From the moment we met Anna-Carin Nordin, we were in awe of her accomplishments and her Nordic charm. She immediately reminded me of my favourite Sydney based swim coach, Charmian Frend. They both have the same approachable manner. And no-nonsense demeanor. Anna-Carin is a marathon swimmer and Charm is a marathon swimming coach. Both have conquered some of the most challenging open-water swims around the world, including the English Channel and the North Channel. Anna-Carin's passion for swimming and her dedication to the sport were infectious and inspirational. Anna-Carin was more than happy to share her knowledge of the water and with the help of her local guide, some of the most hidden spots in Milos.
Our days begin around 8am with a generous breakfast on a terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea. Cloudless sky, with temperatures around 30 degrees. Then our group of 14 swimmers walked to the port with our new, brightly coloured caps, anticipating our first jump off our boat, Aphrodite.
The group is a varied bunch of 3 men and 11 women, all from Australia, bar one Canadian.
Each day our guides take us by boat to a different secluded swim location. Generally 2 swims a day varying between 1.5km and 3km.
Our first day of swimming included seeing the "rabbit rock that then turned into the angry bear rock" depending on which direction you saw it from.
After a cruisey, afternoon swim we then retired to our hotel to de-salt ourselves and get ready for an experience organised by our guides. For the wine lovers on the trip we ventured off to a wine tasting at Kostantakis Winery. Kostas, the owner showed us around both the vineyard and tasting area which of course included some unique wines paired with local produce to get us ready for dinner. Dinner this night was at a very local taverna called Enalion, perched on a terrace by the sea.
Sarakiniko: Kleftiko Beach and Caves: Subterranean Wonderland
The second swim day dawned with superb, smooth conditions. To take advantage of this, our boat captain and guides decided this was the day to see the famous white cliffs that feature in instagram posts worldwide. The famous Sarakiniko has one of the most incredible landscapes in Milos. White rock, eroded by the wind and sea as if a giant had carved it from clay. Kleftiko is one of the most photographed beaches in Europe. Fyriplaka for years has also been voted one of the top beaches in Greece.
The much-anticipated swim at Kleftiko Beach and Caves was sure to be a highlight of our week. The sight of the caves, as we approached by boat, was awe-inspiring, and we couldn't wait to dive into the turquoise waters to explore them up close. Our guides led us into the labyrinth of caves and with each stroke we discovered new chambers and secret passages. Even the faintest of heart couldn't help but follow the more adventurous into the hidden spaces with amazing light and rock formations. Swimming here was a breathtaking experience, as the white cliffs were stunning and the underwater formations seemed to come straight out of a nature documentary.
After kilometres of swimming, we had earned our lunch. A simple spread of local produce aboard the Aphrodite was delicious. We all enjoyed the boat trip back to harbour and we finished off with a quick swim to round out an amazing day of swimming and exploring.
In true Swim Trek form, another experience had been arranged by our terrific guides for the evening. After an informative tour of the ancient amphitheatre and catacombs at Tripiti, we made our way to Plaka, the main town of Milos. We were all ready for drinks in the picturesque, traditional village with the added bonus of an amazing sunset. It was spectacular...as good as Santorini but a lot less crowded.
Sailing Adventures, Secluded Coves and traditional fishing villages
One of the highlights of the Swim Trek was sailing daily around the island to find the best locations for a swim. Our trusty sailboat, Aphrodite, transported us to secluded coves and hidden beaches inaccessible by land. Each cove offered a new swimming paradise, and we relished the feeling of being immersed in nature's wonders away from the crowds. The rhythmic sound of the sea and the gentle rocking of the boat enhanced the serenity of the experience.
For our last full day of swimming the guides wanted to show off some of the most quintessential fishing villages of Milos. We swam past the village of Fourkovouni which is located on the north side of Milos Bay. It is a traditional fishing village with picturesque small white buildings with colourful doors right next to the sea. These houses, called Syrmata, can be seen in many settlements across the island, and are unique to Milos. They were used as secondary homes of fishermen, with the ground floor used as a storage room for boats and the first floor as a sleeping area. Other villages we swam by were Klima and Mandrakia.
After taking our final dip of the day we were sailed back to Adamas port for a group lunch at a local taverna by the sea. Delicious food in plentiful supply had us all feeling weary and content. Some of us, post lunch, took the opportunity to wander around Adamas before catching the local bus back to Apollonia.
Our final night on Milos was well planned by our guides with a team dinner at a superb restaurant overlooking the sea. Rakomelo restaurant had a great dining deck that made you feel like you were on top of the sea and the local food was outstanding. The guides had awards for all participants and we all shared funny stories from the week as well as loads of photos from our adventures both in and out of the water.
On the final day of Swim Treks there is usually an optional "sunrise swim" and we followed the tradition. A few early birds met Anna and Ben to watch the sun come up over the headland, from the warm waters of Apollonia bay. It was a special way to end a fantastic week of swimming and exploring.
Its not just swimming - the beauty of Milos
Beyond the thrill of the swims, the Swim Trek also allowed us to experience the island's culture and hospitality. During our downtime, we explored charming villages, indulged in traditional Greek cuisine, and relished the warmth of the locals. Milos' beauty extended beyond its waters, and each moment spent on the island was an enriching experience.
Snapshot of Milos
Swimtrek : Soultana Rooms - good value 3 star hotel in a good location.
A bit of glamour - White Pebble Suites.
- Gyros in Apollonia town.
- O Hamos in Adamas
- Kivotos ton Gefseon - bakery and cafe
- Kostantakis Winery in Apollonia
- Plaka. Main town with outstanding view for Sunsets.
- Sarakiniko. Kleftico and Fyriplaka beaches are a must visit as they are the 2 of the most photographed beaches in Greece.
- Fourkovoun village. Famous for the small colourful houses called syrmata.
- Klima and Mandrakia villages
- Tripiti - to see the catacombs and ancient amphitheatre. See the original location of the Venus de Milo before it was re-located to The Louvre.
- Rent a boat and explore the coves and coastline. Everything looks different from the water and you get a much better picture of the beauty of the coastline including the small villages located directly on the sea.
- Sunset drinks at Plaka. Many of the small bars in the laneways sell “take-away” cocktails for you to take with you to watch the sun go down and make sure you get that special sunset shot that completes your holiday album.
- Eat squid and/or octopus at one of the local tavernas combined with a traditional Greek salad and tzatziki dip. They are so much better in Greece.
- Sample a gyros…..greek street food. The pork gyros were particularly good on Milos but you can get lamb and chicken too.
- Cool off with an Alfa beer on tap. So good after a day of swimming and sun.
How to get there:
- Flights from Athens leave daily during the summer months on both Aegean Airways and Sky Express.
- Ferries by Seajets leave from Athens to Milos up to 3 times a day in peak season. You can book seats online. Seajets ferry tickets - Seajets Schedule
Participating in a Swim Trek in Milos, Greece, was a transformative experience that combined the joy of swimming in pristine waters, with the exploration of an island shaped by nature's artistry and the wonderful group swimmers we met. If you have a love for swimming and a thirst for exploration, we wholeheartedly recommend a Swim Trek to this Greek island - an aquatic odyssey that will stay etched in your memory for a lifetime.
"you never regret a swim"