Milos (Μήλος) or Melos is the southwesternmost island of the Cyclades and looks like a larger version of Thíra. It too, is a volcano but extinct, which had a huge eruption that created a large natural harbor in the sunken caldera. The area of the island is 161 km2 with the summit of Profitis Ilias rising 883 m (2897 ft) above sea level. The volcanic nature of the island has endowed it with a very dramatic beauty many-fiord like beaches with strange rock formations and with many colors. Unfortunately, because of its mineral wealth, the island is heavily mined and a lot of its scenery has been raped by the miners.
Nearby recommended marinas:
The summer weather in the Aegean is dominated by the Etesian winds (meltemi in Greek, meltem in Turkish) which comes from the NE in the north and west Aegean and from the NW in the south and east. Usually it is a light sailing breeze of force 4-5 in the early morning hours but as the day progresses it strengthens to 5-6 by the afternoon and subsides by sunset. However from middle June to mid September you can count on the meltemi to become a gale of force 7-8 and occasionally 9. These gales usually last 3-4 days.
From October to mid May the probability is equal for either northerly or southerly winds. Winds of force 10 are not uncommon in the winter months. Violent thunderstorms are also probable by late October to early May. The southern winter winds are particularly treacherous and unpredictable.
- Coast Guard – VHF channel 12 & Tel. +30 2870 22 100 (Adamas)
- Olympia Radio – VHF channel 82
Caution: Approaching the Bay of Milos one must be aware of the rocks located at the eastern entrance of the bay. Also, there are rocks near Cape Bombarda.
Warning: With a strong meltemi there cane be large and confused seas between the Arcadia islets and the northernmost point of the island. Again, with a strong meltemi there can be very strong gusts near Cape Bombarda.
Adamas or Port Milos is the only harbor in Milos. It is near the end of Milos Bay, one of the largest natural harbors in the Mediterranean, which is the volcano’s caldera. Because of the size of the bay there can be a rather uncomfortable ground swell and also the ferry wash can be substantial. The harbor provides quite good, if not always comfortable, shelter from the meltemi, but it is exposed to southerlies. Visiting yachts moor stern-to the small yacht quay, where there is space for around ten boats (although the depth shallows at the western end) or along the outside arm of the tripper boat harbour, where there is space for a further 10-12 yachts on an anchor moor. An alternative is to anchor off in the bay to the east, clear of the small craft moorings. Here the holding in the mud and weed bottom is good.
Caution: There are very strong gusts into the Bay. With S winds Adamas is NOT tenable. Better go to Patrikia at the S side of the Bay.
The volcanic aspect of Milos is intertwined with its history. The island has been populated since the early Neolithic times because it was a rich source of obsidian the hard black volcanic glass with which some of the early tools and weapons were fashioned. The town at Phylakopi was settled by either Phoenicians or Cypriots was one of the centers of the early Cycladic Civilizations trading obsidian all over the Mediterranean. Later Milos under the Minoans from Crete and the Mycenaeans from the mainland continued to be a rich island trading in minerals.
In Classical times, the island’s population was predominantly Dorian who were aligned with Sparta. During the Peloponnesian War, in 415 BC, Athens tried to persuade the Milians to change sides but they refused. Angered by this snub the Athenians laid siege on the island, and after several months, Milos surrendered. The Athenians, then, according to Thucydides, massacred all the men of fighting age, sold all the women and children into slavery, and resettled the island. During the 4th century BC the most famous sculpture of Milos, Venus de Milo, one of the most beautiful Greek statues of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was created.
Milos became Christian as early as the 1st century AD. During this time, these early Christians built a complex of catacombs which is unique in Greece. After the fall of the Byzantines, Milos was captured by the Venetian brothers Marco and Angelo Sanudo and was placed under the Crispi dynasty. The Ottomans followed the Venetians in 1580. During this time the island was dominated by pirates who used Milos as their headquarters. One of them, John Kapsis even declared himself king of Milos. He lasted for three years until he was subdued by the Turks. After the Greek War of Independence of 1821, Milos became part of Greece and the Greek Navy got rid of the pirates. In 1836 refugees from Sfakia, Crete landed in Milos and founded the village of Adamas, the present harbor. During the Crimean War the French navy docked at the harbor and so did the British navy during World War I.
The modern story of Venus de Milo goes like this. On April 8, 1820, a farmer named Yiorgos Kentrotas, while plowing, discovered a cave that contained half of the statue. A French officer, Olivier Voutier, who happened to be on the island, urged the farmer to look for the other half. This he did along with a 6th century statue of a Hermes and Hercules. It is believed that these statues were hidden from destruction by the early Christians. At any rate, Voutier made a sketch of the statues and gave it to the French consul Lois Brest. Brest sent the sketches to the French ambassador in Istanbul, the island was still under the Ottomans, who decided to obtain the statue for his king Louis XVIII. Accordingly he sent a boat to get the statue. In the mean time, the farmer Kentrotas had already sold the statue to the Prince of Moldavia. When the French ship arrived at Adamas, the statue had been loaded in a caïque which was ready to sail for Romania. There was scuffle between the Greeks and the French who managed to get the statue. It seems that the missing arm of the statue was lost during this scuffle because Voutier’s sketch shows both arms.
Places to Visit
Near Adamas there are many good beaches, the most well known and largest is the sandy beach of Chivadilimni, near the airport.
Plaka (Πλάκα) is Milos’ main town. It and its suburb, Tripiti, are lovely Cycladic towns. From the church at the top Venetian castle, Kastro, the view is breathtaking. There are two museums here: the Archaeological Museum (open every day except Mondays 8:30-15:00), it has a plaster cast of Venus de Milo and a small but interesting exhibit of Cycladic objects found in the Phylakopi excavation (alas the best objects from the excavations are now in the National Museum in Athens), and a small but interesting Ethnographic Museum (open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-13:00 and 18:00-20:00), housed in a 19th century mansion, each room is furnished with typical and original furniture of the last century. There are many old photographs, utensils, costumes, embroideries etc.
Near Plaka at Klima there are the Catacombs of Milos (open daily except Mondays 8:45-14:00). These were used by the early Christians as a burial ground. Inscriptions, in red, can still be read. A path from the Catacombs leads to the spot where Venus de Milo (now at the Louvre) was found. The same path leads to the Roman Theater overlooking the sea.
East of Plaka one can visit the picturesque fishing villages of Mandrakia and Firopotamos with colorful boat houses.
Phylakopi (Φυλακωπή) or Phylakope is the “must see” archeological site of Cycladic Civilization. It located on NE side of the island, on a hill top overlooking the sea. The habitation of the site goes back to the early Cycladic (3500 BC) to the Mycenaean (1100 BC).
Near Phylakopi is the Papafrangos Cave, an underwater cave with very clear turquoise water enclosed by white cliffs. Also, on the way to Phylakopi from Adamas stop at Sarakiniko, a beach with the most fantastic volcanic rock formations jutting into the sea. The rock color is many shades of tan and white and they are very beautiful in their way.
Gerontas (Old Man), on the S side of the island, is a jewel of a tiny cove, with dark sand. It is hard to reach by a dirt road and then b a very rough path. It is best to come on a Sunday because on weekdays the dust and noise from the nearby open mine may spoil the whole ambiance. Source: www.cruiserswiki.org