Having basked under the beating Greek sun in Mykonos it was time to set our sights on another of the Cycladic islands – next up, Milos. Expectations were always high but having had such an incredible time in Mykonos (Scorpios and Mykonos Town were definite highlights) the bar had been raised yet higher. The plan had always been to visit three islands, each totally different in looks, personality and style, like the Spice Girls. Having checked the luxe party island off the list, Milos promised great things in the form of beaches, natural idyll and something a little more down to earth. This it was.
Knowing very little about Milos in advance of our trip we booked into Perla Rooms. There weren’t a huge number of options when it came to accommodation but on realising that the island is miniature we reasoned that you couldn’t get it too wrong in terms of location and so the spontaneous decision was made. What initially was a bit of a gamble turned out to be a stroke of genius (or, more likely, luck). Perla Rooms, whilst humble and basic, offered the perfect base for exploring the best bits of the island, as well as delving into the food scene of Pollonia (click here to book – you won’t regret it).
Our studio was just a short amble from the waterfront where family-run restaurants and cafes offered traditional, simple and beautifully refined food. Diners sat just back from the sand and the moonlit bay where they either laughed, chatted or sat in a content silence as they lapped up the scene, eyes glued to the view of paint-peeling boats bobbing in streaks of silver light. The atmosphere reminded me of Andratx (click here to relive the Mallorcan adventures) – an intriguing gelling of a playful buzziness with a subdued, relaxed, and easy-going calmness. It’s hard to describe but the most blissful of environments to find yourself in, and one which deserves nothing less than a beaming smile from ear to ear. Such was the case at Ammos- the friendliest of restaurants. We ate here every night without fail- a rarity for people who tend not to be creatures of habit. Once you have tasted their moussaka, seafood pasta, or fried fish will totally get it.
In tune with this more rustic and mellow way of life, the luxury of being driven round in taxis was scrapped, and instead we decided to saddle up and explore beautiful Milos on a spluttering, cranky and temperamental scooter. With only just enough power to lug the two of us up Milos’ hills it was an entertaining experience. Just us, our Kymco scooter and the open road. Whilst some would say this is a complete cliché and the most by-the-book way of seeing Greece, I can honestly say it is the best thing I did on the whole holiday. Free from the necessity of any awkward taxi driver small talk, and free from having to plan bus routes, we were at complete leisure to do what we wanted and to go wherever took our fancy. The island was ours. Being so small, this genuinely was the case and you can pretty much get to even the most far-flung corners in a morning or afternoon.
To get from Pollonia to the southern beaches (if the northern winds are blowing then heading south is regarded as the best policy) we had to drive right round the horseshoe shaped bay upon which the island’s main port and town sits. Sweeping blue water formed the view to the West for most of the journey – children learnt to swim in little water-paddocks, their legs furiously kicking and splashing, a sailing school instructor herded a small fleet of white-sailed boats, and families swum in the thermally-heated hot springs. The first beach we headed to was Tsigrado. A small dusty cliff-top clearing appeared at the end of a gravelly road which had taken us past a quarry and the contrast could not have been greater. The full extent of the beach cannot be seen from this point but you are teased with the promise of water the colour of lapis lazuli, towering cliffs of craggy stone (enough to make any geography teacher weak at the knees) and a stillness of waves ironed flat. A mirage this was not- something that was confirmed by the sight of inquisitive sailing yachts and Sunseekers peaking in to get a closer look only to find it too narrow and shallow to navigate- a real perk as it’s rare to find a precious spot where explorers on foot (or wheel in this case) are the real champions rather than those mooring up in the midst of it all.
The path down to the beach was sufficiently treacherous to make my Dad proud. As a child, we would have to traipse down rocky crevices and ravines in pursuit of the best secluded beaches- trophies that would make the uncomfortable winding journey in a hire-car with lousy air-conditioning worthwhile. Luckily, for my Father’s sake, this was generally the case and they were always trips that found their way into our holiday scrapbooks. This instance is no different, rather my scrapbook is now in the form of this little blog! With towels bundled under one arm, a day’s water supplies in one hand, and a skinny rope clasped in the other I abseiled down the rocky path, toes desperately clinging onto my flip-flops, which in hindsight, were not the wisest of footwear choices. One wooden ladder to negotiate and then a final leap down onto the sand confirmed we had made it.
Having focused on making it down in one piece little time or thought had been spent considering what the beach would look like when we finally made it down. When I did clap eyes on it, albeit rather out of breath and flustered, my holiday was made. Small, quiet and utterly breath-taking, it was perfect. All of the beachy clichés that you can imagine being flung around in a creative writing class suddenly all applied, without even a hint of over exaggeration. A handful of people basked in and out of the water, some on rocks, and they could be forgiven for having an air of arrogance, or a smugness that would naturally come with knowing they were in on the secret of this hidden nirvana. In reality no one had time to be smug. Instead everyone just seemed to be on cloud nine- indulging in idyll at it’s very best. And that was precisely what I wanted a piece of. Time passed at a different speed, and we spent what felt like hours swimming in this blue lagoon, floating with eyes to the sky, and reading on the sand letting the sea, rather than a DJ, set the tempo for once.
Next up on A Stylish Review, another dive into Milos’ best beaches.