Milos is a volcanic island with rocks sculpted by nature itself, with multicoloured beaches and secluded catacombs, a Cycladic landscape of unique natural beauty.
Geological, morphological, historical and cultural indications of its progressive course through time are evident all over the island.
Milos appears in history in the Mesolithic period due to the obsidian, it flourished during the Minoan-Mycenaean era and reaches big acme in the Classical period. It continues to contribute actively and productively throughout the Roman rule, the early Christian years and the Latin domination.
After a dark interval of three centuries it dynamically reenters the socio-economic life of Greece in the beginning of the 20th century.
Basic facts about Milos
- Area: 151 sq. km
- Coastline: 125 km
- Number of beaches: More than 71!
- Distance from Piraeus port: 86 nautical miles/5-7,5 hrs with conventional boats/2,5-4,5 hrs with high speed boats
- Length of flight from El. Venizelos Airport (Athens): 25′
- Highest point: 751 m (hill of Prophet Elias)
- Residents: 5000 people
Historical moments of Milos
According to Greek mythology, Milos was the son of River Skamanddros who colonized the island, following the directive of goddess Venus (Aphrodite).
The city of Phylakopi developed during the Minoan period as the trade centre of the obsidian, a highly valued volcanic mineral.
The ancient polis of Klima reached a big acme during the archaic (7th-6th c. AD) and the classical (5th-4th c. AD) periods. It was surrounded by strong walls that reached downhill to the sea and was adorned with monumental buildings and exquisite works of art, an indication of great prosperity. The city minted silver coins and developed its own alphabet. It is estimated that its theatre could accommodate up to 7000 spectators.
The catacombs of Milos are considered the second most important Paleo-Christian monument in the world, after those of Rome. Carved in soft pumice stone, initially in natural caverns, between the village of Tripiti and the ancient city of Klima, they lie about 150 m above sea level and have an explored length of 184 m.
Aphrodite of Milos (Venus de Milo), the statue that made Milos renowned worldwide, was created at the end of the Hellistic period (323-146 BC). It is believed that with the right hand she lifted up her drapery. With the left hand she held the apple, the “symbol of beauty”, which according to the legend, Paris offered to her – “to the fairest”. A replica of the statue is exhibited at the Archaeological museum of Milos.
The nature of Milos
The volcanic island of Milos started emerging from the Aegean Sea around 2.7-1.8 million years ago as a consequence of the subduction of the African tectonic plate beneath the Eurasian plate.
Cape Vani designates the western entry point to the gulf of Milos. Million of years ago it used to be the bottom of a submarine volcano crater. Manganese deposits were formed here.
Kalamos lies over the gulf of Ag. Kyriaki. One of the oldest volcanic centers on the SE coast of the island, part of the volcanic arch of the southern Aegean. High temperatures in great depth create fumaroles emitting gases which escape to hte surface in temperatures close to 100 C. The steam is visible form far away and the smell of sulphur intense.
Miles has many hot springs known for their therapeutic effects since antiquity. Water compostion viaries and temperatures reach up to 90 C. You may enjoy them freely while swimming in the sea where they occur as steam rising from the seabed or at “Lakkos bathhouse” in Adamas (tel: 22873 60100)
The villages of Milos
Adamas (Greek for diamond) is the main port of Milos, one of the biggest naturally formed gulfs in the Mediterranean. The settlement has been preserved with its initial architecture of the 19th century. Today, it is the biggest centre of activity on Milos with shops, cafés and restaurants.
Pollonia, the second port on the island, is a colourful tourist village which also is the main point of transit to the island of Kimolos. It is situated in a small gulf on the NE side of the island, with a sandy beach and Tamarix trees. It has tavernas and coffee shops by the sea.
Tripiti is a traditional village abover the ruins of the classical town of Klima. Many natural holes caused by the softness of the ground have given the name to the area – the Greek word for hollow is ‘tripitos’. In antiquity the area was used as burial grounds. In Tripiti you will see the characteristic windmills, today converted into comfortable lodgings.
Zefyria is a medieval town established by the Venetians in the 13th century in a big and fertile plain. It soon became the capital of the island. At the end of the 18th century after the explosion of the volcano of Santorini in 1650 and the powerful earthquakes of 1738, Zefyria was abandoned and the population relocated to the castle (Kastro). Today it is a thriving rural community.
Plakes was built near the castle in the beginning of the 19th century on a flat area. Here the local cultural club organizes various events throughout the year.
Plaka (Greek for a level or a plane region) is the capital of Milos. during the 18th century serious illnesses saused the people to abandon the Old Chora, Zefyria, but soon the castle offered insufficient space to the rapidly rising population and therefore the new villages started spreading around: Plaka, Triovasaloi, Trypiti. Plaka has paved, picturesque alleys, built according to the needs of the time back then, for protection against attacks, since piracy was still a common threat on the Aegean. From here you can enjoy spectacular view to the entry of the harbour, especially at sunset.
Some of the 70 beaches
Daytrip on board Thalassitra
The boat “Thalassitra” is an exact copy of a traditional “trechandiri” (light-fast sailing boat) of Milos that was built in 2008. Equipped with all modern ficilities, it is 20 metres long and can carry up to 49 persons. “Thalassitra” will be sailing you away around the beaches of Milos and Polyegos stopping to let you swim in places of amazing beauty. If you would like to island hop around the Cyclades you can charter the boat for as many days as you like.
Things to do
Milos has many activites to offer to its visitors. Sea kayak, diving, climbing, horseback riding, hiking, and health traveling to hot springs, just to mention a few.
Please visit this link to our Milos post for further, more specific information.
Archaeological Museum, Plaka
Open: 8:00 – 15:00 (except Mon.)
Ecclesiastical Museum, Adamas
at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Agia Triada)
Open: 9:15 – 13:15 & 18:15 – 22:15 (except Sun.)
Naval Museum, Adamas
Open: 15/6 – 15/9 18:00 – 22:00 (daily)
Sand Museum, Plaka
Open: 1/7 – 30/9 10:00 – 24:00 (daily)
Folk & History Museum, Plaka
Open: 1/6 – 7/9 10:00 – 13:00 & 18:00 – 21:00 (except Mon.)
8/9 – 9/10 10:00 – 13:00 (except Mon.)
Mining Museum, Adamas
Open: 1/6 – 30/9 9:30 – 14:00 & 17:30 – 22:00 (daily) Oct & May 9:30 – 14:00 & 17:30 – 20:30 (daily)
Catacombs of Milos, Trypiti
Open: 8:30 – 13:00 (except Mon.)
Ancient City of Klima, Trypiti
Open till dusk.
Ancient City of Phylakopi, Phylakopi
Open: 8:00 – 15:00 (except Mon.)