Milos is not an island, it is an addiction, and its addicts know to their cost how undeveloped the villa scene is, and how hard it is to find somewhere to stay…
Luckily, from one perspective anyway, things are beginning to happen on Milos – apart from the addicts, people are slowly waking up to the fact that this is a gem of an island with spectacular landscapes and beaches, the famous white moonscape of Sarakiniko, the ridiculously picturesque fishing harbours or syrmata, perfect hilltop villages, catacombs, thermal springs, 7,000 year history, fine food and vast tracts of Natura 2000 nature reserves, and there is some thrilling architectural design being spearheaded by a few visionaries.
We go scouting every year, stalking properties and befriending local builders. In fact, I have been climbing over the garden wall of a certain villa for years, leaving a begging letter under the door, in the hope that the owner will one day give in and let us rent his house out..
Our haul for you is small but all the more precious.
Above the fishing village of Skinopi is a austerely zen cluster of three stone and glass cubes set among waving grasses, wild thyme and lavender, with the timeless theatre of passing boats below. Alcibiades landed here two thousand years ago with the Athenian navy, to massacre 10,000 rebellious Milians and sell the women and children into slavery. The Milians were trying to leave the Confederation of Hellenic states, thinking that they would prosper more on their own; the Brexit of their times. The Athenians weren’t having any of it as it would set a bad example to the remainers.. Juncker and Mrs May, take note…
Now things are more peaceful, and honeymooners, CEO’s with burn-out, and people wanting to empty their minds and breath deep from the well of tranquility, will find refuge here. A small path leads down through the handful of fishing huts where a narrow beach is shaded by tamarisk trees.
Up in Tripiti, one of the two heart-breakingly pretty mountain-top villages with sunset views to die for, we have found a finely restored old village mansion with amazing plumbing.
On the southern coast, washed by the crystalline waters of the Libyan Sea, we are waiting for a masterpiece of a villa from Greece’s most avant guard architects, and Greek architecture gets pretty avant guard. it should be ready in July.. They have found an inspired patron, and the design features roofs planted with waving wild grasses to blend back into the landscape, pierced with twisting glass light-wells that funnel light and air down into the rooms. The sublime view over the sea stretches out over the tranquil blue horizon.
Below, is a charming and low-key new house built of stone, a few hundred metres from a deserted beach, for grown-up hippies.
The iconic Syrmata of Milos are now beginning to be snapped up by imaginative visitors and refurbished- despite Greek bureaucracy’s best efforts, and we will have one for rent next year for an adventurous couple wanting to have a unique experience.
Food follows design very closely – Gialos and Armenaki in chic little Pollonia, Medousa in Mandrakis, Xamos outside Adamas, and Baricella at Tripiti all offer astonishingly good food. The owners of Gialos have found the perfect balance of fresh, new flavours, with some dishes that some Michelin five star restaurants would be proud of.
A little snack at Medousa.
Scallops with pumpkin purée at Gialos
Sea urchin salad
Ceviche with rocket
The manager of Gialos. He gave up waiting for us to decide what to order and chose it all himself, Genius.
After all that food, waddle down to Sarakiniko or one of the beaches on the southern coast and wonder why Milos is not on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit before they die.