I was determined to get there before the influencers. Stepping off the first bus of the day at Sarakiniko Beach, the dusty trail down to the water seemed quiet at first. But as the walls of swirling white rock parted like waves, I suddenly saw them: hundreds of smartphone-wielding hotties wallowing in bright turquoise pools. And then I heard it: the faint but unmistakable, sinister hum of a drone.
Sarakiniko, one of the top sights on the island of Milos, suffers from being beautiful in an otherworldly, surface-of-the-moon sort of way. Although there are no hotels, restaurants or even trees for shade here, young people come by the dozen to get that sought-after shot. Despite the competition, it was undeniably staggering: huge meringue peaks of white rock rippling up from shallow waters, towering cliffs pocked by enormous, yawning caves. The tourists on its vast lunar landscape seemed like ants.
Milos is having a moment. An island in the Cyclades archipelago, 95km northwest of Santorini, it was traditionally a centre of mining – of obsidian, by Neolithic settlers who used it to make tools and weapons, then later of minerals like manganese and baryte in the 19th and 20th century. Now, by the looks of Sarakiniko, the only thing being mined here is #content. Move over, Mykonos: the style set has found Milos.
Luckily, it’s still soulful and charming, with enough sandy beaches and remote, succulent-sprouting interior to spread out in. In fact, the hotel scene here remains surprisingly low-key: charming little whitewashed houses with wooden shutters, for the most part; or small, no-frills guesthouses speckled around the port. The super-luxury digs here can be counted on one hand, meaning few or no A-listers choppering in from Athens (though you will see some super-yachts). Yet there’s a gentle liveliness to its port, Adamantas, and northern coast town, Pollonia, and more things to do than on smaller Cyclades islands nearby.
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I step off the ferry in Adamantas, a movie-set whitewashed Cycladic port, in peak summer. Strolling through its small grid of streets, it’s approachable and casually glamorous: small boutiques such as Vanilla and Votsalo sell last-minute sunhats, kaftans and summer dresses; grinning kids delve into huge ice-cream sundaes at pastel-coloured Aggeliki.
I’m told by my hosts at…