Amorgos is located at the southeastern edge of Cyclades, with an elongated, slanted shape on the map expanding to an area of 21,464 square km.
As part of the South Aegean Region the island is under the administration of the Municipality of Naxos.
Amorgos lays between the islands of Naxos and Astypalea as well as the small Cyclades (outposts in the Cycladic cluster of isles), being a natural passageway from the Cyclades to the Dodecanese (south-eastern side of Greece).
There are two natural harbors in the island, Katapola-the main port of Amorgos and Aegiali- at the northern tip of the island. Both are regularly connected via ferries from/to Piraeus and Rafina, as well as few of the neighboring islands in the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
With a coastline length of about 126 km, it consists mostly of steep coasts with strange cliff formations hiding deep within the ocean swell.
Amorgos was formed over the course of about 700,000 years, rocked by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other violent weather phenomena to finally become the wild, rugged dramatic landscape of varying elevation levels.
The highest point of the island is the mountain peak of Kroukkelos or Krikelos (with an altitude of about 822 meters). And then, Profitis Ilias (at the heart of the island) standing at the 698 meters above sea level and Korakas (on the west) at the 630 meters high.
Remnants of the once bauxite mines on the mountain of Krikelos, are the stones of shale and chalk, which can be found all over the island.
Uninhabited outcroppings around Amorgos (Mikro/Megalo Viokastro, Petalida, Anydros, Felouka, Proskopos, Parasproskopos, Psalida, Gramvousa, Atimo and Nikouria) are accessible via ferry and offer a series of secluded beaches.
Although with only a little vegetation, but an abundance of bushy wild carnations - typical in Cyclades, in Katapola, Kato Meria, and Aegiali one can find a few alleys of olive trees, small vineyards and gardening fields.
Amorgos has a striking diversity of wild culinary herbs and medicinal plants (about 50 plant species of them are also endemic).
Amorgo’s international reputation is linked to the Luc’s Besson film, The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu, 1988), with Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, Jean Reno, which was shot in the cobalt waters off Amorgos.
The movie won the César Award for Best Original Music (1989) and was screened (out of competition) at the Cannes Film Festival promoting Amorgos around the world. In 2017 (29 years after the movie was shot in the island), the film was revived through a fabulous project, aka "The Authentic Big Blue".
The island has a population of about 2,000 permanent residents, who mostly run tourism businesses and a handful of them are livestock farmers, fishermen or foragers of aromatic plants.
The predominantly rocky ground of Amorgos forced the locals to create hubs only in specific parts of the island, such as Kato Meria-Pano Meria. Also, the once legendary route to Pano Meria from Chora, aka Megali Strata, turned into a well-marked hiking trail.
In Amorgos there is a Medical Center and 3 regional clinics. For any difficult cases all the patients are being transported via helicopter or by boat to Naxos, Syros or Athens.
Till late 20s Amorgos was basically addressed to a nude-friendly crowd and all the camping and alternative travel fanatics, but the latest few years it has broadened the range of its visitors.
The tourist season begins in May and goes all the way until September, with the total number of city visitors exceeding the 15,000, being mostly French, Italians and Greeks.
Amorgos, being also an ideal hiking destination, is offering innumerous well-marked paths that start/end from a village, leading to otherworldly landscapes.
Although there is a regular public transportation service, renting a car or motorbike is a good option to journey around the island, since many interesting destinations are not accessible with the bus, or they are not running frequently.
Apart from its natural allures, Amorgos consists of several scenic villages (Aegiali, Potamos, Lagada, Tholaria, Chora and Katapola) that provide the tourists with various services. Similarly, there are a couple of very picturesque hamlets, which also worth a visit – although one will not find many interesting points there – like Kamari, Vroutsi, Kato Pyrgos, Arkesini, Rahoula, Kolophana, Kalotaritissa and Mavri Myti.
One of the very first schools after the War of Independence in 1821 operated in Amorgos. The school was funded from the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, according to a remaining inscription on the working high school in Chora.
All Amorgo’s balconies and gardens are decorated with geranium flowers, while the bougainvilleas and the prickly pearls add a colorful tone in the island’s alleys.
Mostly offering shingle beaches, the crystal-clear turquoise water crashing against the rugged shores of Amorgos, is probably the reason why every beach in this island feels so unique.
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CHURCHES IN AMORGOS:
Amorgos has about 370 churches of a special importance, as they have been constructed in a different way from others in the Cyclades. Each one of them has a dome made of slabs in two levels, installed like the tiles on a roof, which are creating a unique aesthetic experience.
Some of the most important churches in Amorgos are the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, the oldest monastery in Cyclades, the Monastery of St. George Varsamitis, Panagia Epanochoriani (in Lagada), Panagia Katapoliani, Agioi Anargiroi and Evangelistria (in Katapola), Agioi Anargiroi (in Tholaria), Kera Leousa, Agios Thaleleos, Agios Thomas and Stavros (in Chora).
The Monastery of St. George of Varsamitis has been operating as an ancient sacred spring dedicated to Apollo, like the oracle, commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi. In fact, until 1967, the locals used to ask for prophecy or advices and no important decision was to be taken (from weddings and engagements to short/long voyages), without the priest's approval.
In Amorgos and more specifically in the hamlet of Kato Meria, to go to the two-days feast of Agia Paraskevi happening on the 25th and 26th of July is considered as one of the greatest the traditional feasts in Cyclades, offering to the partakes a lot of local delicacies with meat and partying till dawn.
Agios Fanourios chapel in Chora is probably one of the smallest churches in whole Greece, in which you can fit only 3 people.
Part of the island (northeast) belongs to the «Natura 2000» network, the European Network of Protected Areas, for the conservation of natural habitats and wildlife.
An important breeding area for many species of birds of prey, under the name "North Amorgos and Kynaros, Levitha, Mavria, Glaros and the marine zone", which is also considered as a Site of Community Importance (SCI). Furthermore, the islet of Amorgos and other outposts around the island belong to another special protection zone under the characterization: "B-A Amorgos island, and the islets Psalida, Gramvousa, Nikouria, Mikro and Megalo Viokastro, Kramvonissi and Petalidi".
35 bird species
- The bird fauna of Amorgos includes at least 35 bird species nesting in the island, counting also any endangered species of raptors such as bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) and long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus).
- The yellow-legged gull (Larus cacchinans) and the rare Audouin's gull (Larus audouinii), Scopoli's shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), the yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) and the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) are some of the seabirds nesting in the outcrops around Amorgos .
From the reptiles in Amorgos you can find the harmless snake of Amorgos (lafitis) and telescopus fallax (known also as the saint snake), Hemidactylus turcicus (a type of slow worm-samiamidi in Greek), Podarcis erhardii (the lizard of Aegean), Eryx jaculus, and two species of amphibians, marsh frog (Rana ridibunda) and leaf green tree frog (Bufo viridis).
Rare plant species
Genista acanthoclada, Dittrichia viscosa, Helichrysum stoechas, GJauciumflavum (yellow poppy), rock samphire (Crithmum maritimum), caper (Capparis spinose), thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) and Echinops spinosissimus (thistle), are just few of plants that flourish in Amorgos especially during the summer. During Autumn, one can also find the endemic crocus (Crocus laevigatus), Urginea maritima, Colchicum variegatum, Atractylis gummifera and Erica manipuliflora.
- Other rare species of vegetation are: Helichrysum amorginum (oil immortale), Amaranthus bell (Campanula amorgina), wild carnation, Amaranthus dianthus (Dianthus fruticosus subsp. Amorginus), Erysimum amorginum, Eryngium amorphine and ammonium gallium (Galium amorginum).
- One of the rare species of Greek flora found in Amorgos is also Phoenix theophrasti (a palm native to the eastern Mediterranean), that survived since Greece used to have a tropical climate. These palm trees are preserved in the mouth of the streams (Agioi Saranta, Kato Kampos, Finikies) and found in abundance right above the emblematic beach of Agia Anna.
- Perched on rugged mountains, ontop of the Monastery of Hozoviotissa (above the sea level), you can find the rare origanum calcaratum dittany, yellow (scorzonera) flowers, the pyro-colored Centaurea oliveriana and origanum onites.