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Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

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London, United...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

We’re back! Had a fantastic time. Thanks again for all your help. Trip report follows – so much to say... it’s ended up quite long but I hope helpful to potential future visitors.

Sunday (June 5th): Afternoon flight to Athens, stayed in Piraeus Dream Hotel overnight which had the benefit of being just across the road from the departure gate of the fast ferries to Milos. Hotel functional but fine, although the streets around it were pretty nasty.

* Milos *

Monday: Early fast ferry (SuperJet) to Milos. This was fine, but not obvious that we needed to pick up the actual tickets (we’d booked online) from a booth at the next gate along. Spent most of the day faffing around trying unsuccessfully to rent snorkelling fins.

On Milos we stayed at Psaravolada, which we can heartily recommend (thanks Dimitra and Nikos!). It’s a bit out of the way (but Milos is not a big place) and the beds are a bit hard (though I think this is a general Greek thing) – in all other respects it was superb.

We rented a car from Sun Sea Sofia on the waterfront at Adamas, which was fine except that it kept not starting. Sofia reassured us that it had always been like that and it wouldn’t be a problem. It then broke down on Kimolos and we had to come back on foot! For various reasons we ended up hiring, sequentially, two other cars from them and a 4x4 from some guys down the road that they put us in touch with, all of which were fine.

Monday evening we ate at O Kinigos on the waterfront at Adamas. We didn’t have high expectations as all the restaurants looked pretty touristy to us, and in fact the grumpy old man who took our order got exactly half of it wrong. However everything that they did bring out was delicious and fresh, and like many other places they brought a complimentary small dessert with some raki, so we were happy.

Tuesday: Explored the Chora and Kastro, lovely and interesting places both, but lots of steep streets in the heat – water and a hat very necessary. We had lunch in a taverna in Plaka which was really lovely, with a small shady back patio covered in flowering plants and seemed to specialise in ice-cream, though their orange juice and salads were so delicious we made a special trip back later in the week. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten the name! We went down to the waterfront at Klima and I must admit we were a bit underwhelmed by the syrmata, although it was rather overcast and they looked much nicer when we saw them in the sun from a boat trip later in the week. We drove up to the catacombs site, and although they were closed for the afternoon it was quite nice to see the ancient Melos site with the amphitheatre and other bits. We finished off with a swim at Sarakiniko, which was nice but again was more impressive in the bright sunlight the next day.

For dinner we went to the Sirocco at Paleochori. We were the only customers there. I ordered the house specialty of lamb cooked in the volcanically heated sand, and it was frankly inedible. They did bring a nice home-made yogurt thing as a complimentary dessert, but I would certainly not recommend eating here. It wasn’t cheap either.

Wednesday: We had intended to go on the round-island trip on the Captain Yiangos, but ended up taking too long over breakfast and had to go on the Chrysovalandou instead, which went round the west side of the island stopping at Kalogries, Sykia and Kleftiko. Actually we were glad we did, as there was plenty of time for long swimming breaks and a leisurely lunch, and the snorkelling at Sykia in particular was fantastic. Kleftiko was spectacular but not such good snorkelling. Dinner was at To Petrino in Zefyria, which had just reopened; the service was relaxed to the point of adding an hour or more to the meal, but friendly with good food and a nice location.

Thursday: Back to Sarakiniko for a look in the sunshine, then on to Fylakopi. This was closed although there was a track through a break in the chicken wire with plenty of people using it, if you didn’t mind a few moments of rather alarming proximity to a crumbly cliff edge! The site itself is a bit of a bomb site and you have to use a lot of imagination, but worth seeing. We snorkelled off the beach at Papafranga, which was quite an interesting place, although the water wasn’t as spotlessly clean as everywhere else (maybe it was just that particular day); then went round to the much longer beach at Fyropotamos which was lovely for swimming but not so secluded. Dinner at Barko taverna on the road out of Adamas towards Plaka: very pleasant and recommendable, although seeing essentially the same menu everywhere we went was starting to irk us by this stage!

Friday: Ferry to Kimolos with (ill-fated) car. We went to Ellinika, and had great fun snorkelling off the rocks rather than going to the beach. We could have seen more of the island if we’d tried, but we were having such a relaxing time sitting at the taverna at Psathi (Echinousa) having mezedes and ice-cream with the waves lapping at our feet, it was difficult to find the motivation!

Saturday: Went out west with a 4x4. I’d never driven one before and found the roads a bit alarming in places, but they were all easily passable and there was certainly no need to go off-road. We did find the signage a bit difficult, even with the excellent ‘Terrain’ map, and ended up accidentally visiting the wind farm. However it was all absolutely worth it when we got to Ammoudaraki and had a whole beautiful sandy beach to ourselves, with excellent snorkelling out to a tiny island in the bay. After that we managed to get all the way over to the east coast to see the sulphur mines at Thiorychia, spectacular and completely different from anything else. We didn’t go all the way down. Dinner in Adamas again, this time at Apoplous, very pleasant indeed.

Sunday: Realised we hadn’t done the south coast at all so went down to Kipos, where we drove to and fro for a while wondering where the village was, before giving up and just visiting the church (Panagia tou Kipou). I presume Kipos itself is just a few houses or farms? The church was lovely and in a beautiful ‘garden’ location which was a welcome relief. Finally we visited Provatas, which helped to confirm that we’d spent our time in the right places and not at the tourist beaches!

General comments on Milos: as other people have said, it’s an extremely varied place in terms of scenery, you never see the same thing twice. We felt we had nearly enough time; seven days would have been enough for us to see the major places we wanted to see, though clearly we could have spent longer exploring deeper.

* Sifnos *

Afternoon ferry (Speedrunner 4) to Sifnos, very straightforward. Sifnos has a very different look, with terraced rolling hills, much more greenery but perhaps less variety, where Milos has dramatic cliffs and mountains and everywhere you go is quite different from the last place. We stayed at the Petali Village hotel in Ano Petali, which was really lovely ... but was a hotel, where Psaravolada had been like staying with friends. Truly excellent breakfasts though – quite a surprise after hearing some reports of Greek hotel breakfasts! Spent the evening wandering through Ano Petali and Apollonia; the villages are quite charming, although hard work with the steep streets. Personally I found the main street in Apollonia with its boutique shops and cocktail bars quite self-conscious and offputting, though my partner really liked it! Having said that, we had a lovely dinner at Elia kai Kappari, and the menu had a definitely different emphasis from those on Milos.

Monday: Walked up to the Kastro, which was a bit too far really for us unfit townies in the heat. It was amazing though and certainly well worth it. I particularly enjoyed the random bits of ancient sarcophagus lying around. We decided walking back was too much like hard work and took a taxi to the Mycaenean acropolis at Agios Andreas, but stupidly we hadn’t checked whether it was open – it wasn’t. So we walked back. Excellent views over the island (and to other islands), but quite a hike... Dinner at Adiexodo in Apollonia, again really pleasant and with a definite Sifnian flavour.

Tuesday: Realised our ferry back had been cancelled because of the general strike. Decided to come back a day early. Just about managed to get the bloke in the travel agency to engage with the process, but it was a struggle. Speedrunner 4 again, no problems once we were on it.

* Athens *

So we had an evening and most of a day in Athens. We got a last-minute room at Ochre & Brown which was very nice (as long as you kept the curtains shut – terrible view!). We were unpleasantly surprised by Athens itself though, which – without intending any offence – is not a nice city to walk around, at least the parts we saw. In the evening we went up to Syntagma square, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to do so the next day (Wed June 15th) then wasted a couple of hours looking for somewhere to eat among the tourist restaurants. We ended up having dinner at the hotel, which was very pleasant and recommendable if you’re in that part of Athens looking for a meal.

Wednesday: Went up to the Acropolis to find that all the museums were shut by the strike. Luckily the New Acropolis Museum was the only one that was open, and we enjoyed this a lot. Having nothing else to do we splurged on a long late lunch at the Royal Olympic Hotel, which was OK but not really worth the money for the food; the view from the restaurant is spectacular though.

I’ve written a lot more than I intended – I hope some of it’s helpful. It would be very interesting to hear comments from those who know the places well.

J.

Leeds
Destination Expert
for Goa
posts: 9,923
reviews: 45
1. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Enjoyed reading your report, thanks for taking the time to post. Milos is on the agenda for my next island hopping trip so your report was very useful.

Komotini, Greece
posts: 2,621
reviews: 45
2. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Thanks for this report - it sounds like you made a lot of memories on your trip!

London, United...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
3. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

@Xaroula - certainly did - and thanks to you in particular for your advice, and also for your trip reports on Milos and Sifnos which helped guide us along!

Philadelphia
posts: 6,121
4. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Ditto, ditto, ditto. Was in Milos just before you, and know Sifnos fairly well ... your report will help many! We also did that catamaran sail & enjoyed it immensely -- that day redeemed our visit from some colder weather before.

london
posts: 553
reviews: 4
5. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

wonderful report to go .

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
posts: 839
reviews: 4
6. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Dear J.,

Thank you for taking the time to write a comprehensive trip report about Milos!

There is just a few of things I'd like to add for the benefit of those who read the forum thread:

I keep hearing that people keep recommending certain outfits to go rent snorkeling fins, even though no one actually rents fins out in Milos that I know of. You can purchase kits, however, and the prices are rather reasonable: Twenty-30 Euros for a set of fins for adults, or for mask and fins, respectively.

You mentioned exploring Chora and Kastro, but you probably meant Plaka and Kastro. Chora in Milos is Zephyria, not Plaka. This is a common mistake, propagated by irresponsibly put-together guides and web sites.

The correct term to use is Paliochori. Not only is it the correct way to spell it according to the ELOT 743 standard, it also helps differentiate it from and avoid confusion with other locations throughout Greece with similar-sounding names, such as Paleochora in Crete. Unfortunately, even some natives here in Milos spell it the wrong way in latin characters, and the spelling on the internet by webmasters foreign to Milos is atrociously wrong, as well.

I was rather amused by your comment regarding the "grumpy old man" at Kynigos restaurant in Adamas. Poor Zacharias can't hear very well, and he seems to be rather tired already, before the high tourist season has even started! :)

Kipos is just about the way you perceived it. Besides the Panagia tou Kipou (Virgin Mary of Kipos) church dating from the 5th century, there is also a restaurant on a cliff by the waterfront, and the remnants of a WWII-era german radar site (a Wuerzburg-Riese model D) on the cape Akrotiri between Kipos and Provatas.

The restaurant menus in Milos are quite varied, so I was surprised to read that you found them quite similar. You seem to have missed some of the best restaurants in Milos: Tarantela in Provatas, Alevromylos in Parasporos, and Armenaki in Pollonia. :)

Regarding the restaurant in Plaka, is it perhaps Palaios or Archondoula?

Kudos to you for spelling some of the most difficult names in Milos correctly. It is unusual for a non-Greek to get Chrysovalandou, Papafrangas, Kalogries, Sykia, Kleftiko, Sarakiniko, Ammoudaraki, Thiorychia, Fyropotamos or Captain Yangos right. You actually spelled them better than most Greeks would. :)

Andreas

Edited: 4:57 pm, June 19, 2011
London, United...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
7. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Andreas,

Thanks for the clarifications. Zacharias at Kynigos has our forgiveness! They were a lot busier than we realised at first. I'm afraid the name of the restaurant at Plaka has gone for good - but a photo of the lovely back porch is at db.tt/KeBxOXp. Maybe you can identify it?

I share your interest in transliteration but wasn't aware of ELOT 743 / ISO 843; very interesting. I suppose there is always a compromise between faithfulness to Greek characters and faithfulness to Greek sounds. I was trying to err towards the character side; you caught me with 'Paleochori', but if I'd been concentrating I'd have written 'Palaiochori' (cf. your 'Palaios'), rather than 'Paliochori'. The Captain Yangos provides a particularly knotty problem - I think it would be 'Giankos' under ELOT 743? Tangled webs...

Jonathan.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
posts: 839
reviews: 4
8. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a brief review of Kynigos restaurant in Adamas, Milos:

tripadvisor.com/…UR114583667

It was cross-posted on facebook as well.

Andreas

I am milosisforlovers on Facebook

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
posts: 839
reviews: 4
9. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

On facebook, for some reason, this review appeared under the heading: "I do not recommend Kynigos".

That heading was added arbitrarily and without my knowledge or consent. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I do recommend Kynigos.

How facebook or TripAdvisot got the idea I do not recommend this restaurant, is beyond me.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
posts: 839
reviews: 4
10. Re: Milos and Sifnos trip report (long)

Jonathan,

Yes, it *is* Palaios! It is located smack in the center of Plaka, and you managed to snap an unusual photo, as the back yard tables are rarely empty, lol! Palaios is basically a combination of greek-style "candy" store (zacharoplasteio) bakery and cafe, specializing in various pastries, cakes, and yes, ice-cream as well.

Here is an evening photo of the Palaios building from the Plaka bus stop:

www.facebook.com/photo.php…

You are right about transliteration. It's a lost cause to try to reproduce the way a Greek word sounds in latin characters. After all, different people (French, German, Spanish, etc.) will attempt to pronounce a given word differently. We can only hope to "teach" our foreign visitors how to pronounce our names once they get here, on a one to one basis.

:)

By the same token, the ELOT 743 standard is an attempt at standardization of spelling, not pronunciation. I have to admit, however, that I do not always pay attention to the ELOT 743 standard. If a word is spelled consistently in a certain way that does not cause problems, I do not challenge it. An example of this would be Captain Yangos. According to the ELOT 743 standard, it should be written as Giagkos or Giangkos, but Yangos has prevailed, so I leave it as it is.

The situation is diametrically opposite, however, with names of locales that are consistently abused and misspelled, with the grave potential to cause confusion. Charasteristic examples are Pollonia (by far the most abused name of a locale in Milos) and Paliochori. I'd also add Adamas to the list, only because Trip Advisor seems to be using its own standard in rendering Greek names (Adhamas). At least, they are consistent.

If you are curious about pronunciation, Paliochori is pronounced "pah-ljo-HOH-ree", whereas Paleochora in Crete is "pah-leh-oh-HOH-rah". Palaios in Plaka is pronounced "pah-leh-OSS". The spelling of all of the above 3 names adhere to the ELOT 743 standard, btw: Παλιοχώρι; Παλεοχώρα; Παλαιός > Paliochori; Paleochora; Palaios.

Here is a photo of the Wuerzburg-Riese radar in Akrotiri, Provatas, visible from Kipos as well:

www.facebook.com/photo.php…

Andreas

I am milosisforlovers on Facebook