Like any place, either you love it or you don’t, and the same goes for the Greek islands. I’ve only visited 10 Greek islands so far and you don’t have to love them all. Sometimes places resonate with you or they don’t. And Milos didn’t for me. Here’s why 2 days on Milos Greece was enough.
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I have to admit, this post is not fair to Milos because I know there are plenty of things to rave about on Milos. I booked four nights, but cut it short to two. And the biggest caveat to all this is that I was on foot.
But like anything, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Whether it’s an interview or a first date, I could sense quite quickly, Milos and I would not have a long-standing romance.
My Ferry Arrived at Night
When I plan trips between the Greek islands, I need to consider when I’m arriving, especially when I’m traveling alone. The only ferry available from Naxos to Milos leaves at 5:30pm getting into Milos at 8pm. Typically this isn’t a problem except that the ferry left late, and we are in the middle of September when the days get shorter. I arrive in Milos around 9pm and it was dark.
Usually I book a place near the port if I arrive late and this was no different. I wasn’t exactly at the port, but it was still in town, around 1/4 mile from the ferry terminal.
I was excited as I disembarked the ferry. There was definitely a buzz around the port with folks dining at the outdoor restaurants. I then passed a couple of restaurants with people focused on a screen at the far end of the restaurant. What were they watching? English football/soccer… That never a good sign.
Finding my Apartment in the Dark
I continued past the diners and followed the route up to my apartment accommodation. Then, all of a sudden, there were no more shops, bakeries, eateries, and it was dark. And I wasn’t there yet.
I continued over a small, narrow bridge that had no sidewalks on either side, so I had to watch for traffic while navigating my map app. Then I took the next right, then a left, onto a dark, dirt road. Not my cup of tea. There were lots of cars parked sporadically on this dirt road, and as I mentioned it was dark. I was using my phone’s flashlight to guide me.
Eventually I found my accommodation where the owner was waiting. Lovely guys. He kindly went through the lay of the land, what’s where, the beaches – bla, bla, bla.
All I’m thinking is that it’s late, I haven’t had dinner, I need to back down that dark route, and I didn’t want to waste time hearing about this cove or that cove… at least not right now.
Adamas, the Port Town
So I got checked in and went back to Adamas, the port town, for dinner. I really wanted to get in and out before it was really, really late. At least now I knew the route.
I checked a few of the restaurants along the port, carefully avoiding the English football crowds. One looked promising and I was second in line for a table. All of a sudden, a woman at a table in front called the waiter over and said, “I think there is something wrong with these beans.”
She lifted up the plate and smelled them and made a face like the beans were spoiled. The waiter sniffed accordingly and took the plate back into the kitchen. I decided I would move onto a different restaurant…
A few doors down there was a different restaurant with a variety of people dining outside and this, too, looked promising. Menu items were a mix of Greek, Italian and an assortment of what you’d expect at a TGIFridays. Whatever. The dining choices were not like the Naxos food I sampled a few days ago. It was much more commercial.
I sat down and within 15 minutes I heard three different tables says, “We asked for the bill 15 minutes ago…” And the waiter shouted, “It’s coming.” The place had a decent number of tables, but there were 4 waiters, the owner and owner’s wife all shuffling around servicing the tables.
Any rate, the food was fine, and because I arrived late, the crowd had thinned out by the time I asked for the bill.
Is Adamas Town better by day?
The next morning, I got up early and made coffee in my room to enjoy on my balcony. When I opened the balcony door, I found a mini jungle. The greenery hadn’t been trimmed in months and branches had crept over the railings making it difficult to arrange the space. Then the bees arrived….Oh, FFS! Back inside I go.
So, I went back into Adamas to have breakfast and check out the shops. There were a few cafes open, but they were mainly takeout. If there was a table outside, there was only one and it was already occupied.
I found a place in front of the port with tables and ordered a chocolate croissant and cappuccino. What I got was a big, bread-style croissant with Nutella slathered inside. Not a fan of Nutella, I squeezed out as much as I could so there was only a hint of chocolate on my bread.
Filled up by my bread-y breakfast, I decided to check out the shops. Hmmm. What shops? There aren’t any. You have a few along the main port street with tourist items for the beach, and very little of interest off the main drag. Seriously? Nothing. Car, bike, motor rental companies and a few excursion and ferry booking shops. Alright, then…
What I wanted to see in 2 days on Milos?
There were only 2 things on the island I really wanted to see, and they were two unique beach areas. Kleftiko Beach and Sarakiniko Beach. I guess I can walk to Sarakiniko – at least that’s what my hotel owner said on the fly last night.
I didn’t want to waste time, so I booked a boat tour to Kleftiko beach for that afternoon. It was a 4 hour tour leaving at 3p and includes a stop at Geronatas Beach as well. The cost is $30 and the boat picks you up on the south end of the island. Oh, you aren’t driving? Well the transfer to the boat will be another $9 … Patience…
Seriously? We are on the main port, why aren’t there boats that leave from here and do the south side of the island. Maybe it was the season, maybe it was the day. We’ve had a lot of windy days here on the Cycladic islands.
Any rate, I was beginning to find the island more trouble than it was worth.
It’s clearly an island where you need a car
I like an island that has both boat and bus excursions for guests. Here, you could only go by boat or by car. There were no organized bus tours anywhere. If you wanted to go by bus, you’d have to take the local bus, and there would be no explanation of what, if anything, you passed along the way.
I didn’t rent a car for a couple of reasons: 1) my license is expired, and 2) I don’t like being in a car – but a bus is fine! You also can’t rent a car or a 4-wheeler on Milos if you didn’t have an international driver’s license, from what I heard from other guests.
But it is clear Milos island is a big rental car island. In fact, some places reminded me of a crappy used car lot. There were so many cars that were filthy because of the dirt roads. Some vehicles were abandoned. There were also lots of motor bikes and small 4x4s. On many of the islands, you can’t waste precious water cleaning your car. You wait for the rain and use that.
I wasn’t keen on taking the local bus because it would take twice a long to get where I wanted to go because it makes frequent stops. Plus, you don’t know what you are seeing. I could have taken a taxi from place to place, but that seemed like an awful expense to go from point A to B. And then hope to get another taxi back. Again, too much hassle for me.
Boat trip to Kleftiko Beach
I decided on the day boat trip. I went to the pick up point for the boat tour and from there we drove 20 minutes to the pier where the boat leaves on the south side of the island.
The pier seemed a bit makeshift and I couldn’t tell whether the whole area was new or already run down. The steps down to the pier were quite steep and there was no handrail. I didn’t have an issue with it, but the guy in the photo below had a heart attack last year and he was quite concerned about walking down and then how difficult it would be walking back up. Not ideal.
The boat trip was fine, although the speed at which the captain was driving could have been sped up and the whole trip would have been two hours instead of four. Or he could have included other coves and beaches. We were trolling the coast line and less powerful boats were passing us by. Again, no explanation of what we were seeing. We had two destination, and they were simply Kleftiko Beach and Gerontas Beach.
The boat was good-sized and could accommodate 60 people, but luckily there were only about 25 of us.
We finally arrive at Kleftiko and had the chance to jump off the boat into the water. To be honest, I was really hoping we would arrive closer to the actual beach like I did on Lipari Island in the Aeolian Islands. I’m not one to jump into the sea and prefer to go in slowly from the beach side. Maybe I was just having a prima donna day. The water was truly beautiful, but the shock of cold jumping in wasn’t for me.
We stayed there an hour while people splashed around in the water. Those who stayed on board simply watched these two guys eat their lunch. We could hear everything they were saying since we were so close to them. All that space and you have to park next to a bat mobile? Then we watched these guys fly their drone, lose their drone in the sea, go swimming for their drone and bring it back out of the water… Entertaining.
We had a few canapés on board, some coffee, water and a local liquor. Then we headed for Gerontas Beach. By the time we got to Gerontas, it was already 5:30 and the cool breeze was not encouraging anyone to take a second dip. We really didn’t stay all that long and then trolled back to the pier.
Back in Adamas Town, the heart-attack couple asked if I wanted to dine with them and they were going to head to one of the English football restaurants at the port. I kindly bowed out knowing I wanted to do a b-line for the ferry agency to get the next boat out.
While I never made it to Sarakiniko Beach, the hotel owner did tell me I needed to be careful to not climb out of the water on the rock side. There are anemones there that will sting you like a jelly fish. You have to enter and exit via the beach. Good to know…
I ended up dining further away from the port area that evening, away from the football crowd. I found a cute place along the sea. It was a nice meal that ended early, and I was glad to get back to my room by 10pm knowing that my 2 days on Milos Greece would come to an end. Tomorrow at 9a I would be on a ship to the island to Paros.
Maybe next time, Milos. Maybe not.