The island of Milos sits on the Aegean Sea as part of the Cyclades, a group of islands in the southeast of mainland Greece.
As part of an archipelago of around 220 islands, both large and small, the choice of which to explore may be overwhelming and could help explain all the traffic that other Cycladic islands such as Mykonos and Santorini receive as the go-to Grecian islands for travellers looking for a Mediterranean getaway.
Overlooking Milos and all that it has to offer has been a common mistake, yet this seems to be changing.
The natural landscape of striking white rock formations of Sarakiniko and Kleftiko contouring its beaches and its sharp contrast to the dazzling turquoise waters crashing against it can be attributed to the volcanic activity that the island has experienced throughout the years.
Milos has no shortage of archaeological gems from early-Christian catacombs dating back to the first century AD, the ancient city of Melos overlooking the Aegean where the city’s fortifications and theatre offer the perfect backdrop for sunset stroll, to the Archaeological Museum of Milos itself who’s collection proudly boasts the island’s rich history.
The attraction of Milos is unlike the more popular islands of Greece. Milos is not a sprawling party island, and its party scene is lacking compared to its rivals, yet this does not take away at all from the island itself.
What Milos lacks in its nightlife, it more than makes up for in its charm, natural beauty, and arresting authenticity. Whilst tourists flock to the hotspot islands, Milos is able to retain a genuineness that you are able to immerse yourself in.
Having a comfortable balance of tourism has allowed Milos to find a way to sustain itself yet also provide fresh new openings of boutique hotels and restaurants whilst retaining its integrity and avoiding the pitfall of mass tourism and gaudiness. The lack of crowds leaves you to explore the island as it is and as it likes to be.
Pollonia is the perfect village for a quiet landscape that gives you a better glimpse of rustic island life in a fishing village. The White Pebble Suites in Pollonia captures the quiet intimacy of the village that are made for couples looking for a dreamy quiet getaway with a focus on privacy.
The main port of Milos in Adamas has the hustle and bustle that you may be craving and acts as the centre of Milos, accommodating the needs of any traveller very well acting as a great base to start exploring Milos from. Adamas is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of nightlife if you were in want of some balance between the softer life that Milos has during the day and a way to let loose, showing that Milos has something for everyone.
We hope that this article has inspired you to explore Milos for your next Greek getaway, this tiny island as a lot to offer and is the perfect destination away from the beaten path.
Anyone who has stepped foot in Paris in the Summer months may notice a distinct lack of Parisians, and albeit an abundance of tourists trundling around the Latin Quarter and ordering snails. Those observant enough to pick up on this will begin to wonder where they all are, and were you to ask them you could be sure that a large number would tell you ‘Marseille’.
In recent years, and precipitated by the pandemic, this southern port city on the Mediterranean has become the place to be outside of Paris for the French for those who wish to escape the prices, the isolation from nature, the ‘bourgeois’ atmosphere… or whatever other excuse the might throw in.
But regardless of the reason, there has undeniably been an exodus of Parisians to Marseille, and when the summer throngs have cleared away and the peak of the summer heat has passed, you might be tempted to go discover this city for yourself.
For most living outside of France, Marseille is likely to be beyond the radar, perhaps with a slight ringing of alarm bells and a vague sense of danger. Indeed, Marseille was the centre of the infamous ‘French Connection’ for drug trafficking many decades ago, and the Corsican Mafia at one stage ran rampant, but those days are done.
By no means is the social fabric of the city entirely healed, with the northern quarters holding some of the most abject poverty in Europe while to the south of the city lie gleaming villas, the purview of rich holiday-makers.
A certain edge is palpable upon arriving in the city, and the streets aren’t the same spotless, postcard-worthy scenes as you might encounter in the capital, but if you catch the train down from the north of the country, it is impossible not to gasp as you disembark and find yourself atop the stones steps of the Gare St-Charles, a huge staircase in the iconic cream-coloured stone of the area which rises above the city and affords a view of its towers and rooftops with perhaps a glint of the sea.
Descending the staircase and entering into the bowels of the city, the streets hum with activity, and as you will quickly realise, therein lies the charm of the city. It is a city very much inhabited by its people and even as a visitor you are very much invited to partake. Keeping your eyes peeled, you’ll notice that posters adorn the walls displaying upcoming events of all kinds; cinema screenings, gigs, parties, festivals… There is a vibrant culture in Marseille that is generated by its own people.
It lacks the official, institutional veneer of Paris, though there are a few noteworthy museums, particularly the Mucem, the museum of Mediterranean culture housed inside a fort from which crusader knights once departed towards the Middle East, and which boasts a stunning view over the sea and the islands that dot the coast just a few miles from the shore.
Another central part of street life in Marseille are its culinary offerings, the standout of which is pizza. There is such a quantity of pizza vendors that the air is almost saturated with their aroma, and at less than 2€ a slice you will find yourself consuming many.
Other culinary offerings include the North African specialities of tagines and cous-cous, with a number of such restaurants clustered around the market district of Noailles, which will no doubt tempt you after walk through this commercial hub of the city, with spice shops lining the streets. For those wanting a taste of the fruits of the sea, Bouillabaisse is the local seafood delicacy, a dish emblematic of the city, containing a host of freshly caught seafood, likely mussels and crab alongside haddock and other fish fillets, all tinted a distinct, rich red due to the saffron used in the recipe. Diplomatically, I can offer no recommendation as to the best spot for Bouillabaisse in town as every Marseillais(e) would tell you a different one.
A recommendation I can offer with authority however is for a place to drink. Ascending from the vieux port (old port), where a forest of masts floats upon the water between the jetties and flanked by the city on both sides, winding through alleys and staircases, you will soon reach a plateau, a relief after such a momentous ascent.
This square lined on all sides with bars and restaurants is the Cours Julien, one of a few centres of activity in the activity, where live bands can be found, drinks can be had and the general, relaxed and DIY atmosphere can be soaked in.
It is likewise home to independent cinemas, galleries and boutiques to have you wanting for nothing. Continue further through a maze of zigzagging streets, where the sprawl of shops and bars spills into, and arrive at Place Jean Jaures, colloquially known as La Plaine, where café terrases spill onto the square and locals and tourists alike drink coffee, beer and pastis (the regional liqueur, aniseed flavoured and best consumed diluted with ice-cold water) at almost any hour of the day.
Wandering this part of the city in search of food and drink is a joy and you’ll no doubt return night after night.
For an active day, heading south of the city along the cliffs that jut above the mediteranean, leads you to a string of rocky beaches, with Vendoume perhaps being a hidden gem, where you can plunge from body-polished boulders into the sea before clambering out to sun yourself.
The benefit of visiting past the peak season is the joy of having this expanse of natural beauty largely to yourself besides small groups of locals scattered around, nursing beers and chatting.
Just to the south of the city itself, a bus journey away are Les Calanques. These, the dull english translation of which is ‘inlet’, form a national park which spans a significant stretch of the côte d’azure. Towering cliffs, which can be traversed, connect the individual inlets which are better described as secluded bays where, again, you can swim or simply enjoy the scenery. Although it requires some trekking to reach certain spots that don’t have road access, the views to be had in this area are sublime and worth a day’s investment to escape the hubbub of the city.
Though, if a more urban peak is desired (though, as you may have learned to expect by now, climbing an enormous hill is required) then the summit of Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille’s cathedral, provides a panorama not only the city which extends to the north, but a vast expanse of sea and the beginnings of Les Calanques to the south.
The monument soars above the city from almost any angle, so there’s little doubt that you would have missed it this far into your sojourn, though even still the view, particularly as the sun is setting, is likely to take your breath away to an equal or greater extent than the climb to the top. A fitting place for a site of worship, as sitting contemplatively and observing the landscape before you is more or less all you’ll manage at first.
Altogether, Marseille will appeal to those who seek a less polished city-break and want to savour a more real city life. It offers a vibrant cultural scene, nightlife and some outstanding natural beauty and bit of excitement all at a reasonable price, making it quite rightly the destination of choice for tired Parisians.
If anyone is going on a trip to the Netherlands, there’s a nine out of ten chance they are just going to visit Amsterdam. And you can can understand why. Amsterdam is a beautiful historical city that offers everything from museums and historical sights, to the infamous Red-Light District and coffee shops. However, just as London doesn’t represent the rest of England, Amsterdam doesn’t represent the rest of the Netherlands. The rest of the country has a lot to offer. It’s a shame to miss out on the rest of the country by just staying within the capital city borders. So, next time you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands consider the below to make the most of the beautiful country.
Dive Into the Rich History of Other Dutch Cities
Amsterdam has a rich history spanning from the time it was formed in the 13th century to the present. The canals, which attract tourists from all over the world, were key to the Dutch Golden Age, and traces of World War II can be found all over the capital. However, Amsterdam is not the only city in the country that history lovers can go to indulge themselves.
The city of Haarlem, only a 10-minute train ride from Amsterdam, is older than the capital city. Haarlem breathes history and can be found mentioned in texts as early as the 10th century. It was already an important trading post in the Middle Ages and went on to become one of the fastest-growing cities in the Golden Age. For example, it was in Haarlem where the tulip mania was at its height in the 17th century and in correlation with this, it grew both in wealth and in population during the Dutch Golden Age. Traces of this rich history can be found in architecture all across the city. It’s also one not to miss for the food lovers among us with the De Grote Market area being filled to the brim with nice terraces serving excellent food during the summer season.
Another city you cannot skip is the beautiful Utrecht. Only half an hour by train from Amsterdam, Utrecht was a Roman fortress known under the name Traiectum. Traces of this fortress can still be found underneath the city centre and can even be explored when visiting the tourist attraction DomUnder. This museum takes you on a tour beneath the city grounds and under the famous Dom Tower. Utrecht is not only for history buffs as the city also offers the famous Dutch canals and a plethora of cute concept stores with unique products to take back home.
Utrecht is also home to the famous Rietveld house – a house entirely designed by the famous artist.
Explore Museums Outside of the Capital City
It is true that Amsterdam houses some of the best art in its many museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. However, there are numerous museums with vast collections of art to be found in other parts of the country.
The government city of The Hague houses the museum The Mauritshuis. Located right next to the governmental seat and the office of the Prime Minister, The Mauritshuis offers some of the finest works by Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. Arguably one of the most oil paintings in the world, The Girl with the Pearl Earring can be seen here.
Not just the cities offer amazing museums though, as one of the biggest Van Gogh collections in the world can be found in the Kröller-Müller museum, hidden in the middle of the beautiful De Hoge Veluwe national park. You can even hope to spot deer or boars while making your way to the museum. There is much to see inside the museum too as it not only houses the biggest Van Gogh collection outside of the Van Gogh Museum, including the famous Café Terrace at Night, but it is the home of many works by famous abstract artists Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld.
Reset By Exploring Dutch Nature
Spending time in nature is good for our physical health and mental well-being and luckily, the Netherlands has a huge variety of nature to offer and help reset after hectic city life.
For example, you could visit the many beautiful beaches of the country and participate in the Dutch activity of “uitwaaien”. This term roughly translates to “airing out” and means walking along the coast and letting the wind take away any unpleasant thoughts and worries. You can even do this on one of the beautiful islands of the country such as Shiermonnikoog, which is home to only 900 residents and has an entire coastline filled with soft sand. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a seal on your trip there.
If you prefer the forest to the beach, then you can visit the national park De Hoge Veluwe, home to the previously mentioned Kröller-Müller Museum or the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. These beautiful parks offer many routes for long forest walks.
Or if you prefer taking a boat trip instead, you can get involved in the rich Dutch water taming culture and rent a boat to explore the national park, Weerribben. This park in the northern half of the Netherlands can best be explored by slowly faring on the many lovely canals.
In short, there is a lot to see outside of the capital for you to recharge and expand your Dutch experience by skipping it. While Amsterdam is a beautiful city, it can be overcrowded by tourists. Instead of trying to make your way through them, why not skip the city altogether on your next trip. You can still get your dose of culture and history by visiting Haarlem, Utrecht and The Hague instead. Recharge by visiting one of the magnificent national parks or the island Shiermonnikoog. The Netherlands has so much more to offer than just Amsterdam and it’s a waste to miss out on the rest of the country.
If you’re looking for a luxury staycation in the UK for you and your family or friends then Dryhill House, set in its exquisite rural location is the perfect stay, offering one of the finest luxury self-catering experiences in the Cotswolds, with six beautiful en-suite bedrooms sleeping up to 12 people.
A gorgeous 17th-century country house, lovingly restored with elegant interiors. Dryhill House is the largest of the properties on the 14 acres (there is also the Lodge and the Cottage if you don’t need to sleep 12 or have a larger group) making it an ideal retreat for entertaining.
Soak up the morning sun in the large kitchen breakfast room with full-size Aga, before relaxing with your coffee in the adjoining orangery, or any of the 5 reception rooms.
After a day exploring the local area, you can watch a movie in the home cinema or relax in the music room, with its suspended log stove. There is also a cosy sitting room with an Inglenook fire place.
As day turns to night, you will be spoilt with options for entertaining and dining. Start with a cocktail in our Moroccan cellar bar (check out our espresso martinirecipe….) or how about a personalised wine tasting in the vaulted cellar. Enjoy a hearty family meal in the spacious oak framed orangery, looking out onto the Italian garden.