Updated September 1st, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Amorgos island is the 25th largest out of Greece’s 6000 islands and one of the most authentic islands in the Cyclades.
Amorgos is also called the island of the colors because of the magnificent colorful houses and villages.
Amorgos is an unspoiled Greek Island – no cruise ships or sushi bars here, no sophisticated tourist facilities.
Luc Besson fell in love with Amorgos and its stunning blue waters and chose it to film his epic movie “The Big Blue” in 1988.
Why would you want to visit Amorgos?
Because you will experience a really Greek paradise, perfect if you are looking for privacy, tranquillity, laid-back people, great food, and connect with Amorgos wild imposing nature.
You want to go to Amorgos because you love any outdoor activity like hiking, diving, or climbing.
There are 3 camping on Amorgos, with the largest one being in Aegiali village.
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Where is Amorgos Located?
Amorgos belongs to the Cyclades group of islands along with its famous siblings of Mykonos and Santorini, in the southeast, right after the small Cyclades.
Its terrain is rough, characterized by steep mountains. Amorgos’ coastline is extremely rocky with large cliffs overlooking the sea offering great opportunities for hiking and breathtaking sea vistas from the top of the mountains.
How to get to Amorgos from Athens
The only way to get to Amorgos island is by ferry from Athens’ main port, Piraeus. The trip lasts between 5 and 8 hours depending on the type of ferry you will book.
There are no flights from Athens to Amorgos as the island doesn’t have an airport. If you wish to fly from Athens, then the nearest island to Amorgos is Naxos and from there you can take the ferry to Katapola or Aegiali (a 1,5-hour trip). Thankfully, there is a ferry connection all year round between Naxos and Amorgos.
Where to Stay in Amorgos
Kaerati Apartments (Booking rate 9.5, great for up to 5 persons, from €75): Located on a beautiful hill overlooking Katapola village, with big, new, fully equipped, and spotlessly clean rooms and with a garden perfect for breakfast, you will have an amazing stay.
Island Hopping from Amorgos
However, you can visit the beautiful Small Cyclades (Donoussa, Koufonisia, Schinousa, or Iraklia islands) all year round from Amorgos (Katapola port) by taking the Skopelitis Ferries.
Brief History of Amorgos Island
There are human traces in Amorgos dating back to 4.000 BC. Later on, Minoans (3000 BC – 1450 BC the Cretan Civilisation and one of the first in Europe) arrived on the island and founded settlements.
During the classical times, (after the 8th c BC) explorers from Naxos island founded Arkesini village which still exists and can be found 14 km from Chora on the sides of Korakas mountain. Nearby the modern village are the ruins of ancient Arkesini as well as the remains of a Hellenistic tower (4th c BC).
During the Romans Times (146 BC and onwards), Amorgos became an exile island. In Byzantine times (330 – 1453 AD) it was constantly attacked by the pirates.
In 1537 Amorgos was attacked by the Ottomans and was under their rein until the Greek liberation from the Ottomans in 1824.
Today, Amorgos has a population of 1973 people who are kept busy by working mostly on farming, fishing, bee production, and tourism.
Best Things to Do on Amorgos Island
One of the best things to do in Amorgos is to hike to the cliff-perched 11th-century Greek Orthodox monastery of Panagia (Holy Mary) Hozoviotissa. It is wedged in steep cliffs and stands imposing. You can only see it from the sea (swimming on the beach of Agia Anna) and to get there you have to climb 300 steep steps.
300 steps may sound daunting but you will be compensated by the stunning vistas and the magical sunset! The monastery is about 2 km far from Chora.
To get into the monastery you need to wear long pants or a skirt and have your shoulders covered. Free Entrance. Visiting hours: 08:00 – 13:00 & 17:00 – 19:00.
Go to the sunken ship Olympia in the bay of Liverio near the beach of Kalotaritissa. In February 1980 the captain of the ship faced very bad weather and tried to run aground on Amorgos. Unfortunately, the ship was thrown on the rocks of the bay but luckily the whole crew survived.
The Liverio bay, on the south end of the island, is a popular hiking destination and a very exciting diving area.
Explore The Villages of Amorgos
Amorgos Chora, the capital of the island, is a perfect Cycladic village, with its cubic, whitewashed houses.
The yards full of flowerpots with basil and cloves, the sweet scent of honeysuckle and jasmine, the cobblestoned labyrinths, and the bougainvillea everywhere, make Chora a really lovely place to visit.
Amorgos island has many churches that you will see everywhere inside the villages, in squares, or in the most remote spots of the island.
Food Tip in Chora: Go to Kallisto shop if you have a sweet tooth (I always do!), and try some of the best sweets in Greece.
Wine Tip on Chora: Look for the Tzatziki bar, which has an extensive list of cocktails and Greek wines.
Walk to the Troullos area in Chora and see up close some of the well-preserved windmills of Amorgos from the 19th century. The windmills are still carrying the old mechanism used by the millers to process the flour. Keep in mind that this is a very windy area in Amorgos.
Walk uphill to the Venetian Castle (Kastro) in Chora built in the 13th century to protect Amorgos from the pirates. The best time to go to the castle is at sunset, with stunning views of Chora and the windmills right across from the Castle.
The Museums of Amorgos Chora
In Chora Amorgos, you can visit 3 significant museums offering valuable information on the island’s brilliant history and everyday life during the centuries. In particular, the brand new Folklore Museum, housed in a mansion of a local Greek hero against the Ottomans, displays Amorgos’ ethnographic wealth.
Stroll through the two squares, Apano and Kato Loza, visit the small local delis that sell sea salt and local fava beans and feel the real essence of Amorgos.
Go to Aegiali village which stretches along the beach, while it is one of the two ports of the island. In Aegiali you will find the legendary beach bar Disco the Que. Hammocks under the trees are ideal for reading your book, groups at tables playing backgammon, or tasting some local handmade dishes – mezedes accompanied by ouzo or raki.
Swim in the long beautiful sandy beach in the middle of Aegiali bay, with trees to find shelter if it gets too hot. The beach is quite popular and there are taverns, bars, and cafes and a few minutes’ walk to the village center where you will find supermarkets and other facilities.
In Aegiali you will also find the Kyra-Katina port. There you should definitely get fava beans or fava meatballs, potato, fish, and the amazing traditional octopus pie, unique in the Cyclades.
Go to Katapola, the second port of Amorgos and one of the largest natural harbors in the Aegean Sea. Katapola is a quiet place with not too many choices but it is also much cheaper to stay.
One of the main attractions in Katapola is the early Christian basilica of the Evangelsitria Church, built atop the site where the ancient temple of Apollo was located.
Another beautiful village is Lagada which has picturesque alleys and some great taverns. Climb to the tiny chapel of Agia Triada, a very interesting hiking destination.
Amorgos Local Delicacies
A very good time to visit Amorgos island is on the 26th of July when the festival of Psimeni raki is held in Katapola. Psimeni raki is a local homemade liquor with the flavor of honey, and clove made since ancient times on Amorgos. Psimeni raki is offered as an aperitif or a digestive at celebrations, homes, and taverns, also served when you visit the monastery of Hozoviotissa. You can buy Psimeni raki in a lot of places on Amorgos.
At the festival, you can also taste Pasteli (local sesame seed candy with honey) and Anevates (pie with cheese and Raki).
Other local Amorgos food that you must also taste:
- Cheeses: Xynomyzithra, Xinotiro, Xinotiro, Ladotiri
- Xerotigana, the traditional sweet of Amorgos, usually baked for Christmas and Easter, but also offered in weddings
Traditional Coffee Houses in Amorgos Island
Do you want to feel a bit like a local Amorgianian? Get an aromatic Greek coffee at the renowned traditional coffeehouse Parvas in Chora, and the historical Nautilia cafe – a tavern in Katapola. They also serve small dishes – mezedes that you can taste.
Go to Tholaria village and look for the ‘Kali Kardia’ traditional tavern to enjoy one of the best Greek foods ever.
Best Beaches in Amorgos
Agia Anna is on the south of Amorgos, a small beach with sand, pebbles, and crystal clear waters. It has been photographed numerous times as it has the characteristic tiny chapel right at the edge of the water.
Swimming in the Agia Anna beach you will also be able to have an impressive distant view of the Hozoviotisa Monastery.
Kalotaritissa Beach is totally stunning at its unique terrain formation, a fine sand beach with bright blue crystal waters. It is located at the southern tip of the island, 21 km from Chora, and can be reached by car or bus.
There is a small beach cafe for water and snacks renting sunbeds and umbrellas as well. From Kalotaritissa you can take the small boat and visit the islet Gramvousa, which can be found right across the beach.
Mikri Glyfada Beach in the northwest of Tholaria village can be only reached by hiking through a gorge for about 45 minutes and it is for experienced hikers.
The hike is not suitable for children and the beach has no shade, no facilities for water or food.
You will be rewarded by swimming in this unique, sheltered sand and pebble beach.
Maltezi is a beautiful sandy beach in the bay of Katapola which also involves some 30 minutes walking to reach it. The walk starts off in the little village called Xilokeratidi and then takes you along the shoreline of the water.
Alternatively, you can take the water – taxi (small boat) to get to the beach.
There is a snack bar, sunbeds and umbrellas to rent or you can find shelter under the few trees around.
There are many more wonderful beaches that you can visit in Amorgos and swim to some of the clearest blue waters in the Aegean surrounded by the wilderness of Amorgos beauty.
The beaches of the nearby islets of Gramvousa and Nikouria are really beautiful and unknown Agioi Saranta beach after Lefkes, in Katapola is worth a …swim!
Hiking on Amorgos Island
The local guides call the Amorgos trails “Blue Paths” because they all have stunning sea views. There are 7 spectacular hikes (altitude: 300-821 m) for all levels which have been used since antiquity.
The locals still use them to move around the island. Some of them are quite challenging (the peak is Krokellos at 821m) and would require a lot of mountainous hiking experience.
Some trails follow exposed ridgelines where the winds can be so fierce that they can actually blow you off the path. Be careful when it is very windy and use your walking sticks.
A very unique hike is to Asfondilitis, an abandoned agricultural village, a rare rural architecture unique in the Cyclades. There you will see the famous rock paintings, carved on the large stones by Michalis Roussos, a disabled self-taught artist who lived in the village during the first half of the 20th century.
The trail starts from Chora Amorgos, goes to Chatzoviotisa Monastery- Kapsala-Asfondilitis – Potamos and ends in Aegiali. Hiking time 4-5 hours.
Amorgos Film Festival in November
Every November, since 2010, Amorgos organizes a widely celebrated Film Festival. If you love films, you can that way combine a visit to the Amorgos and watch very interesting international films.
The Amorgos Tourism Film Festival is a four-day event, organized by the Cultural Women Association and the municipality of Amorgos.
How to Get Around Amorgos
Like all the Greek islands, Amorgos has public inexpensive buses that go around the island, some private taxis that you will need to make arrangements in advance, and some limited rent-a-car options.
There are also water taxis, small boats that take you for a tour around the island or to remote beaches from Katapola or Aegiali.
I personally am in favor of always having a car available – either mine or a good rental so that I can enjoy the freedom of going wherever I want whenever I want.
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