8 Days, 7 Nights|
Guides, ground transportation, support vehicle, lodging, most meals (breakfasts and all but one dinner), all basic kayaking equipment, instruction and entry fee into ruins.|
Air or ferry to Milos, lunches, drinks and one dinner, personal clothing and accessories, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.
Milos is a mesmerizing volcanic island located south of mainland Greece. Although it is renowned as the discovery site of the famous Venus de Milo, Milos and its sister island Kimolos are equally celebrated for their exceptional local cuisine, soothing undersea hot springs and magnificent rock formations. These awe-inspiring seascapes combined with the charm of traditional whitewashed villages leaves you feeling like you stepped back in time. Join us as we paddle with seals, dolphins and sea turtles on what may be our best kayak adventure yet!
Day 1: Arrive in Milos by ferry or flight; transfer to Adamas, (originally Adamanthos, possibly named for a Minoan prince of Crete), the port town of Milos. We plan to spend the afternoon on our introductory kayaking lesson and enjoying an orientation to the beautiful waters of Milos Bay. Welcoming drinks at sunset follow, when we'll introduce ourselves and discuss the amazing week to come, and then our first group dinner concludes the evening. (D)
Day 2: After breakfast and checkout, we take a short shuttle to Tsigoulia Bay on the south shore of horseshoe-shaped Milos. The protected south coast provides a gentle introduction to paddling the electric blue waters of Milos. We’ll paddle east to explore the remote beaches and capes of the south shore. Our take out point for the day is at Paleochori, the southeastern most town on Milos. We’ll have dinner in Paleochori near the water’s edge. (B,D)
Day 3: Today we round the corner of the island and head north. We’ll paddle past the steam vents, mineral pools and caves that seawater, volcanic activity and the Greek gods have sculpted over the centuries. Catacombs and the ghostly ruins of an impressive sulfur mine both speak to Milos' ancient past. A packed picnic lunch in our kayaks allows for us to explore and stop at a secluded beach for our midday meal, where the shore pebbles may include semi-precious stones such as carnelian and serpentine. The paddle day is highlighted by the crossing of the channel over to Kimolos, the northern neighbor to Milos, whose bright cliffs have given it the name of the "The Silver Island". If time allows, we’ll hike to a scenic view spot on Kimolos and watch as the sun sets over Milos. Our evening accommodations at Aliki overlook our “home” island of Milos and we'll enjoy another dinner at a traditional taverna on the shore of a quiet small bay. (B,D)
Day 4: Today will be an early morning departure and a full day. We’ll circumnavigate the entirety of Kimolos before returning to Milos. At one of the many remote beaches, we’ll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch and then float over the ruins of an ancient city whose walls are visible on calm days. Crossing the channel, we'll keep an eye out for a pack of small wild dolphins which have accompanied us before. Back on Milos, we’ll stop in to our favorite seaside taverna in Apollonia, a town on the northeast tip of the island, where seals sometimes lounge around the bay. Tonight we’ll look across the channel to the lights of Aliki that we walked underneath just last night. (B,D)
Day 5: With one circumnavigation complete, we continue our tour of Milos along the North coast. The north coast with its many beaches, offers immense caves, arches and rock formations providing us ample opportunity to stop and enjoy the stunning beauty. The Papafragas caves are a short paddle from Apollonia and offer what many call the best caves on the island. Near Sarakiniko lies a ship wreck dwarfing our kayaks in comparison and providing just a glimpse at the power of the Mediterranean.
After we paddle west past the bay of Firopotamos we’ll head around the exposed Kavos Spillias. The eroded islands that dot the shoreline will again remind us of the immense power of the sea. Our rest for the evening is in Klima on the water’s edge. Views across the horseshoe bay to Dimitrios beach preview the next morning’s adventure. (B)
Day 6: Our paddling journey is nearing its conclusion and we have gained comfort and confidence in our sleek vessels. But what still lies ahead? Of course the best is always last. The far Northwest corner of Milos offers some of the most remote and gorgeous paddling of the entire expedition. The Cape at Vani is a paddler’s playground. Arches, caves, sea spits and coves abound. We rest tonight in Provatas beach, which many may recall was the start of our circumnavigation adventure. Remote beach stops with picnic lunch. (B, D)
Day 7: Today we paddle the southwestern corner of Milos past the most impressive arches, caves and electric blue water on the entire island, beautiful Kleftiko, once a hideout for pirates who concealed their vessels in small fjords behind these picturesque rocks. Our paddling journey concludes with this stunning backdrop as we head full circle back to Tsigoulia Bay. We’ll return to Adamas and share a final dinner together. There will certainly be a few stories to share from our journey together. (B, D)
Day 8: After breakfast, we’ll have some time to walk the streets of Adamas and purchase any last minute keepsakes or gifts. We will then transport you back to the Milos airport/ferry by 11:00am allowing you to make necessary connections. (B)
* Note: This is our intended itinerary. As with any adventure travel, the forces of nature can be unpredictable, causing us to make adjustments and changes to the itinerary. Rest assured that our many years of exploring have provided us with numerous options if changes need to be made. If it is too windy to paddle, various hiking, cultural and historical options will make you glad for the winds.
Trip details: Our planned accommodations for the week include family owned inns. Our trip is van supported. On most days but not all, the van will meet us at various beaches and lunch stops. This gives everyone a chance to paddle as much as they want or take a break and shuttle in the van for part or a day’s itinerary. Lunch stops will include casual seaside tavernas and remote beach stops. If a picnic lunch is required guides will be sure to let you know. We hope to see you on this spectacular adventure. Any further questions? Feel free to contact us!
This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.
- 3-7 t-shirts, some synthetic for paddling
- 1 shirt, long sleeved
- 2-3 pair shorts (some quick drying) Sun/rain hat Sneakers/cross trainers hiking; some prefer hiking in Tevas or other sandals with socks
- Rain gear just in case! (Paddling jacket works well as an alternative) or windbreaker jacket
- 1 pair sport sandals (Tevas, water socks etc)/ Paddling booties are great!
- Bathing suit(s)
- Underwear, socks
- Casual clothes for evenings (shorts/summer dresses are fine!)
- Clean change of clothing for the trip home
- Passport (be sure to check expiration date)
- Toiletry kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, moleskin, baby powder, soap, washcloth (most hotels don’t provide them) etc.
- Personal medication kit- ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, band-aids, Dramamine®, cold/sinus meds if prone to colds
- Daypack/fanny pack for hiking options
- Collapsible walking stick for optional hikes
- Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
- Water bottle (optional- bottled water is plentiful and cheap)
- Small dry bag with carabiner clip (clear ones are very useful)
- Headlamp for sea caves
- Camera, film, waterproof container
- Paddling gloves (for the tender of palm- not neoprene but any open fingered glove can help e.g. biking gloves etc)
- Small towel (e.g. PackTowel® works well)
- Small travel alarm clock
- Mask and snorkel (can be purchased inexpensively)
- Field glasses – binoculars
- Paddle/personal PFD- we will supply paddles and PFD’s for group but if you prefer your own paddle and PFD, feel free to bring them along
- Ziploc® storage bags (to keep stuff extra dry in dry bag)
How do I get there?
Upon your arrival in Athens, board a plane or ferry to Milos. If you choose to fly, the Northwest Passage staff will greet you at the small airport on MIlos, a few miles from our base in the town of Adamas.
What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Greece. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Greek embassy for visa requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required when entering or leaving Greece.
How and where will you meet me?
We will ask for a copy of your travel itinerary so that we can meet you at Adamas, the port town of Milos, or at the Milos airport. A guide wearing a Northwest Passage shirt and holding a laminated Northwest Passage sign will meet you there.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Athens is usually an overnight flight, leaving the U.S. in the late afternoon and arriving mid-day to late afternoon in Athens. Depending on the carrier and connection, you may overnight in another city en-route. There are limited seats on the flight to Milos, so book early if you can.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you arrive early in Greece, there are many places to stay on Milos and the surrounding islands. If you’d like a suggestion on a proven spot, call the office for a recommendation.
What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Lunches generally range 5-10 Euro. Dinner ranges 10-20 Euro. Personal purchases again vary- one can buy unique souvenirs made of olive wood for 5 Euro or get fine jewelry for significantly more… it’s up to you. Milos has some nice shops but it is not renowned as a big "shopping" island such as Mykonos or Santorini.
What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Euro is the currency of Greece, and while some predict they could return to the drachma, this is unlikely and, in any case, Euros would continue to be accepted. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites. Oanda (www.oanda.com) will give you a handy conversion cheat sheet to take with you. You can exchange money at the airport (either Athens or Heraklion). Exchange rates at the airport may not be the most favorable and they often have higher commission rates and/or minimum commissions. There are ATM’s at the airports which can be handy as there is not a commission, just the ATM service charge. There are also ATM’s in Matala, Plakias and Agia Galini. Some of the hotels where we stay will also exchange. Some shops do exchange money but their rates are often high.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
Many of the larger shops and tavernas accept major credit cards, but some smaller places only accept cash. ATMs are available in most of the populated areas that we visit. You should have Euros in small denominations for purchasing lunch and market stops.
What's the weather like?
The weather in fall and spring is generally around 80° with lots of sunshine. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, including lip protection. A broad-brimmed hat that secures on your head can also be very helpful. Water temperatures in fall tend to be in the mid to upper 70’s. Spring water temperatures are significantly cooler (high 60’s). Air temperatures cool off at night to the point you may want a light jacket. Rain is unusual but does sometimes occur. A light rain jacket can be handy.
What are the accommodations like?
We choose the nicest inns/hotels in each of the towns where we stay. All of the hotels are clean and rooms have private baths.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed clothing and equipment list to guide you in your packing. Casual clothes are the order of the day- no need for anything fancy. While paddling, your needs in the boat will be minimal. A small dry bag with a carabiner clip to keep it attached to the boat is very handy. Clear bags are helpful to be able to find what you need. During the day, you will want to have sunscreen, some Euros for lunch and the cappuccino stop, sunglasses with something to keep them tied on with (Croakies®, Chums®, etc.), water bottle (most folks will buy cold bottled water in the morning, eliminating the need to bring a water bottle), camera, mask and snorkel (if you enjoy snorkeling), small binoculars if you already have some, and a small pack towel.
A pair of gloves can be helpful to prevent blisters. You do not need neoprene paddling gloves- these can be too warm. Any open fingered glove (including bike gloves, sailing gloves, golfing gloves) can work well (just figure that they will get quite wet). The key is to protect your palm between your thumb and index finger as that tends to receive the most friction. The rest of your gear can be loaded in the van in the morning. Packing your gear in flexible bags (e.g. duffle bags vs. hard suitcases) is preferable. A common comment from participants at the end of the trip is that they brought much more than they needed- added extra clothing to what was on the clothing/equipment checklist and regretted it in the end. Simplicity is the order of the day- less is more!
If you bring any items requiring electricity, be sure to bring both a converter and adapter plugs. These can be purchased at Radio Shack®, other electronics stores, travel stores etc. Let the salesperson know you are traveling to Greece and they can help you select the appropriate converter and adapter plugs for your equipment. Note that hair dryers, irons, and any other heat producing devices require a stronger converter than other devices. It is helpful to know the wattage of your particular equipment when purchasing the appropriate converter.
Can I drink the water?
The water is safe to drink, and bottled water is available at all of our stops.
What's the food like?
Breakfast generally consists of fresh Greek yogurt with honey, bread, cheese, juice, coffee or tea, with eggs as an occasional option. Lunches and dinners are ordered off the menu which typically consists of Greek specialties such as moussaka, pastitsio, grilled meats and fish, spaghetti (doesn’t sound Greek but very popular), stifada (generally beef stew), etc. Selections for vegetarians are more limited but previous vegetarian clients have not gone hungry, enjoying dolmades (grape leaves), eggplant, zucchini, tzatzki (yogurt/cucumber/garlic dip), saganaki (fried feta), Greek salads etc. There are also usually gluten-free options available.
What time zone will I be in?
Greece is two hours ahead of Greenwich Time, which makes it 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, 8 hours ahead of Central Time, 9 hours ahead of Mountain Time, and 10 hours ahead of Pacific Time during most of the time we travel (March-September).
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary. You can call home using a calling card. Many of the hotels will have phones in the rooms. Keep in mind the time difference listed above. It can be helpful to remind family and friends about this also.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We will generally kayak 5-6 hours per day. The paddling is broken into multiple sections with plenty of time to explore the coastline, paddle in and out of sea caves and jump in and out of the water to cool off. We generally begin paddling at 8:30 each morning, then take a cappuccino break at a seaside taverna after an hour or so. We stop again for lunch after another hour or so and generally reach our next hotel between 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Distance traveled varies each day, ranging from 6-20 miles. Once we reach our destination, you will have some free time to shower, relax, and/or explore the town. We will generally offer some additional skill training for folks who are interested at the end of the day. Some participants have wanted to work on Eskimo rolling, paddling techniques, etc. Each day, the van will be following our route, meeting us at the cappuccino stops and lunch stops, offering multiple options. In most areas, this means you can paddle to the cappuccino break, then hop in the van to the lunch stop, then paddle again in the afternoon. Or start with a van ride and paddle later in the day. The choices are endless!
What kind of equipment do you use?
We have a combination of hard shell plastic doubles, singles and folding doubles. Some participants prefer to paddle in the doubles the whole time (paddling is a bit easier with two people powering the boat and the doubles tend to be more stable) and some prefer to trade on and off with the singles. We will provide kayaks, paddles, spray skirts and PFD’s (personal flotation devices) for all participants. If you prefer to bring your own paddle and/or PFD, you are most welcome to. Please let us know in advance so that we can pack the appropriate gear, especially if you have a particular need or unusual size.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Our group sizes for this trip range from 6 to 16 participants. We generally have two guides on the water and one or two additional staff members as van drivers. One of our van drivers is George, a local Cretan with a wealth of knowledge about and love for his native land. Your other guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of sea kayaking and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
We have had participants on this trip who have never been in a kayak before and others who have been paddling for years. We have found that all levels of kayakers have enjoyed this adventure. A good level of personal fitness makes the journey more enjoyable. For kayaking, upper body exercises that strengthen your shoulders, back and arms are recommended. Strengthening exercises with free weights can be very beneficial. Upper body stretches and exercises such as rowing are also useful. Keep in mind that we have had folks at all different levels of physical conditioning thoroughly enjoy this trip and the van is always an option! It is extremely important that you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your physical capabilities for this trip.
"Rick, Elena, Ryan. What a wonderful week it has been - great paddling, ambiance and camaraderie. I have tons of photos and wonderful memories of our time together. Here's to our next adventures - We'll be back." Jo-Lynne S. 2011
"Week of 'No-Se Cows'. This was a spectacular week, visually, physically and well - "fun-meter-wise"! Thank you, Rick! Thank you, Ryan! And Elena! For your care, your kindness, your ease and your sense of adventure you brought to this week. I can't wait to come back! Take good care of yourselves and let's meet again!! Brazos y Beces, Clare C." 2011
"Milos 2011, A great trip thanks to Rick, Ryan and Elena" - Evelyn W. 2011
"Rick, Elena, Ryan! What a fabulous 2 weeks! Incredible paddling and a rare insight into Greece that few people see, thank you! The first thing I will do when I get home, after my laundry, is buy a kayak. I'm hooked and ready to train for the next trip! Many kind thoughts to all of you." Margo M. 2011
"Thanks to Rick, Ryan and Elena for a wonderful revitalizing 2 weeks. Highlights were cave exploration on Milos, hiking in Thirassia and stopping in any tavernas. Would recommend NW Passage for a great experience." Evelyn W. - Milos AND Santorini, 2011
"Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for an amazing two weeks. Surpassed our expectations! (Again!!) Warm Hugs!" Valerie and Avrim - Milos AND Santorini, 2011
"Milos was every bit as wonderful as Crete. Kudos to Rick and Chris. I particularly enjoyed being Cleopatra for the day. Next on to Honduras." Jan J. 2011
"This was a spectacular week. Visually, physically, and well- fun meter wise! Thank you Rick, Ryan and Elena (guides) for your care, your kindness, your ease and your sense of adventure that you brought to this week. I can't wait to come back!" - C. Choate 2011
“Very good scenery. Great people, both guides and guests. Best trip yet.” -David Welch (2009)
“The guides (Wendy, Dirk and Rick) were always just superb. We were helped to stretch our perceived boundaries and achieve distance and enjoyment.” -Carol Petrich (2009)
“Extraordinary natural beauty--unique in my experience. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful paddling--including the weather challenges. The close to the ground accommodations and dining are a major plus to people who treasure and respect what’s “local”.” -John Petrich (2009)
“The spirit of adventure. The lessons with Wendy were helpful - very helpful. Loved the sunset hike. The whole experience had a gonzo flavor I enjoyed.” Liz C. (2009)
Absolutely delicious - The spaghetti was life changing!” “I enjoyed the cliff jumping, the food, the kayaking, the waves on our last day, the spelunking - everything.” -Zoe Grosshandler (2009)
“The food was wonderful! The restaurants were great and the tomato, cheese, bread sandwich lunch was wonderful.” -Noah G. (2009)
“I enjoyed the wonderful group of people, great conversations and learning how to kayak!” -Sue Taylor (2008)
“Take this trip.” “Being active in the warmth of the sea and the day while taking in a totally new country delighted me. Getting a sense of Milos with a compatible group and excellent guides.” -Marcia H. (2008)
“Dear Rick, another unforgettable adventure with you and your crew. Thank you for scouting out all these wonderful places to paddle, eat and sleep.” -Peter H. (2008)
“I’m so glad we came to Milos with you. Hope to adventure again soon with The Northwest Passage.” -Marcia H. (2008)
Milos is a volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, just north of the Sea of Crete. Today, the island is known as home to the statue of Aphrodite, which is currently on display in the Louvre. As early as 13,000 years ago, Milos gained importance not only for its advantageous location between Crete and Greece, but as a producer of obsidian, a natural glass used to produce razor-sharp tools and weapons. Obsidian was traded for thousands of miles and was found in every farming village in the Near East. At the dawn of the Bronze Age, however, the importance of obsidian, and therefore Milos, declined, as it was bronze, not obsidian, that became the preferred material for tools and weapons.
During the Bronze Age, there is evidence of the creation of a Minoan city. Most of what remains of this ancient city consists of palace ruins, pottery shards, and uniquely meticulous fresco wall paintings. Amongst the archeological remains of Milos, there is also evidence of occupation by both the Phoenicians (an enterprising maritime trade culture that flourished in the Mediterranean between 1550BC and 300BC) and the Dorians (an ancient Greek tribe).
During the Peloponnesian War (431 to 404 BC) Athens laid siege to the island of Milos for their refusal to join their alliance against Sparta, another prominent city-state in ancient Greece. While Milos remained neutral in the conflict between Athens and Sparta, they still refused to pay tribute to Athens when they arrived on the shores of Milos with 3,000 troops in 416BC. The Athenians laid siege to the city, and for months Miloans held them at bay. That winter, however, due to Athenian troop reinforcements, as well as the exploits of traitorous Miloans, their city fell. The Athenians, as was common in those times, executed all of the adult Miloan men, sold the women and children into slavery, and then founded an Athenian colony in their place – leaving little doubt to the extent of their victory and simultaneously expanding their empire.
The Hellenistic and Roman periods were fairly peaceful and prosperous for the inhabitants of Milos. The trade of minerals and art began to flourish and it was during this period that the infamous depictions of Aphrodite and Poseidon were created. It was also during this time, around the first century AD, that Christianity appeared and spread rapidly on the island.
During the 13th Century, Milos, like many of its neighboring islands, was lost by the Byzantine Empire and fell under the control of the Franks. While the Miloan people resisted the change in power, the Byzantine Empire did not come to their aid, and their resistance came to a bloody end. Eventually control over the region was succeeded to the Turks under the Ottoman Empire. It was not until 1821, when Milos, along with other areas of Greece rebelled that the Turkish presence in the region was permanently overthrown.
For More History check out: http://www.milos-island.gr/history/morehistory.html