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Cyclades Islands | Amorgos

Amorgos: Getting Around

With their country tied to their sails and their oars hung on the wind... (introductory verse from Nikos Gatsos' poem "Amorgos")

The main port is called Katapola and is situated on the northwest coast of the island, just below the mid-point of its length.  It’s a very pretty protected harbor, with three separate clusters of settlements constituting the main town.  Here you will find tavernas, bars, and accommodation pretty much evenly divided among the three settlements of Katapola, Hilokeratidi, and Rahidi.  The harbor area has been inhabited for nearly 6,000 years, and it is the site of the church of Katapoliani, built upon the ruins of the ancient temple of Apollo.  Lovely beaches are within easy walking distance southwest of the port and include Kato Akrotiri, Maltezi, Plakes, Treis Ierarches, Ai. Panteleimonas, Finikies, Tirokomos, and Ag. Saranta.

From Katapola, you can take the pubic bus up to the capital, Amorgos or Chora, which is 5 kilometers away, along a paved road.  With an elevation of 320 meters and overlooking the sea to the southeast, the views from Chora are dramatic, as you would expect.  The town is positively lovely, full of small picturesque lanes, various windmills, and a pervading feeling that you have traveled back to the past.  It is a medieval town and sits directly at the mid-point of the length of the island, actually built surrounding the well-preserved Venetian Castle built by the Gizi family in 1290. While Chora has many fine churches and chapels, it has the distinction of having the smallest chapel in the country; Ai. Fanourios can accommodate just three persons!  The town is a delight to explore, and it has a handful of tavernas, cafes, bars, and shops, with some accommodation facilities available.  You can walk south to the small beach of Ag. Anna (about a 45-minute walk), which looks across to the famous Monastery of Hozoviotissa.  Also from the capital, there are buses to the beaches below Katapola and around Arkessini.

From Chora, you can walk or take the bus to the main attraction of the island, the Monastery of Hozoviotissa.  If there is one predominant photograph of Amorgos, it is certainly this incredible monastery.  One of the finest in all of Greece, it was built in 1017, and designed to accommodate about 50 monks. Only a few remain today, who safeguard the precious treasures to be found inside, including an Icon of the Virgin Mary.  The stunning feature of the monastery, of course, is that it was built along the vertical side of an enormous cliff, and it stands majestically about 300 meters (900 ft) above the sea.  Most photographs of this incredible sight have been taken from the sea, where you have the best vantage point to see the monastery “gripping” the side of the steep cliff.  Having said that, however, it should be noted that the view from within the monastery looking out is also quite outstanding, as is the path of steps that takes you there!  Some of the best photos have been shot exactly from this spot!  No photographer or camera, however, have yet managed to do the impossible: shoot pictures that are able to convey the total awe that you feel while standing there yourself!

Northeast of Katapola is the second port of the island called Egiali (also spelled Aigiali or Aegiali).  This is a beautiful village with excellent beaches.  The road to Egiali is now greatly improved, but it wasn’t always so.  In the past, it was easier to reach Egiali by sea rather than by road! This is a fairly well developed resort area with accommodation, tavernas, bars, and a bit of nightlife.  From here, there is an excellent walk (or a bus, if you’re feeling a bit lazy!) up to two pretty villages, Tholaria and Langada; a stone-paved donkey track makes it easier to reach (photo to the left). Both villages offer lunch possibilities.  From Langada you can walk to the 5th century site of the church of Theologos, as well as to the base of the tallest mountain on Amorgos, Krikellos at 825 meters (2475 ft).  Again from Egiali and working southward, you can explore the third hilltop village of Potamos.  It features traditional architecture, and has outstanding views over the sea, especially at sunset.  For beaches, the area offers quite a few excellent possibilities, including the main town beach.  Walking further north, you will encounter numerous small beaches with sand or pebbles, though without eating facilities.  Levrossos is a clothing optional beach, accessible by a 20-minute walk from Egiali, or by caique.

Heading back down toward Katapola, you might want to stop along the coast to gaze across to the uninhabited islet of Nikouria, a former leper colony.  During the summer, caiques can take you across to enjoy its excellent beaches and do a bit of snorkeling.  For this adventure, you need to bring a picnic lunch.