we were, just walking through Greece! Finally, we reached the top. The sea view was astounding, and the Chapel of the Prophet Ilias was overlooking the sea! It was a fun hike and I would do it again! So far I was loving Milos, Greece!
Next stop were the Catacombs which are located just down the hill from the Roman Theatre. This was a place we really looked forward to visiting and if you like history, religion, or just curios it is a must see. You can tour a section of the Catacombs with a tour guide. The tour is not long but it is informative and fascinating. I am not a fan of caves but this was really cool and did not bother me at all. The catacombs date back to somewhere between the 1st and 5th century. They were used by the early Christians in Milos to bury their dead and to conduct church services. They chose this area to hide their Christianity to avoid Roman Persecution.
After a busy morning it was time for lunch. I knew I wanted to eat lunch in the village of Plaka which was a few minutes away from where we had explored. The streets were narrow so we parked the car and took our own little walking tour.
Plaka is an adorable village, exactly what you would picture a Greek Island village to be! White washed homes and buildings complete with bright blue doors and trim. Narrow cobblestone streets with pink flowers growing over the buildings shading the streets. Outdoor cafes with brightly painted chairs and tables finished off this picturesque village. I was almost giddy with enchantment as we roamed the streets.
It was rest time, most of the shops were shut down for the afternoon. Consequently, few people were around. Regardless, we were able to find a few shops and cafes open. We managed to wander into Palaios Coffee and Pastry Shop. We sat outside on the lovely garden terrace sharing SpinachPie and Orange Pie (which is actually a type of cake). The food was amazing, the ambiance relaxing, and the service was good. Consequently, we were all smiles as we were having such a wonderful day. If you are in this area I highly recommend this place. As a matter of fact, we enjoyed it so much we returned 2 days later for Baklava.
Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel
After buying a few souvenirs at Plaka we decided to call it a day and check out our accommodations for the next three nights. We were staying at the Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel in Pollonia, a small seaside village. Milos Breeze sits on a small hill overlooking the village and the sea. The village is just a short walk down the hill. The accommodations were simple but elegant with windows to make the room bright and airy. Our room had a panoramic view of the sea with our own terrace and small private pool. The room was comfortable and tastefully decorated. Steve and I were both amazed at this place, definitely exceeded our expectations. We spent a comfortable three nights here and truly relaxed in the ambiance. This was a perfect place to return to each night after exploring Milos.
My Greek Wine Experience
Supper our first night was quite the experience. We walked to the restaurant Armenaki in Pollonia, just down the hill from our hotel. We sat at a table along the water. It was a beautiful night. Steve ordered shrimp, I ordered braised beef. All seemed perfect, until I made an embarrassing error. I ordered a local wine.
The waiter brought us bread, olive oil, a bottle of lemonade for Steve, a small pitcher and 2 glasses. While Steve was pouring his lemonade, I wondered if my wine was in the pitcher. Becoming impatient, I decided my wine must be in the pitcher. So I poured it. It looked like wine, so I filled my glass, and was pleased with the generous serving. Anticipating something special, I took a sip. Oh my! it did not taste good at all! Wondering if all Greek wine tasted this way, I sampled another sip. Just as bad. I cleansed my pallet with a piece of bread and then I took a large gulp. I thought I could become accustomed to it. Not a good idea. It burned all the way down, I turned towards Steve explaining there was something wrong with the wine and maybe it was a bad batch.
The waiter came to the table with a bottle of wine, looking confused he asked who brought my wine, sheepishly I pointed to the little pitcher. The poor waiter, his eyes got big as he stammered saying, “That’s for the Bread! The Bread! That’s Vinegar, Balsamic Wine Vinegar!” I was so humiliated, I was thankful for the darkness of night to hide behind. My husband couldn’t stop laughing, the poor waiter was still in shock, speaking in Greek he cleared away the wine glass and pitcher as another waiter brought a clean glass, poured my wine, then brought more vinegar for the bread. So much for appearing well traveled. The rest of the meal went smooth.
The food was very tasty, the waiter even brought us dessert while he continued to joke with Steve about my wine. For the rest of the trip, every time I ordered wine, Steve would start to chuckle. That ends our first day in Milos!:
Boat Trip on the Aegean Sea
Awoke to another beautiful morning and had a delicious breakfast at our Hotel. We were transported to the village for a Catamaran Tour. We had a 6 hour tour booked with Travel Me to Milos.
Seeing Milos from the Aegean Sea on a Catamaran was thrilling. The catamaran was only sailing along one side of the island instead of around it. Due to an earlier storm, the water on the other side was to rough. We would not be swimming in the area of Kleftiko Beach, something we looked forward to, regardless the trip was still wonderful. The crew was enthusiastic and appeared to truly enjoy their work.
We stopped several times to swim in the Sea. The Aegean Sea is a beautiful deep blue water that has a high sulfur content so when you do swim, you are quite buoyant and we all swam without life jackets. The water is so clear you can see the bottom. We did not see much sea life, the guides told us this was due to the sulphur content in the sea. When lunch time came around the crew made us traditional Greek dishes including Pastitsio, a Greek lasagna type dish. Everything was delicious! It was a perfect day at sea and I will let the pictures tell the rest!
Back to Pollonia for dinner. We chose to eat at Rafaki which is a family operated restaurant and very friendly. The gentleman who sat us said his mother was the cook, he assured us we would have a wonderful meal. He was right. His mother was a great cook, our meal was wonderful. Our table again was along the water another beautiful night. I had my first chicken souvlaki which became a favorite of mine. Steve had shrimp. Steve ate shrimp 7 nights in a row and each one was different and each one he declared the best!!
Beach Day in Milos
Beach Day!! The Beaches of Milos are part of the reason we chose to visit this island because they looked so interesting and fun! We spent the last of our three days exploring the beaches of Milos, Greece and they were perfect! Since there are over 70 beaches on this tiny island Steve and I were going to see as many as we could. After a relaxing sleep and tasty breakfast at the hotel, Steve decided to rent a SUV. We had so much fun as he drove me from beach to beach!
Our first stop was less than 10 miles from our motel. Tsigrado Beach is a small beach with unique access. The sandy beach is reached by land. You climb down a cliff, via ladders and ropes. My kind of fun! The climb down and back up is not difficult. Be careful of your footing. The white sand on the beach and steep surrounding cliffs were a beautiful contrast to the blue Aegean Sea. The beach area is basically a small cove with some interesting rock formations surrounding on three sides. It was too early for a swim as there was a chill in the air, but we managed to have fun regardless.
Our next beach adventure was Firiplaka Beach. This beach was only a few minutes away from Tsigrado Beach but the road was very rough. Parking is at the top of a hill so there is about a 5 minute walk to the Beach and is an easy trek.
Firiplaka Beach is a more popular beach and boasts a beach bar, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Since the beach is a pebbly, rocky beach it’s not good for lying on the sand. This beach is great to soak up the sun on a beach chair. Perfect place for sunbathing! Exploring is what I enjoy and there is plenty of beach to explore. We spent a fair amount of time here and walked along the beach. Carefully stepping over the large rocks that covered the beach as we headed as far as we dared. Volcanoes formed the cliffs along the beach which created beautiful colors of oranges, yellows and pinks.
It was time for lunch, once again we headed to Plaka. Plaka is less than 25 minutes from where we were, regardless, the ATV was fun, the weather gorgeous, and we love the village of Plaka!
A small cafe called Taverna Ouzeri was our choice for lunch. Perfectly charming. We picked a table in the open terrace while an older gentleman brought menus. Immediately we knew we liked him. He was very friendly and took pride in his taverna. I asked about the moussaka and was told, “No moussaka today.” We heard a lady holler from inside, the man turned to us, smiled and said, “Mama says moussaka in 10 minutes”! This is what I so love about Greece! Steve had the moussaka while I had meatballs. I do love Greek meatballs! We enjoyed our home cooked meal then went for dessert back at Palaios where we devoured the Baklava. If you enjoy Baklava, this is the best! The flaky pastry and sweet nutty flavor is perfected.
Once lunch was over, we resumed our beach day. Our next stop was Firopatamos, which is about a mile and a half from Plaka. Due to the rather rough road it took about 10 minutes. We did not go down to the beach here instead we had fun exploring the view from the ancient ruins overlooking the sea. The ruins are of unknown use and origin from what little information I could find. Near the ruins there is a pretty church. It wasn’t open so we enjoyed it from outside. You can also visit a tiny fishing village below the church and ruins. This is area is so peaceful.
It is only 3.5 miles to Sarakiniko Beach, so we headed there. So much fun to see the countryside from the back of an ATV. You will find Sarakiniko Beach to be a very unusual beach since the beach is made of smooth white sandstone eroded over time by wind and water. This odd landscape looks like it belongs on another planet. This was our favorite beach for so many reasons. We climbed on the sandstone and down to the water where we swam under a natural arch. The water was turquoise blue and clear as can be. Everywhere you turned or looked was another great picture to be snapped. This was the most populated beach we visited but still not crowded. If you only decide to see one beach in Milos, this is it.
We drove 4 miles to our last beach stop of the day, Papafragas. Eager to play we hopped off the ATV. Unfortunately, our plan fell through. Going to Papafragas Beach is unique. You have to follow a path down a natural canal then swim through a cave to reach this beach! I thought this would be the best, therefore saved it for last. Sadly, the storm that prevented us from seeing Kleftiko Beach also kept us from this awesome experience. The path to hike down on was washed out and inaccessible. No complaints though, we had such a great beach day. I figure this is an excuse to go again?!?!? I absolutely love Milos, Greece!
Now that we worked up an appetite we were ready to eat! How could we not, with such a perfect day exploring the beaches of Milos. After returning to our hotel, we once again, strolled down to Pollonia for dinner. This time we chose Enalion, another great choice. I ordered wine, without incident this time. The waiter served us a cheese plate consisting of various types of goat and sheep cheese made in Milos. The cheese tasted so fresh with the variations, interestingly delicious. Of course, bread was served as well. Steve again decided to order shrimp and I had meatballs. Once again, the food, ambiance, and service were all outstanding.
Since we were leaving for Santorini in the morning, I was a bit sad. Even though I was excited to travel to Santorini, I was sorry we were leaving Milos. I think Milos is absolutely wonderful. There was so much to do and discover yet it was uncrowded and authentically Greek. If you are looking for an uncrowded authentic Greek experience, I highly recommend spending three days exploring Milos, Greece!
For more on adventures in Greece you can follow these links.