This photo, shared on Facebook by Nenia Vav, shows tall snowdrifts in a street near the old town hall in Chora on Samothraki island. A weather system named Diomedes dumped heavy snow on the island on January 12 2022.
Local landscape photographer Ξανθή Πεπέ (aka Tommy) captured this splendid view of snow-dusted Samothraki mountains when the sun came out after the Diomedes storm
Winter whiteout: Our previous post, Snow scenes from Thassos island, featured photos that had been shared on social media after a major weather system called Diomedes struck Greece with strong winds, rain, snow and cold temperatures on January 12. However, Thassos wasn’t the only Greek island whose residents awoke to find themselves in a crisp white winter wonderland — the storm dumped even deeper snow on Samothraki.
In fact, Samothraki got blasted with blizzard-like conditions for nearly 12 hours as gale-force winds swept across the northeast Aegean island. When the storm finally let up, islanders discovered that streets were blocked with snowdrifts that had buried their cars and trucks up to their windows.
This Google map shows the location of Samothraki island in the Northeast Aegean Sea
We’re willing to bet the locals didn’t relish the task of digging out their vehicles and clearing away the deep snow that had fallen in front of their doors, but the photos several residents posted on social media certainly do look amazing, and show an off-season side of Greece that few tourists get to experience. We’ve shared some of the Facebook posts below, so you can see how Samothraki looked after Diomedes unleashed its fury.
We’re feeling a little red-faced in the realization that this, our first-ever post about Samothraki, is a collection of social media photos showing the island covered in snow during a season most tourists wouldn’t even dream of travelling there. (Samothraki has been mentioned in a few of our previous posts about travel publications that recommended the island, but this is our first time directly posting about it.)
To see more of Samothraki in its full summer and travel season glory, and to learn more about the island, we recommend taking a look at the excellent local travel website mySamothraki and its official social media pages — @mysamothrakicom on Facebook, and @my_samothraki on Instagram. The website offers a wealth of helpful holiday planning information, while the social media pages contain hundreds of beautiful pictures showing the island at all times of the year.
Here is a collection of storm photos that have been shared on Facebook:
An after-the-snowfall harbour scene photo posted by ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΗΣ ΜΑΚΡΗΣ
A snow-covered landscape image shared by Ergostasio Samothrakis
A photo of Chora shared by Thanasis Tsoukalelis.
More snow-covered houses seen in a photo by Παναγιωτης Χαρανας
Landscape photographer Ξανθή Πεπέ (aka Tommy) captured this scene from the port town of Kamariotissa during blizzard conditions on January 12. She shared this photo on the My Samothraki page on Facebook.
A snow-filled street seen in an image shared by Δημήτρης Ευγενίδης
Γιάννης Αντωνίου posted this photo of houses covered with icicles and snow
A snowy street in Chora, seen in a photo shared by Olga Pavlidou
A Stefanos Maniotis photo of deep snow outside a taverna
Snow surrounds a palm tree near the port, in this photo by ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΗΣ ΜΑΚΡΗΣ
This photo, shared by Thanasis Tsoukalelis, shows snowdrifts on a lane in Chora
Another snowy street photo shared by Thanasis Tsoukalelis
A lovely winter landscape scene captured by Levent Osman
Stelios Siropoulos shared this image of a house surrounded by snow
Sakis Vasiloudias posted this image of a man shovelling a path through deep snow
An after-the-storm-stopped image of a plowed road and snowy hillside. The image was shared on the @my_samothraki page on Instagram.
A photo of snowy mountains shot by Tommy and shared on the @my_samothraki page on Instagram
A snowy seaside scene captured by photographer Tommy for the @my_samothraki page on Instagram
Panagia and Potamia villages on Thassos island look lovely sporting their new winter coats of freshly fallen snow on January 12 2022. Both pictures were posted on the Facebook page for the travel website Thassos View under a caption reading: “For those who don’t believe Thassos can be too cold in winter. Today we woke up and the island was covered by snow…” Keep scrolling to see an aerial video of the two villages after the snowfall.
Winter scenery: Our blog posts about Greek islands usually feature photos from the spring, summer and fall tourist seasons, but sometimes we can’t resist sharing images of snowy isles to show that Greece gets winter, too — a fact that surprises many people who aren’t familiar with the country’s climate.
This is one of those times, courtesy of a harsh weather system named Diomedes that swept across Greece today (January 12 2022), dumping snow in some places (like Thassos) while dousing many regions of the country with heavy downpours that flooded streets and roads and caused spillways and culverts to overflow. As if snow and rain weren’t enough, Diomedes also battered much of Greece with severe winds and bitterly cold temperatures.
Our social media news feeds were filled with photos and videos of rainstorms and their aftermath in Naxos, Mykonos and other Cyclades islands, so the pictures we shared above, showing two Thassos villages under a light layer of snow, really stood out from the rest. We subsequently found a few more Thassos snow photos on Instagram, and have shared them below.
Snow-laden trees line a stretch of highway on Thassos island on January 12 2022. The image was shared on Instagram by @san_giorgio_thassos, the social media page for the San Giorgio Apartments at Skala Potamia.
Another winter highway scene from Thassos that San Giorgio Apartments at Skala Potamia shared on social media
Snowy Potamia village is pictured in an image shared on Instagram by @vasilistoptsis
Aerial views of Panagia and Potamia villages under snow, in a 2:20-minute film by Thassos View
If you’d like to see more of Diomedes’ impact, including snowfall and rainstorm photos and videos from various places in Greece, here are links to two online news reports:
Scenes from our visit to Skala Sykaminias village on Lesvos. From the top: Verdant mountainsides rise behind the village; a man relaxes on a bench near the fishing boats; spring wildflowers blanket the ground beneath a row of trees along the coast; harbourside tables at I Mouria Tou Mirivili taverna; fishing boats moored below the landmark church of Panagia Gorgona (the Mermaid Madonna).
“Skala Sykaminias is easily the most picturesque fishing port on Lesvos.”— The Rough Guide to the Dodecanese and East Aegean Islands (2005).
Seaside walkabout: We have rather hazy memories of the several hours we spent exploring scenic Skala Sykaminias village on Lesvos island during our last trip to Greece.
Just to be clear: by “hazy,” we aren’t suggesting we over-indulged in ouzo at one of the village’s portside cafes (we actually didn’t have anything to drink) — we’re referring to the lackluster sky and sunlight conditions that prevailed on that particular afternoon.
Either by sheer bad luck or complete coincidence, we had arrived in Greece four days earlier just as winds from the Sahara desert swept across the Mediterranean Sea and clouded the skies above Greece with minute particles of sand and dust.
At Cape Sounion, where we spent the first two nights of our holiday, the dusty atmosphere dulled the day-time light, muted the normally vibrant colours of the sea, sky and landscapes, and obscured the breathtaking views from the historic Temple of Poseidon. We had been hoping to experience one of the glorious Sounion sunsets we have seen pictured on Greece travel guides and postcards, but we couldn’t catch either a fleeting glimpse of the sun or its golden light; thanks to the dust, it was completely invisible.
A glimpse of Skala Sykaminias village, from a lookout point along the highway from Molyvos to Mantamados
From Sounion we travelled to the town of Molyvos in northern Lesvos, hoping for clear skies and bright sunshine there. No such luck — the sky looked just as leaden, and the sun remained as elusive, as both had been back on the mainland. Our pleas for better weather were either not received or blatantly ignored by Zeus, the Greek god of the sky, because the haze persisted almost the entire week, including the day we drove to Skala Sykaminias to take a look at what’s considered to be the prettiest fishing harbour on the island, and one of the most charming in the entire country.
The village still looked lovely, of course, but we couldn’t help but feel a little let down that we weren’t experiencing its full visual beauty — with brilliant and clear blue skies, the vibrant turquoise hues of the Aegean Sea, and the vivid colours of fishing boats, flowers and foliage.
There were occasional moments when the sky suddenly seemed brighter and more clear, but those were merely a tease — the sunny periods were short-lived. But those brief breaks of brightness did give us a good impression of just how stunning Skala Sykaminias would look on a completely clear day. Admittedly, we do feel a bit of jealousy when we see crisp, clear and richly colourful photos of the village on Instagram and other social media. But those also make us look forward to a paying a return visit some day, hopefully under more auspicious weather conditions.
So, what was there to see at Skala Sykaminias on that hazy April afternoon?
The village was pleasantly quiet and peaceful, with probably no more than three dozen people out and about — including local residents and a small clutch of daytrippers, like us. We weren’t expecting crowds, though, since the summer tourist season hadn’t yet begun, and Greek Easter celebrations were still a few days away.
The village cafes and tavernas
Several cafes were open for business, including two that had placed chairs and painted tables right at the harbour’s edge. At Traverso Cafe, a young couple relaxed with coffees while their daughter eagerly tucked into a luscious chocolate crepe. At Kavos Cafe, staff were busy performing maintenance chores and setting up the seaside bar patio while the cafe’s mascot, a multilingual scarlet macaw named Dias, supervised their work.
The harbour-facing side of Kavos Cafe
Above: a table on the back patio of Kavos Cafe, and Dias, the restaurant’s resident macaw
Cafe tables line the harbour’s edge in front of Kavos Cafe and Traverso Cafe
The hand-painted sign at Traverso Cafe depicts a sailboat arriving at Skala Sykaminias
Tables on the patio at the front of Traverso Cafe
Above: two of the beautifully painted tables at the Kavos and Traverso cafes. Images of mermaids adorned several tabletops at both cafes, artistically acknowledging the Panagia Gorgona (Mermaid Madonna) church and local lore about the village’s encounters with the mythical sirens of the sea.
At the nearby taverna I Mouria Tis Mirivili, we saw two long rows of tables readied for dinner time customers, along with some of the seafood delicacies awaiting them — octopus tentacles dangling from a line, and crustaceans crawling inside a large glass tank. The taverna is probably the most well-known eatery on the island, since it’s reputedly where noted Greek novelist Stratis Myrivilis would sit and write, under the shade of what is now a 130-year-old mulberry tree, while enjoying views of the village landmark, the Panagia Gorgona church. (The restaurant name translates as “Mirivili’s Mulberry.” You can read more about both the writer and the legendary church in our post The Mermaid Madonna church at Skala Sykaminias on Lesvos.)
Next door, Anemoussa Restaurant wasn’t yet open, but several octopus were hung from a line strung above the shoreside where the taverna sets up tables and chairs when it’s operating.
Also open for shopping and browsing were a mini market, Art Shop Niki at the village square, and a craft and jewellery shop beside Kavos cafe.
Above: I Mouria Tou Myrivili taverna, where customers can watch the fishing boats and admire Panagia Gorgona church while dining on fresh fish, seafood and traditional Greek cuisine.
Above: Octopus hang on a line near Anemoussa restaurant, while tourists browse the jewellery and craft displays at Art Shop Niki. Below: photos of the central square and some of the village houses and buildings.
The iconic harbour
Next up was a stroll around the Skala Sykaminias harbour, which travel guidebooks and tourist brochures say is the prettiest on the island. With an array of fishing and motor boats moored in the U-shaped port, and the gleaming white Panagia Gorgona church standing sentry on a large rock next to the mole, the harbour certainly appears as charming and picturesque as the travel guides claim.
On this afternoon, it was as serene as the rest of the village. The water was calm and there wasn’t any maritime traffic — no boats coming into or leaving the port, at least not while we were there. We saw four fishermen chatting as they mended nets and worked on their adjacent vessels, a few tourists strolling along the pier, and a local man sitting on one of the harbourside benches, but that was as crowded as it got. Even the Panagia Gorgona was relatively undisturbed, with just a handful of people climbing its stairs to look at the church and enjoy its port, sea and village vistas.
Above: Various views of the harbour, fishing boats and Panagia Gorgona church
Along the coast road
After a meandering stroll around the village and harbour, we took a long walk down a road that winds along the coast to Eftalou, the location of a popular thermal spring near Molyvos. Just outside the village, a long line of trees separates the road from the rocky shoreline. Benches provide shaded spots to relax and gaze at the sea and the distant coast of Turkey; underfoot, the ground was covered with white and pink wildflowers. We walked about 45 minutes before retracing our steps to the village. We had the road all to ourselves most of the time, seeing only three other people — one man walking, two others driving vehicles — during our trek.
Had we continued a couple kilometers farther, we could have seen a natural hot spring which we later learned about while reading the Skala Sykaminias page on the molyvos.eu website. Based on a map the website provided to pinpoint the spring’s location, we figure we had walked more than halfway there before turning around.
Below are some of the photos we took along the way.
Skala Sikamneas (Panagia Gorgona) is a 3-minute aerial film by Nick Drone
Bird’s eye views: In our previous post, The Mermaid Madonna church at Skala Sykaminias on Lesvos, we recounted a visit to the charming island village, and described interesting information and stories that we didn’t learn about until after we returned home from our holiday. We also shared some of our photos of the church, a veritable Greek island icon.
We subsequently stumbled upon the YouTube channel for Nick Drone, where we discovered this aerial video from September 2020. The film captures beautiful views of the village, harbour and church as they’re bathed in the golden glow of late afternoon sunshine. The church and village appear radiant in the warm autumn sunlight, while the sparkling, crystal clear waters below the church look striking.
The camera makes several overhead passes to capture the impressive landscape and coastal scenery, and it circles above the Panagia Gorgona church for 360-degree views of the building. We think you’ll enjoy the scenic 3-minute flight.
Three views of the church of Panagia Gorgona (the Mermaid Madonna), in photos from our visit to Skala Sykaminias on Lesvos
Greek island icon: Sometimes we learn fascinating facts and interesting background details about places we’ve been to in Greece long afterwe get home from holidays, rather than while we’re there in person, and this certainly proved to be the case for Skala Sykaminias village on Lesvos.
Mid-spring of 2019 found us staying in the beautiful town of Molyvos at the beginning of our first-ever Lesvos vacation — which coincidentally wound up being our last trip to Greece before the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted our annual travels.
During breakfast one morning, we were mulling where to go on a sightseeing drive that day. Our maps and guide books described nearby Skala Sykaminias as one of the most picturesque fishing villages on Lesvos, and other travellers at our hotel in Molyvos agreed, effusively praising it as “lovely,” “charming,” and “not to be missed.” Since it was an easy, short drive from our accommodations, we decided to make the village our first stop.
We thought it was just as pretty as people had promised, in large part thanks to a quaint whitewashed chapel that gives the harbour much of its unique character and photogenic appeal. Built atop a large rock formation on one side of the port, the small, simple church is the standout feature of the Skala Sykaminias seafront.
Like the handful of other tourists wandering around the village that late April afternoon, we made a point of popping by for a closer look at the little church. The door was locked tight, so we couldn’t look around inside, but we did enjoy pausing to take in the impressive views of the sea, harbour and village from the elevated position of the building and its adjacent terrace.
Top: Approaching steps leading from the harbour mole to Panagia Gorgona church. Center: Terrace view of the chapel, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Bottom: Terrace view of the harbour.
Some of our travel guides said the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called Panagia Gorgona (the Mermaid Madonna), but they didn’t explain how or why it got that name. In fact, they didn’t provide any information about the village’s signature attraction at all, and very little about Skala Sykaminia, either, apart from saying it’s famous for its fish tavernas. During our various travels in Greece, we have seen shops, hotels and tavernas named Gorgona, so it didn’t strike us as odd that a seaside chapel might be called that, too.
It wasn’t until months after we returned home from our holiday that I came across some curious stories and interesting information about Panagia Gorgona and the Skala Sykaminias settlement, and learned that both owe much of their tourist fame to a novel published in 1949 by a locally-born writer, Stratis Myrivilis.
I had never heard of Myrivilis until I noticed his name in the excellent photography book, Aeolian Lesvos (Liza Evert, Constellation Books Athens, 1995), which I had purchased on the island as a personal souvenir from our trip. Captions for two of the book’s beautiful photos of Skala Sykaminias were excerpts from Myrivilis’s novel, The Mermaid Madonna, which is regarded as the writer’s best-known work.
The quote in one of the photo captions described how a group of masons had been travelling by boat to a village in northern Lesvos, where they were scheduled to construct a soap factory. En route, they encountered a sudden storm squall that nearly capsized their vessel. When the masons noticed a rocky crag on the nearby coast, they said a prayer: “Save us and we’ll build you a chapel.” The weather settled immediately, and the masons and boat crew safely reached the shore at Skala Sykaminias. “They tied up the vessel and carried out their vow. That’s why the little chapel looks so like a small oil shop.”
Intrigued, I searched online for more information about Myrivilis, and found an informative PowerPoint presentation that students at the junior high school in Petra, Lesvos, had prepared for an Erasmus+ project entitled Every child matters: refugees and immigrants in education (Ermasmus+ is an EU governmental program for education, training, youth and sport).
Photos of Greek writer Stratis Myrivilis and the cover of his popular 1949 novel, The Mermaid Madonna, are seen in an image from a presentation the Junior High School in Petra, Lesvos prepared for an EU educational program
The slideshow provides a brief biography of Myrivilis, a 3-time nominee for the Nobel literature prize, and includes a synopsis of The Mermaid Madonna, the novel he named after the little chapel in Skala Sykaminias. The book tells gripping stories based upon the harrowing refugee crisis that took place in 1922, when Turks torched the coastal city of Smyrna and forced more than a million native Greeks to flee the Anatolia region (Smyrna was part of what is now the Turkish city of Izmir). Besides describing the arrival of refugees at Skala Sykaminias, Myrivilis tells the tale of the masons who built Panagia Gorgona, and recounts some local legends about mermaids and village residents.
One story relates how village inhabitants reacted to a little green-eyed girl who was discovered in a fishing boat, and believed to be the daughter of a mermaid who had seduced a fisherman. Elsewhere, the book describes how villagers began to worship a mural that a sea captain purportedly painted inside the church, depicting the Virgin Mary with a mermaid’s tale. (The painting disappeared from the church decades ago, if it even existed in the first place.)
The Mermaid Madonna church is depicted in a table-top painting at a harbourside taverna in Skala Sykaminias
I felt dismayed that we hadn’t known about Myrivilis and his captivating stories, or the Smyrna refugee connection to Skala Sykaminias, before going to Lesvos. I’m convinced all the background information I discovered afterwards would have enhanced our visit, giving us a much better appreciation for the history of the church and village. We probably would have scoured the seaside for signs of mermaids, and peered through the chapel window to try and spot where the famous mural may have been painted!
Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we obviously had fallen under the siren’s spell simply by going there.
As an insightful article in the Lesvos-based blog Smitaki Boulevard News observes, “Skala Sykaminia is the village of the mermaid, who in modern times, continues her ancient craft, by seducing tourists.” Indeed — her charms had certainly worked their magic on us. I can still feel them sometimes, gently trying to lure us back.
If a trip to Lesvos is in your future plans, be sure to heed the siren’s call and pay Skala Sykaminias a visit.
For more information and photos of the church and village, here are links to several online articles and social media posts:
♦ A detailed description of the Stratis Myrivilis story about the church is outlined in The Mermaid of Sykaminia post on the blog Smitaki Boulevard News Lesvos, which we mentiioned above;
♦ The Mermaid Madonna post on the NixPixMix blog includes several photos of the church (inside and out) and the Skala Sykaminias harbour, as well as a modern painting that depicts how the legendary mermaid Madonna fresco may have looked;
Our own photos of three Milos island landmarks: the Panagia Thalassitra Church at Plaka village (top), colourful boathouses at the Klima fishing settlement, and the surreal coastal rock formations at Sarakiniko
Milos’s moment: 2021 has been quite the momentous year for Milos, with unparalleled international publicity planting the island firmly into the minds and onto the bucket-list travel maps of millions of holiday-hungry people around the globe.
We told you this was coming.
In our blog post Much ado about Milos four years ago (August 2017, to be precise), we described a noteworthy surge in interest in Milos, and we predicted its popularity would soar.
This year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s exactly what happened: Milos was the Greek island people everywhere were taking note of, talking about, and visiting in person either for vacations or for corporate marketing photography and film shoots.
It wasn’t just travel blogs, vlogs and websites singing the island’s praises — Milos was the focus of attention in advertising campaigns for clothing, coffee and luxury goods; social media posts by music and television stars; architecture and design publications; luxury hotel review websites; business and lifestyle magazines, and more.
Once a hideaway for pirates, the coastal cliffs and caves at Kleftiko are now a popular stop for Milos sailboat tours
Among the Milos milestones of 2021:
♦ Readers of the most-read American travel magazine voted Milos the “No. 1 island in the world” as well as best island in Europe;
♦ One of the world’s best-selling music artists visited in the spring and posted photos from the island’s capital and one of its picturesque fishing villages to Instagram, where his account is actively followed by more than 200 million people;
♦ Its exquisite coastal scenery stole the show in major promotional campaigns for three of the world’s pre-eminent luxury fashion brands;
♦ The island played a starring role in a television advertising campaign for a popular coffee retailer;
♦ Architecture and home design magazines drew attention to Milos with profiles of a contemporary “corral” residence ingeniously built to blend seamlessly into the island landscape;
♦ Hotel review websites trumpeted the arrival of two brand-new luxury accommodations that opened in June;
♦ International publications and leading travel blogs published laudatory profiles of the island’s appealing scenic attributes and attractions, and
♦ top travel vloggers enthralled YouTube watchers with videos spotlighting key Milos attractions and the splendid natural scenery.
A cluster of windmills near Tripiti village. Some have been converted into holiday rental accommodations.
To see how and where Milos has made such an indelible impression this year, keep scrolling down through this post, and then Part 2 and Part 3, to view a wide-ranging collection of the feature stories and videos of the island that have appeared in mainstream and social media this year.
Below you’ll see the magazine whose readers chose Milos as best island in the world, along with Milos photos shared on social media by two top celebrities, plus island scenes from the major fashion and retail marketing campaigns that starred Milos.
In Part 2, we take a look at what writers said about Milos in their reports for travel magazines, blogs and websites, as well as in articles published by business, fashion, lifestyle and hotel periodicals.
Part 3 is a collection of Milos videos that were released in 2021 by filmmakers and international travel vloggers.
The photos and video images in our three-part series will show you what all the Milos fuss is about — and why so many travel writers and videographers think you should pay it a visit soon.
Besides screenshots of the articles and reports, we have provided links to the publications and video producers so you can read and view more of Milos, and obtain additional information to decide if it’s the right place for you and your family to spend some vacation time. With scores of enticing photos and videos plus a plethora of practical information and travel tips, the links will be useful to bookmark for travel inspiration and holiday planning.
Given the vast range of insights, opinions and perspectives provided by these different resources — including tips on times of day to see certain places, how to get there, what not to miss or what to to know before you go — this compendium could well become your ultimate travel guide to Milos.
But don’t wait too long! As some of the writers and vloggers point out, the island’s popularity is skyrocketing — so it’s best to see this off-the-beaten-path gem soon, before it becomes a busy mainstream holiday destination.
— Milos on magazine covers —
Photos of Sarakiniko — the Instagram-famous “moonscape” beach and coastline on Milos — were prominently featured on the covers of Thalassea and Travel + Leisure magazines
Milos received cover treatment from Thalassea, the official magazine for Greek ferry company Hellenic Seaways, as well as Travel + Leisure, the most widely-circulated American travel magazine with nearly 5 million monthly readers. The front pages of both featured picture’s of the island’s renowned cliff-jumping spot, Sarakiniko.
Inside Thalassea, a two-page aerial photo of Sarakiniko illustrates the magazine’s “Reasons to Go” to Milos article. “One look at Sarakiniko beach and you will be smitten for life,” the text reads, adding: “this is an island far out of the ordinary.”
Meanwhile, the cover image for the October 2021 Travel + Leisure acknowledged Milos’s great success in the magazine’s Annual Reader’s Awards, which voted Milos as not only the best island in Europe, but also the No. 1 island in the entire world. (More on those accolades below.)
— Travel + Leisure readers’ best island awards —
Travel + Leisure readers honoured Milos by voting it the No. 1 island in the world this year
We weren’t surprised when we learned Milos has been voted top island in the world by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. We’ve been there twice, and know from personal experience why people enjoy it so much.
The voting took place from mid-January to early May of this year, and the magazine said participating readers “rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”
Milos had good company in the rankings, by the way. One of its close neighbours, Folegandros, earned the No. 2 spot, while perenially-popular Santorini took 13th place.
Milos was “a closely guarded utopia,” writer Stacey Leasca says, until word got around that Travel + Leisure readers had voted it the best island in Europe and the world
In the wake of announcing that its readers had voted Milos as best island in Europe, and in the world, Travel +Leisure published a report in which writer Stacey Leasca recounted her 3-day visit there in June.
Upon arrival, she recalls, it was “easy to see why previous travelers and locals alike would want to keep this place under wraps. Its rocky shoreline gives way to some of the most pristine crystal-blue waters I have ever laid eyes on. Its landscape is one sweeping hillside after another, dotted only by sparse vegetation, white-washed homes, blue-roofed churches, and a rogue goat or two. And its food is divine.”
Though their visit lasted only 72 hours, Leasca and her travel companion managed to see numerous key attractions including the port town of Adamantas, the villages of Plaka and Klima, the beaches Sarakiniko and Papafragas, the ancient catacombs, and others.
In photos shared with his 200 million fans on Instagram, singing superstar Justin Bieber is seen in a private boathouse dining room at Medusa cafe-restaurant in Mandrakia (left) and with his wife, Hailey, in Plaka village
Popular entertainers, movie stars and professional athletes wield incredible influence over consumer spending habits, which is why companies pay celebrities big bucks to endorse or advertise their products. We can’t help but speculate on the value of the publicity that Milos received — for free –when international music superstar Justin Bieber shared photos from the island on his Instagram page in late June. Considering that the Canadian-born singer counts more than 205 million followers on Instagram, he brought Milos to the attention of an enormous audience of potential travellers, many of whom had probably not even heard of the island before.
Bieber’s private yacht cruise to the Cyclades islands was reported by media around the world, with some of the Greece-based reports about his Milos visit including:
We think Bieber deserves some credit if there’s any bump in tourist traffic to Milos in the next year or two, and we’re pretty certain Medusa restaurant will top traveller lists of must-visit places to eat, as well — thanks to the Bieb’s headline-making lunch there. But he can’t take all the credit: Medusa gets more shout-outs from travel bloggers and vloggers in some of the reports and videos you’ll see below.
Actor Pedro Alonso gazes across Milos from a hillside vantage point (top) after reading a monologue from a Spanish play in the island’s ancient open-air theatre (seen in this screen capture from an Instagram video of his impromptu performance).
About a week after Justin Bieber moved on from Milos, popular Spanish actor Pedro Alonso arrived for his Greek holiday. Alonso is perhaps best known for playing the character “Berlin” in 36 episodes of the Netflix television series Money Heist, from 2017 to 2021.
On July 8, Alonso posted a video and several photos shot on Milos to his Instagram, which has more than 9.1 million followers. The video shows the actor at the island’s Ancient Theatre, reciting a monologue by the character Rosaura in the Pedro Calderon de la Barca dramatic play La vida es sueño. The photos included a shot of Alonso sitting at a lookout spot near the theatre, and a view of the seaside village of Klima.
A Louis Vuitton promotional campaign spotlighted scenery on the Sarakiniko and Kleftiko coasts of Milos
Milos was one of two “dreamlike settings” that the iconic luxury brand Louis Vuitton selected as a filming location for its 2021 Towards a Dream advertising campaign (the other site was Jordan). Photo shoots took place at Sarakiniko beach and the Kleftiko coast, where photographer Viviane Sassen captured “spirit of travel” images that the company calls “an evocative ode to the inner child, set free in a reverie of otherworldly beauty and infinite possibility.”
“Rich in ancient history, the Greek island of Milos beckons to a group of children, inviting them to play among its stark shores and pristine waters. With their innocent curiosity, their silhouettes emerge from the landscape to convey a limitless sense of optimism and freedom,” says a description of the photoshoot theme.
Photos and videos also were posted between September 16 and 19 on the official Louis Vuitton Instagram page, which boasts more than 46.4 million followers.
Photos and a link to the Towards a Dream campaign also were posted September 17 to the Louis Vuitton Facebook page, which counts more than 24 million followers.
Scenes from Plaka, Sarakiniko and Mandrakia figure prominently in photos shot on Milos for the Dior 2022 Cruise Collection (above), while a 3-minute video (below) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Dior Magazine photo project. It includes commentary by some of the photographers along with views of magnificent Milos landscapes and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.
Another legendary fashion house, Dior, chose Milos as one of the principal shooting locales for its 2022 cruisewear collection and Dior Magazine Issue 36 (some filming also took place in Athens and at the historic Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion).
The cruise fashions were designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who found inspiration in “classical Greece and mythical female goddesses and divinities.” It was only fitting, then, that Dior photographed its models at ancient Greek ruins and mesmerizing island landscapes.
For this campaign, Dior invited ten Greek photographers — Mara Desipris, Christina Dimitriadis, Marilia Fotopoulou, Efi Gousi, Maria Koutroumpi, Dimitra Lazaridou, Ria Mort, Lia Nalbantidou, Ioanna Sakellaraki, and Olga Stefatou– to capture their personal visions of the cruise collection’s apparel and accessories. You can read a description of the project and see some of the photos shot by all 10 women on the Captivating Visions page of the Dior website.
Campaign photos and videos also were posted in late November to the official Dior Instagram page, which has more than 38.3 million followers, and to the Dior page on Facebook, which reaches more than 18 million followers.
Milos also was the shooting location for HANRO’s spring/summer clothing campaign
Constant change and tumultuous current events have had a huge impact on society and individuals, leading many people to reassess their personal priorities and redefine what they consider quality of life. HANRO, a 130-year-old firm known for its fine men’s and women’s daywear, loungewear and nightwear, seized upon the global trend to “recharge” and “reset” when it chose Milos as the shooting location for its spring/summer 2021 fashion campaign.
“One place that is the perfect setting for ultimate relaxation and revitalizing the soul is in the Greek island of Milos,” says a description of the HANRO marketing program.
“Unassuming and sublime, [Milos] defies the forces of nature and shows us just how much beauty can emanate from constant change. Every gust of wind dances differently on the sea; every wave traces new patterns as it laps on the sand. Each ray of sunlight changes the kaleidoscope of colours and the spirit of nature. The soft sandstone and volcanic rock is constantly sculpted by the wind. Nothing is ever the same as the day before, and yet this transience harbors a great sense of calmness and strength. It teaches us to appreciate the here and now, to live in the moment, and to simply exhale and let go.”
In contrast to its dominant role in the Louis Vuitton images, the Milos scenery provides a much more subtle backdrop for photos of the HANRO models, but looks inviting nonetheless. Photos and a promotional video can be viewed on the Spring Summer 2021 campaign page of the HANRO website.
— Nescafe television ad —
Greek actor Giorgos Lianos appears in a television ad for Nescafe coffee
Milos was the sun-soaked filming location for the light-hearted Nescafe Greece television campaign “Make your summer count,” featuring actor Giorgos Lianos.
The ad was filmed at various locations across Milos, with Sarakiniko beach making the most appearances in the minute-long clip. And, yes, the commercial includes scenes of people jumping into the sea from the Sarakiniko cliffs while Lianos stands on the edge and watches, with a Nescafe frappe in hand.
This is the third instalment of a three-part series examining how Milos island became a media sensation around the world in 2021.
In Part 1, we described how Milos’s popularity surged in mainstream travel publications and and websites, as well as in high-profile fashion advertising campaigns, social media posts by music and television celebrities, and more.
In Part 2, we showed how Milos made its mark in articles and reports published not only in travel magazines and blogs, but also in publications focussed on business, fashion, architecture, lifestyle, and hotels.
Here, in Part 3, we let you take a look at the impression Milos made in cinematic travel films and in YouTube videos by top international travel vloggers.
— Travel vlog videos —
Sabrina Chakici introduces viewers to Kleftiko, two beaches, Plaka and the brand-new White Coast Pool Suites
In June, London-based TV presenter and travel blogger Sabrina Chakici returned to Milos to spend a few days on what she calls her favourite Greek island as well as her favourite place in the whole world.
Her 12-minute video is titled after the newly-opened luxury hotel she stayed at, but she doesn’t show it until the second half of her clip. During the first six minutes, she takes a Polco Sailing excursion to Kleftiko, where she swims, snorkels and explores the sea caves where pirates once hid from sight. She then enjoys some seaside time at Fyriplaka and Agios Sostis beaches, and strolls through Plaka village. Over the final six minutes, she gives her audience glimpses of her hotel room and its private pool, and the hotel’s stunning sea and sunset views.
On Sabrina’s Instagram page, you can see Milos photos and videos that she posted between June 27 and July 4. There are more Milos pictures on Sabrina’s Facebook page; look for her posts on June 30, July 1 to 4, and July 28 to see those.
Vloggers Tim & Fin travel to Milos to see first-hand why the island has become so popular
Full-time travellers and vloggers Tim & Finn spent four nights on Milos during their summer island-hopping trip, and compiled this 23-and-a-half minute video to let their 138,000 subscribers on YouTube judge if Milos might be the “best” island in all of Greece. With Sarakiniko beach providing an eye-catching backdrop, they introduce their destination by noting that Milos has become “super popular in travel blogs and with Instagrammers because of how photogenic this specific beach is.” But they’re quick to point out that Sarakiniko isn’t the only Instagram-worthy place to see.
“This island is the queen of unique beaches,” Fin notes, as the couple heads out to discover Papafragas, Tsigrado and Fyriplaka beaches, as well as the port town Adamantas, Plaka village and the colourful Klima seaside settlement. We think their video does a great job of capturing the awe-striking scenery just as it appears in person — there are jaw-dropping drone views, shots from on the ground and in the water (including their cliff jumping escapades at Sarakiniko), and on-the-road perspectives from the 125 cc scooter they rented to get around. One of our personal favourite moments in the clip is Tim and Finn’s sunset-viewing experience from the mountainside church of Panagia Thalassitra at Plaka.
Tim and Fin also give viewers a quick tour of their squeaky-clean Airbnb accommodations (Villa Tasoula Sunrise Apartments near Papakinou beach), while Fin offers excellent tips and advice for people who might plan to visit Sarakiniko for some cliff jumping and swimming fun of their own.
There’s more Milos photos and videos on the pair’s various social media accounts:
The Other Side vloggers Ana and Ian show why “the Island of Colours” is the “most exotic island in Greece”
American vloggers Ana and Ian paid a short visit to Milos at the 5-week mark of their 3-month-long tour through Greece, Turkey and Europe, and compiled this 14.5-minute clip to show their 105,000 YouTube channel subscribers why they consider Milos a “must-visit” Greek destination.
They take viewers to three major beaches: Fyriplaka (which the couple calls “the best beach on Milos”), Tsigrado and Sarakiniko, as well as the island capital, Plaka village, where they enjoyed dinner and a sublime sunset.
The video shows some of the many “amazing things to do” on Milos and offers helpful travel tips and practical advice. There are breathtaking drone views of the incredible coast and landscape scenery, underwater and in-water footage captured while snorkeling at Fyriplaka and cliff-jumping at Tsigrado, views from their cute Fiat rental car, and scenes from their walkabout in Plaka.
Give it a watch to see why Ana said Milos “is so much better than Santorini” and has “some of the prettiest water we’ve ever seen.”
Check out their social media pages for additional photos and videos from Milos, other places in Greece, and elsewhere in the world:
Zach and Ine from the World Wide Heart chose beaches, villages and an ancient cultural monument for their list of 10 best things to see on Milos
“Milos was our favorite island in Greece because it’s just so relaxed and beautiful,” say Zach and Ine, the peripatetic pair who explore extraordinary places around the globe on their World Wide Hearts travel vlog and website.
In October, they published this 13-minute video to highlight what they concluded are the 10 best things to see on Milos.
Not surprisingly, beaches grabbed the majority of spots on their Top 10 list, while three villages and a historic site rounded out their ranking.
Among their favourites was Papafragas, which boasts “one of the most unusual rock formations you’ll see in your life.” The fishing settlement Klima also impressed as “one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy a sunset and a seafood dinner in the Greek islands.” And Glaronisia Tavern in Tripiti got a shout-out for its stunning sea views and “some of the tastiest food on the entire island.”
We really liked this video for its aerial drone views and other unique perspectives, particularly of the Papafragas rock formations and caves, and the sunset views from the kastro above Plaka.
We won’t give away what Zach and Ine selected as their #1 place to see — you’ll have to watch their clip to find out. But we’ll give you a hint: Zach says it “has a perfect mix of adventure, peacefulness and natural beauty.”
They also offer a great piece of practical advice about the best type of vehicle to rent for moving easily around the island.
You can find more photos and information on their website and social media pages at the following links:
Dana Berez recaps a 5-day visit to breathtaking beaches, restaurants and a winery
We suggest you grab a coffee, glass of wine or other beverage to enjoy while you watch this video by travel and lifestyle vlogger Dana Berez — it’s a 45-minute-long tour to remarkable beaches, coastal areas and other lovely locations on Milos.
The film follows Dana during a 5-day visit, during which she stayed at Kostantakis Winery and Residences in Pollonia. You’ll see her accommodations and join her at the winery for a wine tasting and vineyard stroll, and you get to tag along for her dinners at Yialos and Akrotiri restaurants in Pollonia, a lunch at Medusa, and a dinner at Glaronisia taverna in Tripiti. Daytime outings include stops at Papafragas, Firopotamos, Tsigrado and Fyriplaka beaches and Mandraki village, while there are sunset visits to Sarakiniko and Plaka, and an evening stroll along the Pollonia harbourfront.
However, the highlight of Dana’s trip was a Polco Sailing boat tour that departed from Paleochori and made stops at Kalamos beach, Gerontas beach, and what Dana describes as the “crown jewel” of the day-long excursion, Kleftiko.
You can see more video and photos of Milos in posts shared between September 7 and 12 on Dana’s Instagram page, while you can find Milos travel and beach guides on her website.
Virtual Trip takes viewers on short walkabouts at the seafront of Pollonia village (top), in the port town of Adamas (center) and at the island capital, Plaka
If you haven’t been to Milos yet, these three videos from the Virtual Trip channel on YouTube will give you a good idea of what you can expect to see in the main port town of Adamas, as well as in the villages of Pollonia and Plaka.
The 3-minute Pollonia clip provides views of the village’s seafront and beach areas, while the 4-minute Adamas video takes a wander through some of the town streets and along the harbourside. The Plaka film clocks in at nearly seven minutes, and shows street scenes as well as some of the wonderful views from various vantage points in the mountaintop village.
Earth Sound Walks makes you feel like you are taking your own scenic 26-minute stroll through Plaka
The island capital and highest-situated village, Plaka, is a must-see for visitors, and is routinely recommended as one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Watching this video will give you an excellent sense of what it’s like to wander around the village lanes, especially if you wear headphones to listen to the soundtrack. There’s no narration — just the sounds of people walking, talking, dining and exploring Plaka. For descriptions of what you’re seeing, and other information about the village, be sure to turn on the subtitles/closed captions.
We stayed in Plaka for four nights during our second trip to Milos in 2011, and this clip stoked many good memories of our own meanderings in the area. It made us feel like we were right back there, exploring all over again.
A 36-minute trek with Earth Sound Walks on the other-worldly white rock landscapes at Sarakiniko
This second video from the Earth Sound Walks channel on YouTube will take you on another intriguing stroll, this time along the fascinating rock formations at the Sarakiniko coast. Again, there’s no narration — simply the sounds of nature and the videographers stepping along the undulating stone landscape. Make certain to turn on the subtitles/closed caption setting so you can read the background information that accompanies the visuals.
Παρασκευας Καρβουνιαρης captured drone views of impressive Milos scenery
In early 2021, videographer Παρασκευας Καρβουνιαρης created these short drone videos of some of the top sights and attractions on Milos.
The first film runs for just 3.5 minutes and offers aerial views of the port town Adamantas, three of the island’s most famous beaches and coast areas (Fyriplaka, Tsigrado, and Sarakiniko), and the fishing settlement and beach at Firopotamos.
Attractions in the second video include Gerontas beach, the Ancient Theatre, the sulphur mine at Thiorichia beach, a whitewashed chapel on the slopes below Plaka, the fishing settlements Klima and Mandrakia, undersea views of the Sarakiniko shipwreck, the Sarakiniko coast, Pollonia village, and more. The beneath-the-waves footage of the rusty shipwreck near Sarakiniko is unique; we can’t recall ever seeing scuba diving or snorkeling films of the wreck anywhere else.
In Milos, filmmaker Roman Palii and his drone fly you above exhilarating coastal locations you won’t see in other Milos travel videos
Last but definitely not least, we leave you with a terrific cinematic travel video created by Roman Palii from the YouTube channel Drone ‘N’ Travel. He published his film in the autumn of 2020, but since it displays exhilarating views of picturesque places and superlative scenery that weren’t mentioned or shown in any of the other videos or photos from 2021 that we’ve included in this post, we simply had to add it for your viewing pleasure.
Besides his awe-striking aerial views of Plaka, Tripiti, Klima, Firopotamos, Tsigrado, Mandrakia, and Sarakiniko, Palii flies you to Fourkovouni, Areti, the coast near Nerodafni beach, Paparodi beach, the sulphur mine at Theiafes, the caves at Papafragas and the tunnels beneath Sarakiniko. It’s a truly spectacular 3.5-minute tour!
If you ever get the chance to visit Samos, here’s a few sage words of advice: Stay for at least a week, and rent a car for either all or part of your holiday. You’ll need that time, and access to a vehicle, to see even just a few of the fabulous sites and scenic locations spotlighted in the video This is my island, This is Samos by Michali’s Films.
We spent 4.5 days on Samos during an island-hopping holiday through the Dodecanese and East Aegean regions of Greece exactly 10 years ago this month. (How time flies — we can’t believe a full decade has passed since that vacation).
We knew when we arrived that we would only be scraping the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, by basing ourselves in and near the island’s capital city, Vathy, and not having a car at our disposal. Samos is a big island, as evidenced by the fact it boasts three ferry ports and an airport; spellbinding mountain, valley and coastal landscapes; dozens of beautiful beaches; charming villages, churches and monasteries; noteworthy historic places and monuments (including UNESCO World Heritage Sites); vineyards that produce the island’s world-famous muscat wine; scores of tavernas serving delicious local and traditional Greek cuisine; and much much more.
We weren’t stuck in Vathy the whole time, though, since we did rent mountain bikes for a day. That gave us the opportunity to take a fun ride to and from the picturesque seaside village of Kokkari, and to explore the countryside north of the city.
Still, we missed out on seeing so much, as This is my island, This is Samos made clear.
The 4-minute film shows dozens of remarkable places all over the island, and captures impressive aerial views of:
♦ the villages of Platanos, Kokkari, Pyrgos, Miloi, Irion, Pythagorion (and its striking Blue Street), Mesokampos, Posidonio, Mitilinii and Ormos Marathokampou;
♦ the beaches Klima, Potami, Mourtia, Mykali, Proteas, Psili Ammos, Megalo Seitani, Klima, Glikoriza, Tarsanas, Remataki, Livadaki, Limnionas, and Balos;
♦ the Temple of Hera, Ancient Walls of Samos, an ancient observatory, and other historic sites;
♦ the 2,500-year-old olive tree “Eva” at Miloi village;
♦ numerous churches and holy sites including the Church of Profitis Ilias, Agias Triada Monastery, Agios Nikolaos Church at Pandroso village, Panagia Church at Mitilinii village, the Church of Panagia Eleousa, the Church of Profitis Ilias near Spatharaioi village, the Church of Agiris Chrysostomos of Smyrna at Mykali, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, Agios Nikolaos Church at Posidonio, the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani at Pythagoreion, and Agios Nikolaos Church at Potami;
♦ a flamboyance of flamingos at Alikes Mykali;
♦ the islands of Samiopoula, Karavopetra, Agios Nikolaos, Diaporti and Vareloudi;
♦ Mount Kerkis and the Profitis Ilias mountain region;
♦ the statue of Pythagoras at Pythagoreion village;
♦ tour boats, and more.
If you’d like to see more of the island after taking this aerial tour, you’ll find nearly 20 other Samos videos to watch on the Michali’s Films channel on YouTube.