Report detailing our recent trip to Sifnos & Milos.
Posted on Greece forum but been advised to post on the individual Sifnos & Milos forums as well.
This is the final posting!
Sifnos & Milos 2018- A Trip Report.
It’s June and time for this years trip to Greece.
We have got in the habit of spending 2 weeks in Greece every year and we have a rule of not doing any repeat visits anywhere.
This year we are going to Sifnos and Milos.
Our itinerary is flight from Manchester UK to Athens/overnight stay in Piraeus followed by 7 nights Sifnos and 6 nights on Milos.
Our flights were booked last September on the morning that easyjet released their early summer programme. We were on holiday in Texas at the time and our youngest son was in charge of getting our booking made before he went to work!
We got reasonably priced flights but I didn’t fare as well with airport car parking. After checking prices regularly it was apparent that it was cheaper to book a taxi to and from our home (& it also meant we didn’t have to drive).
Had a bit of a panic though when the pre booked taxi failed to arrive to take us to the airport!
Luckily found a replacement company who were very efficient and I finally calmed down when I was in the departure lounge with a glass of wine in my hand!
The flight (unusually) was in the afternoon and I think it’s the way forward!
It was so civilized;- no ridiculous early start, no queues anywhere, even the self service bag drop and security were quick.
The flight to Athens was fine and less than an hour after landing we were on the X96 bus rattling on our way to Piraeus.
This is a very cheap and convenient way of getting to Piraeus and the bus stop is right outside the airport terminal. The journey takes just over an hour.
We arrived late at hotel Noufara and we had an early start the following morning as we had a ferry to catch. However, our days of sitting at a port overnight are over and booking a hotel was a “must do” even for such a short amount of time!
The thought of getting up 5 hours later was not inspiring!
Day 2- Amazing what a difference 5 hours sleep and a shower makes!
We didn’t have time for breakfast and husband (S) flagged a taxi down outside the hotel. It was quite a short walk to the port area but worth the small taxi fare to make sure we were deposited right outside the Zante ferry and ticket office.
We purchased VIP tickets ( although not sure what they included) and were soon on the escalator up into the ferry.
It turned out that the VIP seating was very quiet and was at the front of the ferry ( airline type seats). We sat there initially but then moved to a very quiet nearby lounge/restaurant area where we sat vey comfortably at a large table with seating for the whole journey.
The table was numbered and I think this related to a cabin number ( not applicable as a daytime crossing). Anyway, when staff checked our tickets we were allowed to stay in this area although we saw others moved on. On this basis, the VIP ticket section was worth the small additional cost as we had a very quiet area and restaurant service.
Conventional ferry travel would always be our preference in Greece as these trips are our “relaxing holiday”.( We do other trips apart from Greece each year with a totally different type of schedule).
Leaving Piraeus is always interesting and we saw a a P&O cruise ship (Oceana) arriving plus several real luxury cruise ships (small) which I will eventually look up and check prices! Not at all jealous though;- have been on a couple of cruises and would definitely not visit Greece on one.
Once we were on our way I did go on the deck outside a few times and when arriving at both Kythnos and Serifos. Just lovely to see!
The 5 hour trip to Sifnos did go very quickly and then it was our turn to disembark.
Kamares is a small low key port.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and it was pretty quiet in the port area and local beaches were almost deserted!
There was a useful tourist information booth where we picked up some island maps. We already knew which bus we wanted to catch but for anyone arriving without accommodation or travel information this would be a useful resource and the staff spoke fluent English ( I am always embarrassed about this as how many English people can hold a conversation in another language?).
Anyway (rant over) our bus arrived on time and we were on our way to our hotel in Platys Gialos.
Good to travel by bus as you can appreciate the scenery as you travel and look at where the bus stops are for future reference.
We are always relieved when we arrive somewhere and it is exactly as we expected and this is the feeling we had when on the descent into Platys Gialos!
We could see our hotel (Platys Gialos) straight away as it must have the best location in the resort and we had “travelled” the area quite a few times (on streetview )at the end of last year when deciding where to stay!
We were delighted to find that the last bus stop of the route was right outside the drive to our hotel .We had arrived!
(I have done separate reviews of the hotels plus attractions & restaurants for this holiday )
After checking in we had a wander around and picked up the essentials (wine & water) from a local shop and looked at restaurant options for the evening,
PG is small but there are more than enough restaurants/ snack bars and places to relax with a drink.
The beach is very narrow and we would never use a town beach anyway so this didn’t bother us.
The hotel we were staying at had extensive grounds with sunbeds,comfortable seating (including hammocks) and direct access into the sea for swimming as well as a pool.
We stayed on Sifnos for a week so rather than do a daily review ( which I have done on previous road trip reports) I will just list the main activities;
Sifnos Trails - We had read about the Sifnos trails before our trip and S had printed out several of the routes ( see sifnostrails.com). We typically do quite a lot of walking while we are away and island has an extensive trail network of walks with varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
We did one of the large loops which which started and finished in Platys Gialos and took 4 hours. The trails are clear and well signed and we found that the timing was accurate and corresponded with our normal walking rate.
Well worth taking a camera when walking as there were some tremendous views ;- at one stage we found ourselves on a deserted beach which looked fantastic. However, we didn’t stop as we knew that we needed to keep going to complete the route.
It was very hot and you definitely need to make an early start and get the trail completed as soon as possible!
The trails are all over the island and there are options to do just part sections of certain routes and some are suitable for children.
We also walked to Chrysopigi beach and Faros during the week ( see beach section below)
2) Beaches-Although Platys Gialos is a small place, the beach area is developed and there are a reasonable number of restaurants and bars that overlook it.
We prefer smaller low key beaches and so we walked to Chrysopigi beach as an alternative.
This was a beautiful clean beach area . Very low key and not even sunbeds for hire.
There was just a small selection of accommodation set back from the beach and two restaurants.
We spent a lovely day here and went to the Chrysopigi restaurant for lunch.
We sat on a gorgeous terrace overlooking the bay and enjoyed a shared starter with greek salad , bread, beer and wine. Just what we needed to give us the strength to walk back to our hotel later on!
As the walk to Chrysopigi wasn’t a problem we the walked to Faros on another day.
This was easy to get to by walking to the far end of Chrysopigi beach, going up the steps and walking on the pathway around to the next bay.
Faros is another lovely low key beach area and we arrived early enough to claim a tree to hang our bags and clothing on! Again, no sunbeds for hire and just a beautiful clean beach.
At lunchtime we walked along the beach and passed a couple of restaurants before arriving in the fishing village area which was tiny and very beautiful.
There were another couple of restaurants and these were reasonably busy but the seafront was quiet and we had lunch while enjoying the views out to sea. Wonderful!
3) Secret Sunbathing)- We like walking and had seen the signs advertising a beach bar that was up a steep road that climbed behind the back of our hotel.
We decided to go and investigate and we found ourselves overlooking the next bay and Lazarou beach bar.
It looked so inviting that we returned there twice during our stay in Platys Gialos.
There was a bar/restaurant set in the hillside and below it was an extensive area of decking with sun loungers.
It overlooked the sea to which there was direct access by steps.
A great place to while away a few hours on a lounger listening to the sound of the sea and some music and S went swimming. There was even waiter service to your lounger if you wanted it!
We moved up to the restaurant area for some shade and a salad and drinks at lunchtime. Didn’t get charged for using the sunbeds as we had ordered a meal.
We were surprised at how few people were there but it wasn’t that well advertised and the rough access road might put some people off. Definitely a good alternative to the beach and the location is fantastic.
3) Apollonia/Artemonas- A visit to Apollonia was a “must” so we got the bus there one morning.
Once you get away from the main road there is a maze of narrow streets to wander around and there seem to be tiny churches wherever you look.
There are restaurants and a lot of shops selling locally made products, artwork, clothing and jewellery.
We intended to return to Apollonia in the evening later in the week so I checked out some restaurant options.
We then walked up to Artemonas passing some old grand mansions on the way. We wandered around for a while taking in the views and then called in at a restaurant near the main square for a snack and (of course) beer for S & a jug of wine for me!
We did return to Apollonia for an evening out later in the week.
I had spotted a cocktail bar on the initial visit (Argo) and that was where we headed!
This was just fantastic! We sat on the upstairs balcony sipping our drinks and watching the sun set.
If we had been staying in Apollonia I would have gone here every night!
The cocktail list was extensive ( I recommend the gin fizz) but they had numerous other options and they were served with a beautifully presented plate of fruit and popcorn.
We then crossed the narrow street and went into the terrace restaurant opposite for a lovely meal. Good night out!
4) Restaurants- The majority of our evening meals were in Platys Gialos as that was where we were staying.
There is a good choice of restaurants there including a couple that are rated near the top for the island on TA ratings.
However, we like Greek food and prefer not to have a work of art on a plate that looks as if it should be hanging on a wall! For that reason we had a favourite place to eat which was To Steki.
I have a habit of rating places based on the standard of the moussaka and the one I had at To Steki was one of the best!
We also loved the location;- eating overlooking the beach is lovely.
Have to say that we had some really good meals in Sifnos and we didn’t find eating out expensive at all. The house wine (white) was very passable everywhere we went as well!
5) Swimming/ Canoeing- S went swimming at every beach we visited and from the beach bar.Our hotel grounds had direct access straight into the sea so he also went swimming every morning before breakfast (very commendable).
I was more selective but did enjoy swimming from the hotel. I had forgotten how different it is swimming in open sea compared to doing the set number of lengths I do each morning at a leisure club at home.
I decided it was best to swim towards an object in the sea and then work out whether to go a bit further or turn back towards the hotel.
On my first attempt I decided to swim towards a yacht that was moored out in the bay. I then realized that there were a crowd of people on board who looked like they had no clothes on!
Obviously, I needed to swim closer just to check!
5 men with all over tans! I decided to change direction after that…
We also had several attempts at using the canoes from the hotel and went around past the beach bar and the next bay.
After a week on Sifnos it was time to move on to our next island;- Milos.
We took the bus to Kamares and again chose to purchase tickets for the Zante ferry crossing.
We did watch 2 different fast craft leave and depart but we were in no hurry and happy to wait for our ferry.
The crossing was just over an hour so we didn’t bother with the VIP tickets this time.
S watched a world cup game and enjoyed a beer and I sulked because the restaurant & bar did not sell wine or gin!
Adamas port is big and impressive as you arrive by sea. Not surprising as it’s a flooded volcano caldera.
We wanted to have a walk around here but we were loaded up with luggage so will return later in the week. Headed instead for Yankos bar/restaurant where we enjoyed some drinks while waiting for a bus to take us to Pollonia. At last I had the required G&T!
Pollonia is our base for the 6 nights we are spending on Milos and it was good to travel there by bus as we had great views of the landscape which is really unique.
The contrast of the beaches, white rock formations, sea and farmland is something quite special.
We had told the bus driver where we were staying and he stopped right outside our hotel (Glaronisia) which was a short distance outside Pollonia.
The staff were really welcoming and we were very quickly checked in and taken to our room.
Another great choice! The hours spent checking out accommodation and researching areas has been worthwhile as all 3 hotel choices for this trip have been ideal.
Once unpacked we wandered down to Pollonia which was a five minute walk away and checked out restaurant options for later on as well as stocking up with wine & water.
Here’s what we did during out stay on Milos ( in no particular order);
Pollonia- This was our base and it was a great choice.
It’s a very low key fishing village that has become a small resort and the restaurants are all based around the port area.
Plenty of places to eat and drink and many of them are open all day. Most are situated next to the town beach and have great views across the bay. When the area is lit up in the evening it is really lovely.
We tried several restaurants on the front and they were all good.
We walked all around Pollonia and there is very little apart from accommodation behind the main port area. All the shops and chemist are based near the main tourist /port area.
There is quite a lot of holiday accommodation on the left hand side of the port as you look out towards the sea and we walked out to Agia Paraskevi church which is a local landmark. It is so pretty and has a beautiful outside terrace overlooking the sea. Would be a perfect wedding venue!
Past the church and following the coastline are some really amazing rock formations on smaller beach areas that are well worth seeing.
A lot of apartments and hotels were still being cleaned and painted ready for the main summer season.
The town beach was very low key and never busy. No organized activities or sunbed hire but a good selection of trees to provide shade and hang your beach accessories on.
There were a couple of other beaches which you could see if you walked past the Kimolas ferry port area.
One did actually have sunbeds and a small beach bar and we used it one morning.
We did quite a lot of walking around the area and it was a pity that there was not a system of trails to follow as we had enjoyed on Sifnos.
On some maps it looked as if there were trails and we did try walking out of town and on the headland looking towards Kimolas.Initially we appeared to be following a trail but it eventually petered out which was disappointing.
2) Beaches of Papafragas & Pachena- We walked from our hotel on the road back towards Adamas until we reached these beaches.
It was quite a pleasant walk and the views were stunning.
Papafragas is a submerged cave enclosed by white rocks. The contrast between the white rocks and the blue sea is fantastic.
Some of the area was roped off but people were still scrambling down into the cave and the nearby beach area.
We walked on further to Pachena beach which was reasonably busy but we walked around the far end of the beach and over some rocks to another section of beach which was deserted!
Spent several hours there with the beach to ourselves.
Sun was pretty strong and feels a lot hotter when you are on a stone beach so we were careful not to overdo it.
There are a small number of self catering accommodation in Pachena and we stopped off at Avra cafe which was near the main road and the only place that we had seen serving food and drinks since we had left our hotel earlier.
Shared a salad and a starter each plus wine and beer and were surprised that we were the only customers in such a nice place.
Think most people who stay in Pachena must drive elsewhere for meals or cater for themselves .
3) Plaka & Trypiti- We travelled to Plaka by bus (via Adamas). Plaka is the capital of the island and the village is built high on slopes of volcanic rock.
We walked through the labyrinth like streets and then up to the castle, stopping at the church square on the way.
The walking path that you follow is not that well kept and I was pleased that I had taken my trainers with me.
By the time we reached the church I had decided that flip flops were not the best footwear but I soon had happy feet again when I put on my trainers.
The views from the square were good but one of the stand out views of the holiday was looking out from the castle across the sea.
I can still picture the Greek flag waving and views of the village spilling down the slope towards the sea. The sea was bright blue and there was a ferry cutting a line through the water. It was perfect!
We then walked back down through Plaka and on to Trypiti where we wanted to see the ancient Roman amphitheatre.
The path down towards it was signed but the ground was quite rough so the trainers were appreciated (again).
The theatre is well preserved and has tremendous views looking out towards the sea. You can only imagine what local people were watching take place there in the past ;- it makes you think.
We didn’t bother looking at the nearby catacombs. Think I had seen enough catacombs including well preserved bodies when we were in Palermo last year!
We did see the site where the Venus de Milo was found in 1820 although the exact spot and identity of the person who found it seem to differ depending on which guide/ information you read! The statue is now in the Louvre in Paris although there have been recent campaigns for it to be returned to Milos.
By this time we had done quite a bit of walking but we had enough time for a late lunch before catching the bus back to Adamas.
S had spotted a restaurant with a nice patio area and good views in Trypiti called Ergina’s.
We were only having a salad and another dish to share but the “other dish” turned out to be one of the stand out dishes of the trip!
We had a Greek salad ( as usual) and paired it with “chick peas in the oven” which was listed as a starter on the main menu. However, it was also chalked up as a special recommended dish on a board so we decided it must be good!
We were right;- it was so delicious and my mouth still waters when I think about it now! Still looking for a recipe for it as well!
We did ask our waiter but the instructions were a bit vague so I have not attempted to recreate as I know it would be disappointing.
We had this great meal with beer for S & I had my usual half litre of white wine. We were also given some lovely cake for dessert which was very highly coloured but very delicious.
Sorry to have to rush our meal to catch the bus and I would loved to have eaten here again .
4) Adamas- We hadn’t had the chance to look around the port area when we arrived by ferry so we were pleased to have a bit of time here on the way back from Plaka & Trypiti.
Although the port area is large the town is a lot smaller than I expected.
Once you walk behind the the shops and restaurants that line the harbour there isn’t much else to see apart from houses and some business premises plus a small amount of holiday accommodation.
It didn’t take us that long to walk around and we were not planning on doing any shopping so we sat down near the port area.
There were quite a few boats here and it is obviously still a fishing port.
There was one section that seemed to be reserved for luxury yachts . We watched as one arrived and the occupants were whisked away in a car with blacked out windows.
Wonder who that was?
The staff remained on board cleaning!
On another boat there was a party of people sitting down for a meal and drinks with staff serving them!
Well, I bet it was not a good as the chick peas in the oven!
5) Kimolos island- You can’t stay in Pollonia without making the short crossing to nearby Kimolos.
The ferry makes regular trips to and from the island throughout the day and the crossing takes less than half an hour.
We chose to make the trip on a day that there was an early ferry (9am) from Pollonia.
While we were staying the ferry timetable differed each day but during the busy season there may be more crossings.
The crossing we did was pretty quiet. There were only a few passengers on the deck and just a handful of cars were driven off when we arrived on Kimolos.
We walked straight from Psathi where the ferry docks to the capital (Hora).
Walking around the streets here is like going back in time by about 50 years.Very few people around and the odd small shop, bakery or restaurant.
There are the crumbling remains of an old castle surrounded by old houses, some of which are still occupied.
We then wandered back down to look for a beach area and we followed the road and picked up signs which took us along the coast on a path to Rema. We walked on and finally settled on some rocks at Karas where S went swimming and I read a book and sunbathed.
Watched a Zante ferry approaching Psathi. Hadn’t really thought about any regular ferry services to the island as it is so small and so close to Milos.
It was so hot on the rocks that we thought we needed to get out of the sun by early afternoon.
We walked back to the port and had drinks at a nice taverna right near the ferry.
Got talking to a couple from the UK who were staying on Kimolas and who had driven from home and were doing a long tour around Greece.
They had already done this several times previously so we asked them about a lot of islands that are on “our list” as we will soon be thinking about where to go next! Very useful information.
Then we were back on the ferry and waving to our new friends as we sailed back to Milos!
We will definitely aim to revisit Kimolos as part of another trip as we would like to stay on the island for a couple of days. There are nice beaches and some restaurants that we NEED to try!
This won’t count as a repeat visit (which we don’t allow ourselves to do) as we only visited on a day trip this time!
6) Restaurants- As I have already mentioned, Pollonia has a selection of restaurants overlooking the town beach and this is a very nice place to eat in the evening.
There is a nice buzz about area and when we were there it was reasonably busy but we could always get a table straight away.
Tried I think 3 of the restaurants for meals at night and light lunches and all were good.
There was also a restaurant that was out of town that we really liked and went to several times called Liofito.It was opposite our hotel so very convenient for us!
Obviously did not have the beach front location but it had a large terrace that was very pleasant. It was family run so the menu was not extensive but the food was very good.
Their speciality was (strangely) lasagne! However, it wasn’t a baked dish as I had anticipated but pappardelle pasta ( like a thicker version of tagliatelle) with a delicious tomato sauce that was very sweet and bursting with flavour. Different and delicious.
Price wise meals were similar cost to Sifnos and drinks are also good value especially the white house wine of which I drank rather a lot!
Our 6 night stay in Milos flew by and before we knew it we were facing the journey back home.
Fortunately the flight from Athens was in the evening so we had quite a pleasant last day.
Check out time for the hotel was 12pm so we left our cases at reception and went to one of the harbour restaurants in Pollonia for lunch.
We ordered the usual Greek salad and a starter dish to share which was aubergines in a tomato sauce,oven baked with bacon and topped with Sifnos soft cheese.
Another stand out dish!
When we ordered it the waiter said it was his favourite thing on the menu and that he had been known to accidentally (on purpose) make a mistake with an order so that he had to eat the extra portion that had not been requested!
The chef came out to speak to us as we loved this dish so much but he wouldn’t reveal the recipe and said it was special dish from Crete where he came from.
Had my usual half litre of wine and then it was back to the hotel for our airport pick up.
Had asked the hotel if they could order a taxi for us and they suggested that the airport transfer service was a better option as it was cheaper.
We were quite happy with this and the transfer vehicle was a people carrier with only us in it!
The journey to Milos airport is quite short but travelling by bus is not an option as the services are so limited and you would still have to take taxi from Adamas.
Milos airport is small (only one departure gate) but is is modern and quite efficient.
We had booked an Aegean flight to Athens.
I shocked myself by booking it as we had a bad experience when flying with the company last year from Naxos.
None of the passengers luggage was loaded and the way that it was dealt with was terrible which resulted in a plane load of angry people in Athens baggage reclaim area making a lot of noise!
S was so angry that he ended up emailing CEO of Aegean and had a lengthy phone call from his PA.
We did get an apology and offer of free flights for this year which S declined ( on principal).
About 6 months later we decided where we would visit this year and I was looking at the options for returning to Athens for our flight home.
Had made a list of ferry choices and then thought I would just have a look at Aegean( who of course we were never going to use again).
Typical- the ideal flight back from Milos was there! The perfect match to go with our onward flight to Manchester.
I still resisted but then when I looked at it again about a week later there was an offer.; got the flight, 2 cases and hand luggage for both of us. Total payable- 36 euros!
Yes, I booked it and no it did not escape my mind that we could have had the flight free of charge had S not declined “on principal” after the fiasco last year!
All went well this time though and we actually saw the luggage being loaded as we walked to the aircraft.
These flights are very short;- less than 30 minutes and the one cabin crew member has to do all the safety announcements,serve drinks and a snack to all 40 passengers ( I counted them), and clear everything away. She did speak very quickly when doing the safety information!
Yes, cases turned up at Athens and we wheeled straight to the easyjet baggage drop.
Had quite a wait for our flight but passed time with more wine and S watched a world cup match.Spoke to another couple who had left Milos by ferry at 6am so we did accept that the flight had been a good choice after all.
We also discussed island hopping with them and got a few more ideas for future visits.
Will be back planning before too long but this has been a very enjoyable and relaxing 2 weeks!
Additional comments- we have now been back for almost 4 weeks and it has taken me ages to write up this report as the weather has been so good that I keep having to go out in the garden to top up my tan! Have also had to adjust to not drinking half a litre of wine at lunchtime and another litre in the evening ):
I am glad that I have persevered with it though. Will be able to read it and look at the photo’s (not yet sorted) in the depth of winter and cheer myself up.
At the end of road trip reports I normally list our favourite places but decided it’s not applicable to this trip.
It’s easy to pick favourite cities and paid attractions but this is a totally different holiday so the descriptions of places we visited are all that is needed (I hope).
We still have further holidays booked for this year but I am already looking ahead to next year and working out where our next Greek trip will be.
Have managed to recreate an acceptable version of the aubergine recipe but if anyone has a tried and tested recipe for chickpeas in the oven please let me know!