Amorgos Travel Guide
Amorgos is the easternmost island of the Cyclades; it lies about 30 kilometers southeast of Naxos and 33 kilometers east of Ios. The Little Cyclades lie in the sea area between Naxos and Amorgos. As the easternmost island of the Cyclades, Amorgos is a bridge to the Dodecanese. Kinaros is 19 kilometers east, Astypalea about 41 kilometers southeast.
The area of the seventh largest Cycladic island is 121.464 square kilometers. The island is about 33 kilometers long on the longitudinal axis from west-south-west to east-north-east, the width varies between 1.9 and 6.5 kilometers. The entire length of the island is crisscrossed by a mountain range that drops steeply into the sea along the southeast coast. In the northeast is a rocky mountain range that is difficult to access, where the island reaches the maximum height of 823 meters with the Krikellos. In the middle the Profitis Ilias rises to 698 meters and in the south of the Korakas, also called Vouno tou Choriou, to 530 meters.
In contrast to the steep and rocky southeast coast, the island's west is divided by several small gorges into bays with sandy beaches. Only in the coastal plain of Egiali and in the area of Xylokeratidi and Katapola are there valleys where the cultivation of crops and olive tree crops is possible. In the southwest, the plateau in the hinterland of Kolofana and Kalotaritissa is the traditional area for growing grain and animal feed.
Amorgos is a low-water island. Small sources can only be found in places where slate predominates. They usually fall dry during the summer dry season. The island's two most important springs are near Chora and Katapola. Ruins of old watermills in their vicinity indicate larger amounts of water in earlier times. The island's watercourses carry water only periodically. After the winter precipitation, the torrents dry out during the summer. The largest are the Araklos in the north of the island and the Kato Fylladi near Chora, which flows into the bay of Katapola as Fonia.
The north west coast is preceded by several uninhabited islands, the total area of which is less than 5 km². The largest is Nikouria, about 250 meters away; the highest point is 346 meters high. Other islands are Gramvousa, Grambonisi, Petalidi and Psalida. Andikeros and Drima are farther away; they are attributed to the Little Cyclades.
The island is partly forested. Wild herbs such as Greek oregano grow in large quantities on Amorgos.
Already densely populated in prehistoric times, the island was probably already in the 3rd millennium BC. An important trading base; Grave finds with early Cycladic marble idols prove their importance.
Around 1000 BC Ionic settlers settled on Amorgos in the 7th century BC. Chr. Samier under the direction of the poet Semonides. In the 5th century BC The three Polis of Amorgos - the remains of the ancient cities of Minoa, Arkesine and Aigiale - have been preserved - while maintaining political unity as "Amorgier" joined the Attic League. In the sea battle at Amorgos in 322 the Athenian fleet succumbed to the Macedonians, which led to the end of Athens' naval power. Political unity was also lost during the Diadoch wars, until around 200 BC. BC came under the protectorate of Rhodes again to the union of the island communities. Fortifications, including a number of Hellenistic and Roman watchtowers scattered across the island, show that Amorgos and its port of Katapola remained an important trading post. The almost transparent Amorgan canvas, which was made in the 4th and 5th centuries BC, was made on Amorgos. BC was known and valued as “Amorgian vestments”. In the Roman Empire, Amorgos was also a place of exile for the Romans. In late antiquity, Chora became the capital of the island at a protected altitude above the east coast. Early Byzantine church buildings were found there, as in Katapola and at Arkesini.
After the Fourth Crusade, the island initially fell to the Duchy of Naxos in 1207, but was recaptured by the Byzantine fleet and by Emperor John III. Dukas Batatzes left to his friend Geremia Ghisi. This resettled the deserted island and fortified the rock "Kastro" towering over the Chora to protect against pirates. Recaptured by Byzantium in 1269, Amorgos was guaranteed property in 1303 in the peace between Venice and Emperor Andronikus II Palaiologos the Ghisi. As early as 1309, Duke Guglielmo I of Naxos seized the island and handed it over in half to the Schiavi of Ios and the Grimani, who already owned part of Astypalea. Pirate raids drove many residents, who then moved to Venetian Crete.
With the conquest by Chaireddin Barbarossa, the Ottoman rule on the island (1537-1830) began. During the Russian-Turkish war, Amorgos was occupied by the Russian fleet. In the Greek wars of liberation, refugees from the island of Kassos were admitted to Amorgos.
On July 9, 1956, a 7.8 magnitude seaquake occurred on the Richter scale in the Aegean south of Amorgos. The resulting tidal wave was about 20 m high on Amorgos on the south coast near Mouros. Some internet sources claim that there were 53 deaths on Amorgos and numerous houses were destroyed. Since the south coast of Amorgos is steep and completely uninhabited, but the tsunami on the north coast only reached a maximum height of 2 meters, one can doubt these figures. It is probably the total number of deaths in the Aegean.
Important Places on Amorgos
If you take the ferry from Athens or another Greek island, you will most likely arrive in Katapola because Katapola is the island's main port.
Katapola is a picturesque Cycladic fishing village with typical Cycladic architecture and in its narrow streets you will find many restaurants and shops. You will also find scooter and car rentals right at the ferry landing.
Following the trail above Katapola will take you to the remains of the ancient city of Minoa. Many of the remains found at this site are now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. This town was the former summer residence of Minos, the 1st king of Crete.
This ancient site is also known for its wonderful panorama over the bay!
Aegiali is located in a very beautiful bay, about 20 kilometers north of Katapola and is the second port on the island.
Aegiali has some nice cafes, beach bars, taverns and various shops. A pleasantly authentic and familiar atmosphere dominates this place.
Aegiali is the ideal place for a family vacation on Amorgos. If you like relaxing on the sandy beach, you should know that Aegiali has one of the largest sandy beaches on the island. There are beach bars, bistros and a playground for children.
Those who spend their holidays in this corner of the island should definitely visit the villages of Langada, Tholaria and Potamo, which are located above Aegiali. The typical Greek alleys, the traditional taverns and the panoramic view over the bay will surely be remembered.
If you like hiking, there is no way around Aegiali drum, because many hiking trails for exploring the north of the island begin here.
Another interesting place on Amorgos is the capital Chora.
Chora is a typical Cycladic village with whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvillea and connected by a labyrinth of narrow streets!
You will certainly like the authentic and picturesque atmosphere, it appears peaceful and relaxed. In Chora you can stop for lunch at one of the city's many taverns and get great, typical Greek food at a reasonable price.
From the main square of Chora you can reach the Venetian Kastro. It was built on a rock in the 13th century and offers a wonderful panoramic view of Amorgos.
Don't miss the archaeological museum during your visit (admission is free). Ancient objects from the Minoan civilization that were found on the island are on display here.
Before you leave Chora, you should go to the old windmills east of the village. From there you can also enjoy a very nice view.
The main attraction of Amorgos is the rock monastery Panagia Chozoviotissa (Greek Παναγία Χοζοβιώτισσα) on the steep slope of the Profitis Ilias summit, 300 m above sea level; it is one of the most architecturally interesting monasteries in the Aegean and is often compared to the Meteora monasteries.
The monastery is said to have been founded by monks from Palestine in the early 9th century. The legend relates to the Byzantine conflict of images: a pious woman from Chosovo in Palestine is said to have thrown an icon into the sea to save her from destruction. In the bay of Agia Anna on Amorgos, the icon of the Mother of God - named after her place of origin Panagia Chozoviotissa - was washed ashore. The monastery, which was built on the cliff above the bay, was destroyed by pirates and in the 11th century it was newly founded and rebuilt by Emperor Alexios I Komnenos; 1088 is given as the year of the new foundation.
The monastery still retains parchment manuscripts from the 11th to 13th centuries. Until the 19th century, Chozoviotissa was one of the richest monasteries in Greece; however, the Greek state expropriated the lands in 1952 and handed them over to the municipalities.
In the 1990s, the monastery achieved cinematic fame through the film Intoxication by Luc Besson, which was largely filmed on Amorgos. This is how the scenes of the growing children in Chora were created and it was the bay of Agia Anna below the monastery where little Jacques Mayol dived. The wreck where Jacques saved the American soldiers is in the south of the island.
The Best Beaches in Amorgos
Aegiali: Amorgo's largest sandy beach. Ideal for children.
Agia Anna: A small gravel bay below the monastery. There is a parking lot and a snack bar. The place is definitely worth a visit!
Mouros beach: A small sheltered beach. There is a restaurant above the beach with a nice view and good food at a reasonable price.
Paradise beach: a small beach that does not really live up to its name.
Kalotaritissa: This sheltered beach with fine sand and turquoise water is clearly one of the most beautiful in Amorgos. There is also a snack here.
Mikri Glyfada: Only accessible on foot via Tholaria, but worthwhile.
Agios Pavlos Beach: a long sandy beach between Katapola and Aegiali
Nikouria (small island): In Agios Pavlos, near Aegiali, a small fishing boat offers regular transfers.
Levrossos, Psili Ammos and Chochlakies are close together and can only be reached by boat or on a hiking trail.
The small bay of Maltezi is a 20-minute walk from Katapola.
Plakes: To reach this small beach, walk 45 minutes from Katapola.
Hiking on Amorgos
Amorgos is known for its wild and dramatic nature with herbs and beautiful hiking trails. Also known as "The Blue Paths" because each hiking trail offers a fantastic view over the Aegean. There are hiking trails for all levels of difficulty and the seven main routes are marked with signs.
1. The old strata - about 4-5 hours
Chora - Hozoviotissa Monastery - Kapsala - Asfondilitis - Potamos - Langada
Difficulty level: difficult
2. Fotodotis - about 1 hour
Chora - Milies - St. Irini - Katapola (Xilokeratidi)
Difficulty level: easy
3. Itonia - about 3 hours
Lefkes - St. Saranda - Kamari - Ancient Arkesini - Vroutsi - Rachoula - St. Triada
Difficulty level: medium
4. Melania - about 2 hours
Aegiali - Langada - Stroumbos - Panagia - Tholaria - Fokiotripa
Difficulty level: easy
5. Pan - about 2-2½ hours
Lagkada - St. Ioannis Theologos - Stavros - Krikelos
Difficulty level: difficult
6. Valsamitis - about 2 hours
Katapola - St. Georgios Valsamitis - Minoa - Katapola
Difficulty level: easy
7. Evangelistria - about 1 hour
Xylokeratidi (Katapola) - Nera - Vigla - Peristeria - Evangelistria
Difficulty level: easy
For more information on these marked trails, visit the Amorgos official website.