Continuation of the most scenic, enjoyable, beautiful, romantic, inspiring place on earth?
The Greek island Milos!
From our weekend in Athens, we continued our journey south to the cyclades of the Agean sea. A three hour ferry ride took us from Athens to the main harbor of Milos Island in the town of Adamas. We were fortunate enough to have Manos’s car at our disposal, so upon our arrival in Milos we immediately opened our windows, breathed in the ocean air, and cruised towards Pallonia, where our hotel was situated.
In the map above I labelled all the key places we visited, including our personal favorites! Driving from one side of the island to the other took less than 30 minutes, so clearly the island isn’t that big (it’s only about 20km from side to side!)
We took the 6am ferry from Athens which meant we were in Milos just in time for lunch! (Notice the exclamation point… Enthusiasm my friends.. if you’re in Greece, you’re in for a treat 😉 ) Since our room wasn’t ready yet when we got to the hotel, we headed outside to find something Greek, something from the islands. Our hotel was in Pallonia, a small coastal town in the north east part of the island. This area is known for it’s seafood restaurants that are right on the water, fresh fish and vegetables, and wine. Pollonia is known as the “wine region” of Milos. You can rest assured delicious, affordable, local wine was enjoyed every evening !
We headed to a recommended restaurant Ammos. Situated right on the water, it didn’t take long for us to turn into relaxed Greek island vacation mode!
Going to the Greek islands means eating your bodyweight in fresh caught seafood and local vegetables. Milos contains many local fishing towns so you can rest assured you’re getting the freshest catch of the day. Most restaurants also have their own local gardens from which they select their produce…and that’s exactly what it tasted like too!
Perusing the menu in Greece was by far the most stressful part of this vacation. The I-want-it-all syndrome kicks into high gear and selecting just one appetizer to share and one main course is a feat of its own. Thankfully, we often ordered a bunch of appetizers to share and lets just say my fork rarely remained on my own plate when the main courses came out.
Somehow having a Y-chromosome entitles you to a strong love for un-anaesthetically pleasing foods like octopus, squid and calamari. So naturally, this was the guys’ contribution to our lunch…
While the guys enjoyed this aquatic delicacy, I actively kept my gaze on the boats in the harbor. While I patiently waited for our other dishes to arrive Lars and Manos enjoyed teasing me with octopus tentacles. Boys will be boys…
Then I was in for a treat:
Tirokafteri (the spicy feta dipping sauce), once again, did not disappoint! It’s so simple yet delicious, as most Greek dishes are. I also told the waiter my love for Greek salads, so she recommended the sweet Ammos salad, which came with fresh greens, apple slices, paprika, olives, capers, pomegranate, cinnamon and a sweet citrus vinaigrette dressing. Her recommendation was spot on, because this salad was phenomenal! Who would have thought to put cinnamon in a salad? Greeks would.
With satiated bellies we walked back all of 40 meters to our conveniently located hotel and quickly changed into bathing suits, swam in SPF50+ and headed where else, but to the beach! We wanted to explore all the beaches on the island we possibly had time for, so we headed into the car and drove less than 20 minutes to the southeastern tip of the island to Paliochori Beach.
Paliochori is an organized beach. Milos contains both organized and unorganized beaches. Organized beaches are typically more family-friendly as they have lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, waste receptacles, showers and kiosks for food and drinks (because lets face it, if you’re bringing a handful of kids to the beach for a day of fun in the sun, Mamas gonna need a cocktail eventually…)
However, we quickly realized organized beaches are where it’s at. While slightly less easily accessible (ok, sometimes just a pain in the ass to get to) they’re well worth the trek. (Ladies: particularly handy are chivalrous men who treat you like a princess and carry all your towels, umbrellas and other beach necessities 😉 And I’m pretty sure all the feminists are going to swallow me for saying that…)
For example Geronta, in southwest Milos , about 20 minute car ride from Pallonia, included a few kilometer hike down to the beach. While not suitable for children, elderly or disabled, the hike is perfectly manageable in flip-flops (thank you J.crew for making the best flip-flops known to man!) so we’re not talking iron-man hikes with ice picks and rock climbing.
Ultimately, if you’re willing and capable, the Geronta trek was well worth the blisters and drops of sweat 😉
The near private beach was a typical Greek beach in that the water was crystal clear and the shoreline was made of small, smooth coated, colorful rocks.
Days at the beach were mostly spent snorkeling, swimming and playing beach racket ball (budget travelers hint: The adult version of this game was over 15€, while the children’s version was only 3€! Frugal Fanny’s tip of the day 😉 )
While unorganized beaches have their privacy perks , organized beaches can be just as beautiful! And private! We went to an beach in Fyriplaka and with a little bit of creativity and an adventurous spirit we climbed up to a rock where we were nearly completely away from the main beach and had our own private little peninsula!
Our isolated peninsula had it’s perks. The guys can lube each other up in complete privacy 😉
The rocks in Greece are breathtakingly beautiful and so much fun to explore as well! We parked our towels and shade beside a big rock and immediately the guys snorkelled around the area to find which rocks were safe to dive from. Most rocks had a vertical drop into the sea and with crystal clear water you were able to see from above exactly where you should and shouldn’t jump, but safety first, double check to be sure 😉
(I am 96% sure all three of our mothers just had a simultaneous heart attack looking at the above photo… Arja, Mette and Jenny: please, don’t worry. Your boys know how to be safe.)
<– Safety team inspecting the area
After a day of life-threatening adventures we were more than ready for dinner! Each day we made breakfast at our hotel apartment and packed sandwiches, fruit and nuts to-go. While unorganized beaches didn’t offer seaside lunch spots, we saved our money and brought our own lunch. Savvy students 😉
The sun set around 8pm and no matter where we were we made sure to enjoy the picturesque beauty. If we were in the middle of driving home from the beach, we’d stop the car and enjoy the view streatside. These quiet, memorable moments are something I treasure now looking back at this vacation, and I’m grateful we took the time each night to make an effort to appreciate the view together.
After our beach day, we drove back to the hotel and tag-team showered and got ready for dinner. Is there any better feeling than showering after a beach day? With the warm sun still heating your skin and saltwater gently nourishing your skin and sucking out every last bit of moisture from your hair? Ah, bliss. Thankfully, our hotel offered luxurious soaps, lotions and conditioners to minimize the damage.
Relaxed. clean and ready for dinner, each night we headed out to the restaurant strip in Pallonia. Bonus points if you dress to match at dinner!
Clearly the nautical theme is big in Milos 😉
An appealing restaurant was not difficult to find in Pallonia. Each restaurant looked equally enticing, with vast menus, comfortable seating, seaside views and affordable prices. All restaurants also had knowledgable wait staff to help aid the (inevitably lengthy in my case) decision making process.
Seafood was our primary diet for this week and we indulged in everything from fresh grilled fish, fried fish, clams, prawns and sardines (<–!!!)
Seafood, salads, tirokafteri and mounds and mounds of feta were the highlights of this culinary excursion. My favorite dish was the roasted eggplant with tomato, feta, oregano and olive oil dish I mentioned in my previous post.
I must have ordered it every time I saw it on the menu because this combination never failed. Somehow these flavors just jived and the texture was spot on. Surprisingly, not mushy in the slightest! I will never underestimate the power of eggplant ever again. From roasted eggplant to moussaka, Greeks know how to use their eggplant. Who knew such a weird looking vegetable could be so versatile and delicious? I always felt well nourished yet light after eating this dish. From this simplistic combination of ingredients I realized Greeks know how to cook with flavor, not fat.
Sharing food at dinner might be one of my favorite activities. I can never decide on one single dish and I always enjoy variety, so I’m always happy when others agree to order different things and share! Because who doesn’t love a table full of food?
The salad above is called kritharokoulouro, or Taco salad. It consists of hard bread with tomatoes, Feta cheese, capers, olives and olive oil. Absolutely delicious.
Other dinnertime favorites included fish (naturally…) Both fried and grilled:
And a Feta cheese omelette!
This was one of our favorite appetizers, because it had such simple ingredients but was so, so delicious. With good ingredients you don’t need any fuss. And Greek food is exactly that.
Even though we had a full-blooded Greek with us to help translate, waiters frequently spoke very good English. They often gave excellent recommendations to please even the most onerous palate.
As if the dinner experiences weren’t already cordial enough, restaurants frequently offered dessert on the house!
This was a lemon custard / sorbet type dish. Perfect for a warm summer night where you want something light, refreshing and sweet!
The remainder of the days in Milos were used exploring beaches and towns. To avoid a monstrosity of a post, I’ll leave the last couple days of our trip where we visited the towns Tripiti and Plaka for another post. Stay tuned 🙂