Milos, Greece

 

As we approached Milos on the fast boat from Athens (about a third of the time of a regular boat) we were immediately transfixed by the turquoise transparent water of it’s large bay surrounded by the crescent shaped land of the island.    The white homes with blue colored windows and doors perched on the beach bathed by the hot sun and breeze off the sea made us immediately fall in love with this beautiful (and often overlooked) island.

At first we stayed near the port town of Adamas – a vibrant beach town filled with restaurants, cafe’s and little boutique shops.  We rented an ATV to get around the island and were turned onto a great adventure website which shows all the hikes and single track trails of Milos – a true delight for 2 adventure junkies like us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to hike up to the the tallest point of Milos – one that promised to show us not only the sea from both sides of the island, but also some nearby ones.  Given that any car, ATV or motorcycle/scooter rental only allows you to travel to certain parts of the island, we parked our ATV at the end of the paved road below the P12 point (on the www.miloterranean.gr  map) and took the fireroad to the singletrack leading up to the top of Prophitis Ilias.  The views were spectacular- and so was the wind!  Mighty strong at the top where we found a lovely refuge open to all travelers, stocked with beds, food and fuel for the cooker.  There was also a tiny church with a visitor log book for all to sign.

Our favorite beach on the northern part of the island was Firopotamos.  The stunning view that opened before us, as we made the turn towards this cove truly made our jaws drop.  The water is warm, transparent and a color of blue that is hard to describe.  Besides the beach, there are a few small huts, a little church, some ruins and a makeshift bar that sells anything from beer to blender drinks while it’s techno music plays loudly for all willing or not to hear.

Slightly west of Firopotamos is the town of Plaka, which is the capital of Milos.  This ancient village is filled with history, beauty and amazing vistas.  At the highest point of Plaka is it’s castle called Kastro.  We climbed to the top for a stunning sunset view and then returned to the village for one of the best (and cheapest) meals we have had in a long time.  The labyrinth of streets within this town are so charming, we were sad that we were not spending (at least) one night.

Pollonia is a posh town on the northeast corner of the island.  There are many boutique hotels, restaurants and cute shops.  It is worth a visit if only for an evening.

 

One of my absolutely favorite spots on Milos is the Kleftiko caves.  To get there is a journey, as the “road” to get there requires either a 4X4 or a time commitment on an ATV – neither are allowed with a rental, so you either have to take your chances from an insurance perspective or one needs to do the long run/hike/bike in.  Once the 4X4 road ends, there is still a 30-40 minute hike into the cove….but boy is it ever worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had the cove all to ourselves, except for a few sailboats that anchored about 50 meters away from us to take a look at the caves.  The water was bathtub warm and there are sandy as well as rocky outcrops to sunbathe on.   This was one of my favorite spots in all of Greece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few other beaches on Milos that are worth mention.  Mytakas pictured above, as well as Paliochori Beach pictured below which is located on the southeastern part of the island.

Many travel to Milos to visit the famous moonscape rocks of Sarakiniko – it truly is a marvel (pictured below):

And still, my heart belongs to the waters of Firopotamos with it’s turquoise transparent water to which I hope to return time and time again.

Matera 2018

We arrived in Matera quite late – due to the robbery in Taranto we were quite exhausted and demoralized.  The robbers even took our toothbrushes, so we scrambled before the stores closed to try to find the basics.  Our amazing host Roberta at our Airbnb in Matera was seriously amazing.  Not only did she wait to greet us at 10 pm at night, but she also made some very sound recommendations for stores that ultimately replaced our computers, bags, telephone plugs, underwear and the like. Continue reading “Matera 2018”

Apulia 2018

 

Leaving the Amalfi Coast was hard enough, but driving through the outskirts of Foggia we felt like we were in a different land.  It is customary to see scantily clad ladies (mostly very good looking young ladies) sitting on a chair underneath a bridge.  Not the welcome mat that we were hoping for as we arrived in Apulia.  We decided to miss Foggia and continue east to the beautiful coast of Apulia. Continue reading “Apulia 2018”

Western Calabria 2018

Taking the short car ferry from Sicily across the Strait of Messina to Calabria was a lot easier than finding the location of the ferry (Googlemaps did not have the correct location – the location on the link is correct).   Calabria is such a delight with its history, art, architecture, incredible vistas, sandy beaches and amazing food to dazzle all senses. Continue reading “Western Calabria 2018”

Sicily 2018

Thankfully our almost 10 hour ferry ride from Malta to Catania Sicily was cancelled due to strong winds (we heard that the journey is pretty treacherous even without the wind).  We grabbed a cheap flight right into Catania and arrived just in time to rent a car and hit the road.   The Priority Pass lounge in the Malta airport (international departures) is called Lavalette Club and is definitely worth a visit – good food and drinks.  We booked a car through www.holidayautos.com which provided us with free 3rd party insurance and since we paid with our Citi Prestige credit card we received free primary insurance.  Most credit cards do not offer free primary car insurance in Italy. Continue reading “Sicily 2018”

Gozo and Comino (Malta) 2018

Malta is an archipelago comprised of 3 islands.  The main island is the largest and is the one that we landed on.  We grabbed a bus (which ended up being 2 hours long – to avoid our headache check the schedules and routes so that you don’t make the same mistake we did) to the ferry terminal to catch the 25 minute ferry to the second largest island in Malta called Gozo.  The ferry runs every 30 minutes and is super convenient to get back and forth.  Overall the public transportation in Gozo is incredibly convenient and civilized – cannot say the same about the bigger island Malta – the buses seem to run on their own time regardless of what the schedule states. Continue reading “Gozo and Comino (Malta) 2018”

Koh Tao – 2018

We arrived to the small island of Koh Tao by Lomprayah ferry from Koh Samui – the journey is quite painless (even though I do get sea sick, the vessel was quite large and glided through the water seamlessly).  We were picked up by our hotel (most hotels on the island provide free transport to and from the ferry – there is no airport).  The Aminjirah hotel is quite funky and set on the side of a cliff overlooking the stunning northwest coast line and Nang Yuan Island.  The rooms are quite basic, but have all the necessities – I highly recommend upgrading (a few dollars) to the ocean view rooms as the view from the balcony and the room is beautiful.  The infinity pool is a lot of fun with its colorful floating beanbags that 20 somethings sunbathe on (as did I shamelessly).   Very fun young vibe in this hotel.  I would highly recommend getting the short boat ride to Nang Yuan Island for snorkeling and sunbathing. Continue reading “Koh Tao – 2018”

Koh Samui – 2018

We flew on Air Bangkok from Phuket to Koh Samui and took a Grab from the airport to the Sheraton Samui.  We booked a basic room knowing that with our Platinum SPG status we would get a nice upgrade and we did!  We paid for the stay with the Citi Prestige card which automatically deducts the 4th nights stay cost.  All in we were only paying $135/night for this incredible hotel.  The ocean view suite was amazing.  We had  a living room, reading room, small kitchen and huge bedroom and bathroom along with a double deck overlooking the ocean.  With the status we also received a free breakfast every morning which was spectacular – more like a Sunday brunch at a 5 star restaurant than a regular breakfast.  All the amenities were well thought through – 2 large pools, a great beach and a well stocked fitness room.  The prices for food in the hotel were hotel prices so we took advantage of the nearby restaurants and dined like kings for pauper prices.  Our favorite restaurant was just outside of the hotel and is called Mamas – great flavorful food at very good prices.  We could have stayed for weeks! Continue reading “Koh Samui – 2018”