Amorgos sailing holidays

Spectacular Amorgos - Αμοργός is an island of bare rocky hills 17.8 NM long and up to 3.5 NM wide.

For the most part the south-east coast falls steeply down to the sea, but the north-west coast is gentler, with two deep inlets sheltering the Katapola and Aegiali ports.
Moreover, the must-see “Fjord Bay” and Kalotiri anchorages mean that Amorgos should be included when cruising the Cyclades.

The Small Cyclades Lines ferry about to moor between the two groups of yachts at Katapola port.
Windmills just east of Amorgos' Chora.

The population – much reduced by emigration – lives by farming and fishing. Ferries are not frequent, which explains the surprising low numbers of tourists.

The remains of several ancient cities, extensive cemetery areas, finds of coins and rock inscriptions bear witness to the importance of the island in Minoan and Hellenistic times as a port of call on the sea route between Milos and the south-eastern Aegean.

It is possible to sail bloodcurdlingly close along – and seemingly under – the 200 – 650 m high and near-vertical cliffs on the NE coast    Lat Long

Amorgos features its own pod of dolphins plus a separate small pod of curious young males.  

History

Used in Roman times as a place of exile and in subsequent centuries frequently harried by pirates, Amorgos has remained since then an island of no economic or political importance and has in consequence retained much of its distinctive character.

Amorgos or Chora, the chief place on the island, is situated on the slopes of a hill, huddling round a ruined 13th c. Venetian castle with its typical whitewashed Cycladic houses, its many barrel-vaulted family churches and its windmills.

From the town it is a half-hour walk to the Byzantine Monastery of Panayia Hozoviotissa (1088), clinging to a sheer rock face at a height of 367 m. From the lower terrace there is a magnificent view over the sea.

Opposite on the west coast of the island is Katapola, the main port.

At the south end of the island, at the pretty village of Arkesini - Αρκεσίνη, is the site of Kastri, with remains of a settlement occupied from Myceanaean to Roman times. At the north, near Aegiali port, are traces of a settlement by Milesians. From here there is a very rewarding climb to the summit of Mount Krikelos (821 m), the highest point of the island.

The spectacular Monastery of Hozoviotissa – the pride of Amorgos – is chiseled into the cliff-face 367 meters above the sea.

Amorgos ports and anchorages

The north-east point of Amorgos – Cape Prasino – fishing vessel for scale.

Kalotaritissa

Kalotaritissa - Καλοταρίτισσα bay – near the south-west tip of Amorgos, just south of the appealing Gramvousa island – is not as desolate as it appears on the chart: mind the many permanent moorings and chains on the seabed.

Small catamarans might go stern-to the minute quay near the taverna. In the summer months all vessels will have to anchor further east, which means less shelter from the prevailing winds.
The famous grounded ship Olympia is a 20 minutes walk east, but is nothing as monumental as the wreck on Zakynthos.

Greece – Cyclades yacht charters Amorgos
Kalotaritissa bay and Gramvousa island (the white Church marks its south anchorage), with the Lesser Cyclades on the horizon. Hi-res image

Gramvousa

Gramvousa - Γραμβούσσα island has two main anchoring options, but the east bay – although superbly private – is only suitable in fair weather and is open to N – SE winds Lat Long

Fortunately, the south anchorage offers more allround shelter and better holding in sand / weed; mildly Meltemi-proof; anchor in 3 – 5 m south-west of the white Church Lat Long
The GWP, EagleRay and Navionics show the correct situation; perfect sandy beach under a low steep ridge; in the main season sunseekers are ferried over from Kalotaritissa: if too crowded you could probe the cove directly east of the Church.

Sailing north of Gramvousa, looking south-east, with Amorgos in the distance. Note the low-lying islets and reefs north of Gram­vousa.
The iconic Monastery viewed from sea, when we made landfall coming from Astypalaia island.
The pier and quayside of Aegiali port, looking north-west.

Akrotiri • Kato Kampos

The deep inlet of Akrotiri • Kato Kampos - Ακρωτήρι is open to the prevailing northerlies and is rather lacklustre Lat Long The rocky slabs on the seabed make it difficult to anchor safely.

Katapola port

Katapola - Κατάπολα (the name is probably a compound of “Kato” and “Poli”, lower town) is the main port of Amorgos island and serves as the gateway to the cherished Monastery of Hozoviotissa via taxi, bus or rented scooter or car.

In the deep bay there are two safe anchorages west of the port: in northerlies at Maltezi beach (west of Panteleimonas Church) Lat Long and in southerlies between the Katapola port and Panagia Church Lat Long

Katapola port with a larger ferry docking onto the west ferry quay. Also see the east side of the port where visiting yachts can go stern-to east of the small ferry quay.

In the port go stern-to the SW or S quay yet not too close to the eastern ferry quay where it is shallow. Note, that anchors chains will cross if you use too much scope. Moreover, the ferry could lift your anchor.   Yachts and catamarans drawing less than ~2 m can anchor east of the ferries; see the photo of Katapola top of page, (further) dredging is planned, as well as a future marina.
Directly ashore you can find most amenities, otherwise it is a pleasant walk uphill to the Chora.

Worthwhile locally is the Church of Panagia Katapoliani – 1 minute walk from the quay – built over an early-Christian basilica with ancient materials (spolia) from an Apollo temple.  
The “Botanical Park” is a lovely oasis to eat out, buy herbs or drink tea under lemon trees.
Moreover, there is the Venetian faucet with excellent spring water delivered by an ancient aqueduct.
Further south are the ancient ruins of Minoa (walls, a school, a temple) built over a pre-historic town; 45 min. circuitous route.

Kalotiri

Kalotiri - Καλοτυρι bay offers a splendid anchorage under the elegantly shaped island of Nikouria - Νικουριά in crystal clear water with hues of greens and azures.

Either anchor in the middle (20 m deep) or – my favourite – close to the beach in 4 – 8 m Lat Long The seabed is hard sand with lots of thick weed, so visually check your anchor: snorkeling is a delight here.
Possibly sudden and severe gusts over the low and thinnest part of the island, but otherwise Meltemi-proof; less suitable in (strong) easterlies and southerlies.
See my anchoring course.

The west coast of Amorgos and Nikouria island, resembling the dorsal part of a gracefully swimming dinosaur with Atimo islet as the head of the beast.
Kalotiri anchorage is behind the curved tail of Nikouria.

In ancient times coins were minted at the Mint just north-west of the conspicuous Church of Panagia. In recent days the island was a refuge for lepers.

The channel between Amorgos and Nikouria has the forewarning name of Kakopérato; a compound of Kako meaning “bad” and Perato meaning “crossing”. Only use the channel in calm conditions and good visibility, while keeping to the north side (60 m off Nikouria island) where there is a minimum depth of 5 m.

Aegiali (the second port of Amorgos) looking NNE. Tholaria village in the background.

Aegiali port

Aegiali - Αιγιάλη is called Giáli by the locals and is comprised of four villages:

  • Gialó ① near the quay has most of the tourist trade and serves as the port.
  • Langáda or Lagada ② is the delightful centre of Aegiali and can be reached by a 30 minutes hike uphill, or rent bikes or a car to visit the cave chapel of Agia Triada; festivities 50 days after Greek Easter.
  • The village of Potamós ③ is built on the mountain slopes and has been referred to as the “balcony of the Aegean”.
  • To the north is Tholária ④ with an ancient citadel and vaulted Roman graves (Tholotos means vaulted).

Also very rewarding is the Monastery of Agios Ioannis the Theologos (6th c.), which has been recently renovated, plus there are exquisite frescoes; a 50 min. walk from Langáda, and celebrations on 26 September and 8 May.

The port of Aegiali provides allround shelter despite strong gusts from the NW. If possible go along-side the pier, alternatively go stern-to. We couldn't find the chains fouling the seabed close to the pier mentioned by GWP. For this port we used Navionics and EagleRay.
The quayside is too shallow for most charter yachts; the ferry docks at the far end of the pier; the preferred berths are at the middle section, see photo Aegiali pier.

There is a diving centre at the beach and delishious (vegetarian!) dishes right at the pier: “Amorgialos Taverna”.

Solid holding in port but less so in the bay (also due to a steeply angled seabed). If you want to stay at anchor – and avoid most of the ferry noise & light pollution – you'll find the best spot between the green light and the beach; only affected by strong westerlies; reasonable holding in sand / weed / rock.

Mikri Vlichada

Mikri Vlichada - Μικρή Βλυχάδα is a tight cove 1.2 NM west of “Fjord bay” and is a lonely, lovely location for a lunch-stop or in southerlies Lat Long
Visit the stunning village of Tholaria.
Open to WNW – ENE winds, and any northerly will bring in a swell.
Pebbled beach; just room for one yacht / catamaran; good holding.

Tholaria village overlooking Mikri Vlichada bay.
Fabulous “Fjord bay” – looking south – with Langada (Aegiali midtown) in the hills above, a 30 min. hike.

“Fjord bay” • Megali Vlichada

Near the north cape of Amorgos is “Fjord bay” : one of my favourite anchorages in the eastern Cyclades     Lat Long Officially Megali Vlichada - Μεγάλη Βλυχάδα, wider and much deeper than Mikri Vlichada.

First admire the desolate fjord-like scenery, then drop the bow anchor in 5 – 10 m (coarse sand) and drag the second anchor onto the beach; gusts will blow down the valley or from the NNW. Very suitable in hot summer weather due to the sudden sunset behind the rock face .
Note, the prevailing NW wind can become a local SE wind in the evening.

Although Cape Vilakarda - Βιλακάρδα (the north cape) provides decent protection, it is better to relocate to nearby Aegiali port in NNW – NNE winds / gusts over 35 knots.