Milos. So nice I’ve been there twice. Everything I want in a Greek island: dramatic landscapes, beautiful beaches, unpretentious, whitewashed villages, fabulous restaurants, friendly locals, and fewer tourist crowds than American-saturated Mykonos and Santorini.
For a great introduction to the island, read these New York Times articles:
- A Guide to Milos, a Greek Island With Fewer Crowds and More Beaches
- Around Milos, Swimming the Aegean Sea
Where to stay
There are several small luxury hotels on the island in remote locations. Here’s a list to start with from Conde Nast Traveler
Locations to consider for proximity to restaurants
- Adamas: port town with shopping, beaches, museums, and some nightlife
- Pollonia: fun beach town on northeast coast with several good restaurants
- Plaka: quaint hill town with great views over the island and sea, many restaurants, shopping, and museums
- Tripiti: hill town close to Plaka with stunning views, a few restaurants, plus ruins.
Where we stayed:
Mandrakia is a small traditional fishing village with several apartment or villa rentals. There is one restaurant — Medusa — and it is one of the best on the island.
We chose to rent this Airbnb located right on the water, best decision ever as not only was the beach cottage adorable, but RIGHT next door to Medusa restaurant. If the restaurant was full, they would even serve us at our patio and then magically clean it all up once we had retired to bed in a food comatose. There was a heat wave during our visit, but we could walk a few steps to the sea as much as necessary to cool down. We returned in 2023 and it was just as great, perhaps even better because the bathroom was updated. The owner, Christine, is wonderful as well.
On our second visit to Milos, we rented a beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom waterfront villa, Maison Esperia, with friends. Also available on Airbnb.com. Amazing sunset views from the front porch and just an all-around great beach town… highly recommended.
Here is a list of where we went. I can honestly recommend them all. Favorites, if I had to pick…O!Hamos!!, Medusa, Enalion, and Yialos.
Ordering tips: one Greek salad will feed 2-4 people. And 2-3 main dishes to share for 4 persons, especially if you get appetizers.
Medusa: fantastic traditional restaurant in the quaint fishing village of Mandrakia. Freshly caught octopus hang to dry nearby. This place is busy from noon to midnight. Put your name down and stroll through the village while you wait. Our favorite wine here is a white — Lenga Avantis.
Enalion: pretty beach-side restaurant in Pollonia. Fresh fish, pasta, a few non-seafood options, and vegetables from their farm. We’ve dined here a view times and it’s been fantastic everytime. Excellent service. If they still have it, try the amazing smokey white wine Vriniotis Assyrtiko Sur Lies… never had anything like it.
Yialos: inventive upscale restaurant with both water-side and porch seating. We dined here for both lunch and dinner, both times fabulous. The sea urchin pasta was sooooo good. Also, the gnocchi with smoked seafood, octopus stew, ceviche, and seafood spaghetti…
Nama: new restaurant in 2023 focusing on traditional Greek recipes. Another great one. Honestly, all these restaurants located next to each other were amazing. We sat on the porch and enjoyed the Greek salad, homemade sourdough bread dipped in the tzatziki, steamed mussels, lasagna, moussaka, cheese pies… take me back, please.
Rifaki: we stopped here for lunch and were very happy. Laid back vibe with cheery decor, not as sleek as Yialos and Enalion but excellent food nonetheless. Friendly service. The Greek paella was fabulous — more risotto than paella but we loved it.
Rakomelo Milos: This restaurant is one block from the water BUT they have a beautiful terrace with tables set up for dinner on the water with the most amazing sunset view. It is located next to the villa we rented. The food was fine, not our favorite of Pollonia, but that view… divine. Friendly family-owned restaurant.
Kivotos Ton Gefseon: Not a restaurant per se, but a wonderful bakery and cafe. The Freddo (iced) Cappucino was my daily fix. Owned by a family of beekeepers. We tried several of their pastries, cakes, and pies — LOVED the watermelon pie, a traditional Milos specialty (moist cake, not too sweet), as well as the Galaktoboureko (caramelized custard with filo.) They also make and sell a variety of jams, honeys, pickles, skin care creams, and much more, great for gifts to bring home.
O!Hamos!!: Quaint non-seafood restaurant on the outskirts of Adamas set within a garden shaded by overhead vines. The meat, poultry, and vegetables all come from their own farm. VERY popular and they don’t take reservations so go when they open OR plan on a wait. I believe they do have their own beach area across the street where you can get drinks and lounge chairs while you wait.
Mikros Apaplous: Gorgeous sea view from this Adamas restaurant. My linguini with seafood was excellent. Yummy complimentary lemon mousse with brûlée for dessert.
Volta: Port area restaurant. We had one lunch and breakfast here. Both very good. Friendly service. The chicken gyro was excellent. If the tables with cushioned benches are available, grab one of those… much more comfortable.
Barriello: Upscale but not stuffy restaurant in the hill town Tripiti with an amazing view over Milos and the sea. Get there before sunset! Tables set within a courtyard and garden. Make a reservation well in advance. Food and wine were all fantastic.
Okto: RIGHT next to Barriello so same amazing view. Actually, a better view due to location of the tables. We enjoyed breakfast on both visits. It is a short walk or drive from the Catacombs, Venus di Milo, and the Ancient Roman Theater.
Avli Milos: Popular taverna in the center of Plaka. No reservations so prepare for a wait. It is popular for a reason — great food and fun vibe. You can get a glass of wine while you wait, and lots of great shops surrounding it as well.
Palios Coffee and Pastry: Cafe with a lovely shaded terrace in the center of Plaka. WONDERFUL pastries and other treats.
What to do in Milos
Sail around the island with Polco Sailing. Recommended by The NY Times and I completely agree. We were blown away by the sights, friendly crew, lunch, and unlimited drinks on our West Milos Kleftiko sailing cruise. You will visit some amazing caves accessible only by boat. We sailed with them again in July 2023, another AMAZING experience. This time we chose the catamaran and full island sail… I liked the boat better BUT preferred the West Milos Kleftiko cruise as it stopped at caves where we could explore more in depth.
Visit one of the traditional fishing villages. Mandrakia, Klima, or Firopotomas. If it is Mandrakia, combine it with lunch or dinner at Medusa. Swimming possible from Mandrakia as well. Klima is the one everyone visits so gets super saturated with other tourists. Great sunset from here at Astakas Cafe. Firopotamos has a beach where you can rent chairs and umbrella — Mama Mia filmed from here with its beautiful turquoise waters.
Explore the historic town of Plaka, hopefully including a sunset view from the castle. The town is hopping at night, lots of restaurants and shops. There is an archeological museum here with a copy of the Venus di Milo statue. The pretty center is car-free so bear in mind that parking may be challenging. We ate at Avli Milos taverna which does not take reservations so expect a wait. Visit Palios Bakery for some delicious traditional treats. Lots of fun shops here as well.
Saraniko Beach — the most popular Milos photo on instagram. Stunning landscape. Prepare for crowds so go at sunrise if possible. We arrived around 9 am before the tour busses arrived — busy but still pleasant.
Pollonia Beach and town. Easy parking (when you drive into town, turn left at the T and public lot will be on your left in a few hundred feet), several outstanding restaurants, and great beach with loungers. You can rent boats here as well, or take a ferry to Kimolos island.
Tripiti town: It’s not a huge town but you can visit the Catacombs here and there is an ancient theater built by the Romans. I visited a nice low-key jewelry store on the main road run by a lovely older couple — Mapyapita.
Beach hopping — not really a beach person so we stopped at a couple but didn’t spend time. Still, some really stunning ones due to the rock formations and water color. Milos is known for it’s beautiful beaches.
Daytrip to Kimolos: 20 minute ferry from Pollonia. Not many tourists. The main town, Chorio, is a 10-15 minute walk from the port.