Amorgos is the easternmost island of the Cyclades and it is an island of exceptional beauty, mainly due to its rocky terrain, mountains, steep cliffs and difficult to reach beaches. It is a long island covering an area of 120 sq. km. and has two main ports, which is pretty unique.
Amorgos has been a very active island even from the prehistoric and ancient times. It used to belong to the Cretans, although some cities were founded by people from Naxos and Samos. Amorgos used to be a strong commercial center in the area and in later times it passed to the Romans, the Byzantines and finally to the Venetians, who also had a general control of other islands, like Naxos. Amorgos actively participated in the Greek Revolution against the Turks (1821) and was liberated.
Currently Amorgos is one of the most interesting vacation spots and has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, campings, etc. to choose from.
what do I need to see in Amorgos
Hora – The capital of the island, which is built in the interior, as many Horas in other Cycladic islands, due to the fear of pirate attacks. It is one of the most beautiful and intact Horas that you will find in the Cyclades. It is very similar with other Horas, full of paved streets, narrow alleys, balconies, arches, steps, etc. What is unique about this Hora is the small internal squares, the castle-type building of the houses and the unique local people who live there. Due to the fact that Amorgos is not (yet) very touristy the locals have not been eroded by tourism and they maintain their originality. It easy to talk to them and they can be your primary source of information on the island.
In Hora it is highly recommended that you walk around the alleys, visit the Gavras Tower, the Windmills and the Venetian castle from where you can get an exceptional view of Hora and the surrounding areas. You will find few bars, cafes, one with a great view and several taverns to eat.
Hora has a few hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, etc. to choose from.
Katapola – The main port of Amogos, 6 km away from Hora. It is the main port of the island and due to that it has become somewhat touristy. The right part of Katapola (as you look towards the sea) is very nice, with cool bars, coffee-bars and some nice taverns by the sea.
Apart from that you could visit the church of Panagia Katapoliani and the temple of Pithios Apollonas. Outside Katapola (2 km) you can visit the ancient Acropolis of Minoa.
This area has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios and a camping, to choose from.
Aegiali – It is the port at the north of Amorgos and it is preferred especially by Greek tourists. The right part of Aegiali (as you look towards the sea) is very nice, with cool bars, cafes and taverns by the sea. It is highly advisable to visit Tholaria and Lagada, the two villages very close to Aegiali.
This area has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios and a camping, to choose from.
Kalotaritissa bay, offers a selection of nice beaches and a natural port where fishermen park their fishing boats. The bay has a sandy (with small pebbles) beach, which is nice for swimming, but on the back side of that you will find another beach covered with big pebbles rocks. The rocky beach is quite dirty by tar but it has a small island very close to the shore, that we highly recommend you should visit. It has an excellent underwater view.
On the way to Kalotaritissa you will see on the right hand side of the road a small beach with a shipwreck. It is quite difficult to get down there since you have to follow a very vague goat trail. As soon as you get to the beach you will find out that it is not suited for swimming since it is full of rubbish. The only thing that you could do there is take pictures of the shipwreck and then return.
Another beach close to Kalotaritissa is Paradisa, which has a small sandy beach and a nice rocky terrain. The underwater view is quite interesting, but not as good as at the island of Kalotaritissa. Unfortunately, these beaches are not easily accessible if you are using the local buses.
Gramvoussa is a small island/islet at the west-end side of Amorgos. It probably has the best beaches around. You can visit by boat from Kalotaritissa. The boats go regularly from the bay of Kalotaritissa to Gramvoussa and bring you back later in the day.
Mourou, is probably the best beach of the island. It is full of pebbles and the rocky terrain is magnificent, since it is full of caves and small bays that you can easily access from the beach. Do not forget your snorkeling equipment and it is highly advisable to have an underwater camera to capture the underwater view. One of the best underwater views in the island. There is also a bar with a magnificent view, a tavern and a canteen to satisfy your various hungers.
Panagia Hozoviotissa, is the monastery next to the beach of Agia Anna, which is one of the nicest and most accessible beaches of the island. It is highly advisable to visit the monastery since it is one of the most beautiful and well situated monasteries in Greece.
It has a unique view of the sea and if you consider the fact that it was built in 1088 AD you will be amazed by its positioning/location. The view of the grand bleu from the top balcony of the church is breathtaking.
What is most amazing is the secluded beach underneath the monastery, which is not accessible on foot, and it has some of the best color you have seen in water. It is difficult to get there but the feeling will pay you back. It is as if this beach and the surrounding place is sacred. In order to get there you have to have a boat or take a long swim from Agia Anna.
More information on Amorgos from wikipedia, here.
hints & tips about Amorgos
- Do not expect to find long sandy beaches anywhere on the island. Most beaches are rocky and there are a lot of nice places which are unfortunately difficult to reach.
- It is highly recommended to visit Amorgos with a yacht. You will be able to swim in any isolated bay, beach you find.
- It is possible to swim naked in many beaches, since they are isolated. Amorgos attracts nudists and naturalists.
- Do not forget to have your snorkeling equipment with you since the underwater views are magnificent.
- The island of Amorgos was one of the main places where the film Le Grand Bleu (by Luc Besson) was filmed. Actually the first two parts of the movie were filmed in Amorgos, although in the second part they present it as being in Sicily, Italy.
- Around sunset time visit the cool coffee-bar in Hora for a coffee, gateaux or a drink. Do not ask which one, we are not advertising it. You will find it, since it plays nice music.
- Visit the cool bars in Katapola and Aegiali by the sea.
- It is suggested to eat at one of the taverns in one of the internal squares of Hora. Or the ones with the view.
- It is suggested to eat at the taverns in the internal squares of Hora, or at least at the ones with a view.
- Do not forget to drink rakomelo a very strong drink with raki (strong white spirit), honey and spices, served warm.
- Go and eat at the topmost restaurant in Tholaria (small village outside Aegiali), where locals sometimes play local (island) music and the food is very well prepared.
- You are highly advised to visit the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa during late afternoon in order not to get burned by the sun. Pay attention that it stays open until 7 pm. If you are not properly dressed they may not provide the required garments for you, so be prepared.
- Try to visit the beach underneath the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa. It is accessible only by boat or by long swimming from Agia Anna.
- The small island of Nikouria (you see it on the right on the way to Aegiali) is suggested only if you have seen all other places in the island and you just want to see it out of curiosity. It does not offer anything special.
- Go after the live music nights in the cafes/bars in Hora. A very nice crowd builds up and the atmosphere is great.
- There is one great tavern in Lagada, next to Aegiali. The food is great and most dishes are prepared out of organic products cultivated in a farm owned by the tavern owner.
- Paradisia is often dirty (at least it was both times I went). Kalotaritissa is a safe bet on windy days, maybe the safest.
- Boats to Maltezi and Plakes leave from Katapola regularly. Maltezi is a nice small sandy beach, accessible on foot if you can take ~30′ of hiking from Katapola. Plakes is a rough rocky beach in a nice setting. The latter might be too much on a windy day.
- On the left hand side of the tavern at Mouros there are two small beaches identical to the “main” Mouros beach. Both are accessible by a forking path. The path starts from the lower parking site on the back of the tavern. It is not the easiest path to go down but it’s worth it, especially on crowdy days.
- The Camping at Katapola tends to get very crowded especially in August, but it has lots of shade to put your tent.
- If you rent a motorbike pay attention to the very strong winds that blow at certain areas of the island.
- For those into hiking, there are a number of hiking trails around the island, which used to be the old roads connecting the cities and villages. They were (and still are sometimes) mainly used by sheep and donkeys for the transportation of goods.
- For those into fishing, it is possible to fish and use your spear-gun in most beaches, away from the swimmers.
- There are local buses connecting these cities with each other and with various other villages and places in the island, like the beaches of Agia Anna and Mouros, the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, the villages of Vroutsi, Arkesini, Kolofana and Agia Paraskevi.
- Amorgos has a wide range of hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, campings, etc. to choose from.