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7 days in Amorgos

Summer in the Cycladic Islands - Part 2

Story by Fabien Bazanegue September 14th, 2017

Remember the movie "Le Grand Bleu" (The Big Blue) from French Director Luc Besson?

If you were a teenager in the 80's you were probably deeply touched by this movie that has marked an entire generation.

So, if you know the movie, you already know Amorgos. Or at least some of its famous spots (Hozoviotissa Monastery, the streets of Chora, Olympia shipwreck and Agia Anna chapel).

Charming Chora

First, honor to Amorgos' Capital: Chora.

Chora really worth the visit. Not only because it is the Capital of Amorgos but because of its incredible charm and beauty. Located above Katapola, Chora is the typical white greek village we all have in mind.

Here, you just have to lose yourself in the narrow and immaculate white streets and feel the quietness of the place. From time to time you will get into a shady square where you can enjoy some freshness and why not have a seat in on one of the terraces of the cafés.

Chora is also full of excellent restaurants and taverns where you can have lunch quite for nothing. For example try Transitoraki, you will be delighted of their simple and traditional dishes.

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Hozoviotissa Monastery

Hozoviotissa is an incredible place. You actually discovered it during the opening scene of Le Grand Bleu movie where after on long traveling over the surface of the sea, the camera stood up in front of impressive cliffs where a white Monastery is hanging.

To reach the monastery, you have 2 options. Either you take your car from Chora in the direction of Agia Anna and just before reaching it turn right towards the monastery parking. Or if you are full of courage and like to hike, there is a nice path that starts from the upper Parking in Chora and drives you quite smoothy down to the monastery parking.

There, you are just a few steps away from this stunning monument. Follow the stairs to reach the entrance and enjoy the magnificent view downwards on the deep blue sea.

To be noted, in order to get in the Hozoviotissa Monastery you will need to have both your shoulders and legs covered. Don't worry, you can borrow some clothes there. They are just waiting for you at the entrance.

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Agia Anna

If you have visited Hozoviotissa before make a detour down to Agia Anna before returning to Chora in order to have a swim in the crystal clear blue water.

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Above: the little chapel of Agia Anna. In Le Grand Bleu movie it had been transformed into a house where the cross above the entrance was changed into a chimney. This house was Jacques Mayol's father house in the movie.

Olympia shipWreck

Instead of returning to Chora, just before the town entrance, turn left towards Arkesini. Approximately one kilometer after Kalotaritissa, pay attention on your right hand side. You will see a small creek down below and if you are not going too fast you will catch sight the Olympia shipwreck. Just park on the side of the road and take the path that will take you down to it.

This shipwreck is actually the one where Enzo (still in Le Grand Bleu movie) is rescuing a diver blocked inside the wrecked vessel. Remember?

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Katapola

Leaving Chora in the direction of North East towards Aegiali you will gain some height and will enjoy a stunning view over Katapola and its protected bay.

Katapola is the main port of Amorgos where most of the ferries will drop you off if you are coming from an other Cycladic Island. Apart from the main street on the port, there is not much to see there.

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Nikouria ISland

The uninhabited Island of Nikouria (4,5 km long) is located straight in front of the "Caribbean finger" of Agios Pavlos beach. It is easily accessible by a permanent boat shuttle service (4€ per person). It will takes you only 10 minutes to reach the island.

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Historically the island is known for its production of coins in antiquity and later was used as a shelter for lepers from the mainland. Nowadays you will find there just a few goats and a small apiculture.

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Three really nice sandy beaches on the island offer you a quite uncrowded, wind and rough-sea protected private atmosphere. All beaches are soft and sandy with rocks surrounding, enjoyable for little kids and families.

Clear water and the attractive underwater world is also inviting you for snorkeling on Nikouria’s shoreline and perhaps to swim to the close-by Island of Gramvonissi.

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If the ferry boat left you on the main beach (first stop), you can change of beach if you want and reach the second one by either taking the ferry boat when it passes by or by having a 15 minutes walk from one beach to the other, passing the small church of Panagiata and enjoy a nice panoramic view on Agios Pavlos.

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Small church of Panagiata
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Sunsets

If you like sunsets you will not be disappointed in Amorgos.

Like in Mykonos, sunsets are really magic moments. Whether you enjoy them from Potamos, Lagada or Aegiali.

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Nice place for a dinner in Potamos
getting som height in Potamos to admire the sun getting down on Naxos Island
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Sun is hiding behind the hill next to Tholaria
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The tiny windmill at Aegiali port
Enjoying the sunset at Aegiali beach

Below: End of a cloudy afternoon with a crazy light that comes out of the clouds bringing stunning colors on Lagada country side.

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Falling in love with Lagada

If there is one place you need to absolutely see in Amorgos Island it's Lagada.

I completely fell in love with this village with its white streets and houses with blue doors and windows. Actually, I spent a whole week there renting a charming typical village house. And that's the perfect place if you are seeking quietness and tranquility.

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The village is not only white it is also full of touches of colors. Blue of course for the majority of the doors and windows although you can also find some green ones. Pink like the bougainvillier flowers, yellow or red for some flower pots. Every streets are neat and nicely decorated.

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If you spend some time here, you will not miss anything. There are several (nice) restaurants right in the village, next to your door, there's a bakery where you will find great greek specialties for breakfast and also two or three groceries. That's more than enough to enjoy the island life. You will love it for sure !

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Night falls on Lagada

People, cats and goats

To be honest, I was hoping to come back with great shots of some greek Popes. But unfortunately, very few of them crossed my road during my stay. Anyway, I was able to shot some natives old greek men and some lovely cats as well ;)

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And of course, some goats !

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Other areas to explore

MALTEZI BEACH AND CHURCH OF ST. PANTELEIMON

Before leaving Amorgos, if you take you boat at Katapola and if you have some time to spare, I strongly suggest to get to Maltezi Beach which is located at the opposite of Katapola in the Bay.

To get there just take the boat that leaves every half hour from Katapola's Port. It only cost 4€ per person and you will not have to worry how and where to park your car or how to go to Maltezi by the road.

There, you will have the choice to either lie on one of the sun-beds (for only 4€ again but for the whole day if you want) or go and explore around and discover the charming chapel of St Panteleimon.

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THEOLOGIOS


If you are around Lagada and like to hike you can take on of the donkey man path that leaves from the village to reach the isolated "Theologios" (Church of St. John the Theologian).

There you will be welcomed, like in many churches in the greek islands, by a woman who will explain you the story of the place and will also offer some refreshments (a simple glass of fresh water or some Raki, a greek liquor) as well as a piece of watermelon. This will give you some energy to resume your way either back to Lagada or further till the extremely windy Stavros.

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On your way, you will find a wide variety of wild mediterranean flora, typical of the greek islands.

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AROUND AEGIALI

Aegiali is the second port of Amogos, fewer ferries are accosting here as compared to Katapola. Surprisingly, Aegiali is much more agreeable and dining around the port will worth the experience.

To be noted, Aegiali is also offering a nice quiet and sandy beach where you will find some shades in the morning thanks to the tamarisks trees along the beach.

The pier at Levrossos Beach in front of Aegiali and Potamos
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Aegiali and Potamos as seen from Levrossos

THOLARIA

Apart from the big church at the entrance of the village there is not much to see in Tholaria or perhaps also just the view and the Aegiali Bay. So if you don't have time to get up there, you will not miss a big thing.

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Footnote: All photo taken with a Fujifilm X-T2
Amorgos, Naxos, Greece