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It was in the late 1980s when Luc Besson decided to film his movie “The big blue” on Amorgos island. The story of the friendship and sporting rivalry between two free-diving champions: Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca made Amorgos island famous worldwide. The film features Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr, and Rosanna Arquette whereas the Original music score was written by Éric Serra.
It is without a doubt that Amorgos offered an ideal scenery for the movie and ever since its release at the theatres, this small Aegean island became synonymous with “The Big Blue”. But truth be told, although the movie was one of France’s most commercially successful films, the beauty of this Cycladic island lies beyond cinema!
Fun fact: There is a cafe in the port of Katapola named “The big blue” where you can have your coffee while watching the film!
Let’s go discover more about Amorgos!
Boasting a mind-blowing natural landscape, minimal Cycladic architecture, mysterious caves, and fabulous clear blue waters, Amorgos island is one of the hidden gems of the Cyclades. Untouched by mass tourism, Amorgos is the perfect holiday destination for those who seek privacy and tranquility, as well as for nature lovers! The hiking trails that cross the island are perfect for exploring the nature of Amorgos, while secluded Amorgos beaches are ideal for naturists!
The most important sightseeing in Amorgos is the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, an amazing monastery constructed against a rocky mountain. Its simple Cycladic architecture along with its amazing location and the breathtaking sea view makes this Monastery one of the most emblematic constructions in Greece!
A short walk from this monastery leads to the small bay of Agia Anna, a secluded beach with exotic water and a picturesque small white chapel.
Another famous spot is the shipwreck of Olympia. It is located near Kalotaritisa and a 10 minutes walk will lead you to this photogenic place that became famous from Luc Besson’s movie scenes.
Amorgos has many villages scattered around its rocky landscape. Chora is the capital of the island and it is hands down, one of the most beautiful of the Cyclades. Surrounded by lovely windmills and full of beautiful Byzantine and early Christian churches, outspread white houses, and stone-paved little streets, this little wonder reminds us of a labyrinth and has an incredible and particular atmosphere. Another beautiful village is Tholaria. Whitewashed houses, paved alleys, traditional shops, and beautiful views make this village worth your visit. Last but not least, the two ports of the island Katapola and Aegiali are quaint, small villages by the sea with nice tavernas and shops.
Amorgos is not famous for its long sandy beaches. But if you are looking for crystal clear blue waters, sea caves, secluded small creeks, and interesting seabeds, then you are at the right island. The most popular beach is Aegiali. It is sandy and organised with many facilities. The beach of Mouros is a must. You have to climb down a few stairs, but the dive into the crystal waters and swimming in sea caves are surely worth it! Also, the uninhabitable islet of Nikouria which is reachable by boat from Agios Pavlos will offer you a nice day by the beach.
Organizing tips on your visit to Amorgos
Amorgos belongs to the eastern Cyclades and has two ports: Katapola and Aegiali.
From Athens: There are daily ferries from Piraeus and the trip lasts about 7-9 hours.
From Naxos: A very common island hopping package is Naxos-Amorgos. Many travelers reach Naxos first by plane or ferry and continue their trip to Amorgos by ferry. From Naxos, there are daily ferries and apart from the big ferry companies, there is also the local ferry, “Express Skopelitis” that connects the two islands.
Other islands: Note that Amorgos is also connected by ferry with numerous other islands. For example, you can reach Amorgos from Santorini (the trip lasts 1 hour and 15min). You can also reach Amorgos from Mykonos where the ferry trip duration is around 2 hours long. Last but not least, the Small Cyclades complex ( Koufonissi, Iraklia, Schinoussa, Donoussa) is also connected daily by ferry with Amorgos.
The best places to seek accommodation are the villages of Katapola, Aegiali, and Chora. Although Amorgos has a very smooth touristic development, which is what makes it so unique compared to Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros, a visitor can find from organised campings, studios, and boutique hotels, to luxury hotels with spa.
Luxury hotel & spa: Aegialis hotel & spa is beautifully situated in the charming settlement of Aegialis, offering a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea. The hotel is decorated in accordance with the traditional Cycladic style, yet provides all the modern amenities, necessary for an unforgettable stay.
Studios and boutique hotels: If love design and want to travel in style, but do not pay a fortune for it, check out this list of beautiful apartments, studios, and hotels:
- Plori studios are designed for making your vacations an unparalleled authentic experience with respect to the surrounding natural beauty and in harmony with the traditional Cycladic architecture
- Pano Gitonia: Panagiotis and Theo will welcome you to their traditional stone houses and offer you the warmest stay!
- Alonistria: A traditional house promising to be your Cycladic dream house!
- Amorgos Pearls is situated in the center of the Katapola and its elegantly decorated rooms follow the straight lines and curves of the Cycladic architecture
- Amorgion Hotel: is a true oasis of serenity and relaxation right in the heart of the island in Katapola.
Camping: One of the neatest and most clean organized campings of the Cyclades, is located in Katapola. It is a family-run business and if you are travelling on a budget, “Kastanis” is your place to stay!
Scuba diving: If you want to live the Big-blue-experience the whole way, see a magnificent seabed, swim in sea caves full of sponges, and explore rusty shipwrecks (not to mention the amazing underwater photos you will take), you can take a scuba and free-diving lesson with the experienced team of “Amorgos diving”
Food in Amorgos is a thing! There are many restaurants and tavernas serving delicious food. Many of its ingredients are as fresh as they can get since they are produced on the island. Don’t miss the chance to try local cheeses and “psimeni raki” which is a traditional aperitif.
Amorgos is a fairly small rocky island but due to its relatively high hills, small distances can take relatively more time to reach.
Katapola port is in the South part of the island whereas Aegiali port is in the North. The distance between them is around 20km. The ride can be very enjoyable during daylight. It offers amazing landscape views, you will come across many bands of goats and if you are lucky enough, you will witness the phenomenon of “cloud dancing” across the mountain slopes! At night though, driving can be fatiguing or even a bit stressful, since there is merely any light. It would be wise to choose your arriving/departing port in accordance with the location of your accommodation.
The island has a good public bus network offering routes to almost all villages, sites, and beaches. Buses are the cheapest way to move around the island. Of course, if you are not travelling very low budget, renting a car is recommended especially if you don’t like timetables and want to discover hidden gems on your own time.