Amorgos is an island with white houses, crystal clear water and a peaceful
atmosphere: it is no coincidence that Luc Besson chose to shoot the
first part of the film The Big
Blue here. Once only visited by the occasional
backpacker, Amorgos has become quite an "trendy" island since the film
was released, and it is no surprise that you will find more French
holidaymakers here than usual. It is one of the the easternmost islands
of the Cyclades, located southeast of Naxos, Ios northeast of Ios and north
of Anafi. The coastline is 112 kilometres. Amorgos is generally mountainous,
rocky and rough, with very few residents and high hills and mountains, the
highest are Mt Krikello (826 m) and Mt Saint Elias (648 m) .
The people engaged in agriculture, fisheries and shipping. The few products
of Amorgos are cereals, wine, oil, figs and tobacco all excellent especially
the tobacco and beans are in demand. Also fine are the dairy products. In
recent years, the beauties of Amorgos are attracting more and more Greeks
and foreign tourists.
Amorgos is by no means a commercialised island, though, and it is truly
an excellent place for relaxing. Its rather harsh, mountainous
surroundings are beautiful in a clean and dramatic way, and in the
valleys there are hundreds of flowers and trees.
Even though it is a very small island, there are quite a few things to
see. The locals are very friendly and they are working hard to make the
island look its best at the beginning of each season.
History: Before getting its current name, Amorgos was called
Minoa, which indicates that the Minoan, Cretan, civilization once had a
foothold here. There were probably people here even before then, since
archaeological findings on the island date as far back as the 4th
During the Classical Age, the island traded with many islands and
city states on the mainland, and its linen was the island's pride.
In 1207 the Aegean Duchy under the Venetian Marcus Sanoudos included
Amorgos, and the Venetians were to rule the island until the Turkish
takeover in the 15th century. During this period not many people lived
on the island, and apart from the Turkish enslavement they had to suffer
constant pirate raids.
Amorgos was one of the first islands to be freed after the War of
Independence had broken out in 1821.
One of the worst periods for Amorgos was during the Second World War,
when the island was totally isolated and many locals starved to death.
Only recently, with the increase of tourism on the island, has Amorgos
started to take off and some of the islanders have moved back from the
What to See
Rent a car or a bike and visit the small villages. The capital, Chora,
is a very quiet village with about 500 inhabitants. It is situated high
up in the mountains, and the road is long and winding. You'll have to
park outside Chora. Even though it is so small, there is quite a few
little taverns and cafes. This is truly a place where the time has
stopped, and thanks to local regulations, the architecture is kept in
the traditional style. There is a church attached to the cliff, and the
locals are also proud to have Greece's smallest church here - with room
for only three!!! There is also a museum as well as a Venetian Citadel
from the 13th century.
Katapola is a village next to the sea with lovely little fish taverns
along the harbour. You'll se fish trying to get some bread in the
crystal waters and there is a tiny beach here. From here you can get to
the monastery Chozoviotissa which definitely is worth visiting.
According to tradition it was built in the 9th century after a ship had
sunk just outside Amorgos carrying an icon of the Virgin Mary, or
Panagia (all saint) as she is called in Greek.
With a little luck the monks will offer you some local liqueur. To get
to Chozoviotissa you'll have to climb many steps.
The ancient capital of the island, Minoa, is situated on a high cliff
above Katapola. There are still ruins there from classical and Roman
Aegiali is a pretty village built on a thin strip between the mountain
and the sea. There are few shops, cafes and taverns here worth a visit.
The village Potamos is built just above Aegiali, and the two villages
pretty much seem like one. In Potamos you can stroll around in the
little winding streets that were built that way to confuse the pirates.
What to Do
: The snorkelling in Amorgos is great, especially at Mourou beach but also at
Agia Anna. You can also enjoy long walks through the harsh but
impressive nature. A lot of people like fishing here, and there are
various donkey rides offered. If you are in Amorgos during July and
August, there are several traditional cultural festivals that taking
place during the celebrations of several local saints with the
participation of the locals. They will cook traditional foods of Amorgos
that later will be offered to the attendants after the blessing from the
Amorgos island does not have any great beaches, so a lot of people prefer
taking one of the small boats to the little island Nicouria. If you want
to stay on Amorgos, there is a quite nice beach in Aegiali, with sand
and Shady tamarisk trees which can get
very busy, very near you will find some smaller beaches including the
beach of Hochlakas and Psili ammos. Near katapola
is the beach of Agios Pavlos and in the southern
tip of the island are the beach of Mouros near to
another nice beach the Amoudi. You can also drive around on your own and find isolated
cliffs where the waters are excellent for snorkelling. At the slopes
under the monastery of Chozoviotissa there is a
wonderful area with crystal clear blue waters. Around
the island there are many secluded beaches most of them
Amorgos Nighttlife:If your main
interest in partying this is definitely not the place to go.
Nevertheless, there are bars and discos, just like anywhere else in
Greece. In Chora, Katapola, Egialia and Chilokeratidi there are nice
places to spend warm summer evenings in with a cold drink. Even if you
already have seen The Big Blue, you shouldn't miss watching it here: in
Katapola there is a bar that shows the film every night.
Food Most of the places to eat on
Amorgos are traditional fish-taverns, but there are also a couple of more
fancy restaurants. If you don't want Greek food, at least you can find
pizzas and pastas in many places.
Shopping:In Chora you will find both
souvenir shops and those typically Greek art shops with various handmade
ceramics, jewellery and marble figurines. There are also shops in the other
villages, but not a great variety.
Getting Around There is a
local bus that connects the capital, Chora, with Agia Anna, Egiali and
Katapola. You can also rent a vehicle which is highly recommended since
many of the bays on Amorgos are a little hard to reach otherwise.
Getting There:The closest
airports are on Mykonos, Naxos or Santorini, and from there you can get
Ferries to Amorgos. The island is connected with Athens ,port of Piraeus
on the mainland and has ferry connections with the islands of Crete,
Naxos, Syros, Paros, Koufonissi, Schinoussa , Donoussa and Astypalea.
During the high season there is also a connection with Mykonos as well
In general, Santorini is a great place to start if you want to go island
hopping, since it is connected to most Cycladic islands.
|| Phone numbers*
| Size: 120 sq. km
||International code: 0030
||Local code: 22850
|Cash machine: Yes
||Health center: 71207
|Internet cafe: Yes
||Coast guard: 71259
||Port Police: 71259
||Telephone company (OTE):
||Tourist Information Office: 71278
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.