Dangers in Milos? Not really, but...
Milos, like most greek islands that size, is practically devoid of violent crime. This means that a woman can camp out on a remote beach overnight all by herself and feel absolutely safe. Apart from the occasional petty theft, the police there have only minor traffic problems as well as desk-job boredom to worry about.
On the other hand, keep in mind this is not a zoned, incorporated suburban district in the US. If you drive a couple of miles outside the main village, you may encounter curves on roads with inadequate lighting and without any warning signs. The "Warning! Falling Rocks!" sign may itself have been crushed by falling rocks days or weeks prior to you driving by and not have been replaced. If hiking, you may all of a sudden come up to steep cliffs. Use common sense, and avoid hiking at night where visibility is non-existent, and drive slowly and extra carefully on the few miles of paved and unpaved roads on the island.
While swimming, you do not have to worry about sea-born predators. There are no sharks or any other kinds of large creatures that may pose a threat to humans anywhere near the shores of Milos. I swam around Milos with mask and snorkel (44 nautical miles, 100 hours total) and only saw a few very small fish no more than a few inches in length, a few tiny crabs on the rocks plus a couple of stingrays no more than 20 inches long.
An interesting, indigenous creature you'd be extremely unlikely to encounter in Milos is the infamous Vipera Lebetina, the only kind of poisonous snake on the island. On the endangered species list, an adult Vipera Lebetina can be up to 1 m. in length, and its poison can be life-threatening. However, you may live in Milos year round and never encounter one of those majestic creatures in your lifetime. If you ever do, your best bet is to avoid sudden moves and leave the area slowly. If you don't notice the Vipera Lebetina until you are too close for comfort, just stand still until it goes away. A Vipera Lebetina will only bite when threatened.
- Mountain Climbing
- Hiking and Walking
Fake Milos products!
Warning! These products have absolutely nothing to do with Milos! The brand name constitutes an expropriation of the name of the island of Milos. No products from Milos have ever been mass-produced or distributed in canned packaging. Besides, Milos produces no giant beans or red sweet peppers.
These products vaguely claim to be Greek. They could be, but knowing the shady practices of this entire industry importing supposedly Greek perishable goods in the USA, the odds are that these products could very well be either Turkish, middle-eastern or north African, falsely labeled as "Greek". I would not expect any better from those who blatantly expropriate an island's name to peddle their wares.
These products were spotted on the shelves of the retail chain "World Market" in southern California. You have been forewarned.
Other products on the shelves of U.S. supermarkets using blatant attempts to expropriate the reputation of Greek products include, but are not limited to:
"Alexander the Great" wine: It is made in Bulgaria, but shamelessly using the name of one of the greatest conquerors of all times, the great Macedonian King Alexander, who was, of course, Greek.
"Athenos" goat cheese: This product does not claim to be Greek, but plays on the names "Athena" or "Athens", hoping to confuse consumers into believing it might be Greek. It does however, illegally claim to be "feta" cheese, a category name exclusive to Greece and protected under international laws. In case you are wondering, it tastes awful, too.
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
- Casino and Gambling
Traveling without a confirmed reservation -Part II
(Continued from Part I)
Like I said, you could take your chances, but quite frankly, it is highly unlikely to find anything at 20 Euros/night in August, without a prior confirmed reservation, unless you are extremely lucky. Even if you do find something not booked in advance and at that price range, however, you should be highly skeptical of the quality of lodging you'd be offered by people who are breaking the law. My advice, therefore, would be to only select establishments with a legitimate license to operate a hospitality business, and only travel to a destination when you have a confirmed reservation, even if that's at a camping resort.
I am from Milos. I stay there every summer, and my house is very close to the port. Year after year, every day, especially in July/August, I observe dozens of tourists show up without a reservation, spend their entire day in frustration looking for rooms, only to pick up their luggage and take the next boat back to Athens because they have not found a place to stay (even the elusive 20-Euro room). That's no way to spend one's vacation. I wish I had the chance to tell them beforehand not to show up in the island at the height of the tourist season without a confirmed reservation, but there is no way I could have communicated with every potential tourist beforehand. In your case, however, I am having this very chance here and now, and I am warning you to avoid the same pitfall.
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Traveling without a confirmed reservation - Part I
I get asked this a lot. Here is a sample question from a prospective traveller, and my reply:
Could you please give us a piece of advice? Some friend who stayed last summer in [greek island], told us that they didn't book any rooms in advance. In fact they went directly to [greek island] and when they arrived, they met a lot of local people at the seaport, that wanted to rent the rooms of their pensions for few euros. So our friends took a room for just 20 euros/per night in August!
Do you think we could have a similar experience? Do you think we'll find cheap accomodation, without booking in advance?
Yes, I know about this practice. It is quite common in the greek islands. It is true that you can take your chances and maybe find something like that. Then again, you might not.
The people scavaging for tourists at the seaport generally have cheap, but low-quality rooms, illegally made available for rent. They may show up at the port one day because they have one "vacancy", and not show up the following 3 days because they are full. Their lack of license to operate a legitimate rooms-for-rent establishment means that they probably do not meet the requirements set by the Greek National Tourism Organization, their services are substandard and their hygiene is suspect. In other words, you get what you pay for, probably less, and you take your chances. Why do you think there are people renting out space for 20 Euros at the seaport, while at the same time hotels with lodging at 50-150 Euros/night are fully booked?
- Study Abroad
- Family Travel
Seafood prices - Higher than expected
For a country with thousands of miles of coastline, it is ironic that seafood is more expensive than meat. In Milos, as in most other Greek islands, you won't find significant variation in prices from one restaurant to another, but fresh fish and especially lobster prices are quite high.
Just be careful when reading the menus: Prices for lobster and seafood in general are quoted per kilo, not portion. This means that a price of say, €88 per kilo of lobster may translate into a €176 bill for a platter that contains 2 kilos of lobster.
Also, be careful of what exactly you are ordering: There might be menu entrees such as "Lobster Spaghetti" with a price tag of say, €26, but they usually include no more than 250g of lobster. If you opt for lobster "by the kilo" instead, a serving of 1Kg of lobster will cost you €88 at current prices, even though the accompanying spaghetti is "free". Some menus do not make the distinction very clear at all, and then there is always the language barrier issue. Make sure the waiter understands what you are ordering exactly.
A good bet is to choose a restaurant bearing the coveted "Milos is for Lovers RECOMMENDED" sign as a guarantee of food quality and decent service.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
You may need to be flexable!
They cancelled two ferries, I here this is very rare, and I had to switch my stay to Paros in order to get to Santorini. It wasn't a big problem as I could have stayed in Milos one extra day but then I would have had to take the 00:30 hrs ferry which wouldn't gotten to Santorini until about 04:30 hrs. The ferry is a very nice way to travel though, a must do!
It is advisable to mind your step when exploring the mountains of Milos. Vipera Lebetina is a local snake appointed only to Milos Island.