Last updated on March 23rd, 2021 at 01:43 pm
It’s with the utmost pleasure that we’re about to show you what to do in Amorgos, the Greek Island we hold closest to our hearts. Although Greece is home to thousands of islands, and we do love many of them, Amorgos has literally taken hold of our hearts for good. But why have we singled out this island over so many others? Read on to find out!
Unlike other Cyclades Islands and despite its rare beauty, Amorgos has miraculously managed to stay away from the sirens of mass tourism. We visit Amorgos every few years, and every single time we’re there, we’re relieved to see that the island remains unspoilt and wonderfully authentic. Amorgos is one of those places where local life dictates how visitors experience the island rather than the other way around. Which is priceless.
Amorgos is the easternmost of the Cyclades Islands. As such, it’s an excellent gateway not only to other Cyclades Islands but also to neighbouring islands of the Dodecanese complex, such as Astypalaia, Patmos, Leros, and Kos.
Rich in ancient history and folklore alike, Amorgos is also a pop-culture legend since 1988 when the island was featured in Luc Besson’s film The Big Blue. The latter is considered one of the most important cult films of the 80s and one of the biggest hits in France. Perhaps this is why Amorgos Island attracts many French visitors to this day.
However, none of this matters a lot to us anymore. Yes, we were excited to check out the filming locations when we first visited Amorgos a lifetime ago, and, sure, we enjoyed the ancient sites we saw and the myths and legends we learnt on our second visit.
Yet what draws us to the island now, what makes us never stop going back, is this feeling we get that goes beyond the sheer pleasure of enjoying all the amazing things to see in Amorgos. It feels as though a unique energy surrounds this island. One that evokes a sense of peace, bliss, and fulfillment. In Amorgos we feel happy. We feel complete. We feel ourselves.
So, come join us as we take a tour of the best things to do in Amorgos Greece.
Seeing this gorgeous island through our eyes will have you hooked for sure!
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How Many Days & What To Do in Amorgos Greece
Although there are hardly any must-see attractions in Amorgos and the island is not excessively large, we would say that a minimum of five full days is required to appreciate its uniqueness. We never spend less than five or six days in Amorgos. Yet we always feel as though our hearts are ripped out of our chests every time we say our goodbyes.
When it comes to deciding what to do in Amorgos during your holidays, the obvious choice is to spend time on the beach. However, Amorgos is so much more than just its beaches. After all, Amorgos is not the beach bar-cocktail-wild party scene kind of island. Amorgos is an island of withered scenery, raw beauty, and gorgeous nature. An island where locals’ smiles shine brighter than the sun.
So, here’s our list of the absolutely unmissable things to do in Amorgos. Enjoy!
13 Magical Things To Do in Amorgos Greece
1. Wander Around The Most Enchanting Chora
We’ve definitely explained this before, but repetition is the mother of all learning, so here it goes. The name Chora isn’t unique to any specific island in the Aegean Sea. It’s a name attributed to the main settlement of many islands, especially in the Cyclades complex. Chora is usually the oldest town on the island and the latter’s administrative centre.
In this spirit, Amorgos has its very own Chora. Oh, and what a Chora that is! It may not be the most impressive of all, the way Chora in Andros is. Nor the unquestionably most beautiful one. That would be Chora in Folegandros. Yet, in a way that we can’t possibly put into words, Amorgos has the most seductive Chora we’ve ever laid eyes on, a ruthless enchantress who’s bound to leave an empty space at the very spot that once held your heart.
In terms of architecture, Chora in Amorgos is the epitome of simplicity and charm. Its whitewashed alleys, steps and buildings, the coloured shutters and doors, and the small or larger squares are a study in the wonder that is traditional island architecture. What’s more, tasteless loud signs and pseudo-luxury facades have no place here. We could easily say that Chora in Amorgos is an irresistibly unpolished town that’s almost untouched by time.
Just wandering around the enchanting maze of narrow alleys is enough to make you fall desperately in love with Chora in Amorgos. On top of that, you’ll have a hard time choosing where to sit among the many gorgeous cafés and restaurants you’ll stumble upon as they are all incredibly picturesque. The entire town is like a movie set come to life. Especially in the evening, when Chora is dimly lit to perfection.
The main cobbled street in Chora, which locals call Platysteno (=wide narrow street!), begins at the edge of the old medieval settlement. This is where the parking lot is situated nowadays. Platysteno winds its way towards the heart of Chora, with most of the town’s bars and restaurants lining both of its sides. The Old Town is also home to a couple of quaint squares, such as Loza Square and Ano Plateia (Upper Square).
There are some notable buildings to check out during your walk. First of all, the building that now houses the island’s EPAL (Vocational Lyceum) was the first high school founded in Greece after the Greek War of Independence (1821). Moreover, the island’s Archaeological Museum is housed in the gorgeous Gavras Mansion built in the 16th century in the Venetian architectural style.
Yet the two attractions in Amorgos Chora that you definitely can’t miss are the Castle and the Windmills.
Contrary to what happens on other Greek Islands where you have to climb up steep slopes and/or countless steps to get to the island’s castle, the Castle in Amorgos is integrated with the northern part of Chora, so it’s really easy to get to. Yet easy doesn’t mean boring. In fact, access to the Castle is fascinating.
To enter the Castle, you must first get its key from Loza Cafe in Chora. Then you climb the few stone steps to the church of Agios Georgios and use the key to open its small door. Once you’re inside the tiny church, you’ll see another door that leads to the actual fortifications of the castle. Open it, and you are now ready to enjoy the most breathtaking views. The whole procedure feels like a real-life video game. Only better.
A word of caution here. If it’s too windy when you visit, please reserve from climbing the steps to the Castle, or you’ll risk being knocked over and getting hurt. Don’t underestimate the force of the gales, especially in the summer.
The hill with the windmills was the very spot where we desperately fell in love with Amorgos almost a decade ago. The windmills of Chora Amorgos are rugged, melancholic even. Yet, standing as they are at the highest point in Chora, they enjoy the most jaw-dropping views of Amorgos and so many other islands beyond. Visit the windmills at sunset and expect your heart to melt in an instant.
Again, the windmills are super easy to get to but be extra careful when it’s very windy. Last time we defied the wind and went anyway, we could hardly stand, and we had to seek refuge inside one of the windmills in the end.
2. Enjoy Scenic Drives
Next to walking around Chora, our favourite thing to do in Amorgos is driving through the island’s mind-blowing scenery. By taking a look at the map of Amorgos, you’ll see that it’s a long and narrow island with dramatically steep mountains that soar above the sea. Most of the time, even in the heart of summer, mountain tops play hide and seek with the clouds that simply can’t resist the island’s wild beauty and seem to hold on to it for ever.
Driving in Amorgos feels like driving along the spine of a sleeping giant made of rock. From North to South, Amorgos offers breathtaking views of the big blue beyond at every turn. You’ve probably never heard of that before, but this small island in the Aegean Sea offers the opportunity for one of the most exciting drives you could ever dream of.
Although most roads are at a high altitude, they are wide and in very good condition, so driving in Amorgos hardly ever feels scary. Of course, always use your common sense, especially at night when everything is pitch black or when there’s a lot of fog.
From Aegiali To Chora At Sunset
The ultimate driving route you don’t want to miss is the one that connects Aegiali to Chora. The best time to enjoy this scenic drive is a little before or during sunset. There’s not much to say about those magic moments. Words fall short.
From Chora To Kato Meria
Another amazing drive you should definitely enjoy is from Chora to the southern part of Amorgos, known as Kato Meria. Not counting all the essential stops you’ll make along the way to take photos, pinch yourselves to believe the beauty that unfolds before your eyes, and call your bosses to tell them you quit to stay in Amorgos for ever, it’s only a 35-minute drive from Chora to the southernmost point of the island.
Along this route, you can visit quaint villages such as Vroutsi and Arkesini or relax on pristine beaches like Paradisia, Kato Kambos (after about 1km of dirt road), and Kalotaritissa. If you feel like exploring a bit more, you can take a boat from Kalotaritissa Beach to Gramvousa. The latter is an islet just off Amorgos’ southern tip, home to a couple of gorgeous beaches.
3. Climb All The Way Up To Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery
A visit to the Monastery of Hozoviotissa is definitely among the top things to do in Amorgos. Built in 1017, Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery is the second oldest monastery in Greece. Standing at a unique spot overlooking the sea, the monastery is utterly impressive in terms of architecture. Literally carved in rock and almost entirely hidden from sight, the Monastery of Hozoviotissa feels as though it hangs from the steep cliff that’s been its home for centuries.
To get to the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, you must climb a set of stone steps along a rather steep path. It can be strenuous, but the views of the Aegean Sea are more than rewarding. If visiting during the summer months, prefer going up in the afternoon to avoid the scorching sun. Closing time is at 19:00 in the summer.
NOTE: The monastery has a strict dress code. Men must wear long trousers to enter, while women should keep their shoulders covered and wear long skirts or dresses. Women wearing trousers are not allowed inside the monastery. How an ankle-length yet see-through wrap is more appropriate than all-covering trousers is beyond us, but, ladies, please don’t risk it. Don’t wear trousers to make sure you enter the monastery.
4. Stay Forever Young At Aegiali Bay
Few places we’ve visited boast the easy-going feeling that Aegiali Bay evokes. Aegiali is a seaside village where time is of no essence, and all you see are relaxed, smiling faces. Home to one of the island’s two ports, Aegiali is also where the legendary campsite of Amorgos is located.
This campsite is mostly why every summer Aegiali attracts hundreds of young people who fill the place with their energy and make everyone feel forever young. We swear we can hear Alphaville sing their paean to our ears every time we wander around Aegiali Bay.
There’s no shortage of quaint cafés and restaurants where you can spend some quality time doing nothing in Aegiali. Yet the best place to experience the quintessence of Aegiali is Disco The Que. This all-day seaside bar is the definition of taking it easy.
You can go there to sip your coffee and read your book in the morning or have a glass of beer and doze off under the shade of one of its trees in the afternoon. At night, drop by for a drink or three because that’s when Disco The Que becomes, well, a disco.
Aegiali Bay is famous for its gorgeous sunset. Locals and visitors alike flock to the bars located at the village’s edge to watch the sun go down. The most popular spot is Embassa Bar, which is also one of the best places to spend a night out in Aegiali. That said, the beach itself is also a perfect place to enjoy the sunset.
The long and sandy Aegiali Beach is right in the heart of the village, therefore super easy to get to. However, if you prefer something more secluded, you should know that there are three more beaches within walking distance from the village. These are Levrossos, Psili Ammos and Chochlakas.
It takes about 20 minutes to get from Aegiali to Levrossos Beach on foot. Alternatively, you can take a boat that leaves from Aegiali Port during high season. If you’re driving, follow the signs from Aegiali and then walk down a 200m path that leads from the parking lot to the beach.
The next beach is Psili Ammos. You can get there either by the same boat that leaves from Aegiali Port or via a walking path from Levrossos Beach (30 minutes). Last but not least, the most secluded of all three beaches is Chochlakas, which is accessible only on foot via a path from Psili Ammos Beach (10 minutes).
5. Live Your Big Blue Moments At Agia Anna Bay
Agia Anna Beach is one of the main The Big Blue filming locations and for good reason. This is a tiny cove of white pebbles and the most transparent waters you could ever dream of. It’s unlikely to find Agia Anna Beach without crowds during the summer, but this should by no means prevent you from going anyway. Swimming in Agia Anna’s deep waters is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
6. Go Hiking, One of The Best Activities in Amorgos
Undoubtedly, most Greek Islands offer fantastic hiking opportunities. Yet hiking in Amorgos is quite special, and this is something to remember while planning what to do in Amorgos Greece. There are seven main signposted hiking routes in Amorgos. Their difficulty levels vary, but they all offer breathtaking views and a unique chance to enjoy the jaw-droppingly beautiful Amorgos nature.
For centuries on end, walking along the island’s ancient paths was the only way for locals to get from one village to the other in Amorgos. Nowadays, paved roads have made life a lot easier, yet people’s mentality hasn’t changed much. Locals love to walk in Amorgos. Far from being just a workout for them, walking is intertwined with local lifestyle and culture. Therefore, hiking in Amorgos is the best way to get to know with the real island and its secrets.
Amorgos Trail Challenge
This is why a team of passionate locals came up with the idea to found an association with a mission to maintain the island’s hiking trails, protect the environment, and preserve local culture and traditions. The Palia Strata organisation takes its name from the island’s longest and most fascinating hiking route, which connects Chora to Aegiali Bay, covering a total distance of about 20km.
The Palia Strata team have taken their love for hiking and Amorgos to the next level by establishing the Amorgos Trail Challenge, an annual trail running event that both locals and foreigners who attend have come to adore.
Our Hiking Experience in Amorgos
During our most recent trip to Amorgos, we were delighted to walk the better part of Route 4 (Melania), starting from the mountain village of Tholaria and ending at Aegiali Bay. It was an easy hike, during which we came across so much beauty that we couldn’t believe our eyes.
We walked along gorgeous ancient paths, including part of the Palia Strata (Old Street) route; we enjoyed the most amazing views of the sea and the raw beauty of Amorgos, passing through the picturesque villages of Tholaria, Langada, and Stroumbos, and we visited the most beautiful churches, such as the tiny chapel of Agia Triada and the charming Epanochoriani Church.
Yet what we loved about our hiking experience in Amorgos the most was walking in the company of a local who shared all of the island’s secrets with us. During these precious three hours we spent with Antonis, our hiking guide, we learnt more about the island’s flora and fauna, as well as its legends, myths, and traditions, than we would if we could read each and every book ever written about Amorgos.
7. Drink Psimeni Raki
If there’s one local product you absolutely must try in Amorgos, it’s psimeni raki. The latter is an alcoholic beverage sweetened with honey and spiced with clove. It has a very distinct taste and a lovely amber colour.
Psimeni raki is served everywhere in Amorgos. From bars, restaurants, cafés, and hotels to the Monastery of Hozoviotissa. Since psimeni raki is usually homemade, it tastes a bit (or a lot) different from place to place. Don’t expect to like every version.
You can also buy psimeni raki as a souvenir. Before you buy, ask for a tasting to make sure you like this particular seller’s product. If you don’t, keep trying until you find The One. Cheers!
8. Spend a Lazy Day At Katapola Bay
Katapola Bay is where the island’s second port is located and undoubtedly one of the best places to spend a lazy day in Amorgos. The village on the left side of the bay is Katapola, the area’s main settlement, while the village on the far right side of the bay is called Xylokeratidi.
Katapola is a small village with a quaint waterfront lined with cafés and traditional restaurants. There’s also a small sandy beach right in the heart of the village. Xylokeratidi is an utterly picturesque settlement with gorgeous narrow alleys and colourful bougainvilleas. It’s also the starting point for a super easy yet wonderful coastal hike that will take you to Maltezi, one of the best beaches in Amorgos.
If you, like us, get itchy feet even though you’ve promised yourselves a lazy day and nothing but, you can visit one of the island’s most significant archaeological sites while in Katapola. The ancient city of Minoa dominates the hill above Katapola Bay. You can go there by car or on foot from Katapola (about 35 minutes each way).
Last but not least, when in Katapola, don’t miss the chance to say hi to Erato and Nausicaa. Wait; what? Who are these ladies?
Erato was one of the Nine Muses of Greek Mythology. She was the Muse of Love Poetry, and after a short and delightful seaside walk, you can reach her giant statue, which overlooks the Katapola Port entrance. From there, Erato welcomes visitors to the island and bids them goodbye when they leave.
Nausicaa, on the other hand, is a character in Homer’s Odyssey. You can see her statuette on a rock in the middle of the sea just as you pass outside the Katapola Bay Cemetery.
9. Mingle With Locals At Tholaria, Langada, and Potamos, Three of The Best Places To Visit in Amorgos
Chora, Aegiali Bay, and Katapola are the most popular places to visit in Amorgos. Yet they’re not the only ones. The villages of Tholaria, Langada, and Potamos dominate the mountains over Aegiali Bay, and they’re definitely worth a visit. All three villages are renowned for their traditional island architecture and authentic vibes. Moreover, these villages are essential stops along many of the island’s hiking routes.
Potamos Village offers spectacular views of Aegiali Bay and the mountains surrounding it.
Langada is an incredibly beautiful village with gorgeous whitewashed alleys, surrounded by stunning scenery. There are a couple of traditional cafés and restaurants where you can hang out mostly with locals. Alongside Chora, Langada is the oldest settlement on the island and a prime example of defensive island architecture.
Near Langada, you can visit the carved in the rock chapel of Agia Triada and Stroumbos, a traditional settlement with no electricity which was once completely abandoned but now gradually brought back to life.
Last but not least, Tholaria is a breathtakingly beautiful village, home to some of the best restaurants and cafés in Amorgos and renowned for its residents’ strong sense of hospitality. The imposing Agioi Anargyroi Church dominates the village, which sits idly in the warm embrace of the dramatic mountains surrounding it.
10. Swim in The Crystal Clear Waters of Mouros Beach
Mouros is an entirely unspoilt beach in Kato Meria. Its crystal clear waters are the most spectacular hue of blue you have ever seen. You can get to Mouros Beach by car. After you park close to the nearby café-restaurant, there is an easy path you need to walk down to get to the beach. If you’re planning to spend the entire day on the beach, bring an umbrella, as there’s no natural shade.
11. Take a Look At The Amorgos Shipwreck
The Wreck of Olympia rests peacefully in the embrace of a tiny bay near Kalotaritissa Beach since 1980, when it sank, fortunately without claiming any of its crew’s lives. The shipwreck is visible from the main road, but you can also get an up-close look after walking an easy path to the bay. The Wreck of Olympia is also a popular diving spot in Amorgos.
12. Visit The Ancient Asfondilitis Village
Almost halfway between Chora and Aegiali lies Asfondilitis, a very old but now abandoned village, inhabited until the early 1950s. Asfondilitis is an excellent example of a Cycladic agricultural settlement. You can get to Asfondilitis by private means of transport alone. Once there, don’t expect to find any information signs. Just start walking around and let the energy of this unique place entirely made of stone whisper its most profound secrets to your ears.
13. Admire The Views of Nikouria Islet From Agios Pavlos Beach
The best place to go after your walk around Asfondilitis is nearby Agios Pavlos Beach. The latter is one of the most popular Amorgos beaches, both for its photogenic landscape featuring a strip of sand expanding to the sea and its views of Nikouria Islet.
Nikouria is a rocky islet just off the coast of Amorgos. It’s not inhabited, but there’s a canteen during the summer months offering food and drinks to visitors who decide to spend a lazy day at one of the islet’s three beaches. To get to Nikouria Islet, you must take the boat from Agios Pavlos Beach, which frequently runs in the summer.
How To Get To Amorgos
There’s no airport in Amorgos, but there are two ports; one in Aegiali Bay and another in Katapola. Therefore, getting to Amorgos is only possible by ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens or other islands. Journey time on the Athens to Amorgos ferry is between eight and ten hours. There are also ferries to Amorgos from various popular islands in the Cyclades, such as Paros.
How To Get Around Amorgos
As mentioned above, you can follow the locals’ lead and start walking. However, that’s not a practical solution if you’re visiting the island for just a few days. Moreover, although there’s public transport during the summer months, the bus won’t take you to all the gorgeous places we’ve mentioned in this guide, such as Asfondilitis Village or Mouros Beach.
Therefore, the best way to get around Amorgos is by car. Driving gives you the absolute freedom to explore the entire island at your own pace and discover all of its treasures. As a final note, please avoid scooters in Amorgos, as the weather can get super windy and foggy, which renders driving around on a scooter potentially dangerous.
Where To Stay in Amorgos Greece
No matter where you choose to stay in Amorgos, you can’t escape the island’s unique energy. However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before deciding upon your accommodation in Amorgos.
First of all, if you’re relying on public transport and your own two feet, you should probably stay in gorgeous Chora, where most of the island’s bars, cafés, and restaurants are situated. Secondly, if you find the camping Amorgos experience exciting, you should go to either Aegiali Bay or Katapola, both home to well-organised campsites.
However, if you want to experience a truly authentic stay in a traditional village, then you should consider staying in Tholaria and, specifically, at Vigla Hotel Amorgos. This family-run hotel is situated at the very heart of the traditional settlement, right next to Tholaria’s main point of interest, the Church of Agioi Anargyroi.
Rooms at Vigla Hotel Amorgos are spacious, sun-kissed, impeccably clean, and smartly decorated. The hotel features a fantastic swimming pool and a traditional restaurant that serves exquisite Greek food. Vigla Hotel Amorgos evokes a feeling of absolute relaxation, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a break from everyday life’s stress and crazy rhythms.
Furthermore, this is one of the best hotels in Amorgos because it does a great job introducing guests to the real Amorgos by organising immersive experiences such as cooking classes and hiking excursions.
Cooking classes are taught by Ms. Irene, the chef but also the hotel’s very soul. Cooking with Ms. Irene is a unique experience as she doesn’t use scales or cookbooks. She measures everything with a single look and cooks with her heart rather than her hands. No wonder the result tastes like heaven.
Even if you don’t sign up for a cooking class with Ms. Irene, don’t miss the chance to try the dishes she prepares with only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients at the hotel’s traditional restaurant.
For hiking enthusiasts, Vigla Hotel Amorgos is the best place to stay, as this is the only hotel in Amorgos that’s certified as a Hiker’s Friendly Hotel. Hiking excursions are led by Antonis, a local guide whose eyes shine a little brighter every time he speaks of his beloved island. If you don’t fall in love with Amorgos after you’ve heard Antonis talk about it with such tenderness, you probably never will.
During our most recent trip to Amorgos, we stayed at Vigla Hotel Amorgos, and we couldn’t be happier with our choice. As we like to say, we went to the hotel as guests but left as friends. Better still, it feels as though we have a newly acquired family in Amorgos that we can’t wait to go back to.
Where To Eat & Drink in Amorgos
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it includes some of our favourite places to eat and drink in Amorgos.
- Pizza Petrino for the best pizza and pasta in Amorgos, in Greece, in the Balkans, in the universe. You get the picture.
- Jasmine for scrumptious breakfast and unforgettable sunset drinks.
- Tranzistoraki for superb meze dishes.
- Kallisto for mouthwatering dessert in a gorgeous setting.
- Botilia for cocktails on a moonlit terrace.
- To Limani Tis Kyra Katinas for delicious Greek food.
- Disco The Que for all the reasons explained earlier.
- Argo for coffee in the morning and beer in the afternoon. Or vice versa, no one’s judging.
- Embassa Bar for sunset or midnight drinks.
- Vigla Hotel Restaurant for the best homemade local dishes.
- Kafeneio Kali Kardia for meze dishes and psimeni raki among locals.
- O Nikolas for homemade sweets.
- Feggero for coffee in the morning and meze dishes in the evening.
Why We Love Amorgos Island So Much
It’s not surprising that the island’s name, Amorgos, contains the word amor, the Spanish word for love. If we could make your screens rain hearts while reading this article, we would because that’s how we felt while writing these lines or editing the photos that go with them. At every mention of Amorgos, all we can see are hearts popping here and there.
This blessed rock in the middle of the Aegean Sea is our favourite place in the entire country, alongside Monemvasia Castle. We love Amorgos Island for its inescapable aura of authenticity, its raw beauty, and the unique energy that seems to emanate from every inch of its seemingly hostile yet so welcoming scenery. This is why we’ll never stop going back to Amorgos even though we know how much it pains us to leave the island behind every time.
Now that you know what to do in Amorgos, it’s time to plan a trip there to actually see, taste, and feel the island. For Amorgos isn’t just a place; it’s a feeling. A feeling of going home. A feeling of coming one with the very essence of the universe. How can you possibly resist that?
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Disclosure: We were guests at Vigla Hotel Amorgos, but, as always, we express nothing but our honest opinion about the experience we had.