I'm looking for a laid-back vacation with great beaches, easy hikes, culture, architecture, and good local food. Someone recommended Sifnos. And Milos supposedly for their beaches and scenery. Has anyone been to either and can comment? I've been to Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Athens, so this time I'm looking for quiet relaxation. Also, is the water warm enough for swimming in May - or is September better? I'm allowing about 10 days for Greek islands. Thanks for your feedback.
I've been to Milos. There are lots of great beaches there but you'll need a rental car to reach them from Milos Town (port of Adamantas). The water will be warming up in May but will be lovely and warm in September.
I've been to both islands... MIlos 2x for about 3 days each, and Sifnos 4-5 times, for about 4 days each time ... the water's warm enough by mid-May to swim; a brief 30 seconds of chill, then wonderfully refreshing for really good swims. In Sept the water is almost balmy, having a full summer to warm up. The plusses for May is that there are no crowds, the days are SO Much longer that you get 1.5 days for each day, sunsets nearly 9pm, also rainy season just over, so more greenery about. Finally, the islanders in May are so upbeat, happy to start the summer, painting their houses & tending their flowers, not rushed, time to be chatty, Whereas in Sept while weather is still great, the Greeks are a bit "bushed" after the jampacked High Season, and already thinking about getting their kids in school, trips to dentists... getting on with their lives. Still VERY Welcoming, just a bit pre-occupied sometimes I find.
MILOS -- PRehistori Volcanic action(around edge) results = odd huge "hill bulge" in port town, fascinating formations around island rim, mostly visible from sea -- also 20+ great beaches. Drawbacks: hard to access unless able to rent car; local bus service limited. Port town ADamas has most dining, cafes, nightlife - but its beach is well, meh. #2 place to stay, village of Pollonia has okay beach, some tavernas.. Dilemma is - if stay in Pollonia as we did 2nd time, one wants to drive into Adamas for food, fun etc -- yet after a glass or 3 of wine, drive back along dark unlit roads? Fortunately our driver was teetotal, maybe not u. Biggest Plus - a full-day boat trip, either half-round (my pick) or full-circuit, on catamaran (14 psgr - my pick) or small sailboat (5 psgr). Vessels line up in harbor before dinner, people talk to skippers & choose. Best to check weather day before, & book when calmer vs windy.
SIFNOS -- A GREAT island, history, hiking, culture -- do yr research! This link http://sifnos.e-sifnos.com/index.htm is one of best. Many advocate staying port town, but personally I find it (wedged between 2 high hills) a bit closed-in, tho it faces west for good sunsets. I love staying up in hill villages Appollonia-Ano Petali-Artemonas - a linked trio of loveliness, w views down valley & out to sea. my dream room = http://www.gerontisifnos.gr/en/home/ is the one pictured in patio here (tell Nikoleta that Janet from Philly sent you). SIfnos has v good bus network, so u can bus to beaches - my Faves are Vathy & Platy Gialos -- and the nightlife in Appollonia is fun, cool cafes, music bars... and u can bus to KAmares for dining & taxi back for about €15? You could also rent a car for a day, just to swoop around all over. The small church arch. is outstanding... and there are the amazing 38 watchtowers (they were used in middle ages as beacon-warnings about pirates!) HIking is super! marked flagstone trails all over the island (until after WW II< Almost no roads here). A great & easy walk from Hill villages to Chora, snow-white town overhanging sea, unchanged for 400 yrs. SIfnos food is delish (in early 20th C the most famous Greek chefs came from here). Frankly after visiting ?8 Cycladic isles, I think Sifnos is most beautiful overall ... the whitewashed cubes are strung along hillside like pearl necklaces.
Why not combine both isles? MIlos has airport, so on arrival, fly there for 4 days, then easy daily ferry skeds to Sifnos; SPeed Runners are best ferries, IMO. Sifnos back to Piraeus, a fast trip.
I've been to both.
In fact Sifnos & Milos were combined on our very first trip to Greece way back in Oct. 2010 so can't comment on how much has changed since then.
However, I will say both islands (at the time) were lovely, typical Cyclades Character.
I liked Sifnos better than Milos because there were more villages and things to do. Nice beaches, mountains, historic sites, great food and good bus service on Sifnos.
Milos is known for it's lovely beaches and unique geological formations. Nice main town and a few nice villages. Has some unique and impressive archeological/historic sites and the fantastically colorful fishing village of Klima. Bus service wasn't as good on MIlos at the time we were there.
Since you have 10 days why not combine them both.
Regardless, either island would be great options.
Hey Tommy, simultaneous postings, identical viewpoint! That should be convincing?
This is great advice, thanks! And Janet - a fellow Philadelphian retiree, the guesthouse link is beautiful. Since I'm traveling solo, is Apollonia the most convenient without a car? I was thinking Kamares might be better. I'd like to stay in a town for socialization and easy walk to restaurants, etc. I'm not into nightlife, per se....just a good meal with a glass of wine and a glass of ouzo, following by a nice walk back to my accommodations and a good book.
Where would you recommend staying on Sifnos if solo? And Milos?
I like the idea of flying into Milos for a few nights, then ferry to Sifnos for the rest of my stay.
PErsonally I enjoyed staying solo at Nikoletas... which is just about 500 yards from the main bus intersection of Appollonia, & going to their "evening lane" where restaurants & shops & cafes are .. Kamares is of course sociable, but the main road from port goes all thru it, so truck cars etc constant ... up to you of course... Main thing, I don't like its beach that much ... no changing rooms, no restrooms... the far end, across from the shops is better but then u have to swim off the rocks. The main area of the beach is rather close to ferry pier .... and boat traffic stirs up water, so it's not clear as other beaches. But that's just me... opinions may differ. I've tended to bus down to Kamares for an evening...
janet: Or Great Minds Think Alike!
We've been to Milos and loved it. But, I wouldn't say it's so laid back with all you're looking for. Why not Naxos? It's a wonderful island with more to recommend than Milos. The main town is larger, so more options for dinner, etc, and there are a lot more beaches.
I’ve also been to both Milos and Sifnos and I agree with JS — I think you should consider Naxos. Maybe with a short hop over to Amorgos for a couple of days for a change of scenery.