Like Santorini, its more glitzy neighbor to the southwest, Milos is a geological wonder. It is a dry, desert-like island with great beaches and quaint, whitewashed villages up in the mountains but unlike Santorini it is not overrun with tourists. Thanks to a thriving mining economy, Milos has not had to dress itself up to attract tourists. It has a laid back, relaxed atmosphere that is very appealing.
Milos is a geologist’s dream. One day we walked along a beach near Cape Bombarda. What bombarded here was a pyroclastic volley of black obsidian or volcanic glass. This is amazing stuff and you can pick up big, glossy, fist-sized rocks of it. Ancients prized it the world round because it can be crafted into all manner of cutting tools. Sharper than surgical steel, tools from Milos obsidian were hot commodities all around the stone-age Mediterranean.
One world-famous and shapely rock is the statue, Venus de Milo. That well-rounded and armless synonym for beauty was discovered here. Technically the marble for the statue was quarried from nearby Paros but the lady stood here in ancient Milos around 100 BCE, it is thought, as decor for a gymnasium. For centuries it remained buried until discovered by a Greek farmer then stolen away by the French in 1820 and relocated to the Louvre in Paris. There is very nice replica in the Milos Archeological Museum.
The light is beautiful here in early autumn and the air crystal clear. Maybe the clearness makes things seem closer but soon you find that those things are not as close as you thought and either very steeply uphill or downhill, so sightseeing was getting us a much better glute workout than we expected or wanted. But Milos being such a cozy, relatively traffic-free island made us feel comfortable renting a car. Soon we were blasting around in a Chevy Matiz which is about the size of a golf cart but just right for the narrow roads in the tiny villages.
Our new wheels gave us far-ranging freedom for driving around Milos; down to spectacular beaches then climbing back up several hundred feet above sea level to take in the sweeping panorama. We saved a bit of shoe leather and grabbed quite a few photos. I’ve included a few here. I hope you enjoy them.
Chaido Studios – In the small town of Trypiti, this is a great place to stay for those on a modest budget. Lovely rooms overlook the sea. It’s probably best to have a car as this off the beaten path.
Giourgas Rental Cars – Our hotel owner called up and the car was delivered right to our door. Great service and good rates.
Taverna Ta Glaronisia – A great place for a midday meal. They serve simple fare, nicely prepared.