Amorgos - A backpackers guide
We Last Visited Amorgos in 2003
Like Karpathos, Amorgos is divided into 2 distinct halves. The east of the island is more sparsely populated with only Egiali having any real population. However, we enjoyed our ferry for another half an hour before alighting at Katapola. The usual fracas on the harbour quay ensued with regard to rooms with the proprietors meeting the ferries even after midnight.
George, a retired harbour master rents out rooms in his house with, at times overwhelming hospitality including breakfast, fresh grapes (from his own vineyard) every morning, copious amounts of ouzo and early morning calls (even 5:00a.m if required) thrown in for free.
Katapola on Amorgos
Katapola itself comprises of two districts - The harbour area with a couple of tavernas, kafenio, mini market etc and a more resiential orientated district to the north of the bay. Georges rooms are situated in this area next to the campsite. If you want to see some of Amorgos on film hire a copy of Luc Bessons` "The Big Blue" which heavily features the wreck of the Olympia situated on the west coast. If don`t get time to see the film you can watch it in the suitably named Big Blue Bar just up the road from Georges. It plays the movie everynight for its patrons.
There is a shingle town beach which will do if you don`t feel like travelling far but there are better beaches available by excursion boat or via the bus service around the west. We walked up to the top of the hill immediately south west of Katapola to the ruins at Minoa which archaeological buffs and those that enjoy a great view alike will appreciate. Continuing west on the rough track road eventually brings you to what appears from a distance to be a fantastic sand beach with torquoise (and we mean torquoise) water but leads to bitter dissappointment upon closer inspection. Finikias beach suffers from on shore drift and would only be of interest to a refuse collectors convention. I had a swim in the gorgeous water anyway.
There are however, beaches without man-made pollution. A bus trip to Kamari and a twenty minute stroll down to the sea takes you to a pebble beach good for snorkling and only one of a number in this area. Another feature of the island seen on The Big Blue is the monastery at Hozeviotissa. Spectacularly perched half way up cliffs and with an inside that doesn`t dissappoint either with some beautiful icons and religious artwork. Suitable attire is available if you are in-appropriately dressed. The beach of Agia Anna below the monastery is nice but well publicised and as a result spoilt for the same reason so we caught the bus back to Hora (the changing point for most busses) and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the alley ways and drinking in the small central platia soaking up some real island life.
Egiali Northern Amorgos
On the north-eastern coast of Amorgos lies the quieter & more picturesque port of Egiáli. As with Katapola it is popular with the French and can now be incorporated into the package organised itineraries of some UK tour operators (at a cost). The ferries as usual are met by room owners, of which there are plenty. We stayed at the friendly Galaxy (20Euros 09/03) situated on the hill to the south of the quay which has a pleasant courtyard where they serve breakfasts.
The town beach is a long stretch of sand that starts off weedy but soon improves, backed by trees and a lane with a number of tavernas & bars plus some more rooms should you need to be as close to the beach as possible. Egiali Camping can also be found here. Although this beach is more than adequate there are 3 more coves accessible from a track at the far end of the town beach. The first cove, Levroso, is again sand with a taverna perched on the hillside that plays a selection of world music. The 2nd is Psili Ammos with a mixture of sand & pebble, no facilities and usually nudist. The final cove is much narrower and pebble only.
There is plenty of choice from the nutritional point of view. To Limani, situated one row back from the harbour, is deservedly the most popular & Selini at the back of the beach is also recommended if for no other reason than for it's friendly proprietor who speaks an impressive range of languages. Back in town the 'Sunset Boulevard' is an appropriately named collection of bars worth the slightly higher prices.
With more sporadic mainline ferry schedules but good services provided by the Skopelitis to the smaller satellite islands of Naxos, an explosion in tourism in not likely. Making Amorgos almost the perfect island for getting away from it all. Bliss.......
We are looking for accommodation in AMARGOS from 2-7 August. Would you be able to help us with this? We are a family, 2 adults and 3 children (ages 8,11 and 14).