Headed to the Greek Islands soon? You NEED to spend an afternoon at Kleftiko Beach in Milos. I swear — the water is an absolute dream! Read on for literally everything you need to know about this stunning spot — how to pick the perfect boat tour, when to go, what to bring, and more!
Ohhhh, Kleftiko. If you’ve been researching Milos at all, I can almost guarantee you’ve seen photos of these magical caves and bright underwater world — it’s one of the most popular spots in all of Milos afterall! And for good reason! There’s sea caves and rock formations to explore, clear, turquoise-tinted waters, and volcanic landscapes to admire. The crystal blue waters are absolutely irresistible — I couldn’t wait to jump on in
And apparently pirates used to hide out in the caves over here. Our captain even turned on music from Pirates of the Caribbean as we made our way into Kleftiko Beach. Definitely set the scene, that’s for sure! Kinda like how our pilot played Jurassic Park on our helicopter ride in Hawaii — so fun!
For reals though — this is the place to be on Milos Island. Everybody goes there! It’s easily one of the best hidden gems of the Cyclades; aka you NEED to get here before it becomes way over-popular and super crowded.
What’s so special about it anyways? The impressive white volcanic rocks in all shapes and sizes, the elaborate sea caves, and the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Everything feels dreamy, slow, and calm over here; a true Grecian paradise. It’s certainly one of the most unique places on the planet (well, besides Sarakiniko Beach of course — also in Milos)!
I’m sharing all my tips for visiting Kleftiko Beach in Milos, so keep on reading! But if you wanna learn more about Milos Island (where you’ll find Kleftiko Beach), make sure you read this — I wrote a massive guide to everything we did on the island. And if you’re a sucker for stunning beaches like I am, here’s my super comprehensive guide to the best beaches and swimming spots on Milos (you’re welcome!). 🙂
Kleftiko Beach Information
Wait — Beach or Bay?
Kleftiko isn’t actually a beach at all — although almost everyone calls it Kleftiko Beach! It’s not a beach in the classic sense with sand or pebbles, but more a calm bay for swimming (with hardly any waves). Instead, it’s the unique coastal views with massive volcanic rocks that makes the area so dramatic and note-worthy!
So don’t expect to lay out and sunbathe on the sand; you won’t find any of that here. There are some flat rocks you can get comfy on, but I’d much prefer to be cooling off in the turquoise waters instead.
How Kleftiko Bay Was Formed and A Little Bit of History
Can you believe the power of the sea and wild wind storms created this rare geological phenomena? I mean, the caves and volcanic arches obviously weren’t created overnight, but over centuries and centuries. Such a sight to see. I’m always amazed at what Mother Nature can do.
But even more impressively, pirates used to hang out here!
Yes, real-life pirates used to hide out here at Kleftiko Beach! The pirates used to rest here and organize their attacks on whatever ships appeared in sight (I mean, just look at those caves — they’re the perfect hiding place). Makes sense, as the word Kleftiko comes from the ancient Greek word “Kleftis”, which actually means thief/robber! In literal translation though, Kleftiko means stolen meat, haha.
But don’t worry — you won’t find any pirates here today. Only visiting catamarans with snorkelers and swimmers! Thankfully they stopped attacking boats in the early 1820’s after Admiral Kanaris protected the Aegean Islands from all the nasty pirates! And thank goodness he did!
Planning a Trip to Kleftiko Beach in Milos
Where is Kleftiko Beach
You’ll find Kleftiko Bay in Milos, Greece, an island in the Cyclades (which is actually the same group of islands as the super-popular Santorini and Mykonos). More specifically, it’s located along the southwestern coast of Milos, far away from the amenities and towns on the eastern half of the island.
Be careful when searching Google Maps though — there’s apparently a whole bunch of spots in Greece called Kleftiko. You’re looking for the rugged and remote Kleftiko Bay in southwest Milos. You’ll know when you find it on the map, I promise.
When to Go
Like other Greek Islands, Milos (including Kleftiko Bay) is best explored from May through September, coinciding with the busy tourist season. But in my opinion, late spring and early autumn are the best times to visit, as it’s not as hot and sticky and less crowded. It’s never a horrible time to visit though: the island is blessed with a Mediterranean climate — meaning mild temps, warm water, and relatively calm seas year round.
Do know that Milos (like other Greek islands) experiences strong winds (called Meltemi) from June through August. Because of this, it’s possible boat tours to Kleftiko can get cancelled for safety reasons. I recommend booking your boat tour as early in your trip as possible JUST IN CASE it needs to be rebooked to the next day.
For reference, we visited Milos and Kleftiko Beach in mid-July, and had beautiful weather. Yes, it was pretty hot and sticky, but we were at the beach most of the time, so we just cooled off in the water! Plus, the summer winds actually helped cool down the air so we never felt absolutely gross.
What to do at Kleftiko Bay, Milos
I’m sure you get it by now — swim, snorkel, take in the scenery, soak up the sun! I loved jumping in the crystal clear water, putting on a snorkel mask, and exploring beneath the surface. It’s remarkably clear, and you can see all the way to the bottom, despite it being pretty freakin’ deep! There’s some small fish to see, but definitely not the best snorkeling I’ve ever done, so don’t expect tons of tropical fish or anything. Still fun to see them swimming around though!
My favorite part of the afternoon?! Swimming in the caves where the pirates used to hang out! Kinda freaky when you think about it but don’t miss that! And of course make sure to take all the photos you want — the rock formations are just oh so cool!
Facilities at Kleftiko and What to Bring
Since Kleftiko is super off-the-beaten-path when it comes to beaches and swimming spots in Milos, you won’t find any facilities over here. Meaning no lounge chairs, no beach bar, no toilets, etc. And I honestly don’t even know where they’d be, haha. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no real sandy beach over here; Kleftiko is solely a swimming spot.
If you’re coming to Kleftiko by boat (which most people do), your tour will most likely supply you with what you absolutely need → a bathroom, snacks, drinks, and snorkel gear! You’ll wanna bring along a towel, a dry bag to keep your belongings nice and dry, some SPF (I always pack SPF lip balm, too), a sunhat, sunglasses, and a sense of adventure. You don’t wanna bring much (wear a bathing suit of course), but enough to keep yourself comfortable in the water and on the boat.
How Long to Stay
If you really wanna explore all there is at Kleftiko, you’ll need at least an hour and a half to 2 full hours over here. I could have spent a whole day swimming in the crystal clear waters and through the wild caves!
Our boat trip ventured over to Kleftiko Bay after making stops at Poliegos Island (swoon), Gerakas Beach (double swoon), and a few other beaches along the way. Because of this, we only had an hour or so to swim around, but didn’t mind since we had already made plenty of other swimming spots.
How to Get to Kleftiko, Milos
You’ll of course first need to get yourself over to Milos, which isn’t terribly hard if you’re already in Greece. From Athens, you can reach Milos by plane in a little over an hour, or in 2-3 hours via high speed ferry. You can also take a ferry from other islands in the Cyclades, like Santorini or Mykonos, which is what we did!
→ Read this for much more detailed info on how to get to Milos (and other practicalities and things to know!).
And once you do get yourself over to Milos Island, it does take some planning to get to Kleftiko. It’s on the south coast of the rugged and remote western side of the island afterall, the complete opposite where most people spend the night. But I promise it’s worth the small hassle… if you can really call a luxurious boat ride a hassle, haha.
By Boat (Catamaran Cruise or Luxury Yacht)
The only way to reach Kleftiko is by boat! Meaning you’ll need to book yourself on a guided boat tour around Milos if you wanna explore this old Pirate den! Here’s the exact catamaran cruise we took — spoiler alert, it’s gonna be one of your favorite days in Greece, I can tell you that.
There’s tons of boat companies which stop at Kleftiko Beach in Milos, so finding a tour shouldn’t be hard — as long as you book in advance! Kleftiko is the most visited attraction of all of Milos (well, a close second to Sarakiniko), so definitely don’t wait too long to book.
I know someone who unfortunately missed out on the Kleftiko caves since all the boats were completely sold out when she and her husband visited! Whoops — don’t be that person! Guarantee your spot and book way in advance. If you already have your ferry ticket to Milos, just book this cruise right now and thank me later. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss out.
Different tour itinerary options:
Since everyone wants to swim at Kleftiko Bay (I mean, just look at it!), there’s thankfully a whole bunch of boat options on the island! Most boats provide their guests with snorkels and fins free of charge (you’ll definitely want these), as well as meals. The catamaran cruise we chose (highly recommended) gave us plenty of fresh fruit and snacks, a whole spread of Greek specialities for lunch, and lots of yummy drinks! We definitely never went hungry!
And besides the actual company of the boat, you can choose to do a full-day, half-day, or mini cruise to Kleftiko Beach. We chose the longest one and had no regrets! Here’s your itinerary options:
- Circumnavigate the entire island of Milos: Want a full day out on the water exploring the best that Milos has to offer? You need to book this full-day catamaran tour! Not only does the tour visit Kleftiko Bay, but it makes stops at Gerakas Beach and Poliegos, a neighboring island. Of course it’s a bit pricier than the others, but well worth the extra expense in our eyes. I’ll never get over those turquoise waters.
- Visit Kleftiko and other stops on the southern coast: You’ll find many boat tours skipping Poliegos and heading straight to the ruggest southwestern coast for lots of time at Kleftiko! On this half-day cruise, Kleftiko will be the main attraction but you’ll also get to see some other stunning spots!
- Head straight to Kleftiko: After doing some research, I learned you can take a boat from Agia Kyriaki beach for about 30 euro per person for about FOUR hours here! What a dream! If you’re pressed for time or need to stick to a strict budget, this may work in your favor. Although I’m so glad we made the other stops on our full-day catamaran tour (look here for some photos — absolutely remarkable)!
Our catamaran cruise around Milos was easily one of our favorite days on our Greece itinerary. I’m honestly still raving about it to anyone and everyone who’ll listen (sorry not sorry)!
Psst — most boat tours to Kleftiko leave from Adamas Port (where we stayed), but it’s always wise to check!
Recommended Boat Tours to Kleftiko (and Beyond)
- Full-Day Tour of Milos and Poliegos Islands: If you’re keen on seeing as much as possible of the coast of Milos, you NEED to book this tour. It’s the EXACT one we booked, and I can honestly say I’d choose this catamaran cruise again in a heartbeat. We had ample time at Kleftiko, but also got to visit the blue waters of Poliegos Island, Gerakas Beach, and some other inaccessible spots for swimming/beach time. And ohhh — that Greek salad sando was the perfect snack after a quick dip. Read reviews and book catamaran cruise here!
- Safari Rib Tour to Kleftiko and Beyond: Would rather spend the day on a luxurious yacht? This tour is for you. Not only does it visit some fishing villages and other beaches, but you get to take a small rib boat (way smaller than the yacht) to cruise in between the actual caves of Kleftiko! And plus, the crew takes bangin’ underwater photos of you! Read reviews and book safari rib cruise here.
- Half-Day Morning Cruise to Kleftiko and Gerakas: If you don’t wanna be out on the water the entire day (I hear you, that’s a long time on a boat), there’s plenty of half day cruises you can book! This 5-hour catamaran cruise is offered by the same company we took, so I can definitely vouch for the crew and food! They obviously don’t make as many stops, but the half day tours are great for a quick sampling of the island. Read reviews and book your half-day cruise here!
By Foot: Hiking to Kleftiko Bay
Okay, so you can actually hike to Kleftiko Bay. It’s not advertised on many Kleftiko Beach blogs. BUT it’s a long 45 minute walk (after an hour’s drive from Adamas on unpaved roads), and in that hot summer heat, honestly, no thank you! If you really wanna hike to Kleftiko, do it first thing in the morning to avoid the midday sun (and bring lots and lots of water).
I’ve heard the hike is of varying degrees of difficulty from different people — some say it’s pretty easy while others deem it as quite treacherous! Maybe there’s multiple ways to hike there?! The trailhead is located about a km past the Monastery of St. John Siderianos. Regardless, just remember you’ll need to hike back up after your time at the beach — sooooo… yea. Expect to be dripping with sweat afterwards.
A positive to hiking? You will be greeted with gorgeous bird eye views from above if you hike to Kleftiko, which you obviously won’t get from a boat! Unless you have a drone of course!
Have I convinced you to add a catamaran cruise to Kleftiko to your time in Milos? I can’t wait to jump into that turquoise-tinted water again — hopefully sooner than later!