Amorgos: The Cycladic Islands’ “artist” (English Version)

The truth is it has been 5 years since I last visited the island of Amorgos, but from the very first moment I stepped foot on Aegiali’s port it felt like it was yesterday… drinking Psimeni Raki at 3 in the morning, diving in the crystal clear waters of the famous Aghia Anna beach, laughing till the first light with our camping “neighbours”, strolling around the picturesque roads of Chora, taking all-day excursions by boat in exotic Nikouria, that indescribable feeling when you enter the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, the enchanting view from Tholaria village, a walk on the Katapola promenade as the sun sets… all the images, all the moments  and feelings I experienced during my last visit, they all came rushing back and all I wanted to do was to do and feel it all again. Amorgos is an island near and dear to my heart, a place that always calls me back no matter how many times I’ve visited. Maybe it’s its untamed beauty or maybe the way it uniquely combines serenity with action or maybe it’s just its people… people who will make it their mission to give you the best holiday you’ve ever had and who will welcome you with open arms and open hearts.


Written by: Katerina konstantopoulou, Katerina Pothitou
Photos by: Pantelis Koutas, Markos Loudaros, Shutterstock


Aegiali : The island’s “party-girl”

Traditional taverns, authentic Greek cafés, modern bars, luxurious hotels, pensions by the sea, an organized camping… one of the two ports of the island greets us and challenges us to explore everything! The beautiful Aegiali, situated on the Northern part of the island, awaits us… to stroll down its narrow paved streets, to dive in its clear blue waters, to have our picture taken in front of the landmark windmill, to dance until morning comes in its beach bars, to discover the neighbourhood of Potamos.

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The magical view of Aegiali bay at night!


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Seaside Pleasure

Ormos beach: The largest beach of the area- almost 1km of sandy beach- has been one of the most important factors that contributed to Aegiali’s touristic development. Its beauty grabs the attention of all its visitors, since its white sand and crystal clear, blue waters compose a magical scenery that will move nature-lovers and a serene environment for summer dives for tourists. The beach is shaped like a horseshoe and parts of it are organised with sun-beds and umbrellas in order to cover all tastes. Behind the sandy shore you will find a number of taverns, bar-restaurants and coffee-shops to enjoy your meal or coffee or a drink before or after a dip in the sea!


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Levrossos: On the road to Tholaria, make a left turn and after crossing a small trail you will come upon Levrossos’ beach, yet another unique spot in the Aegiali area that you definitely have to visit! The crystal waters and rocky scenery will fascinate you, while small trees, bushes and salt-cedars will offer you their shade generously to protect you from the hot summer sun. Although the beach isn’t considered a nudist destination it often is an attraction for them, so don’t be surprised if you come upon some naturists there.


Being Around


Lagkada: 4km from Aegiali, you will find Lagkada, a gorgeous village, built amphitheatrically on the hill, offering a unique view of the Aegiali Bay, the blue sea and the small island of Nikouria. A beautiful place for your vacation which combines mountain and coastal landscape, while the classic Cycladic houses, with the narrow streets, the taverns with their traditional recipes and the trees surrounding them create a feeling of a traditional and scenic background that is worth exploring! Don’t omit visiting the church of Aghia Triada, which is located 5 minutes away from the village centre, literally hanging of a cliff. In a 45΄ distance from Lagkada, you will come upon the Byzantine Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Theologos and also Stavros which is an hour away is famous for its view of the wild-oak forest and the old bauxite mine.


Tholaria: Τhe village of Tholaria, located 2,5 km from Ormos is yet another destination of touristic interest in the Aegiali area. With the Aghioi Anargiroi church serving as a landmark, Tholaria attract many tourists every year and its visitors have the chance to enjoy a quiet holiday amongst the scenic island streets, surrounded by beautiful buildings. A visit to the Aghioi Anargiroi Museum, with Timios Stavros as its main exhibit, will be worth your while.


Sights to See


Vigla – Ancient Aegiali: Near Tholaria, at the Vigla high-ground a small archaeological treasure, which once was the Acropolis of Ancient Aegiali, awaits to be discovered by archeology-enthusiasts. Ruins of the ancient bailey, which was built around the city of ancient Aegiali for its protection from the Saracens and other aspiring conquerors that besieged the city, still exist there. Apart from the remnants of the ancient building excavations also revealed statue bases, bodies of Kouroi from the archaic era, as well as tomb stones. It is without a doubt an important historic site which you must visit!

Araklos Canyon: A well-known for its natural beauty destination in Lagkada is the impressive Araklos Canyon, which took its name from the same-named torrent. Visitors can cross the canyon depending, of course, on the weather conditions. At its entrance you will find a wooden sign and as you walk through it you will come upon a fork on the road. The left path will lead you to the village of Tholaria, whereas if you follow the right path you will find yourself in Aegiali’s Bay. During winter time breathtaking waterfalls form in the canyon.


Katapola : A port with ancient history

A real sea-side paradise at the narrow bay of Katapola, an area with historic tradition from ancient times, since it was an ancient port, a determinant factor for the development of Minoa, a city of the island during that era. The area remains the primary island’s primary port and a touristic destination for Amorgos Island. With beautiful villages that spread around the bay, impressive beaches and touristic sites dating from the renowned ancient era, Katapola will surely amaze you, while you mustn’t miss out on enjoying the sunset the location offers.


A place to discover


Rachidi: West of Katapola you will find the settlement of Rachidi, a village with bright white houses built in accordance to the classic Cycladic aesthetic, which include small gardens that harmonically tie in with the blue colour of the sea and the azure colour of the sky lit by the bright summer sun. Here you will find the village’s town hall and a small monument in honour of the fallen fighters of 1912-1922. A place of significance that is worth a visit is the Aghios Georgios church that overlooks the village.


Ksylokeratidi: You can take a serene walk from Katapola to Ksylokeratidi. It is a classic, quiet fishing village, with scenic Cycladic architecture and touristic activity since it has several sea-side taverns, ouzeri, coffee places, bars, hotels and rooms for rent. The small country church of Ftochi Panagia stands out, while there are also two fenced chamber-like tombs, dating to Mycenaean times, located in Katiphorida.

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Ksylokeratidi

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Swimming Fun!


Maltezi: According to testimonies, this is the most beautiful beach in the area and it is located northwest of the port. Its transparent waters and thin sand combined with a breathtaking view of the open sea make it one of the most worthwhile spots on the island for swimming and playing with the waves. A beach bar operates in the area and you will find sun-beds for rent. You can reach the beach by boat, which leaves every 30 minutes during the touristic high-season. If however you are an adventure-lover you will definitely enjoy the 40 minute hike on the trail that starts from Ksylokeratidi and ends up at the beach.


Kato Akrotiri: Another sandy shore on the continuance of the Katapola pier awaits you for carefree moments of relaxation and serenity during your summer holiday. The area can be reached on foot and is suitable for families, since its velvety sand will offer you and your children infinite hours of games in the water and on the sand. Bear in mind that the beach is exposed to northern winds, which means you will be able to admire the waves and even swim among them.


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All About Tourism

Minoa: On a hill that rises above the port, you will find Minoa one of the most well-preserved settlements of the early classical ancient times on the entire area of the Cycladic Islands. With an astonishing view of the Aegean, its acropolis wasn’t visible from the sea, as it was a city-fortress, while it had ultimate control over the area. Today parts of a Dionysian temple, the stadium and the gymnasium survive, while at the top of the acropolis you can find the base of a sanctum which operated until the last B.C centuries. If you find yourself in Amorgos this is a place you just have to see as much for its historic significance as for its “ancient” beauty!


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Panagia Katapoliani: In Katapola, continuing from the main street, around 50 metres from the beach, the church of Panagia Katapoliani is built. Constructed according to genuine Cycladic Ecclesiastic architecture, it is a Christian monument that you should visit if you choose Amorgos for your summer vacation. According to archaeological research, the church is built over an ancient temple which is thought to have been dedicated to Pythium Apollo. It is a location of unique architectural interest since it integrates Christian tradition and ancient spirit.


Chora: The island’s “fair” lady

Amorgos’ capital couldn’t but stand out for its beauty and poise, its architecture and island temperament. Any tourist who visits the island of Amorgos, is bound to end up in Chora at some point for the Aghioi Pantes square, Loza, Plateaki and its wonderful Cycladic styled neighbourhoods with their narrow streets and of course their stores, restaurants and cafés, where one can enjoy local treats and traditional dishes. What is amazing about the area is that it is not visible from the sea, while over its white, picturesque houses a naturally fortified rocky area awaits to be discovered, guaranteeing an unprecedented experience. As you make your way up you will come upon churches and the remnants of the old castle.


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Water Gate

Aghia Anna: Almost 3km away from Chora, you can reach it through a trail that begins on the left side of the parking lot. It is a beach with crystal waters and a clean shore covered with small pebbles. The scenery is completed by the grandiose rocks and a small white church dedicated to Aghia Anna. It is the beach that made Amorgos famous worldwide, since scenes of the film “Deep Blue” were shot there. This place, literally, takes your breath away with its untamed beauty and the combination of the rocks, sea landscape and deep blue waters is awe-inspiring. It’s a trademark for Chora and the locals’ favourite place for a swim. If you don’t have a car or other means of transportation, you can use the local public transportation. With frequent routes, especially during summer, buses depart from Chora as well as from Katapola.


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Agia Anna beach


Kampi: After crossing a rough trail on the west side of Aghia Anna you will find yourselves in Kampi beach. The area morphologically matches the Aghia Anna landscape, with big rocks that find their way into the water. This beach’s particularity is its grey sand that resembles volcanic scenery. It is a place of unique beauty, which offers a view of the Aegean blue as well as of the islet Megalo Biokastro,all of these attribute in making it an ideal place to relax and play with the waves.


Must Visit

Panagia Hozoviotissa: A landmark of Amorgos and one of the most important places of Greek Christian tradition is the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, dedicated to Virgin Mary’s Presentation. The monastery can only be seen from the Aegean since it is built inside enormous rocks and if you wish to visit it you will have to climb 350 stairs. It has eight floors interconnected by wooden staircases carved on the rock. In its museum important ecclesiastic relics are displayed, which are dated from the 10th until the 19th century, including manuscripts, surplices, gospels, ecclesiastic vessels etc. The locals consider Panagia Hozoviotissa as their city’s protector and her name day, on the 21st of November, is celebrated with a grandiose festival. At the area of Kapsala, directly below the path that leads from the monastery to Aegiali, the church of Aghios Ioannis Chrysostomos is located where there are well preserved icons of the Byzantine and after-Byzantine era.

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Panagia Hozoviotissa


Gavras Tower: If you happen to be in Amorgos’ Chora, don’t forget to visit the Tower of Gavras, located exactly next to its centre. We are speaking of a beautiful manor of Venetian order, most likely built during the 16th century, which nowadays hosts the Archaeological Collection of artifacts collected during excavations in various spots of the island. The exhibit includes sculptures, objects, vessels and inscriptions that date back to ancient times.


The Castle: At the top of the rock, in Chora’s highest ground, you will find parts of the wall with crenellations, remnants of the castle which was standing there during the 13th century, built by Jerermia I for the protection of the area.


Arkesini: About 14 km from Chora, you will find this small village, which during ancient times it was one of the three cities of Amorgos. It is built on the hillside of Korakas Mountain and overlooks the flatland of Kato Meria. Here you will see the tower of Aghia Triada and the church of Aghios Onoufrios.


Kato Meria

The “undiscovered” part of the island: It might not be that well-known but its wild beauty and the untouched by tourism character of its settlements will make you fall in love with it. It consists of the villages Kamari, Vroutsi, Kolofana, Arkesini and the settlement of Rachoula. The church of Aghia Paraskevi, near the amazing beach Paradeisia stands out and is worth a stop to see the famous “Olympia” shipwreck. The small village and Panagia of Kalotaritissa, the archeological site of the acropolis in Markiani and of course Aghios Georgios Valsamitis’ church, in Kato Meria where there once was a spring that gushed holly water and operated during ancient times as a water oracle.


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Κουφονήσια

One of the most beautiful destinations is Koufonisia. With their indescribable natural beauty, crystal waters and sandy shores it will become your favourite spot for quiet yet adventurous vacation! It is a paradise of natural beauty, with wild surroundings, where human activity hasn’t managed to alter the landscape significantly, so you will surely get the vibe of a tropic island especially in Kato Koufonisi with its secluded, sandy beaches.
The sea caves of Ano Koufonisi, where the formidable rocks form caves and smaller beaches give you the impression you are in a swimming pool, are one of the most important natural sites. Surely a unique experience you shouldn’t miss out on! If you like to combine your swim with water-sports the beaches of Koufonisia are ideal for surfing. Another good choice to remain fit is walking, which you will surely enjoy if you find yourself on the island, since all routes are small enough to be covered on foot or on a bicycle a fact that will make your exploration of the island more enjoyable and fun. And if you find walking too much work, then what better way to rest than enjoying a meal of fresh fish and seafood, which are the primary products of the area and attract many tourists from surrounding islands. Koufonisia, especially during recent years, have been a place of attraction for many visitors as much for the enchanting scenery as for their lengthy historic tradition, since as was revealed by archaeological research the area had been inhabited since the prehistoric times, while discoveries from excavations have been dated to the first years of the ancient Cycladic civilization peak. If you find yourselves there, don’t forget to visit Keros, the small uninhabited island with the gorgeous beaches, where important elements of ancient Cycladic civilization were also discovered. Apart from its natural beauty, this place is also wealthy in historic and cultural significance! This summer make sure you include Koufonisia in your vacation itinerary, for their natural beauty.


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Koufonissia

IN CATEFORY: AMORGOS