Volcanic MÍLOS is a geologically diverse island with weird rock formations, hot springs and odd outcrops off the coast. Minoan settlers were attracted by obsidian; this and other products of its volcanic soil made it one of the most important of the Cyclades in the ancient world. Today, the quarrying of many rare minerals has left huge scars on the landscape but has given the island a relative prosperity which today translates into several gourmet restaurants with better wine lists than many of its neighbours. With some 75-odd beaches and sensational views Mílos hasn’t had to tart itself up to court tourism – indeed, the wealthy mining companies that employ a quarter of the population are happy to see tourism stay at low levels. It helps that the western half of Mílos, as well the other islands around it, including Kímolos, is a nature reserve protecting three endemic species: the extremely rare Mediterranean seal, the Mílos viper and the one you are most likely to encounter, the long, crocodile-shaped Mílos wall lizard. Note that the importance of the archeological finds, museums and sites here is only surpassed by Delos and Santoríni.

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