Why charter a yacht in Milos
The ‘island of colours’, as Milos is known, has plenty to offer, including myriad pristine beaches, fascinating rock formations, and rich history and culture. In Milos, you’ll never see the same thing twice. The sheer variety of the island is astounding – for example, Milos has more than 70 beaches! Milos is home to several colourful fishing villages which are great for exploring. In the summer, the island comes alive with festivals like the annual Festival of Milos in July.
One of the island’s claims to fame is that the statue of Venus de Milo was discovered here in 1820. The original is now one of the Louvre’s most prized possessions (although there is a petition to bring her home). In Milos, you can see a replica of the statue in the Archaeological Museum in Plaka, and you can visit the site of its discovery right by the Ancient Theatre of Milos. The island is also famous for its history of mineral extraction which dates from the Neolithic period.
Chartering a yacht allows you to view Milos’s dramatic shoreline and surreal rock formations from a distance, from the comfort of your indoor saloon or deck. A large chunk of Milos is off-limits to rental vehicles because of bad roads and the prevalence of the Milos viper, but on a private yacht charter, you’ll simply cruise around the island as you please. Tie up at hidden beaches and choose your own way to discover all the forgotten corners of enigmatic Milos.
No, not the lamb dish, we mean the beach in the southwest of Milos! This rocky beach can only be reached by sea (note: there is a hiking trail, but it’s not advisable to walk). The meteoric rock formations and natural sea caves along the shoreline are really a sight to behold. Boats and yachts often stop here for several hours, enough time for some swimming, snorkelling and perhaps enjoying a gourmet picnic or alfresco lunch on the deck of your yacht.
Another breathtaking beach on Milos is Sarakiniko, located in the north of the island. Over time, the huge white volcanic rocks have been bent back and eroded. The result is that they look a lot like the surface of the moon! With its lunar landscapes and white pumice stone, this beach is the perfect setting for some great Instagram snaps.
Kimolos is a tiny volcanic island, boasting clear waters, thermal springs, and beautiful beaches. Visit the sea cave of Gerakia, the nearby uninhabited island of Polyaigos packed with rare species of fauna and flora as well as gorgeous, exotic beaches, and, of course, Skiadi, a rare, striking geological formation also referred to as ‘the stone mushroom’!
Ancient Theatre of Milos
Visit the remains of a Roman amphitheatre that once held 8000 people. The theatre originated in 3rd century BC but was destroyed in Roman times and rebuilt with a gorgeous marble facade. The theatre remains well preserved and is nestled on a hilltop, offering stunning views over the bay. It was also right by the theatre that the marble statue of Aphrodite was discovered.
Early Christian catacombs
These catacombs in Tripiti (Trypiti) are second in historical significance to Rome’s. They date from the 1st century and are the most famous Christian world monuments alongside the catacombs of Rome and of the Holy Land. They were used by Early Christians first as a burial site and later as a place of worship and refuge. Wander through the eerie passageways and marvel at the tombs still preserved there.
In prehistoric Greek times, Fylakopi was one of the most significant Aegean cities. Because of the trading of obsidian stone, it developed rapidly and became a powerful city. It was destroyed and then rebuilt three times. The site is home to ruins and remnants dating back to the beginning of the Bronze Age. Flyakopi is now one of the most important Bronze Age settlements in the Aegean.
Archaeological Museum of Milos
You’ll find some truly fascinating exhibits in the Archaeological Museum, including the replica of Venus de Milo. Other exhibits date from the late Neolithic to the Byzantine period. The museum is housed in a charming neoclassical building in Plaka’s main square.
Milos’s mining museum and geological sites
Milos is a geologist’s paradise. As an island of volcanic origin, it has distinctive geology, which can be really interesting to explore, even beyond Kleftiko and Sarakiniko. Milos has a fascinating mining history, and The Mining Museum of Milos in Adamas organises seven different geo walks to the most important locations of geological and mining interest on the island (these walks are part of the Miloterranean initiative). One of the routes takes you to Kalamos, one of the island’s oldest volcanic centres. According to the website, the walks combine the expertise of geologists, mining engineers, foresters, cartographers and historians for a fascinating, unparalleled experience. For more information, visit www.miloterranean.gr
Top photo ops
Plaka – the capital of Plaka is one of the most scenic parts of the island. You’ll find typical Cycladic architecture, magical views over the sea, and a striking Venetian Castle dating back to the 13th century.
Klima fishing village – this colourful fishing village is sure to please any camera-happy visitors. Traditional fishermen’s houses are carved into the rocks, and doors are painted bright colours.
Arkoudes Rocks – cruise along the northern shoreline of Milos and you’ll discover these oddly-shaped rocks, which you’ll certainly want some snaps of.
Firiplaka beach – one of Greece’s prettiest beaches, this narrow beach lies between cliffs and the sea, with clear, warm water.
Tsigrado beach – right next door to Firiplaka is the tiny Tsigrado beach, just as beautiful and dramatic, with sheer cliffs dropping off to the sand.
Papafragas Beach – Papafragas Beach is an enormous cave carved out of the cliff face. The cave opens up to form a long, narrow swimming hole. Instead of climbing down the steep walls, you can anchor your private yacht near to the shore and enter by swimming through the narrow cave openings.
What to eat
Milos has plenty of mouth-watering specialities for you to try while you’re there. Some of my favourites are Pitarakia – traditional cheese pies with onion and spearmint, and Ladenia (a popular dish in Milos and Kimolos) – a Greek olive oil flatbread (a bit like pizza). Don’t leave Milos without tasting karpouzopita (watermelon cake) and sweet koufeto (a traditional sweet of white almonds in honey, typically offered at weddings).
What to buy
Because Milos is so rich in minerals, you might look for something special to take home from the island. In the gift shop at the Mining Museum, you’ll find samples of minerals, ores and fossils from Milos and all over the world and beautiful jewellery made of semi-precious stones. You can also buy unique jewellery at Κalimera in Adamas, a small, traditional workshop that sells silver and gold jewellery as well as mineral stones. Margarita is another shop selling handmade jewellery with semi-precious stones.
One of the main minerals mined on Milos is bentonite, aged volcanic ash which is sometimes used in skincare products as a detoxification aid, so look out for some local beauty products using this mineral. Kaolin is also widely present in Milos and ideal for homemade beauty treatments. Faskomilo is a popular shop in Adamas, specialising in exclusive handmade products like cosmetic essential oils and soaps, as well as Greek designer items.
When to go
Without a doubt, the best time to charter a yacht in the Cyclades is in the summer, which can extend all the way from late April to early November. The period from June to mid-July is particularly wonderful in the Cyclades. But by the end of July and throughout August, the Meltemi winds can start becoming a problem. Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy the added adrenaline brought on by the winds, but those in favour of a relaxing sailing experience might want to avoid chartering in the Aegean at this time of year.
It’s important to note, though, that the wind is only strong from about 12pm to 3pm and an experienced captain will know to plan the departure times and itinerary so that the weather has little to no effect on your holiday. You may have to be a bit flexible with the itinerary and allow the captain to try to work around the weather conditions. Be sure to check all of this with your broker if you plan to charter here during the Meltemi season.