A tiny island, Agathonisi is quiet and peaceful with only donkeys and roosters to wake
you up in the morning, since it is almost traffic free
The islanders live mainly off fishing and the estimated 800 tourists that visit the island every summer. The locals have often gone through hardships because of poverty and isolation, but they are warm and friendly and will try to make you feel at home as soon as you arrive. Agathonisi is the northernmost islet of the Dodecanese complex. Its name predisposes you for the tranquillity and the calm prevailing in it. The area of Katholiko is a fishing refuge with fish cultures. Its highest land peak is Dendra, 209 metres. The dismemberment of the island by the sea is impressive. Beautiful leeward bays are formed such as Cochlia, Aghios Gheorghios, Poros, and Maistros with their corresponding small caps. Agathonisi extends over a surface of approximately 14 square kilometres, has a coastline of 32 km and numbers 158 inhabitants mainly occupied with livestock and fishing, fish farming and tourism.
Agathonisi is the ancient Yetousa. According to some
researchers it owes
its present name to a wrong etymology from the plant-name Angathonisi ('angathi'
being the Greek translation of 'thorn') according to another tradition
the island got its current name by a priest in the beginning of last
century. The word "agathos"
means good or gullible, and a common translation is "Island of the
Fools" or "Island of the good-hearted".. A few ancient
remains found in our island allow us to speculate that Yetousa was
inhabited from way back in past. But from time to time, especially when
piracy was prospering in the Aegean (and this was frequently the case
from ancient times until the 19th century) the island seemed to remain
uninhabited for long periods.
Only in the mid 19th century have dwellers from Patmos and Fourni permanently settled in the island and there are testimonies that in 1895 five or six families lived here.
Agathonisi lies only ten km away from the Turkish coast, and this has had consequences for the tiny island through history. Originally a place for exiles during Roman and Byzantine times and constantly attacked by pirates, Agathonisi did not have a proper community until the 19th century.
By then, it had been under Turkish rule since the 16th century, but the Turks never actually lived on the island.
In 1922 Agathonisi was occupied by Italian troops and was not liberated until after the second World War. In the 1980's, the island finally got electricity and telephone lines
What to see
The biggest and
oldest settlement is Megalo Chorio with 100 inhabitants. In order to be
protected from the pirates it was built at a site which was invisible
from the sea. Mikro Chorio, with 25 inhabitants is also invisible from
The third and more recent settlement is Ai Ghiorghis, with 33 inhabitants, at the inlet of the homonymous bay. Both bay and settlement were named after the church of Saint George, the parish church of the island. The island doesn't have any special sights apart from a couple of small churches. There are three villages on the island except the harbour Ag Georgios: Katholiko, a practically abandoned fishing village, Megalo Chorio, where most islanders live, and Mikro Chorio.
What to do
:You come to Agathonisi to relax, so bring good literature, snorkeling gear and perhaps a fishing rod. It is also a nice island for walking..
There are many small bays that you can discover on your own. If you like, you can also stay at the beach of Ag Georgios. Ormos Cochilia ("Shell Bay") is a lovely beach.
: Only a couple of taverns where you can stay up late and just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. In Megalo Chorio there are also a few cafes. If you consider the number of people that live here, and that about 800 more visit the island every year, it is not bad.
IThe taverns on Agathonisi serve good, traditional Greek food. Try the local peas Fliskoukoudi.
In Megalo Chorio you can get some souvenirs like handmade ceramics and textiles, a few postcards and wine.
Only on foot! You might get one of the fishermen to take you if you ask nicely and are willing to pay a small fee.
It is a little bit tricky to get here since the connections are not the best. Get a direct flight to Kos and take the ferry or hydrofoil from there. Be careful with the departure, it is probably best to leave Agathonisi one or two days before since it might get windy and the boats will be cancelled. Agathonisis is also connected to Samos , Kalymnos and Patmos.
Facts about Agathonisi
Population: about 100
International code: 0030
Local code: 22470
Port Police: 23770
Price rate: Average
Size: 13 sq. km