Milos, Kimolos sailing holidays

The island of Melos - Milos - Μήλος, the most westerly of the larger Cyclades, owes its distinctive topography and the pattern of its economy to its origin as the caldera of a volcano of the Pliocene period, to which the sulphurous hot springs in the north-east and south-east of the island still bear witness.

It has one of the most monumental natural harbours in the Mediterranean, formed when the sea broke into the crater through a gap on its north-west side.

Milos combines geological gems with amazing anchorages.

Previous islands: Naxos • Lesser Cyclades ↑

Sailing map of Milos, Kimolos and Polyaigos - Yacht charters in Greece
Milos, Kimolos and Polyaigos sailing map; ports and anchorages

Next islands: Folegandros • Sikinos ↓

Sunset at Plaka village - Πλάκα (5 km north from Adamas) overlooking the wide opening of Milos bay. Cape Kalamaria behind the cupola and to the right Cape Vani.

The north-eastern half of the island is flatter and more fertile than the upland region in the south-west, which rises to 752 m in Mount Profitis Ilias.

The island's principal sources of income – besides the tourists either on a sailing holiday or island hopping by ferry – are its rich mineral resources, including pumice, perlite, sulphur and keolin (both in small quantities) and bentonite clay. Geology (Photo)

Kimolos - Κίμωλος is an arid and inhospitable island of volcanic origin lying to the north-east of Milos. It was known in antiquity for its terra kimolia (cimolith), used both as a detergent and in medical baths.

The chief place on the island, Kimolos or Chora, lies near the pleasant port of Psathi, round the remains of the late medieval settlement of Kastro. On the island's highest point is the ruined medieval Castle of Palaiokastro (365 m).

History of Milos

The island of Milos was already densely populated in the 3rd millennium BCE, when the inhabitants made implements and weapons from the large local deposits of obsidian and exported them all over the Aegean and as far afield as Asia Minor and Egypt.

About 1200 BCE Dorian incomers settled on the island and founded the city of Melos, defended by walls and towers, on a hill on the north side of Milos bay. They prospered through the export of sulphur, pumice, clay and alum, and also of oil, wine and honey.

The sailing yacht reveals the true scale of these colourful cliffs on Milos. It is worthwhile to circumnavigate the whole island and explore especially the south coast.

In Roman and Early Christian times Milos was also a notable art centre. Its best known work is the Aphrodite of Melos or Venus de Milo (2nd c. BCE), now in the Louvre. Venus (Photo)
After the fall of the Roman Empire Milos became Byzantine; in the Middle Ages it belonged to the Venetian Duchy of Naxos; and after centuries of Turkish rule it became part of the newly established kingdom of Greece.

More photos and information can be found in the logbook of our trip from Athens to Milos, and in my Guide to sailing holidays and yacht charters in 8 steps.

Psathi port on the east coast of Kimolos island, looking NNE.

Ports and anchorages

Milos bay

The port of Admantas: Adamas is the principal harbour on Milos island, which allows a visit to the villages of Klima, Typiti and Plaka, which is locally known as Chora

In western winds the yachts on the outside of the quay or the floating mole cannot stay and suitable anchorages in the vast Milos bay are:

  • just SE of Cape Aspros Kavos near Embourios - Εμπουρειός,
  • just SE of Cape Kokkinos Kavos at Megali Ammos
  • Fatourena - Φατούρενα,
  • Achivadolimni - Αχιβαδολίμνη (as well as the bay 1 nm to the west) are also useful in southern winds. Sand over rocks not always allows good holding.
Adamas, the port of Adamantas - Λιμάνι Αδάμαντας: the east extremity of the floating mole (Red beacon) is just visible. Usually there is no room on the inside (north side). During westerlies the yachts on outside cannot stay.

Milos coasts

Provatas - Προβατάς and adjacent Fyriplaka - Φυριπλάκα bays midway on the south coast. At the Firiplaka area the volcanically heated seabed causes seawater temperature fluctuations, possibly resulting in alarming depth soundings. The bays are open to the south, stunning surroundings, tavernas ashore, good holding, trust the depth sounder near the Zefyros reef.

Kleftiko - Κλέφτικο is even more exposed to the south and lots of tripper boats deliver tourist herds, but it features interesting geology. Lat Long

Ioannis - Γιάννης bay is a lovely beach on the east coast of Milos, suitable in NE – SE winds. Lat Long

Pollonia - Πολλώνια is a packed port (with the island's diving center) and bay on the south side of the Milos – Kimolos channel. The favorable part of the bay – with good holding and protection against the Meltemi – is mostly filled with a swimming zone and permanent moorings; the quay is used by ferries. Visiting yachts will have to leave in case of strong NW Meltemi winds: Voudia bay further south offers better safety albeit in industrial surroundings.

Kimolos

Psathi - Ψάθη port, VHF 9 or 12, provides much better shelter (except for strong SE winds) in a quiet delightful village; short hike to Kimolos Chora.

Prasonisi - Πρασονήσι anchorage is a tranquil alternative with a lengthy hike (>1 hr using the main road) to the Chora.

Semina (Ay Minas) - Άγιος Μηνάς fjord bay is located between Prasonisi and Psathi, 45 minutes from the villages, good holding and shelter.

St Andreas anchorages: In antiquity Kimolos had two ports. The ancient, sunken town was located on the south-east coast in the area which is now called Ellinika. The islet of Agios Andreas (the acropolis of the ancient town) and the numerous tombs in the wider area are visible remains of the ancient town.
The sunken town and the necropolis at Ellinika have brought a number of Mycenaean, Geometrical, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic findings into light. It seems that the Kimolians had been residing in this town at least up to the early Christian years.
In Sikia (northern bay) drop anchor just east of the reef in the far NE corner; in Ellinika (southern bay) drop anchor just SE of the St Andreas islet: sandy bottom, good holding.
Noteworthy: the shallow Milos – Kimolos channel was an isthmus in Mycenaean times.

Polyaigos

Manolonisi - Μανωλονήσι bay – nesteled behind the islet – is one of my favourite anchorages in the Cyclades. Just SE is another bay with dramatic rock formations yet less shelter. Along the south coast of Polyaigos there are several geological highlights but these are only suitable as lunch stop in light conditions.

Although Polyaigos literally means “many goats”, we haven't seen any…

Distictive rocky spikes sticking out of the blue bays of Polyaigos island; do not attempt to stay the night here during the Meltemi or Sirocco.

All Greek isles and the next Cycladic islands to the east are Folegandros • Sikinos.