The Surreal Sarakiniko Beach of Milos

This otherworldly stretch of shore on the Greek island of Milos is part holiday beach, part alien landscape.

At Sarakiniko Beach on Milos, wind-hewn valleys meander their way down to a turquoise sea, while sea stacks, caves and elegantly curved cliffs arch over the waves. And everything shines white under the bright Aegean sun.

Sarakiniko is part holiday beach, part alien landscape © Culture Trip

Here you can swim, sunbathe, cliff dive and explore tunnels and a shipwreck – or just gaze at a natural wonder that feels more like the moon than Greece.

The secrets of Sarakiniko Beach

Sarakiniko Beach is made up of greyish-white volcanic rock that’s been carved into strange, sinuous shapes by the wind and the waves. Many visitors compare it to the moon. The beach itself is pretty small, a stretch of sand at the end of an inlet, but there’s plenty to explore here.

A cliff that rises over the sea is perfect for jumping off – not least because one end is lower than the other, giving you a chance to warm up to your biggest leap. Near the beach, abandoned tunnels bore into the ground, offering the chance to get out of the sun and get a feel for the island’s mining history. Volcanic perlite (used in gardening) and bentonite (used for cleaning and in drilling) are still exported from other mines on Milos.

Elsewhere, there are canyons to wander and natural arches to inspect, plus a shipwreck you can snorkel around. You’ll get a different feel for the landscape by seeing it from the water, whether swimming or on a kayak.

Visiting Milos

Sarakiniko Beach is 2km (1.2mi) from the harbour village of Adamas, and 5km (3.1mi) from Milos’ car-free capital, Plaka. You can hire a car or ATV to get here, and a bus runs from Adamas in summer.

August is peak season here, when the beach can get very busy. Come in shoulder season, or early or late in the day (when you’ll also have the chance to see spectacular sunrises and sunsets) for a quieter experience.

Milos has plenty more attractions, including beaches, ancient theatres and catacombs and some appealing villages. It’s west of Santorini in the Cyclades.