The star island of the 'Big Blue'
Dramatic Amorgos lies on the distant, southeastern arc of the Cyclades, shaped like a seahorse swimming its way east towards the Dodecanese. It became famous back in 1988 when the movie “The Big Blue” with Jean Reno was shot on the island.
Amorgos boasts a nostalgic atmosphere with its sugar cube houses in the labyrinth narrow alleys, the flowery courtyards and the spectacular sunsets. Rocky seashores, sandy beaches and charming coves hidden at the feet of wild mountains unfold the mysterious and captivating beauty of the island that will embrace you at first sight.
The charming capital of Amorgos, Chora is the protagonist of the show of the island as it is one of the most beautiful and seducing villages of the Cyclades.
Step off the beaten track and discover the delighted beauty of Amorgos; winding paths, charming chapels, old stone windmills, picturesque villages in a place of rich cultural history and tradition.
Chora is the capital of the island. You can tour around the narrow cobbled streets, admire the old traditional mansions, the whitewashed churches and you will also have the chance to visit the hill with the windmills offering fascinating views of the Aegean Sea. The streets lead to Loza and the old Castle right at the highest spot in the middle of the settlement. In the old mansion of Gavras one can find historical findings from the island.
Standing gracefully right above Hora, the Venetian Castle resembles mostly a huge rock mass with fortification walls that dates back to the 13th century, built by Ieremias Gizis in order to protect the island’s main settlement for invasions. Naturally, the castle offers breathtaking views to the majestic scenery of Hora and the Aegean Sea.
The Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa
To enter the monastery one has to ascend 300 stairs. It is built in a beautiful rough place over steep rocks, literally hanging over the void. It was constructed in 1088 and was renovated by the Emperor of the Byzantium Aleksios Komninos.
According to the tradition the reason for its construction was the image of Holy Mary found on the spot, which originally came from Hozovo (or Hozova) of Palestine during the persecution of Christians in the 9th century. Architectural interventions and changes that altered its prime character were made during the Venetian Rule (1296-1537).
During the Turkish Rule (1537-1824) the monastery managed to keep its state of prosperity due to its big fortune (including lands in Crete, Naxos, Paros, Astypalaia, Ios, Leros and other islands).
This served as a medieval cistern providing water to the population of Hora during the Byzantine Era. Nowadays its form is like a cave with a water pool which was finalized during the Venetian times.
Right next to Katapola, this ancient town, you will meet the ruins of the ancient town “Minoa”, believed to have been named after King Minoa of Crete, as he is thought to have ruled on Amorgos too. Various findings and the ruins of a settlement prove that this was one important town hundreds of years ago. A stroll through the ruins and the aura of the past will take you over here too as in most archeological sites in Greece.
Monastery of St. Valsamitis
Various legends and stories are wrapped around this Post Byzantine monastery which was built on the remnants of an ancient church of the 9th century A. D. and is found near the famous Panagia Hozovotissa Monastery. It is believed that lepers that managed to escape from a pirate ship made their way out here from Hora and found a natural water spring with mint growing all around it. After they settled here, their illness disappeared and since a holy icon of St. George was found there, the monastery was built to honor the saint and the miracle.
Apart from that, the spring is known to have had miraculous healing properties during the pre-Christian times and its waters flow till nowadays in the middle of the monastery. The priests here claim that they can read a person’s destiny for a glass of water following unwritten rules passed from generation to generation. For trekking lovers, a path from the Monastery leads to the ancient city of Minoa.
Archeological Collection of Amorgos / Gavras Tower
A superb building of Venetian architecture dating back to the 16th century houses today the archeological collection of the island of Amorgos. The exhibits vary from the Copper Age objects to utensils and findings till the ancient times. On the ground floor you will mostly find prehistoric objects and in the first floor you will see sculptures and other art objects.
Hellenistic Tower of Amorgos
On Amorgos you will find many towers dating back to the Hellinistic Period but the one found on the south of the island, in Arkesini, is among the most important and well-standing ones. It is believed to have been built during the 4th century B.C. and despite its wrecked appearance you can make out that it had a proper cistern and a kind of plumbing system.
This is a very important sample of early Byzantine times found within an hour’s walk from Lagada village near Aegiali. The natural surroundings are amazing while the monastery is built on the ruins of an ancient temple. Twice each year a great festival takes place here in May 8th and September 26th. Nearby you can also find the church of Stavros through paths carved within the wild nature.
Another great sample of religion and faith, Panagia Katapoliani is found in Katapola and has been built on the ruins of an ancient temple and this is most probably the reason why it is attributed to Apollo the Pitheios. The church is also a marvel of Cycladic architecture.
To Ktisma (The Building)
Nikouria nowadays is an uninhabited islet, located 300 meters from the coast Agios Pavlos, and can be visited by boat from there. According to the findings it was inhabited since the 3rd millennium B.C. and, also, it served as a mine and currency construction site for the ancient towns of Minoa, Aegiali and Arkesini. It has three unspoiled beautiful beaches with sand and pebbles as well, for all tastes. The waters there are cold, clean and crystal clear.
A plain structure completely attuned with the environment with a length of 40m, 5m wide and 8 floors high with narrow stone-made stairs leading up to them. Stones from Milos Island and timber were used to the construction of this building used as a monastery. The monastery consists of the monk cells, the cuisines, the ovens, the warehouses, the bakery, the treadle, the cellars, the wells. The Altar is open to the public on the 21th of November, the celebration day of Virgin Mary. Also, since 1977, three small cells were united for the visitors to see so that they admire some of the relics of this monastery with the treat of citron and loukoumi sweets.
Immerse yourself in the deep blue
Swimming in nice secluded or even organized beaches and soaking the summer sun are pretty much the main things to do in Amorgos.
Hiking and trekking in Amorgos will bring you to abandoned churches, hilltops with breathtaking view to the Aegean, authentic villages and secluded beaches.
If you like diving, explore the deep secrets of the Aegean Sea. Over the last years, diving is also developing on the island as the coastline of Amorgos is surrounded by old wrecks and interesting reefs.
Agia Anna is the film star among Amorgos beaches. Located very near Hora, Agia Anna is a pebbled beach with deep blue waters that hosted the filming of the famous “Big Blue” movie. Although it’s a very popular spot, Agia Anna is not organized at all and is the ideal place for diving and snorkeling while it is not recommended for young children due to its rocky surface. On foot, in a few minutes’ walk, you will also reach the nearby isolated coasts of Kambi (a nudist spot) and Sirma.
Agios Panteleimon is located very near Amorgos’ one port, Katapola, and is accessed from there by boat or by the small path from Ksilokeratidi area. It is a sandy beach, mostly tranquil, which has been named after the small church found right above it. So, are you dreaming of total relaxation and endless sun? Then, this is the beach for you!
The homonymous beach of Amorgos’ one of two ports. The coast stretches at a length of three settlements covered with soft sand and tamarisk trees offering natural shade in a sun-dressed summer day. The beach is painted with the colors of sailing boats that moor here while you will be also able to visit the nearby archeological remains of Minoa’s settlement. The area is also full of taverns, restaurants and cafes.
Agios Pavlos is located at bout 8km south from Aigiali and it boasts a coast that combines sand and pebbles. Its highlight is the proximity and views to the charming Nikouria islet while small boats can take you across to it so that you enjoy its three amazing beaches. Agios Pavlos is a fishing spot and you will also find there a tavern offering mouthwatering local delicacies
Aegiali is one of the most picturesque beaches on Amorgos and the road that leads to it offers breathtaking views tinted with intense color contrasts. The coast is covered by thin, almost white, sand that blends magically with the deep blue waters and the green color of the surrounding vegetation. Around the beach you will find many accommodation options, restaurants and cafes while it is partly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. Aegiali is also ideal for families with young children.
Finikes is found at walking distance from Katapola port and it is a protected by wild cliffs cove offering absolute seclusion and tranquility. The waters are clean and the coast is covered with gravel while it offers majestic views to the Aegean Sea and the breathtaking sunset. Finikes is also preferred by nudists while it offers not tourist facilities, preserving its authenticity and natural beauty.
Kalotaritissa is a sandy bay, protected by winds, found on the southernmost spot of Amorgos. A sandy beach with transparent, clean waters, Kalotaritissa is a favorite spot for fishermen too so the scenery is completed by the typical, colorful Greek caiques (small fishing boats). The beach is accessible by bus and then on foot or by car after traversing the small dirt road. On the beach you will find a small canteen and a few sunbeds and umbrellas.
Right opposite Kalotaritissa beach on the south of Amorgos lays Gramvoussa, a small islet boasting an amazing beach with white sand and greenish waters. Gramvoussa is the shelter of immigrating bird species and it is a tranquil place of virgin beauty ideal for fishing and snorkeling. The islet is mainly accessible by taxi-boats from Kalotaritissa bay.
Katos Kambos beach is located on the south of Amorgos, very near Kalophana village. It consists of a small, scenic bay with sand and pebbles and clean, shallow waters. On the coast’s one side you will find a small chapel but you will not find any facilities, so be prepared with the necessary supplies. The beach is accessible through a small path from Kalophana village.
Levrossos beach is found on the northern part of Amorgos, very near Aegiali, and can be accessed through the path from Tholaria village or by a small boat from Aegiali. It is a small heaven with clean emerald waters and fine sand; no wonder it is preferred by nudists although not officially a nudist beach. Levrossos’ coast is protected by steep cliffs and the waters are shallow up to a few meters from the shore.
Maltezi beach is located very near Katapola and can be accessed by boat from there or via the path from Xilokeratidi village at about 40’ of trekking. The beach is just beautiful with clear, turquoise waters, sand and some pebbles. You may also find here some sunbeds and umbrellas along with a small beach bar. Maltezi is also a perfect choice for windy days as it is protected from Meltemia winds.
Mikri Vlihada beach is found northwest from Tholaria village, on the northern part of Amorgos, and can be accessed in about 30’ walking by the rocky path mostly used by local fishermen. The beach is in fact a small bay with sand and pebbles, totally unorganized, at the mouth of a gorge. The pristine, wild scenery of this place will just take your breath away.
Just like with Mikri Vlihada beach, Megali Vlihada can be accessed through a path from Tholaria village at about 1 hrs.’ walk. The beach is very big covered with fine golden sand and boasts clean waters, offering one of the best swimming options on the island away from busy and crowded spots. Although access is not very easy and the path cannot be easily recognized (we advise that you ask a local for instructions), Megali Vlihada is definitely worth the trouble!
Mourou beach is located at about 15 km south from Amorgos Hora and can be reached through Arkesini village by an asphalt road for 2 km up to the parking space and then 10’ walk through a path that leads to the beach. The coast is beautiful with pebbles and unique turquoise waters, spread along with imposing rocks, while it is totally not organized apart from a small tavern just above the beach. But the highlight of the beach is the two caves on their one side in which you can swim and explore the magnificent ambience
Agioi Saranta is located very near Katapola, going leftwards. The beach is sandy with clean and cool waters but also deep so swimming here requires extra caution. Despite that, Agioi Saranta is a very beautiful beach and not crowded as it has no tourist facilities and no natural shade. We suggest that you visit this charming coast but mind to have all necessary supplies with you.
Fokiotripa is located on the northern part of the island, very near Aegiali, at about 15 km from Hora. The beach is mainly sandy with warm, shallow waters protected from the winds by the surrounding cliffs. Thus, it is a perfect option for families with young children. Fokiotripa is usually not crowded, unlike its neighboring Aegialis beach, and it is not organized although you will find some taverns and cafeterias.
KAMBI OR AMMOUDI
Kambi beach is in walking distance from Amorgos Hora and Agia Anna beach and it boasts fine, dark grey pebbles. Kambi or Ammoudi beach is a favorite spot for nudists as it is pretty secluded as it is often windy and the sea is pretty rough. It is surrounded by high cliffs that are ideal for diving and it is completely unorganized, so mind to bring with you snacks and drinks. Another must-visit on Amorgos!
Psili Ammos is located at about 2km from Aegiali, right after Levrossos beach. It boasts a beautiful sandy coast with transparent and clean waters protected from the winds by the steep surrounding cliffs that are also verdant. As the waters are mostly calm, it is a perfect spot for diving and snorkeling and it also offers some natural shade from the existing tamarisk trees. Psili Ammos can be accessed on foot from Aegiali but we suggest that you take instead the small boat from there which only takes a certain amount of visitors to the coast due its size.
Plakes beach is found near Katapola and it is a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear waters surrounded by big cliffs that make it seems even more isolated from the rest of the world and protect it from the winds. The sea world is abundant here so diving and snorkeling are among the best things to do when you visit Plakes. Since near Katapola a series of small beaches can be found if you follow the paths, there is a high chance that you will have total privacy here.
Enjoy traditional cousin and lounge atmosphere
If you are a lover of mouthwatering Greek cuisine gastronomy and you always enjoy trying traditional dishes in cozy taverns, then Amorgos will definitely leave you the sweetest taste!
The terrain, gives a range of unique products along with traditional dishes that complete the worth discovering local cuisine. The traditional dish of the island is ‘patatato’ – cooked goat meat with potatoes. It is served at restaurants and taverns, but the festival of Agia Paraskevi, in Kato Meria of Amorgos, is where it is consumed in enormous quantities.
Amorgos Island is not a typical nightlife destination like most of the Cyclades islands; it is actually ideal for more tranquil holidays accompanied by culinary experiences of traditional, local cuisine and relaxing drinks under the night sky. Nightlife is lounge in Amorgos and it is restricted to few lounge cafeterias in Chora, Katapola and Aegialis that stay till the midnight and very few bars in Chora.
THE LUXURIANS offers an exclusive booking service to the best restaurants and bars on the island, based on its fully supported recommendations. The comprehensive ‘little black book’ that we have compiled and update every year, lists restaurants and bars in every spot on the island.
Patatato is the most famous traditional dish in Amorgos. It is made with goat, red sauce and potatoes. It is prepared usually in religious feasts, weddings and special occasions and it is really a mouthwatering dish!
Stuffed goat in the oven
The traditional Easter dish, also known as “Psito tis Labris”, is made with stuffed goat with rise, viscera, dill and rosemary, cooked in the traditional ovens. One of the island’s local delicacies for meat lovers.
Aubergine of Amorgos
A special summer dish found at most taverns throughout the island. The dish is made with fried aubergines that are put in a baking pan in layers among which a tomato sauce with cinnamon, cloves, onion and garlic are laid together with the sour and soft ksinomizithra cheese.
It is a kind of soup made with goat, viscera and garlic served in traditional feasts. And of course vinegar, as Ksidato in Greek means “with vinegar”. Ksidato is mostly served after the wedding day to relatives and friends of the couple in order to smooth the stomach ache after the reception’s eating & drinking.
A delicious sweet made with dough that is ply cut, folded and then fried. Honey, cinnamon and sesame are added on top. Kserotigana is mostly a Christmas sweet and a typical, indispensable treat for weddings along with pasteli.
In Amorgos pasteli sweet is made with honey, sesame but the result is softer than the usual pasteli and also has a small dose of cumin. It is served on a lemon leaf which contributes in the final, unique flavor.
With a baked raki base, the sweet, stimulating taste of this local drink derives from the blending of cinnamon and carnation. It is served as an appetizer or as a digestive, usually though as a treat in celebrations. Taste it along with local pasteli.
Amorgos Island is located in the south-easternmost edge of the Cyclades complex. Generally the island has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and cool summers. In specific it has a microclimate, so the weather conditions may differ from one side of the island to the other.
The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad. All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 7 digits (e.g. 210-3227400). The Area Code for Amorgos is: +30 22850. If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call.
Amorgos is connected by air via Naxos, Paros and Mykonos and from there with the local boat lines. For more information on flights, please visit:
Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos: www.aia.gr
Olympic Airways: For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit Olympic Air website www.olympicair.com Athens Office: +30 210 355 0500, 8018010101
Aegean Air: For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit Aegean Air website www.aegeanair.com Tel.: 801 112 0000/+30 210 6261000
Amorgos is connected with the port of Piraeus with frequent routes. The trip lasts about 7-9 hours (depending on the stopovers) with the standard boats and 4-5 hours if you take the fast ferries. The island is also connected with the rest of the Cyclades with frequent routes, once a week with the Dodecanese and twice with Astypalaia Island. The boat “Skopelitis Express” connects the island of Amorgos every day with the Small Cyclades.
Blue star Ferries For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit: www.bluestarferries.gr Tel.: +30 210 3249 997, +30 210 3319 079, +30 211 2215502
NEL Lines For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit: www.nel.gr Tel.: +30 210 4125888, +30 210 4115015 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sea Jets Ferries For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit: www.seajets.gr Tel.: +30 210 4121001, +30 210 4121901 Email: email@example.com Katapola Port Authority: +30 22850 71259 Piraeus Port Authority Tel.: +30 210 4226000, +30 210 4114005
Travel Agencies in Amorgos Tel.: +30 22850 73032 / 71278 / 71256 / 73393
The local buses’ routes are frequent and connect all villages and almost all beaches of the island between them.
KTEL Amorgos Tel.: +30 22850 71514, 73003, 72202, 71623, 71253
Katapola Tel.: +30 22850 71255 Aegiali Tel.: +30 22850 73570
Rent a Car / Motorbike
The best way to discover the beauties of Amorgos is by renting a car or a motorbike. Rental offices are available in Aegiali, Katapola and Amorgos (Hora). Attention must be given on the roads though because they are usually narrow, winding and not well maintained.
Banks and ATMs
On the island there are not many branches of Greek banks. There is the Agricultural Bank of Greece in Katapola.
Agricultural Bank of Greece Tel.: +30 22850 71871, 71872
Banks exchange all major currencies, traveler’s cheques or Eurocheques. Post offices exchange cash, but not traveler’s cheques, and usually charge lower commissions than banks. Travel agencies and larger hotels exchange cash and traveler’s cheques but usually charge a higher commission. Credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants, however, in local cafes, especially in villages you will probably have to pay in cash.
The Greek post office is called ELTA. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE.
Amorgos (Hora) Post Office Tel.: +30 22850 71250
Aegiali Post Office Tel.: +30 22850 73037
Katapola Post Office Tel.: +30 22850 71496
Amorgos (Hora) Police Station Tel.: +30 22850 71210
Aegiali Police Station Tel.: +30 22850 73320
Municipality of Amorgos
Tel.: +30 22850 60200
- Tourist Police: 171
- Hellenic National Meteorological service: +30 210 9699101-3
- Elpa (Car breakdown tourist information service): 174
- Amorgos Port Authority: +30 22850 71259
- Naxos Port Authority: +30 22850 22300
- Syros Port Authority: +30 22810 88888
International Press can be found in Katapola and Aegiali. Aegiali Tel.: +30 22850 73001, 73032 Katapola Tel.: +30 22850 71839
- Police: 100
- Fire Department: 199
- Ambulance: 166
- Amorgos Health Centre Tel.: +30 22850 71207
- Katapola Health Centre Tel.: +30 22850 71805
- Aegiali Health Centre Tel.: +30 22850 73222
- Arkesini Health Centre Tel.: +30 22850 72250
Pharmacies can be found in Katapola, in Aegiali and in Hora. Pharmacists are well-qualified to deal with the majority of minor medical complaints or to prepare prescriptions. The opening hours are listed at the front doors or on the windows of each Pharmacy. For your convenience find below some useful pharmacies’ numbers:
- Hora Tel.: +30 22850 74166
- Aegiali Tel.: +30 22850 73173
- Katapola Tel.: +30 2285071400