Cape Vani is one of the most striking landmarks of the island of Milos. Many of the most popular photographic subjects taken from Plaka also show the Cape every time since it inevitably forces its way from the left into almost every panoramic view and every sunset scene. From a distance, Cape Vani with its characteristic silhouette looks almost like filigree. In reality, though, it is a substantial promontory at the tip of which a mighty cliff about 20 metres high rises up.
You can reach Vani either by boat or via a truly adventurous journey by car, with both having their merits. Visiting by sea allows you to round the Vani cliff right underneath it. The closer you come, the more astonishing the massive, almost vertical cliffs become. If you then consider that at this point, the seabed plunges into the depths more steeply than at any other part of Milos’ coastline, you feel alarmingly small in your boat.
The Vani cliff
It’s only when you come close that you realise the precise nature of the promontory of Cape Vani. The footpath to the Cape ends on the mighty plateau beside a white trig point pillar. The actual Vani cliff is cut off by a steep cut down to sea level and is therefore inaccessible on foot.
Vani mine, old manganese mine
On the country road, the route almost disappears and it is extremely easy to go wrong without GPS. Sooner or later, you reach the furrowed area of the former Vani manganese mine and you have to leave your car behind. To roam around the whole site, you should take with you enough drinking water (it can get absurdly hot here in the summer!) and allow yourself plenty of time. Old galleries, ruins, caves and dark cliffs belonging to another world characterise this ancient place in which you are as far as possible not only in space but also atmospherically from the bustle on the other, civilised side of Milos.
It is only with an aerial view that you realise how extensive the area of the former manganese mine is. As well as the remaining buildings, you see numerous vestiges of foundation walls, old galleries that have collapsed because of erosion and other artefacts whose significance is now lost on at least those who are not expert.
The mining area
Show location of the Vani mine on map: