Plaka village is the capital town of Milos, one of the volcanic islands of the Cyclades, in the Aegean. All of Milos island is stunningly gorgeous and Plaka is no different: beyond the natural Cycladic beauty of its sugar-cube houses with the brightly colored shutters, doors, and fences, Plaka is a maze of narrow alleyways and paths where cars simply are too big to go!
From its beautiful vistas to the brightness of its buildings contrasted with the splashes of color from the bougainvilleas and various trees, Plaka will not disappoint you.
There are many things to see and do in Plaka, and it can also serve as a great base of operations for exploring the rest of Milos. Here is everything you need to know to make the most of this beautiful little town on the side of the hill:
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Brief history of Plaka
Although its modern version was founded in the 19th century, Plaka’s history dates far back, to antiquity. It is first mentioned in Thucydides, who gives the account of how Plaka was invaded by the Dorians in the 13th century BC.
Plaka, along with the rest of Milos, took part in the Persian Wars and was later part of the Athenian Empire. It was destroyed by the Athenians when Milos chose to ally with the Spartans.
Later on, Romans took control and then the Byzantine Empire. When Milos was conquered by the Venetians in the 13th century AD, they fortified Plaka with a castle.
The castle was built by fortifying the village, taking advantage of its position on the side of the hill and the fact that it was already built to deter pirates: houses were built close together with meandering narrow streets that were meant to confuse and disorient invaders enough for the locals to deal with them.
Remains of the castle still stand today!
Plaka was refounded many times since it was often destroyed by invading forces. Though its latest founding date is 1800, taking up the title of Milos’ capital, it is actually the oldest and most enduring town of Milos.
What to see and do in Plaka, Milos
One of the attractions of Plaka is Plaka itself! Because it was built to fend off pirates, its streets are too narrow for anything bigger than a moped or a motorbike, making Plaka great for strolling and exploration.
Because it is sprawled over a tall hillside, Plaka is full of gorgeous views of the entire island of Milos. Wander around its various paths and discover your favorite! While you do, enjoy the ambiance and the aromas wafting from bakeries and other shops, adding to the sense of a close-knit community all around you.
Plaka isn’t as touristy as other Cycladic islands or even other towns and villages in Milos are, so you are also going to get a feeling of authenticity. It is quite small in size, so the exploration isn’t going to tire you out.
Visit the churches
Panagia Thalassitra: Built in 1839, this church is a beautiful example of Cycladic religious architecture. You will find it on the way to the Castle. It boasts a beautiful yard with a gorgeous view over the bay. It is pure white on the outside, with a stone belltower, and inside it has rare icons and an intricate wood-carved iconostasis.
Panagia Korfiatissa: Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Panagia Korfiatissa is another 19th-century church that is also the cathedral of Milos. It was built with materials from all the old churches of the previous capital town and is also an excellent example of the Cycladic style of religious architecture.
It has a gorgeous view from its yard which is made of marble and features a detailed mosaic. Inside you will see rare religious relics, a beautifully carved and gilded iconostasis, and the golden Epitaph from the city of Smyrna, Asia Minor.
Mesa Panagia: Also called “Panagia Skiniotissa”, this tiny church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was destroyed by the Nazis during the Occupation in WWII to install a machine gun base in its place. Locals rebuilt it in 1944 and it is a beautiful example of post-war architecture. It is located on top of the Venetian castle ruins.
Right at the top of Plaka, you will find the ruins of the Venetian castle. It is also called the Castello, and it is very popular with visitors! Hiking up to it is a beloved activity, not only for the reward of a gorgeous panoramic view of Milos but also because it offers yet another excuse to explore Plaka through the ages. Make sure you have water and opt for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the brunt of the relentless Greek sun.
If you go in the afternoon, you will also have the chance to enjoy the spectacular sunset which rivals the famous ones of Oia, in Santorini. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see the entirety of Milos painted in gold as the sun sinks in the Aegean!
To better enjoy the gorgeous sunset, try going further up in the castle, where you will also find the church of Mesa Panagia. Its yard is perfect for setting up to enjoy the view and the shifting colors.
Visit the museums
The Archaeological Museum of Milos: Housed in a beautiful neoclassical building with Cycladic influences you will find the Archaeological Museum. It has several unique displays from prehistoric times all the way to Hellenistic and Roman times. At its entrance, you will see an exact replica of the famous statue of Aphrodite of Milos as well as a large burial jar. Collections of obsidian from Milos’ ancient mining traditions are also there for you to enjoy.
Plaka’s War Museum: This is an underground museum, housed in the bunker where the Germans had a hospital in 1943 when Milos was ravaged by heavy bombings. You will see displays of several items and historical photos of Milos from both World Wars, relics of the Wehrmacht, and a memorial to the German doctor Dr. Hans Löber who is still remembered positively for his services to the local population.
Folklore Museum: In the beautiful yard of Panagia Korfiatissa church you will find this tiny museum housed in a 200-year-old house. It has interesting collections of everyday items dating as far back as the 17th century, depicting daily life in Milos. The collections are arranged per room in the house, as they would have been historically used and placed, so it gives a time-capsule effect to the visitor.
The Sand Museum: Created and curated by the geologist Asteris Paplomatas, this museum compares and contrasts sand samples from all over the world with the ones from the various beaches of Milos. There are also remarkable arts and crafts created by the sand of many colors that have not been dyed- only the natural hues are being used!
Being on a hill and central in Milos, you can use Plaka as your base of operations to explore the rest of the island. A great way to do that is to hike to some of the closest attractions. Just make sure that you have plenty of water and avoid the height of the sun’s strength in midday and early afternoon!
Hike to Kleftiko beach: About an hour’s worth of hiking from Plaka, you will find Kleftiko bay, where one of the best beaches in Greece is. Kleftiko bay is quite popular for its sea caves and iconic rock formations that make them look like they just jutted out of the sea.
Most take a boat trip there, but you can hike to it from Plaka. If you are a fan of snorkeling, definitely bring your gear along for underwater explorations.
Hike to Tripiti: Tripiti is a short distance from Plaka so hiking should take around 20 minutes. The small village got its name from the many rocks with several holes in them that are iconic to the area. Tripiti will reward you with wonderful views of the Aegean, some unique churches and chapels such as the church of Agios Nikolaos, and picturesque surroundings.
Where to stay in Plaka, Milos
Halara studios is a value for money property. The studios share a panoramic terrace with amazing views over the bay and lie within a 5-minute walk from taverns, mini markets, and shops.
Vira Vivere Houses is located on the outskirts of Plaka and is especially suitable for families or groups because it has two-story apartments and a wide choice of accommodation types with fully equipped kitchens, a playground, and board games.
Where to eat in Plaka, Milos
Avli-Milos: Avli is a restaurant that combines the best elements of a traditional taverna and a modern European eatery. It’s well known for its great food, with excellent traditional and fusions dishes as well as its great prices.
Mavros Xoiros: Modern Greek cuisine and fine dining await you at this restaurant that seeks to give you a culinary trip all around Greece. Vegetables, cheeses, and meats are sourced locally from Milos but also from small farms all over Greece.
Palaios: If you’re seeking good coffee and excellent dessert, Palaios is your choice in Plaka. The café has a strong retro feel with tasteful vintage decorations and a traditional backyard with vines where you can enjoy your refreshments and the famed traditional sweets.
Utopia: This all-day café bar boasts a great terrace from where you will enjoy the gorgeous sunset, the wonderful view, and the excellent cocktails. Stay on after the sunset for a great start to your night!
FAQ About Plaka in Milos
You can watch the sunset from Klima, have a nice meal in a restaurant, enjoy a sunset cruise, or check out some of the bars in Plaka, Adamantas, or Pollonia.
Spending 3 days in Milos gives you the perfect time to explore some of the best things the island has to offer.
Planning a trip to Milos? Check out my other guides:
How to get from Athens to Milos
A Guide to Milos island
Where to stay in Milos
Best Airbnb’s in Milos
Best beaches in Milos
Luxury hotels in Milos
The sulfur mines of Milos
A Guide to Klima, Milos
A Guide to Firopotamos, Milos
A Guide to Mandrakia, Milos