Amorgos is a strange, obscure and charming island of the Cyclades group.
Amorgos has two ports, Aegiali and Katapola. At the centre of the island is the village of Hora also spelled Chora (5 km from Katapola, 15 km from Aegiali). The south part of the island is called Kato Meria or Arkesini and is less touristic.
Amorgos has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Old tombs were discovered, dating to as early as 3300 BC. From the Early Cycladic Period, there were three major settlements, all on the long north coast of the island, and with each one being settled by different inhabitants. Modern day Arkessini, furthest southwest, was known as Kastri and was settled by the Naxians. Minoa, the ruins of which lie just above the port of Katapola, was settled by the Samians. The third settlement is near the present-day port of Egiali (also with the same name) and was settled by the Milians. Throughout the centuries, the island came under the rule of many masters, most notably the Venetians who built the fortress in the capital. They held onto the island for three centuries from 1207, until it fell to the Turks. It was finally liberated in 1832 and then united with Greece.
For centuries, the exquisite embroideries made by the women of Amorgos fetched quite high prices and greatly added to the economy of the island. In fact, many pieces are on display in European museums, with some of the finest exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Sadly, what is produced today and sold in the shops, though very lovely, is not of the same standard as was produced by the earlier generations.
Simonides, the famous ancient Greek lyric poet, was born in Amorgos. It is Simonides who is the writer of the "Epitaph At Thermopylae", written on the tomb of the soldiers from Sparta who fell defending Greece against the Persian invasion.
Most people on the island speak English. Some old people may have learned Italian during the fascist occupation in the second World War, Italian soldiers arrived here, but they didn't fight against Greeks. They lived in Amorgos for one or two years.
There are two ports in Amorgos: one in Aigiali and one in Katapola.
Blue Star boats travel all year (the journey from Piraeus is about 9 hours). All ferry and high speed ferry companies: schedules, connections, availability and prices, between Amorgos, other Greek islands and Piraeus port (Athens) can be found at Ferries.gr or ferryhopper.com.
There are also boats that travel between various islands of the Cyclades, including Santorini, Naxos, and Paros, offering daily connections in various directions in the summer months.
The closest airports to Amorgos are on the islands of Naxos (JNX IATA) and Santorini (JTR IATA). Ferry boats connect these islands to Amorgos (either port at Katapola or Aegiali) daily in the summer months.
Various bus services operate between the villages.
- Amorgos Bus Company operates all over the island. Prices [dead link] vary between €1.80-3.00 depending on the distances (as of 2019). Schedules change throughout the year, and can be found in front of shops as well as on their website.
Within the resorts walking is the best method of transport. There are also many recommended hiking paths that can be found on maps.
For total freedom hire a car or a motorbike. Car hire is available in Katapola, Aegiale and Hora and is relatively cheap.
Taxi from Aegiali to Katapola or opposite costs €25.
The island is crisscrossed with a good selection of hiking trails, many of them rough marble glazed paths still used by donkey riders. Sunrise and sunset are very good times to hike near Aeigali, taking the bus up to Langhara and walking down to the beach is fabulous.
- Hozoviotissa Monastery. It is located on the rocks, above the sea and the view will take your breath away! The history of this monastery is also very interesting. Free.
- (Shipwreck Olympia). A shipwreck from 1980 next to the beach. Free.
- Aighiali - A secondary port at the northeastern end of the island. Ferries departing from Piraeus often make a second stopover at Aigiali after touching Katapola. This is because the road connecting the two centers is not in the best condition and it is cheaper and faster to embark to move from one centre to another.
- Chora - The capital of the island placed 400 m high, in a panoramic position on both sides of the sea. It is just a few km from Katapola and has a number of nightclubs (bars in Greek). The beach of Chora is Aghia Anna, the most famous and the most frequented of the island, just below the monastery of Chazobiotissa.
- Katapola - The port where ferries from Piraeus call.
- Tholaria - A small town near Aighiali, where you can find accommodation. It is not on the sea but hidden in the mountains. There are a few uncrowded beaches in the vicinity, which are often only accessible on foot, which is naturally not very pleasant, especially when the wind blows or the sun hits hard.
- Folklore Museum, Behind the Cathedral Metropolis, Chora. Old house converted in a museum showing the life of the people who lived there. Free.
- Archeological Museum, Gavras tower, Chora.
The best beaches are found by asking the locals and are completely free.
Beaches around Katapola
- Agios Panteleimonas
- Agii Saranta
Beaches southwest of Amorgos
- Amoudi - Within walking distance of Arkesini.
- Gramboussa - An islet reachable by boat from Kalotaritissa.
- Kalotaritissa - A beach in a natural bay protected from the winds where private yachts stop off. There is a rusty wreck of a merchant ship.
- Kato Kampos - In a narrow cove near the village of Kolofana.
- Mouro - Very popular near the villages of Arkesini and Kamari, with caves and interesting sea beds.
- Paradise - (10 km) Under the chapel of Agia Paraskevì where every 26th of July a religious festival takes place.
Beaches around Aighiali and Tholaria
- Agios Pavlos - A quiet coastline with only one tavern.
- Levrossos - A very beautiful beach where you practice nudism reachable from Tholaria.
- Megali and Mikrì Glyfada - Remote northern beaches reachable from the village Tholaria through paths not easy to locate.
- Nikourià - An islet off Agios Pavlos.
- Psilì Ammos - Near Aigiali, reachable by boat.
Beaches on the south coast
- Chalara - Reachable on foot from Potamòs. A coastline of smooth stones and pebbles.
Good hiking paths that can be found on maps or by asking the locals.
The official website of Amorgos has an online event calendar.
- 12 Acropolis - 12 ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΕΙΣ, Ormos Aegialis (Amorgos, near by the Aegiali port.), ☏ .
- Parvas (Παρβας Μεζεδοκαφενειο). A low-key local tavern in Chora that stays open all year, with a traditional Greek menu and daily dishes.
- Transistoraki, Chora, ☏ . A popular restaurant run by two brothers in the summer months that offers traditional Greek dishes and modern twists.
- Ilios Cafe (Ηλιος). Worth getting lost in Chora to find this cafe restaurant in Losa square, under a large tree with views of the Venetian castle. Great spot for breakfast or a mid afternoon beer, but also candle lit and charming for an evening sit down. Locals gather in Losa square to gossip over coffee while kids play, especially on summer evenings.
- The traditional rakomelo. It's raki boiled with honey and cinammon.
- Psimeni is a traditional Amorgian raki, home made locally with a diverse range of flavours, like honey, cinnamon and cloves. It is offered in many homes and establishments as an aperitif or a digestif or to welcome guests, including upon visits to the cliffhanging Hozoviotissa monastery.
- Have a drink at the bar Zygos at Xora. It's a rock bar with good spirits and friendly people.
Ferry boats at Katapola and Aegiale are met by owners of domatia (rooms), and are the best bets for reasonable priced accommodation. Most have kitchens and washrooms and are sometimes shared.
Air conditioning is available in most of the rooms. It's better to rent a room at Chora (The village at the top of the mountain Profitis Ilias, fifteen minutes from the port of Katapola).
- 12 Acropolis (12 ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΕΙΣ), Ormos Aegialis (In the center of the port), ☏ .
- Minoa Hotel, Katapola, ☏ . Hotel in the central square of Katapola, 80 m from the boat. double €50-80.
- Agios Pavlos Studios, Aegiali, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Agios Pavlos Studios are apartments in Amorgos, one of the Cyclades Islands, with a view of the Agios Pavlos beach. €60-115.
- Aegialis Hotel, Aegiali, ☏ , fax: . double €160-324.
- Kamping Kastanis.