Amorgos – hiking through charming mountain villages, snorkeling in crystal clear waters and off the back birding
This was my first post covid-19 pandemic travel outside of Denmark, and after all my internal debate regarding how responsible it was to travel abroad (pre-vaccination and everything), I decided to go to Greece and enjoy life a little. Before, during and after traveling I ensured to follow all the local guidelines and carried out all the neccesary precautions I possibly could. Always check the local travel guidelines and be aware that the situation can change quickly.
Last updated November 21 2021
If you came to Amorgos because of ‘Le grand bleu‘ (The Big Blue), the all-time famous movie directed by Luc Besson that put Amorgos on the map for its’ astonishing blue waters, you will not be disappointed to see Amorgos in real life!
I returned to Amorgos after a decade of absence. I had been in Greece from time to time since then, but since returning I was dazzled as to how little has changed in the meantime. Only this time I was different. I have changed so much since I was a teenager to the person I am now. Now I am more than eager to discover new places, endure long hikes and try different restaurants. But I still find myself needing a slow day with a morning snorkeling trip on one of the local beaches with my parents, spending the heat of the day inside the hotel room, having a simple Greek salad or Gyros souvlaki at the usual grill restaurant (see the bottom of this post), and returning to the beach again in the late afternoon.
I spent several days exploring some of the hikes that you can embark on when visiting Amorgos. Arriving in Katápola you will find a map overview of the possible hiking trails of Amorgos. It is situated behind the taxi waiting spot.
What is in common for most of the hikes were that they are marked with little signs with their numbers, red markings on rocks or rock cairns (read more about rock cairns and rock stacking here).
Hiking routes starting in Katápola
Hiking route 7A and 6 were my two favorite hikes as they went through some interesting terrain with beautiful sceneries. All of the summer hikes I recommend starting in the early morning and get at least the highest climb behind you before the temperatures rise too high up.
I hiked among goats, old shepherds huts along the coast north of Katápola to the lighthouse and back (route 7A, see photo below), where I had the highest number of bird species during my stay on Amorgos (check out my eBird list). Another trip (route 2) took me and my parents to Chora for brunch and a walk around the charming mountain village, my parents’ favorite place on the island.
Hiking routes from Chora
From Chora you can hike down east (route 1) to the Panagia Hozoviotissa monastery where you can have a glass of rakí and a loukoumi with the local monks. Then continue further down to the charming but tiny beach Agia Anna to the most clear waters I have ever seen during my many times in Greece.
Despite being microscopical, Agia Anna is worth the experience especially if you like snorkeling. The view there is absolutely stunning and the sun shines brightly on the crystalline blue sea.
At Agia Anna there is a small café where you can enjoy a cold beverage or better, an iced coffee, while enjoying one of the most calmingly beautiful views of the island. You might as well while you wait for the bus to pick you up!
The hike from Katápola to the Saint George Valsamitis monastery (route 6) is not the most beautiful of them, but you get to experience some rough mountain hiking with decent views of the Katápola bay. The path was not always clear, and there were parts of the trail where it was a little too exciting. If you continue along the roadside after the monastery you can end your hike in Chora, from where you can get busses to Katápola, Aigiali.
Hiking routes near Aigiali
One morning we took an early taxi from Katápola through the misty mountains, past Chora and along the coastline, to begin the hike in Aigiali (route 6). From the starting point it was a steep climb up to Tholaria, the first of the little mountain villages we would encounter along our hike. In Tholaria we stopped for an iced coffee and a little stroll around the quiet mountain village. Here I also got the best views of the local darling and breeding bird, the Eleonora’s falcon.
This species of falcon thrives in this landscape, and if may find it gliding around so elegantly just above your head while they look for their next prey, a small bird or mammal.
Timing is key
A fun fact about the Eleonora’s falcon is that they time their breeding with the migration of passerines, which means that when exhausted little songbirds arrive along the shores of Amorgos, the Eleonora’s falcon will catch them as prey for their young chicks! How cool is that 😊. Check out this nice website for more info on the species, although not the Greek falcons.
After Tholaria we hiked on an ancient mountain path that clearly had been used by the mountain village inhabitants for several hundreds of years. It was to me the most special path I hiked during my vacation in Greece, with several little discoveries along the way. We arrived in Langhada after about 1,5 hours of hiking in the baking sun, and we were longing for a break in the shade with good food and cold beverages. We had a delicious lunch at the café 25raki, where especially the homemade local bread was super soft and yummy!
After having sat there and rested our feet and filling our stomachs, we set east and downhill back to Aigiali.
Make sure you have checked the bus schedule beforehand! We arrived in Aigiali just in time for an afternoon bus, only to find it filled with young tourists that could not squeeze any more people in. Instead we called one of our favorite taxi drivers to drive us back to Katápola. This was of course an expensive alternative..
Accomodation in Katápola
I stayed at the family-owned hotel Saint George Valsamitis located in Katápola. My room had a lovely balcony and view of the mountains.
Dining in Amorgos
Here are my recommendations from the villages I visited + buzzwords
25raki (FEGGERO cafe restaurant on Google Maps, local food with a modern touch)
Ανέμι (dinner, fine dining, french)
Almyriki (lunch, dinner, fine dining)
Capetan Dimos (lunch, dinner, italian)
Gorgóna (lunch, dinner, fastfood)
Transistoraki (lunch, dinner, gourmet, vegetarian),
Apospero (dinner, fine dining, french)
3πορτο, Τριπορτο (breakfast, brunch/lunch, healthy)
Greece has a special place in my heart. Take care of her when you visit! 🙂
Rie (traveling female ornithologist)
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© All photos are my own unless stated and may not be used without permission.