Milos is known as an erotic island, thanks largely to its romantically exotic beaches and clear waters. It was the place where the famous Venus de Milo statue was found, now in the Louvre, making Milos world-famous. The main town is Plaka, at the centre of which the Archaeological Museum has been standing since 1985. At Sarakiniko the landscape is almost lunar, with long white horizontal rocks spreading everywhere, forming a plateau leading to the sea. The rocks are eaten away by the salt water, giving the impression of having been sculpted and forming large and small depressions. At Pollonia (which took its name from Apollo) there are daily boat connections to Kimolos. The crossing takes about half an hour. Kimolos is an unexplored paradise. A small volcanic island, it has an infinite variety of rocks and is one of the few sanctuaries for the Mediterranean monk seal, an endangered species, while the hills contain rare species of snake, lizard, owl and rook.
The rocky formations of the coastline and the steep slopes of the island comprise natural shelters for several species of fauna and flora, while, along with the peek of Profitis Elias, they host the nests of rare predatory birds.
Milos is characterized by manifold rocky formations, such as the boulders of “Kleftiko” emerging from the sea, the volcanic rocky islets “Arkoudes (Bears)” and the vertical volcanic “sticks” – known as “Glaronisia (Seagull islands)”.
There are many caves on the island – among them the caves of “Papafragka” and “Vromolimni” – that were used as base camps for pirates, secret places for cult worship and hiding places in times of war.
Natura 2000 Areas – Habitats
A protective net for the unique ecosystems of Milos: the inclusion in the NATURA 2000 network of the land and coastal zone of the western part of the island – two areas with rare characteristics. For more information on the map zones please visit www.monomilos.gr.
Geology-Beaches-Therapeutic Hot Springs
Milos, along with Santorini, presents the most interesting volcanic geology in Greece.
The island consists, almost exclusively, of volcanic rocks, while its subsoil is rich in minerals and deposits. The extraction, processing and trading of the volcanic minerals of Milos have always been its main wealth-producing resource.
Milos is the largest centre for the production and exploitation of perlite in the E.E., while there are also deposits of kaolinite, pozzolana, sulfur, barite and gypsum in smaller quantities.
The island also has the finest sources of obsidian, which was used in the construction of tools from the late Middle Stone Age/Mesolithic Period.
Along its shores, which extend to 126 kilometres, there are 70 small and large deep blue beaches – sandy shores and beaches formed by impressive volcanic rocks, such as Sarakiniko and Theiafes.
Milos possesses one of the largest geothermal grounds in the world and is famous for its therapeutic hot springs (33οC to 44οC) which became known early on thanks to Hippocrates’ reference to them.
The Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean seal Monachus monachus, the rarest seal species, is 2.5 metres long, weighs 300 kilograms and has a lifespan of up to 45 years.
It is one of the six most endangered mammals in the world – and the most endangered in Europe. Today, it is protected by international, European and Greek legislation.
There are 300-400 seals of this species in Greece.
Its presence in Milos was recorded for the first time in 1990, when 19 different shelters for the Mediterranean seal were located on the island – 12 of them suitable for rest and 7 for reproduction.
The wider region of Milos-Kimolos-Polyaigos is one of the most important areas for the reproduction of the Mediterranean seal in Greece. Here, inside a cave in Kimolos, the birth of a young female Monachus monachus was first recorded.
Aristotle, who is considered to be the father of zoology, is the first who provided us with scientific data about the Mediterranean seal, in his work: “History of Animals”.
References to the Mediterranean seal can be found in at least two-hundred literary and scientific works by ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine writers.
Phylakopi prospered thanks to the trade of obsidian and gave its name to an entire archaeological period.
Arts were particularly developed in ancient Milos and pottery reached perfection. The magnificent “Melian amphorae (urns)” and the famous “Crater of Milos” (640 B.C.) are greatly admired today.
In the Hellenistic period, great works of art were produced on the island, such as the statue of Poseidon housed in the Archaeological Museum of Athens and the famous Aphrodite of Milos (Venus de Milo) that is now found in the Louvre Museum.
Theophrastus, in his work entitled “On Stones” makes a reference to the “soil of Milos”, which, mixed with colour, extended the vividness of the paintings.
Building activity on the island has been uninterrupted for 4,000 years. The new settlements, most of them built on the locations of the ancient ones, are of great architectural and folkloric significance.
Milos has remarkable museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, the Historical and Folklore Museum, the Ecclesiastical Museum and the Mining Museum.
Aphrodite of Milos
It was accidentally found in 1820 by the farmer Georgios Kentrotas, who was looking for water for his animals. An officer and the crew of a French ship who happened to be there forced the farmer to surrender the statue to them. Aphrodite’s sculptor, as well as the exact date of her creation, remains unknown. It is likely that she was holding an apple and shield in her hands, which are said to have been found broken next to the statue.
At the exact location where the statue was found, the ruins of an ancient theatre and stadium were also discovered. It is believed that Aphrodite adorned the entrance of the site.
It was originally sold for 400 piastres to the French and later for 750 piastres to the Ottomans, before it ended up for good in the Louvre Museum.
The poet Kostis Palamas was inspired by the Aphrodite of Milos for his poem “The Εmigrant Lady”. She revealed herself in the imagination of a great sculptor, whose name was forgotten by time. Her divine figure took life from his chisel and emerged dazzling through an unrefined piece of white marble. She was worshipped for a long time, set, as indicated, at the entrance of a stadium. And later, when the ancient gods were pursued, she found shelter in the earth of Milos and was covered by the dust of History. She was unearthed centuries later by the spade of an unsuspecting and lucky farmer who stumbled on her stone body, just a few meters away, outside the island’s ancient theatre. She was passionately claimed by both the French and the Ottomans. After an entire year, with her hands lost, probably during hasty transportation, she ended up as valuable loot on a French frigate. Leaving behind her birthplace for good, she settled, as a migrant but unquestionable leading lady, in the Louvre Museum. Since then, the goddess of love stands motionless in her high pedestal in Paris. Her emblematic image travels forever, passing on everywhere a glimpse of the Aegean light, epitomizing the ideal of beauty, charming millions of people and reminding everyone of the unique land of her origin: “Aphrodite of Milos”… A masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture, created between the 3rd and the 1st century B.C., which became a universal symbol, while remaining the most representative vestige of a unique civilization.
Catacombs – Churches
The catacombs of Milos are the only paleochristian monument in Greece and the second most important in Europe, after the catacombs of Rome. It is an underground network of galleries, spanning a length of 200 meters, which constituted a place of worship and a cemetery for the island’s early Christians. On the walls and the floor there are over 1,000 sliding graves, where an estimated total of 1,500 – 2,000 dead people have been buried. The catacombs were created around the 1st century A.D., and were discovered in 1843. Today, only one gallery is open to the public.
Their construction was facilitated by the loose soil of Trypiti and the soft volcanic tuff, into which they were carved.
There are over 350 churches and country churches in Milos, as well as 2 monasteries.
Most of the churches are built according to the simple Aegean style – snow-white and small, with vaulted ceilings.
The Byzantine Panagia tou Kipou (Our Lady of the Garden) is the earliest church on the island. Its interior houses fragments of a marble sarcophagus dating in the Hellenistic period.
Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) in Adamantas, one of the earliest churches in Milos, stands out for its architecture and rare Cretan-Byzantine icons.
Panagia Thalassitra (Our Lady of the Sea) is considered protectress of the island’s sailors.
SCUBA DIVING CENTER MILOS
Tel. 0030 22870-28077, 0030 697614846
MILOS SEA CLUB
Tel. 0030 22870-23003, 0030 6977 288847
Also try out one of the following activities by asking your local travel agent:
• Sea Excursions
• Sailing & Yachting
• Windsurfing & Kite surfing
• Trekking & footpaths
• Hot Springs
• Protected areas Natura 2000
• Traditional villages worth visiting
• Museums, archaeological and religious sites
GR-84800 Plaka, Milos, Cyclades, Greece
Tel.: 0030 22870 21370/ 21380
Milos Tourist Information Office
GR-84800 Adamas, Milos, Cyclades, Greece
Tel: 0030 22870 22445
How to arrive
There is an airline connection from Athens to Milos, daily.
There are more flights during the high season (May – October).
The journey takes 30 minutes and the airport is 4.5 km from Adamas.
Olympic Airways Office Athens Tel.: +30 801 801 0101
Olympic Airways Airport, Milos Tel.: +30 22870 22381
By ferry boat:
There are frequent sailings from Piraeus to Milos and daily during the summer season.
The direct service takes 5 hours but if the ship calls in at other ports, (Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Kimolos), it takes 7.15 hours.
During the summer there are also services which connect Milos with Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros, Santorini and Crete and to the islands of the eastern Cyclades.
There are also daily departures of High Speed ferries.
Port Police Pireaus Tel.: +30 210 41 47 800
Port Police Milos Tel.: +30 22870 23360
HealthThere is a Health Centre in Plaka which is open 24 hours a day with pathology, dentistry, X-ray and microbiological departments. During the summer, 20.06 to 10.09, there is also a cardiological and surgical department. The centre is also visited by doctors from Athens who specialise in the following: Pediatrics, ear nose and throat, ophthalmic, gynecology and orthopedics. Tel.: 0030 22870 22700, 22870 22701, 22870 22702.
Prefect’s office Tel. 0030 22870 21100
Town Hall, Plaka Tel. 0030 22870 21370
Tourist Information Office Tel. 0030 22870 22445
Police Station, Tel. 0030 Plaka22870 21204
Tourist Police, Tel. 0030 Plaka22870 21378
Port Police Tel. 0030 22870 23360
Customs House Tel. 0030 22870 22282
Airport Tel. 0030 22870 22381
Post Office Plaka Tel. 0030 22870 21214
Health Centre, Plaka Tel. 0030 22870 22701
Doctor’s Surgery, Adamas Tel. 0030 22870 21755
Sources: www.monomilos.gr, www.milos-island.gr, www.milos.gr.
Special thanks to photographers Nikos Vitsovits, Dimitris Poupalos, Christos Vlachos, Michael Tupay, Ioannis Ioannidis, Paschalis Marinos and the Municipality of Milos photographic archive.