This Mediterranean island is (still) far from massive tourism
After spending a few days in Athens and Donoussa, one of the tiniest and nearly inhabited of the Cyclades Islands, we headed to Amorgós, perhaps one of the most charming pieces of land in the Aegean Sea. Amorgós was recommended by Greek friends as an island out of massive tourist reach and that still keeps the traditional Greek lifestyle, yet with lively bars, cozy cafés and restaurants, and good hotels. That is exactly what we found.
Where is Amorgós?
Amorgós is the most eastern of the Cyclades Islands and the closest to the Dodecanese island group. It is close to Naxos, which is one of the most important ports in the region and where you can switch routes in case you wish to explore out of the ones offered by a specific ferry company.
How to get there
Amorgós is in the same Blue Star ferry route that departs Piraeus and stops in Paros, Naxos, and Donoussa. The tram between Donoussa and Amorgós takes only 45 minutes and costs 6,90€. However, this is not the only route to get to Amorgós. Departing Piraeus in Athens and getting to Aegiali or Katapola (the two ports in Amorgós) takes nearly 8 hours and economy tickets start in 39.50€ with Blue Star Ferries.
Other routes to Amorgós rather than Naxos, Paros, and Donoussa include:
- Mykonos to Amorgós: 2h trip from 83€ with SeaJets.
- Santorini to Amorgós: 1h15 trip from 78€ with SeaJets.
- Rhodes to Amorgós: 6h10 trip from 52€ with Blue Star Ferries.
- Ios to Amorgós: 2h55 trip from 19€ with Small Cyclades Lines.
- Folegandros to Amorgós: 2h20 trip from 96€ with SeaJets.
- Milos to Amorgós: 3h25 trip from 103€ with SeaJets.
- Kos to Amorgós: 3h10 trip from 47€ with Blue Star Ferries.
- Astypalea to Amorgós: 1h25 trip from 20€ with Blue Star Ferries.
- Iraklia to Amorgós: 3h40 trip from 14€ with Small Cyclades Lines.
The ferries, however, do not depart every day, the reason why you should plan it well ahead. One of the most practical sites to search for timetables of all Greek ferry companies is Ferry Hopper.
What is Amorgós like?
Amorgós is not so small, like for example Donoussa. It has 126 square kilometers and a population of around 2,000 people. It has six villages and two ports: Aegiali and Katapola. Aegiali, in the North, is the most lively one. In the middle of the island is Chora, the capital. This is where people go for cozy restaurants and some music in the evenings.
Amorgós is far from being a massive touristic destination but it has already been discovered by Greeks and foreigners in search of an island that combines the traditional Greek lifestyle with amazing beaches and some comfort. The island has medical services, which makes it suitable for families with small children; It has public transportation, taxis, and car rental. It is not as wild as Donousa but it is very charming. Sea is crystal clear and you can find diving activities being offered on the island.
How to get around the island
Roads are winding in Amorgós and we preferred not to rent a car. We took the public bus service instead and it was ok. Each ride from Aegiali to Chora was 2€ and it takes like half an hour. Renting a car or motorbike is not expensive however and you can do that in Katapola, Aegiali, and Chora. You can check the timetables and excursions offered by the city’s bus service here. A taxi ride from Aegiali to Katapola costs around 25€.
Where to stay in Amorgós
The nice thing about Amorgós is that there is a wide array of places to stay, fitting every budget.
You will find more than 80 different accommodation options on the island: pensions, studios and small hotels from 50€/night (2 guests) up to nearly 500€ for the fanciest hotels.
Yoga retreat by the Aegean Sea
If you check #amorgos on Instagram you will always find a group of people sweating on yoga mats with the most incredible view to the Aegean Sea. It’s one of the yoga retreats offered by Aegialis Hotel & Spa, the only five-star hotel on the island. Aegialis Hotel welcomes yoga teachers from all over the world to host their retreats here. Groups can enjoy practicing yoga in 6 shalas, all facing the sea and the mountainous landscape of the island. There are also 2 outdoor yoga spaces, great for practice in nature or whilst enjoying the spectacular sunset. All groups can enjoy complimentary use of the Lalon Idor Spa facilities such as the sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, and indoor seawater pool. Besides all the tools necessary for the practice, the hotel also has an Iyengar yoga wall and aerial yoga silks.
Aqua Petra Hotel in Agios Pavlos
What about staying at a hotel with a pool by a beach bar and a beach that is right there, 10 meters away? Aqua Petra Hotel is in Agios Pavlos (5-min ride from Aegiali), a pebbled beach and crystalline waters. It is among the “fancy hotels” on the island, with rates around 150€ per night.
Search hotels in Amorgós here
Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa
This is the greatest attraction of Amorgós besides its beaches and sea. The Holy Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa is just beside Agia Anna beach and is hanging on the cliff 300 meters above the sea in the mount Prophet Elijah. It has an impressive view no matter where you look from and attracts visitors all day long in summer. This is definitely something not to miss in Amorgós.
The monastery’s original construction dates back year 812 and it was renovated around 1088 by Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus. It is the second oldest monastery in Greece and is a stunning tribute to the Holy Mother. It is 40-meters high, has 72 distinct areas and 15 cells for the monks, but visitors only see a small part of it.
To get to the monastery, visitors can take the bus service and get ready to climb some stairs. When at the doors of Panagia Hozoviotissa, the monks organize the entrance. There is a dress code, as usual in temples, and monks have some pieces to lend.
After going up tiny stairs, visitors are welcome by monks serving psimeni raki (the local liquor) in a kind of “room of treasures” where one can rest, admire what you see, and buy some religious souvenirs. The view is breathtaking and the atmosphere is just incredible. A must-go for sure.
Agia Anna beach
After getting really impressed by the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, visitors generally go down walking to Agia Anna beach. It is a 40-min walk. This is the location where director Luc Besson filmed the Big Blue. It is a small rocky and pebbled beach with the abbot of the monastery framing one of the most instagrammable shots on the island. Agia Anna, naturally, gets crowded in summer.
Chora, the capital of Amorgós
Chora is right in the middle of Amorgós and is the island’s capital. It is 16km away from Aegiali and 5km from Katápola. This is the place to go to have some nice meals, drinks, do some shopping, listen to music and walk around lovely tiny streets and terraces. Alleys are decorated with flamboyants and the village is surrounded by windmills. Sea is just there, 400 meters down. Chora is the typical cute Greek village and we spent most of our evenings there.
Delicious Greek food is abundant
When we talk about Greece, we inevitably talk about food. On the Greek islands, you expect to have lots of seafood and fish, goat cheese, olives and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper.
In Amorgós there is some typical cheese produced out of goat’s milk, like myzithra (creamy cheese, similar to ricotta), malaka (soft and sweet cheese) and kefalotiri (hard and salty cheese), and you will find them in every restaurant in their salads and hot dishes. Another local dish is patatato, a stew made of potato and (usually) goat meat in a delicious tomato sauce.
However, there are plenty of ingredients and recipes in the Greek cuisine that are simply mouth-watering and worth trying. Enjoy yourself!
Transistoraki Restaurant, in Chora
Most of the bars and restaurants in Chora are enticing but perhaps the most famous one is Transistoraki, which is just in the middle of an alley, 5 minutes from the bus stop. The menu is very complete with seafood, fish, meat, vegetables, chickpeas, and so on. The food is delicious, the price is fair and the atmosphere is just great.
Koralli Restaurant, in Aegiali
For a nice complete meal with an incredible sea view, we recommend the restaurants at the main alley in Aegiali. One of them is Koralli, which is one of the “big” restaurants on the island. Fresh fish is there and also the traditional Greek dishes, like patatato, or sprat, which is krithoraki (rice-shaped pasta, like orzo in Italy) with meat. Price is just normal, like less than 20€ per person.
To Limani, in Aegiali
One of the places we liked most to have a super nice dinner was To Limani, a tavern in Aegiali, just in the central area. Delicious Greek food, with vegetarian options, are served and the price is just fine. We paid like 17€ per person for a complete meal – appetizers, main dish, and a drink.
Frou-Frou Café, in Aegiali
It’s in the main alley of restaurants and cafés in Aegiali and has that stunning sea view. There you can have an amazing breakfast, delicious homemade ice-creams or an unforgettable freddo coffee.
Psimeni raki, the typical liquor in Amorgós
Psimeni raki is an aperitif served everywhere in Amorgós. It goes especially well with desserts. It is made out of a combination of raki, clove and honey, and is pretty soft, with an alcohol content of around 20%. There is a similar liquor on the island called Rakomelo, which is a bit stronger.
On July 26th there is the Psimeni Raki Festival in Katápola and then visitors can see how the liquor is made, besides all the food, singing and dancing typical on Greek festivals.
Diving in Amorgós
Amorgós was made famous by the film “Big Blue” and its waters are explored by divers from all over the world. There are a few diving centers on the island to take beginners and professionals to underwater caves and other attractions like the shipwrecked near Skinopi, a few minutes away from Amorgós by boat.
For freedivers, there is another big attraction, the Authentic Big Blue tournament. The fourth edition will take place next September.
How much does it cost to travel to Amorgós?
We prepared an infographic with detailed information about how much our 7-days holidays both in Donousa and Amorgós cost. Check it out below.