Milos, a hidden beauty in the Cyclades
September 7, 2005
A Greek island spared from mass tourist hordes
Milos is a sleeping beauty, a small island that hasn't been reached by mass tourism — just the kind of place that island-hoppers in Greece are looking for.
The island lies outside the main channels, which is why it's been spared the hordes. There are no goldsmiths here as in Santorini; no nightlife as on Mykonos; and no bustling beachfront walk as on Naxos.
Instead, Milos is peaceful and prosperous. Everything is in bloom in August, which is when Greeks — and Greek ex-pats — come to vacation here. The rest of the year, the island thrives because of its metal industry. In the shops, you can find lovely smelling Italian ham and quality Greek wines.
The boats anchor at Adamas, a medium-sized village where most tourists stay. Adamas has shops, cafes, car rentals and a miniature museum, and the harbour taverna O Flisbos has been awarded a European gourmet prize for its homey fare.
Adamas stretches over a hill, and as on many of the Cyclades islands, the houses look like small lumps of sugar, glistening white against the summer sky. In the mix of colours are red oleander, purple bougainvillea and glimpses of the blue sea.
On Milos, there is a beach for every day of the week and every mood, which makes for a visit full of variety. One day, you'll find good swimming beaches and the next, cliffs to dive from or a splendidly desolate spot.
Most renowned is Paleohora in the southeast, a 1 km-long sand beach with tavernas and a bus stop. Most of the sunbathers have some kind of swimsuit on. On Hivadolimano, a sandy beach that disappears in the mist, even the most hopeless cases get a tan.
The smooth sand white cliffs in Sarakiniko are popular. The water is deep, dark and rich with fish.
Milos contribution to history is the Venus di Milo, the celebrated statue displayed at the Louvre in Paris, which was long regarded as the epitome of harmonious female beauty.
In 1820, a farmer named Giorgios Kentrokas found one half of the statue in a cave. Soon after that a French officer found the other half and sent word to the French consul in Istanbul. After a great drama, the piece of art ended up in Paris, but during the struggle Venus lost both her arms.
On Milos, you can also find an antique amphitheatre and catacombs, graves from early Christian times. Parts of the catacombs are sporadically open to the public.
Among the island's best features is the old capital Plaka, with its tavernas and narrow alleys. Clearly, Orthodox priests were good at picking sites for their churches, because the view from the local church is fantastic. At sunset, nearby benches are filled with old Greek women, and young people admire the view sitting on the wall. From there, you can see all of the bay, the neighbouring island Kimolos and miles and miles of the ocean.
Ingvar von Malmborg for Metronews Canada