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Milos, the southernmost of the sun-baked Cyclades islands off mainland Greece, is a volcanic oasis home to picturesque whitewashed villages and hidden cliff-ringed coves. Formed around a central caldera and characterized by lunar-like rock formations, it has the highest concentration of beaches in the entire island group andyet, it’s delightfully untrodden compared to its more famous neighbors, Santorini and Mykonos.

It was once a critical location for the mineral trade during the Neolithic period, the ancient Minoans exported Milos’s obsidian to the neighboring Aegean island of Crete, whose residents used the volcanic glass to make weapons but the island is best known because of an event from more recent history. It was while diggingnear the Roman amphitheater in Klima, in 1820, that the amateur archaeologist Olivier Voutier discovered the marble statue known as the “Venus de Milo.” The celebrated work now lives at the Louvre in Paris, but Milos’s mystique remains intact.

Thanks to its serene fishing villages, secluded caves, innumerable swimming beaches (many accessible only by boat) and an abundance of locally run restaurants offering fresh catch and regional Greek wines, this tranquil island is quickly gaining appeal for travelers who want Aegean charm without the crowds.