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The Big Blue

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Discover Amorgos

Amorgos is the easternmost of the Cyclades and an arresting place of rugged beauty that takes the breath away. An island once seen as remote and inaccessible is now synonymous with The Big Blue, the famous Luc Besson film shot here thirty years ago, which has made its image known in every corner of the globe.

Amorgos is characterised by its incomparable landscapes, including bare stone mountains that plunge down towards the deep blue sea, and brilliant white villages perched on towering rocks with fantastic views of the Aegean. It is an island of irresistible natural charm, which is only enhanced by mysterious ancient cities such as Arkesini, Aegiali and Minoa, and one of the loveliest capitals in the Cyclades.

Untouched by mass tourism and with a true sense of hospitality, Amorgos radiates an atmosphere of freedom for lovers of alternative holidays.

3 memorable experiences on Amorgos
  1. Discovering the island’s old cafes, which seem untouched by time. Stop for a shot of rakomelo (a raki and honey drink) at Tholaria, Langada, Katapola, or Arkesini.
  2. Visiting the rusting “Olympia”, a ship half-submerged in Kalotaritissa Bay since 1980, and among the most mysterious sights on the island.
  3. Exploring the tranquil rural landscape of Kato Meria and the age-old villages of Arkesini, Kamari, Kalotaritissa, Vroutsi, and Kolofana.
Beaches of Amorgos

Amorgos is less celebrated for its beaches than for its stunning crystal-clear waters in every shade of blue. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim:

  • At the much-photographed Saint Anna, below the impressive Hozoviotissa Monastery. One of the most iconic scenes in The Big Blue was shot in this small cove with its sand and pebble beach, making the island famous around the world.
  • At Saint Paul, an unusual beach with a narrow strip of sand stretching out into the blue-green sea. It has umbrellas and sunbeds, and there is also a taverna.
  • At the imposing Mouros, with its grey sand, steep rocks, and wonderful turquoise waters. The two underwater caves at one end of the beach are perfect for swimming into and exploring.
  • At Levrosos, which has soft golden sand, shallow waters, and a small cluster of tamarisk trees offering natural shade.
  • At Maltezi, perhaps the best beach on the island, with its fine sand and blue-green sea. It has tourist facilities and is sheltered from the wind, making it ideal on breezy days.
  • At the enchanting island of Gramvousa, opposite Kalotaritissa Bay, where the beach is a paradise of limpid blue-green waters, sand, and small pebbles. It is accessible by boat.
  • At Nikouria, the uninhabited islet opposite Saint Paul, which has three exotic beaches for lovers of seclusion. The locals have nicknamed it “Nicaragua”.

If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Amorgos, you will experience the island’s idyllic beaches.

Postcards from Amorgos: 10 things not to miss

Hozoviotissa Monastery
Amorgos’s most iconic attraction dates from 1088 and clings to a sheer cliff face 300 metres above sea-level. It is also known as the “single-wall monastery” as it is 40 metres long and only 5 metres wide. The view of the Aegean from here gives visitors the feeling that they are hovering in mid-air, and it is well worth the 300-step climb in order to enjoy it.

Amorgos Town
Invisible from the sea, Amorgos Town is arguably the most dazzling capital in the Cyclades. It is a harmonious arrangement of picturesque cobbled streets, vaulted passages, and white houses with brightly coloured doors and courtyards fragrant with the scent of jasmine, not to mention its countless post-Byzantine churches, arty cafes, and shops.

If you choose one of the itineraries to Amorgos, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Tholaria. Among the most delightful villages in the Cyclades, it is situated 200 metres above the Bay of Aegiali. This maze-like complex of paved alleyways with arches and hidden passages seems to touch the clouds, giving it an otherworldly atmosphere. If you come at dusk, you will be able to enjoy watching the lights of Aegiali below.

The Windmills
The 11 half-demolished windmills in Amorgos Town (of the original 35) stand on the brow of the hill above the district of Troullos and are monuments of folk architecture. There is an excellent view of the windmills from the main square of Loza.

Saint George the Balsamite
This historic 8th-century monastery stands on the site of one of three centres of hydromancy in ancient Greece. “Talking water” interpreted as prophesying the future flowed from a spring there.

The Tower of Gavras
This lovely 16th-century Venetian mansion is located in Amorgos Town and houses the collection of the Archaeological Museum, containing finds from the excavations of the island’s three ancient cities (Aegiali, Minoa and Arkesini), including sculptures and inscriptions.

This is a beautiful village of tiny houses, small squares, flower-filled courtyards, quaint tavernas, and panoramic views of the island. Don’t miss the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, a tiny white box of just six square metres perched on the edge of a rock.

The ruined rural settlement of Asfondylitis is located on the road between Aegiali and Amorgos Town and is a fine example of vernacular architecture. The most famous attraction in the village is the more than 200 elaborate rock pictures mainly featuring musicians and dancers.

The Venetian Castle
Situated in a commanding position, the ruins of the castle built in the 13th century by the Venetian Jeremiah Gyzi have panoramic views of Amorgos Town and the Aegean. The best-preserved remains include parts of the wall with the ramparts and the pretty church of Saint George.

Palia Strata
One of eight marked trails on the island, this corresponds to the ancient road by which people and goods moved between Amorgos Town and Aegiali. The four-hour route crosses the local countryside, passing important monuments such as the Byzantine church of the Virgin Mary Theoskepasti.

Tastes of Amorgos

The local cuisine boasts some of the finest traditional recipes in the Cyclades, including patatato (braised goat or lamb with red sauce and potatoes), the island’s signature dish.

Other delicious offerings include kalogiro (oven-baked aubergines with meat and cheese), lupina ladolemono (a kind of white bean in an oil and lemon sauce), horiatiko (oven-baked beef with vegetables and kasseri cheese), octopus pie, baked aubergine, hortopitakia (mini pies containing wild greens) and kavourmas (an omelette with pork). A special place on the dinner table on Amorgos is reserved for the local fava (split peas from the katsouni plant), enjoyed as a puree served with onions or as fritters. You should also try the local pavli (rusks of twice-baked bread known elsewhere in Greece as paximadia and here made from a mixture of wheat and barley), xerotigana (fried strips of sweet dough), and pasteli (a honey and sesame seed bar).

Make sure you sample the famous psimeni raki (a homemade liqueur made from raki boiled with honey and spices). If you find yourself at a village festival, you may well be offered xidato (a kind of soup made with goat meat).

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