The Cyclades are some of the most well-known islands in the world. Dotting the Aegean Sea in Greece with their small whitewashed houses, rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and breathtaking landscapes, they are a highly-favored destination for travelers from across the globe. At the southwestern-most point of the Cyclades, between Athens and Crete, lies the island of Milos – a hidden gem with a story to tell.
In 1820, a French naval officer and amateur archaeologist named Olivier Voutier made an unusual discovery. He found a marble statue of a woman’s torso, hidden in the recesses of a crumbling wall. That statue is what the world knows today as the famed “Venus de Milo” (Aphrodite of Milos). After a lengthy campaign to move her off of the island, the statue now greets visitors at the Louvre in Paris.
Besides its claim to the origins of one of the most famous sculptures in history, Milos stands on its own as a world-class tourist destination. Formed by an ancient volcano, the island is still home to some of the same hot springs that Hippocrates wrote about long ago.
The hillside is home to a flourishing mining industry that paints the landscape with a dazzling array of crystals, volcanic ash, and oxidized metal. It is also home to ancient catacombs, the remains of an imposing, 7,000-seat amphitheater, and countless museums that showcase the island’s rich history.
Its pristine turquoise beaches, imposing white cliffs, and fresh seafood makes Milos well worth the scenic catamaran ride from Athens. While it may not have the same notoriety as islands like Santorini or Mykonos, this quiet oasis in the Cyclades offers the best that Greek culture, cuisine, and hospitality have to offer.