If you’ve been looking for travel guides to Milos, Greece, I’m guessing you haven’t found one like this yet.
Pinterest is full of amazingly helpful travel guides. I recently read one such post from Crazy Travelista, which had great recommendations for things to do in Milos, Greece, and I used it to help plan my own trip to Milos. Thanks, Crazy Travelista!
After spending 4 nights in Milos, Greece I reflected on a few things I wish I had done differently. I thought it might be useful for other travelers if I wrote a post about what NOT to do.
Enjoy, and happy travels!
1. Don’t skip the pitarakia.
Pitarakia is a Milos specialty. Pitarakia look a bit like empanadas. They are fried little pockets of deliciousness that are flaky and hot and filled with goat cheese, mint, and hot air. I was worried that a minty pastry would not be to my liking, but the mint is subtle and the flavor is amazing.
I tried pitarakia at 4 different restaurants in Milos, and BY FAR the best ones were at Alevromilos. The restaurant has nice outdoor seating and the rest of their food is fantastic (I also ate tabbouleh salad which was amazing.
2. Don’t forget to get your IDP.
An IDP, or International Drivers Permit, is ESSENTIAL in Milos. Before visiting, I read Crazy Travelista’s post about Why Milos Should Be On Your Greece Bucket List. Thoroughly convinced that an ATV was THE way to get around the island, I rented one from the very same company she recommended.
However, in her post, she says she rented from Motochristos in part because they were one of the only companies who didn’t require and IDP. Times have changed! Since her writing, they have changed their policy and they absolutely DO requires an IDP now.
Luckily this is easy to obtain. A quick internet search let me know that you can get one from your local AAA office, and you will receive your IDP in the mail in several weeks.
Now, this sent me into a panic. Being the procrastinator I am, I was reading this information online on Thursday night, and my flight to Europe was early Sunday morning. Yipes! I didn’t have time for them to mail it to me. However, you can go in person and apply for one, pay the $20 fee, and walk out with your IDP the same day.
THANK GOODNESS I saw this on Thursday night and had Friday as a business day to go and get this taken care of!
The lesson here is that you should ABSOLUTELY get an IDP, and you can even get one at the last minute, BUT you need to make sure you have a business day to get one! If I hadn’t seen that info online until Saturday, I would’ve been screwed. And my trip to Milos, Greece would’ve been MUCH worse if I wasn’t able to rent an ATV.
3. Don’t rent a car.
Rent an ATV! As recommended by Crazy Travelista in her post about Milos, I rented a 150cc ATV from Motochristos. And don’t forget to reserve one ahead of time if you’re traveling in June or July (high season). I reserved ahead via email after reading about folks on trip advisor arriving and being disappointed to find there were none available. Be proactive. You’ll be very happy you did.
4. Don’t forget to exchange money/grocery shop before Sunday.
Milos, Greece is an island, and a small one at that. I was traveling with some cash in USD, “just in case”, and that just in case came in handy when I had a gap of a couple of days between money for rent and other monthly bills going out of my accounts, and monthly income coming into my accounts.
I needed that cash to bridge the gap. The only problem was I needed to convert it to euros, and would’ve been wise to do so in Athens before taking the ferry over, or exchanging it on Saturday or Monday. I wasn’t paying attention to the days of the week (I was in full-blown vacay mode!), and when I realized I needed to exchange my money, I also realized that all the banks and tourist offices were closed.
I was in a bind for a minute there, thinking I’d have to spend my last few euros on water and go through the next few days stoically starving to death on the picturesque beaches, wallowing luxuriantly in my new poverty, eating oranges and bathing in self-pity and the poetic sense of the starving artist, like Arturo Bandini.
Luckily, the ferry ticket office was open and could exchange money for me, so I didn’t have to do that. But I could have avoided some stress and time lost if I had planned ahead. The same goes for grocery shopping. There are little markets open on Sunday, but the one main market with the best selection, AB Market, is closed, so I would recommend restocking your supplies on Saturday.
5. Don’t let robots steal your money.
It’s a big problem in Greece. ATMs, or as I like to call them, robot bank employees, will try to do you a “service” by converting your money to the local currency before you withdraw it from the machine.
Don’t fall for these ATM conversions!!
They add a markup to the conversion rate and take precious dollars from you unnecessarily. The tricky thing is that we’re used to being charged ATM fees that you have to accept in order to withdraw money. These are NOT the same fees. You will be charged that required fee IN ADDITION to the conversion fee the ATM is trying to charge you.
The ATM knows you will mistake the one for the other and get charged both. Read the proposed charges first before accepting. If you decline the conversion fee, your bank will convert the currency for you, and you will still be given euros out of the machine.
If it’s not clear to you whether or not a proposed fee is required for you to get money, play it safe and decline them. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to start your transaction over. But you’ll save money!
6. Don’t forget your Chacos!!
Chacos for the win in Milos! (I have no affiliate relationship or sponsorship with Chacos – I just love ‘em).
It’s almost like Chacos were MADE for Milos. They are the perfect shoe for this environment – they go well with dresses and shorts, which you will be wearing because it’s HOT, they’re sturdy enough to wear riding an ATV and hiking around Milos’ rugged terrain, and made for the water, so they’re great at the beach.
Some of the beaches have lots of rocks in the shallow part of the water where people swim, so you’ll want them on in the water sometimes to protect your feet. I wore mine every single solitary day, and my tennis shoes got their own vacay in my room 🙂
7. Don’t be shy.
Get naked! Here’s your chance to get some color without tan lines. The beach culture in Milos, Greece allows you to go au natural, as long as you go a little ways down the beach.
One beach I went to, Fyropotamos, was very small, and there were women who went topless there right near the beach entrance (I may have followed suit – pun intended). But at larger and longer beaches, like Fyriplaka and Paliochori, etiquette dictates that nude sunbathers and swimmers go to the far end of the beach, and families stay closer to the entrance.
Basically, the farther down you go, the more naked people get, so you can select your spot accordingly based on your comfort level.
8. Don’t forget extra contact lenses.
Between swimming and wearing an ATV helmet, glasses are just a no-go. I wore my contacts every day, because I hate getting beach sand between my lenses and frame, and it seems it would be uncomfortable to wear glasses under a helmet. Make sure you bring an extra set in case something happens to the first pair.
9. Don’t miss out on the fancy-ass desserts.
I am a girl with a penchant for sweets and baked goods generally. Mouratos and Aggeliki WOWED me!
Even if you’re not a treat queen like me, you should not miss out on Aggeliki. The desserts there are treats for the eyes. I seriously have never seen such beautiful, enticing desserts in my life. There are lots of lovely cakes with mirror glaze, desserts made to look like pears and other fruits, and even an ice cream treat the size of a box of tic tacs made to look like a full-sized waffle cone soft-serve swirl.
Aggeliki also serves ice cream, which I’ve heard is the best in town and after trying it, I believe it. It’s definitely THE place to go if you’ve got a hankering for something sweet.
Mouratos, on the other hand, has more savory baked goods (though still some are sweet). They have a bounty of breads, pastries, cookies, etc. to choose from. The perimeter of the whole place is lined with pastry cases and baskets of baked goods, and several tables in the middle of the room come together to create a large island of treats, almost overflowing from their baskets.
Everything is blanketed in netting to keep flies away, and gives the place an almost nautical sort of feeling. They’re located up on the hill near AB Market, and have nice tables outside with a lovely view of Adamas and the coast.
10. Don’t skimp on travel insurance.
Yes, I said it. I am someone who literally never gets travel insurance. I trust in the universe that everything will work out, and it’s so painful for me to spend extra money on every ticket that will probably not do me any good because things usually go according to plan.
But I didn’t get insurance for this trip and I paid the price.
I intended to visit Hydra after Milos, Greece and before flying to Prague to meet J. The woman I was going to stay with on Air BnB was kind enough to send me a message ahead of time letting me know that there would be a ferry strike on July 3, which would keep me from returning to Athens from Hydra to catch my flight.
Long story short, I had to cancel my plan to go to Hydra entirely, extend my stay in Milos, and change my flight to a day earlier. Ferries are fickle, and travel among the Greek islands is dependent on them. Insurance is a good idea. I don’t know what I would have done if my host hadn’t given me warning ahead of time about the strike.
11. Don’t come after July 1 if you’re looking to travel on a budget.
While I was looking into my options when I learned about the upcoming ferry strike, I checked the price of my current room to see if I could extend. My very same room went from $46 a night to $80 a few nights later, to $114 a few nights later.
The cost went up significantly just because of the date!
That’s over double the price if I were to come a week later. If money is a concern for you, try to come earlier in May or June, before the tourist season causes prices to spike.
12. Don’t come unprepared for smoking culture.
If you smoke, prepare to enjoy being able to smoke pretty much whenever and wherever you want, and enjoy the lack of stigma that exists so strongly in California, among other places.
If you don’t smoke, prepare to tolerate those who do and don’t judge them for doing so. You are traveling to a place with a different culture and to be a respectful traveler, you should seek to accommodate Greek culture, not impose your own upon it.
13. Don’t wait until your last day to get a Best of Milos guide like I did.
Milos, has put together an incredibly beautiful guidebook, called Best of Milos, and you definitely should find one sooner rather than later. I got mine for free from Mouratos bakery. It has loads of beautiful pictures, information about beaches, museums, local businesses, restaurants, cultural events, and more.
I didn’t know about it until the barista at Mouratos offered me one on my last full day. I still had a lovely trip without it, but it’s nice to know on the front end everything a place has to offer so you can prioritize your interests with the time you have.
14. Don’t be caught unaware by the coperto.
I’m sure that this practice has its own name in Greece, but I don’t know what it is and I first came across it in Italy, where they call it the coperto.
Basically, if you go out to eat at a restaurant, they will bring you a bread basket without you ordering it, but it is not free. If you don’t want to be charged for it, do not touch the bread basket in any way. If you touch it, they will charge you for it.
I had one place try to charge me for the bread because I took a napkin from the basket. I did not touch the bread, did not move the basket, and only took the napkin because there were no others available.
If you love bread and you don’t mind paying for it, you have nothing to worry about. But for the budget-conscious traveler, you may want to skip the bread (and maybe the napkin).
15. Don’t buy the wrong foods.
To save money, only buy food that will keep in the fridge and be good eaten cold the next day at the beach. The nice thing about traveling alone is that almost every time I go out for a meal, I come away with leftovers that last me 1-4 additional meals.
As a general rule, fried foods don’t keep very well, but the pitarakia made a wonderful breakfast crisped up in a frying pan. Things like Greek salad or tabbouleh salad (salads without lettuce that would wilt) are great cold and at the beach.
Also, to save more money, bring your own beverages to the beach. Some beaches have bars that you can purchase drinks from, but others don’t. I saved money by bringing a beer or a mini bottle of chilled white wine with me.
16. Don’t go to Utopia for Sunset.
Utopia café is in a premier location with a stunning view of the coast, and it’s no wonder that it’s a hot spot for sunset. You can get a cocktail and watch the colors change, and it’s lovely.
So why am I telling you NOT to go there for sunset?
Because I’m selfish and want to keep all of the beauty for myself? No!
I highly recommend you go to Utopia, but not for sunset. Go 3 minutes AFTER sunset. I went on two different evenings – one in time for sunset and one just after. In my experience, the view was just as beautiful after sunset because there aren’t a whole lot of clouds for the sun to play off of. The sky still has lots of nice color just after the sun retires.
The major difference is there will be 80% less people competing for a table and leaning over you with their ipads to take 34 pictures. You’ll get better service too once the crowd thins out. My waitress told me I was smart to come just after “the show”.
17. Don’t let the wind catch you unaware.
I may have been in Milos, Greece at an especially windy time, but you still may find the winds a bit challenging, and I suspect if high winds can happen once, they can happen again.
I ordered a sandwich one day, and the chips on the side were flying off the plate as the waiter walked it over to me. There were only about 4 chips left once he set the plate down. I realized that the chips surrounding my table on the floor when I arrived were not the evidence of some family with small children occupying my table just before me.
I also had a nice lunch in Klima by the water, with a glass of white wine. When I went to capture my perfect, Instagram-able moment, I got this:
I still took the photo because it’s an authentic representation of my trip 🙂 so it’s perfect. The wind blew open the cover of a heavy-duty menu, which knocked my wine over and poured it everywhere before I even had a sip.
18. Don’t go alone.
This isn’t a warning that Milos, Greece isn’t safe for solo travelers. I went alone and was just fine.
This warning is in regard to budget. Travel with someone to cut your costs in half.
My ATV could have accommodated 1 more person. The room I rented could have accommodated 1 or 2 more. My AirBnB cost me $46 a night. In total, for four days, I paid $184 for my room and 120 euros for my ATV.
If I had had another person with me, we could’ve shared the room and ATV and split the cost. I wouldn’t have had to get anything extra, and we’d each pay $152 in total. Besides, Milos, Greece is the island of love. To be alone in the midst of all the lovers can get kinda lonely.
19. Don’t head to the beaches without buying sunscreen in town.
When I first arrived, I wanted to head straight to the beach. The only problem was I had no sunscreen, and didn’t know if it was worth driving across town to AB Market to get it or if I wanted to take a gamble and see if I could purchase sunscreen at some kind of stand or restaurant near the beach.
I opted to play it safe, and I’m glad I did. None of the beaches I visited had anywhere to buy sunscreen. Make sure you’re prepared before you venture out.
20. Don’t forget band-aids for blisters.
As I mentioned, I wore my Chacos every day in Milos. When I travel I usually bring Chacos and a pair of tennis shoes, and I alternate so I don’t get blisters from either one. Wearing the same shoes will likely give you a blister or two, and you’ll be glad to have band-aids to cover them up and avoid further irritation.
This last bonus tip and may be obvious to some of you, but I think it’s worth stating. While I was in Greece (Athens included, and especially), I made sure I always had 2 one-liter water bottles to alternate in the fridge. I would leave one in the fridge in my room and take one out with me. That way, every time I returned from exploring and was SUPER overheated, I always had fresh, cold water waiting for me to sip while I sprawled like a starfish on the bed to cool down. I highly recommend this!
That’s all she wrote! If you follow these tips, you’ll surely have a better trip to Milos, Greece than I did, and that’s really saying something because my trip was fantastic.
If you’re looking for a trip a little more local than Greece, you may also like my post How to Have a Killer Day in Portland for Under $100. Check it out!
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