Greek Guide

Milos Island Greece Guide Milos

Milos Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Milos is the westernmost of the Greek Cyclades Islands located in the Aegean Sea 160 kilometres south east of the mainland port of Piraeus. It's an extraordinary island where five million years of volcanic activity have left a mesmerising legacy of tangled rock formations, geothermal springs and beautiful beaches of red, gold, black and white. Small wonder they call this the Island of Colours the ever changing kaleidoscope of colour to be found in the volcanic rocks, the sand and pebble shoreline and spectacular sunsets never fails to impress the first time visitor. The island has so far managed to avoid mass market tourism but it offers a wealth of treasures to those seeking an alternative to the "sun, sand and sex" scenario of the most popular spots in the archipelago.

You can fly to Milos from Athens with Olympic Airways but the majority of seats are generally taken up by employees of the mining industry which has long been the prime source of income for this mineral rich island. Most tourists arrive by ferry from Piraeus or one of the neighbouring islands. There are daily ferries to and from Piraeus (about seven hours) and the Cycladic islands of Ios, Kythnos, Santorini, Sifnos and Serifos. Flying Dolphin hydrofoils (much more expensive but nearly twice as fast) run frequently to and from Piraeus, Amorgos, Serifos and Sifnos.

You'll arrive by boat in one of the world's most beautiful natural harbours not quite as spectacular as the famous Caldera of Santorini perhaps but certainly a close rival. It was created by one of the many volcanic eruptions which have formed the unique character of this island over the millennia. Milos is part of the Aegean Volcanic Arc (formed by the submergence of the African plate beneath the Aegean Sea) which stretches from the Corinthian Gulf to the west coast of Turkey. Millions of years worth of volcanic activity are evident in the weird white lunar landscape of Sarakiniko, on the north coast, in the organ pipe formations of the tiny Glaronisia islet and the sulphurous blue waters of Papafragas.

The island is steeped in history and still bears the remains of ancient towns built between 2300 and 1100 BC. One of its darkest periods was in the 5th century BC when the island incurred the wrath of Athens by its refusal to support the mighty city state during the Peloponnesian Wars. Athenians took their revenge by massacring all the men on the island and taking the women and children into slavery.

The ancient Christian catacombs and Roman amphitheatre (still used for live performances) near the island capital Plaka are further evidence of the island's colourful past.

But without a doubt the island's greatest claim to fame and its greatest ever loss is the Aphrodite of Milos (also known as the Venus de Milo) which is one of the world's most famous statues, now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The statue of the goddess of love was found on the island by a local farmer in 1820 but was removed by the French and presented to Louis XVIII as a gift.