Milos - Dreamscapes & Dream Escape.
Whenever I think of Milos, I am filled with dread. Don't get me wrong, it is my most favourite place in the world right now. A gem in the Cyclades, home of the Venus de Milo and a portal back in time..... Although it is totally contemporary when it comes to dining, service and attitude. It's as if the islanders have studied the mayhem and madness of what has happened to Santorini and Mykonos in particular, and have taken the best of what an island hopper desires, yet thrown away all of the bad.... The fake, over the top service, the brash salesmanship, the crappy gift shops, inflated prices .... In essence, Milos is why all the baby boomers fell in love with the Greek Islands in the first place. It must have been as Mykonos was in the 70's. It is Old School Travel personified.
Picture a small Greek island before the big hotels, before the cruise ships, before plastic menus with pictures, before street hustling waiters badgering you for your custom, before a line of tourist shops selling nothing but magnets, T-Shirts and cheap jewellery. Now picture little boats in picturesque harbours, a row of excellent, traditional restaurants, where locals and relaxing couples just sit and take the time to understand where they are and what they are witnessing. Throw in dramatic white rock lagoons, pristine yet empty beaches, roadside taverna's, winding roads and spectacular sunsets... Are you there yet? There are no cruise ships .... yet. That's what I dread. It being discovered - Milos being taken over by the hoards that ultimately are the downfall of any 'popular' destination. I'm hoping it will never become 'Bucket List'. I'm sure there's nothing there that is a must see. It's just a perfect little island, surrounded by other, perfect little islands that offer the discerning traveller IT (Invisible Traveller) a throwback to Greek Island hoping before it all went 'Party' on us. Before it was 'Honeymoon Heaven' or 'Hedonist's Delight'.
It is as simplistic as this: you arrive by Seajet or Ferry, or by plane, (During the high season there is one flight from Athens per day with Olympic/Aegean Air), you are picked up and taken to your small pension or B & B and you relax. You may hire a car and just drive the island, exploring the little bays, the spectacular White Rocks Beach at Sarakiniko, taking in the sunset at Utopia Bar in Plaka, dine in the picture perfect harbour town of Pollonia, or cruise around the Island by sail boat..... Although, the 8 hour sailing adventure might well be too much for some, and I wouldn't put up a fight if it were shortened and the route restructured, .... to make it less of an Odyssey and more a leisurely sunset cruise that Santorini has perfected, but oversold, unfortunately.
Personally, I will always choose to stay at Captain Zeppo's. The Captain still presides over proceedings, albeit gently, and kindly picked us up from the port upon arrival, but it is his son Michael who runs the show. A very busy man indeed, but nothing is too much trouble. He will make sure that your every request is attended to and he's constantly looking for new ways to improve the lodgings and service. Most of his Off Season is spent researching and travelling, so he can bring back new ideas to make their guests even more comfortable. Shortly after your arrival, a breakfast/welcome basket prepared by Michael's mother, Maria, will be brought to your suite and that should be the basis of your breakfasts for the next couple of days - Fresh fruits, yoghurts, home baked cake, milk, honey, juices etc....
Your balcony will offer jaw-dropping views out across the bay to neighbouring islands, and to wake up early to watch the sunrise, is a very fortunate problem to have if for some reason you have trouble sleeping - Captain Zeppo's are very proud of their beds, mattresses and pillows, and no expense or consideration has been spared here. There are only 4 Suites to choose from but they are all different, to suit your own individual requirements, but you really do need to book early and reserve your spot. The location, the views, cleanliness and hospitality really do make it difficult to beat, and the list of returning guests who have fallen in love with the place, is getting longer and longer.
When you wish to have dinner, you walk the few metres from Cpt Zeppos, past the traditional Cycladean Church and straight out on to the harbour front. Pick any of the restaurants, they all have wonderful views and cater for all moods. It really doesn't get any easier than this. It's not exciting, it's not extreme, it's relaxing, it's trouble free, it's utterly beautiful. Why do anything other than enjoy your good fortune, the fresh seafood, the much improved and totally delicious local wines (Almost gone are the days of gum-stripping Retsina, although it can still be found should you really miss it) and the peace. If you want more from your Greek Island, well, then that's the point. Go to a more vibrant island next.... You'll wish you were back on Milos though... I guarantee it. Gialos was our favourite restaurant in Pollonia, by the way; modern yet traditional, friendly and efficient, fresh and delightful... Throw in the atmosphere and view and what more could you ask for?
As I've just previously mentioned, The Cyclades are a pick and mix and should be thrown into a holiday bundle. Mykonos to let your hair down, Santorini for the scenic Caldera sunsets and postcard views of Oia, Paros or Ios for the party scene, Naxos for the hiking, beaches and potatoes ....... wonderful potatoes, or any one of the smaller Islands to just take time on, away from the crowds. You can even spend a few days on Crete before heading north into the Cyclades themselves. Putting together your itineraries can be difficult, however, as the ferry timetables aren't released particularly early and flights to Milos have been known to be cancelled if they are under subscribed, but stick with it, working it all out is all part of the fun. To this end, it makes sense to book your accommodation so that it may be cancelled without charge should the ferry timings not suit your schedule and you need to mix things around a bit. 2 weeks may suit 3 islands with the occasional day trips to others would be ideal, in my view.
Milos is going to disappear as it exists today. It is going to explode in popularity. Get in there as soon as you can but for the love of all things holy, please don't spoil it for the rest of us, and I wonder just how many times, as you're sitting there drinking a Santorinian white wine, watching the fishing boats bob on the calm Aegean ocean, you try and do the maths on how you can sell up and move to Milos.