Hitchhiking, camping and other less advisable adventures on the island of Milos, Greece.

Agios Ioannis, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Agios Ioannis

It was a cold, soggy winter in Southampton when we found ourselves dreaming of an adventure. My friend Bryony and I had been struggling to find any inspiration in our grimy university accommodation and imagined spending long days painting on quiet beaches; I bought a map of the Cyclades and we began to highlight dots to aim for.

 

Milos was so beautiful that our island hopping adventure didn't end up as extensive as we imagined, but I                                                                                          haven't regretted it for a second.

 

Adamas, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
The port town of Adamas.
Milos camping, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
The view from our campsite.
climbing Tsigrado beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

 

Tsigrado

 

We'd been told about a secret beach, not so far from where we were camping, and set off one morning to walk across to the Southern side of the island. From the cliffs it was invisible and to start with we were a little confused as to where we were supposed to be going...

 

Hidden in a gap, we found a series of rickety ladders and ropes to lower ourselves down with, which eventually came out on to one of the most minuscule yet stunning beaches I've ever seen. Surrounded by white cliffs and inaccessible to half the population, Tsigrado escapes crowding even at the weekend.

 

This was the first time either of us had ever had the pleasure of swimming in the Aegean Sea and after that trip I can never think of Milos in anything other than shades of turquoise and blue. We painted the cliffs and water, trying to take a little of the colour home, but I could never quite capture the vibrancy of real life.

 

Tsigrado beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

Firiplaka

 

Once we'd somehow had enough of Tsigrado, our journey home was cut short by another mini exploration of the continuing stunning coastline next door. Firiplaka, inhabited by a collection of nudists when we visited, is a long stretch of sand, pinpricked by strange eruptions of rock. In places the stone has more colour than elsewhere, but I wouldn't quiet believe the reports of coloured cliffs. We spent time collecting sparkling pebbles, sketching and thanking our lucky stars we hadn't yet succumbed to middle-aged spread.

 

Firiplaka, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Firiplaka beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Firiplaka beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

An inadvisable failure of a walk to Kleftiko and finding something even more special...

 

Well, there is a place called Kleftiko on Milos that we had heard was supposed to be breath-taking. I still couldn't tell you for sure... We looked at our map and sighed- it's miles away from any bus route and there is no way we can afford a boat trip (my overdraft wasn't thanking me for that adventure). As the crow flies, it is about 10 miles from the nearest bus stop, so in typical blasé style we wondered if it was possible to walk and set off one morning with high hopes of eventually getting there. 

 

By about three o'clock we had been walking in the Greek sunshine for well over four hours, around mountains, far above sea level, listening to the sound of goat bells and watching eagles swoop overhead (waiting for one of us to tire?)

 

Supplies were running low and though we'd been offered lifts much further back along the road, a massive language barrier and uncertain route meant we'd turned them down. By this point, we were seriously regretting our judgement. The road was getting much, much worse and we hadn't seen anyone for hours.

 

 

We discussed the possibility of sleeping under the shelter of some rocks, but our stomachs were growling and my slightly blurred vision told me not to ignore the dehydration. Eventually, just as we were beginning to realise we'd made a drastic mistake and probably both on the verge of sunstroke, we heard an engine from the distance.

 

Goats, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

 

When it came close we saw it was a motorbike. With luggage and no room on the back for both of us, especially in this kind of terrain, we looked forlornly without stick out our thumbs. He stopped regardless and told us that the walk down to Kleftiko actually took two hours from the road- so close and yet so far! We wouldn't get there and back before sun down and we were still miles and miles away from our campsite. Never had we thought of our tiny tent with such fondness.

 

The man, a German called Peter, walked up a small hill with us where he showed us Kleftiko in the distance. Peter seemed both astounded and concerned to find us there, saying that it was hard on his bike and probably about 20km from where we started?! He offered us a chocolate croissant and said he could take us one by one to a nearby beach where we might find a lift back. We weren't in a position to argue, so I watched as Bryony disappeared into the distance, greedily scoffing my pastry snack while I waited a seemingly infinite amount of time for his return.

 

Bryony disappearing into the distance.
Bryony disappearing into the distance.

 

Bryony was waiting on the largest of the Agios Ioannis beaches, which was a sight for sore eyes (the beach rather than Bryony who was fried to a crisp). Peter said that we should climb around to the next two bays which were even more amazing. He wasn't wrong. The climb down was quite committing over chalky rock that slipped away in our weakened hands, but we scrambled down without an accident.  

 

Agios Ioannis beaches, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Ormos Ag Ioannou, Milos, Cyclades, Greece. Agios Ioannis

 

There was barely a soul around and we swam in the sea surrounded by white cliffs, strange rock formations and sparkling turquoise water. It was such a relief to not be walking and we floated on our backs letting the waves cool our burnt skin.

 

To our enormous relief, the journey home was a simple conversation between Peter, our saviour, and a friendly Italian couple who offered us a ride. 

Agios Ioannis beaches, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Agios Ioannis beaches, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Ormos Ag Ioannou, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
At the utterly gorgeous Agios Ioannis beaches.
Tripiti church, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Tripiti.

Tripiti, the catacombs and an ancient 

theatre. 

 

For a little history, traditional Greek buildings and food, we were forced to abandon the beaches every now and again. From the pretty village of Tripiti we walked to see the catacombs and nearby amphitheatre. Somehow it's still allowed to climb around the catacombs which were used by early Christians first as a burial site and later also as a place of worship and a refuge from persecution by the Romans between the first and fifth centuries. 

 

 

The marble amphitheatre dates from the late eighteen-hundreds. With its cliff-side position, looking over to Milos' Inner Western coastline and complex carved details, I was reminded of a Roman sense of beauty which studying their rule had forced out of my mind.

 

Amphitheatre, Tripiti, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

 

The famous Ancient Greek statue, Venus de Milos, was also discovered here. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, she is thought to be Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (only known as Venus to the Romans). Unfortunately all you will find of her is a slightly ugly sign as, after being discovered by a peasant named Yorgos Kentrotasin in 1820, she was quickly snapped up by the French and currently resides in the Louvre, Paris.

 

Plaka, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.

Plaka

 

Milos' laid back capital, Plaka is living proof that you don't need to survive the crowds of Santorini to admire that typical clean white and blue architecture you've been dreaming of. While we were there in September, we had the streets to ourselves and were free to explore in peace. Nothing is regularly shaped, curves and straight edges compliment each-other and the colour scheme fits perfectly with the national flag...

 

 

Plaka, Milos, Cyclades, Greece. flags
Plaka, Milos, Greece
Plaka, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Bryony in Plaka

 

Looking out to sea, we spotted a tiny beach in the distance and decided to have a look.

 

Weird, red, volcanic looking sculptures lined our path, the air was dry and I could see the tiny islands of Arkadio and Akrathi in the distance. It was quite a hike and yet again we were both in flip-flops, but once we finally got down there the sea was predictably beautiful. 

 

Neither of us had envisioned swimming that day, but with two fat naked Greek men further down the beach, it didn't seem too outrageous to go in in our underwear.

 

 

Pathiena, Plaka, Milos, Greece
View of Pathiena beach on our walk down from Plaka.

Useful Information

 

To avoid the hoards and mid-summer heat visit Milos in May, June or September.

 

Milos Camping isn't super cheap but it's right near the beach, has a swimming pool, wifi, friendly atmosphere and basically everything you might need.

  • May, June, September- 15 Euros for 2 people(with your own tent)
  • July, August- 18.50 Euro for 2 people (with your own tent

You could also try wild camping, but would need a lot of water with you and I think it is actually illegal. 

 

We hitchhiked/walked pretty much everywhere, but there are also busses between the main towns and some elsewhere (timetable at the campsite). Hitchhiking is relatively safe and people are very friendly on the island, but I wouldn't personally try it into/out of Athens right now. 

 

To get to Milos from Athens, check times, leaving bay and prices online, then take the metro to Piraeus port.

 

You can read about our near disaster trying to leave Athens during the strikes and riots here.

 

The beach next to Milos Camping, Greece
The beach next to Milos Camping.
Milos, camping,
Bryony sketching on the beach near our campsite.

Write a comment

Comments: 18
  • #1

    Prue (Monday, 04 May 2015 02:42)

    Thank god for Peter!! haha.

  • #2

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 04 May 2015 13:21)

    Yes!

  • #3

    Beth Wilson (Friday, 08 May 2015 13:52)

    Absolutely beautiful photos. Love the way of having to get to the beach by rope/ladder.

  • #4

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 08 May 2015 18:33)

    Thanks Beth! :)

  • #5

    Mary {The World Is A Book} (Sunday, 17 May 2015 21:55)

    Wow! What a great collection of beautiful photos! It was wonderful to go on a little virtual adventure with you here. Love how different this beach looks and especially that ladder down.

  • #6

    Katie Featherstone (Sunday, 17 May 2015 22:57)

    Thank-you for stopping by Mary!

  • #7

    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) (Tuesday, 14 June 2016 01:50)

    That step ladder down to the beach is just the most charming discovery ever Katie! Especially with such dreamy waters. I have to say I'd have been a bit terrified watching my friend drive off leaving me alone, hungry &hot even if I was soon to be picked up - what a kind person rescuing you both like that!

  • #8

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 14 June 2016)

    I was pretty terrified, but wasn't in a position to turn it down!

  • #9

    Annika (Wednesday, 15 June 2016 08:14)

    I want to visit Greece too! Anyhow, do you have any tips which month is the best to travel there? Your reply is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • #10

    Katie Featherstone (Wednesday, 15 June 2016 14:55)

    Hi Annika,

    I haven't got a proper way of contacting you, so hopefully you'll check back. I would suggest avoiding busy July and August and trying to travel to the islands during May, June or September. I'm no expert, but September was perfect.

    Thanks,

    Katie :)

  • #11

    Annika (Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:05)

    Hi Katie, thanks for the advise!

  • #12

    Becky Padmore (Monday, 20 June 2016 21:09)

    I need to explore more of Greece! Looks stunning and you've captured its beauty very well in your photos :-)

  • #13

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 20 June 2016 22:52)

    Thanks Becky!

  • #14

    Nikita (Friday, 08 July 2016 20:20)

    Aww, Peter sounds absolutely lovely! Looks like a wonderful place to get inspired. :)

  • #15

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 08 July 2016 20:54)

    Thanks Nikita, it was really beautiful :)

  • #16

    Organized Wanderer (Friday, 22 July 2016 12:26)

    I really liked your description of the quest for Kleftiko. It's help from complete strangers (like Peter the savior from Germany and the Italian couple) and misadventures such as these that form the fondest travel memories. Loved the photographs too!

  • #17

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 22 July 2016 17:20)

    Thank-you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  • #18

    Agness of aTukTuk (Tuesday, 04 April 2017 23:17)

    Milos seems breathtaking, Katie! These tips are amazing and very useful!

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