Plaka is Milos’ capital town and one of the most intact capitals of the Cyclades. It was founded around 1800 on a hill 220 meters above sea level, with the traditional Cycladic architecture: picturesque tiled alleys, whitewashed houses with coloured windows and small balconies full of flowers make Plaka what it is today. It is around 3 kilometers away from Adamantas, the island’s main port.
On Plaka’s hilltop lies the the Venetian Castle, dating back to the 13th century. Residents of the ancient capital, called Zefyria, settled here for safety reasons. From above, the inhabitants could see enemy ships at quite a distance, allowing plenty of time to take action. Because of the population growth at the main center of Plaka in the 19th century, it became the capital of the island. Nowadays, from the ancient Castle, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the North/West part of the island and idyllic sunsets. At the top of the Castle, you can find the “Mesa Panagia” church. But if you’re keen in church visiting, then you shouldn’t miss the island’s Cathedral, “Korfiatissa Virgin Mary”. The view from its marble yard is astonishing. Near Korfiatissa is the Catholic church of “Panagia of Rodon” (the Virgin of the Roses), witness to the existence of the Catholic faith on the island since the age of Venetian rule.
The Folk Museum and the Archaeological Museum are also located in Plaka and a visit there is a must. Near Plaka you can also visit the Catacombs and the Theatre, with unexpected interesting marble remains. If you happen to be in Plaka around July, every year the Milos festival is hosted there. Greek, as well as International artists come and deliver unforgettable performances.
Where to stay
Accommodation needs to be your first priority when you schedule your vacation in Milos. The island does not rely on tourism as its main source of income, so lodgings are quite limited. Having said that, Plaka is one of the most touristic developed when it comes to accommodation. There are several lodgings, studios, apartments, even villas. Big hotels in Plaka? Hmm… probably not. But still, you can find great accommodation options. The fact that Plaka is on the highest part of the island, guarantees jaw dropping views if you can allocate the right lodging. In general, you have a good variety of different options, for every preference and budget. There’s a handful of small boutique villas, with pools and great views. You can also find quite a few new studios and apartments, with good facilities.
Most of the lodgings are owned by families who also live there, so the service is usually friendly and on the spot. Plaka, being perhaps the most picturesque village of the island, has a traditional Cycladic architecture. This extends to the interiors of most of the studios. Blue windows, white walls, minimal designs is what you should expect to find as your accommodation. And if you’ve found a great place right in the centre but you’re worried about loud noises throughout the night, don’t be. Plaka is a very lively town during the day, but at night it’s one of the most chilled out places to be.
Where to eat in Plaka
Plaka has a plethora of restaurants and taverns, all of them offering traditional Milian cuisine. But two of these definitely stand out! In the first one, called after a Greek female name meaning “master”, or “lady”, you will definitely feel like one! The restaurant is hidden in one of the town’s narrow streets, offering traditional Greek food. No matter what you try, I can guarantee that you’ll revisit, again and again. The service is immaculate, the flavors mouthwatering and the location as Greek as can be: There are plenty of seats outside, where you can enjoy your lunch or dinner with friends while you see other tourists passing by. My second suggestion has a name that means “two doors”. It is one of the most well-known restaurants that lasted through time. A traditional meal there will not disappoint you. The tavern offers homemade dishes that cater to every pallet, but their specialties are the meat and vegetarian dishes. Any kind of vegetarian balls (zucchini, tomato) are a must try!
If you want to finish your meal with a wonderful dessert, look no further. The “Old” patisserie in Plaka offers amazing handmade ice creams and traditional Milian desserts to accompany your coffee. The selection is vast, but if you’re choco lovers, then the chocolate pie should be your choice. This modern dessert is famous around Milos, but this pastry shop really kills it!
Although most of the clubs that will keep you up on your feet are located in Adamas, Plaka has a good selection of bars as well. When you walk in the small alleys, chances that loud music attracts you to a good spot are not thin.
There are plenty of cafes that turn to bars after sunset and stay open until after midnight. If you want a more chilled atmosphere, one of the cafes situated in Plaka, with a name similar to paradise, has wonderful views and great cocktails. Go there to watch the sunset – the colors of the Aegean Sea are spectacular during dusk from this spot!
In case you want to continue your bar hoping in the same atmosphere, look for the “grocery store”. Nice, cozy bar, with good music. And what if you’re in dancing mood? Should you head down to Adamantas? Of course not. Plaka has something for every taste… The “Cat” bar awaits you with some good alternative rock vibes. It doesn’t have any view. It doesn’t stay open till the first morning hours (Plaka has strict regulations about noise control). It’s not where the teenagers go. Still, it is one of my all-time favorite bars in the island. The vibe, the drinks, the music: I wouldn’t change a thing! But I’m a Placebo girl after all.
If Plaka is not your thing why not check out Santorini?