Amorgos is the easternmost Cycladic island, located southeast of Naxos and northwest of Astypalaia. There is a boat connection with Piraeus, Rafina, the surrounding Cycladic islands and the Dodecanese. It is an oblong island with successive massifs. Its highest top is Krikellos or Kroukelos (822 m.), which used to be full of oaks and rich vegetation up to the great fire of 1835. Its shores are particularly steep and abrupt. On the western coast, there are few leeward creeks (the ports of Katapola and Aigiali), as well as some quiet beaches (Foinikes, Kato Kambos, Agios Pavlos, Paradeisia), in contrast to the eastern one, which is extremely steep. Its subsoil doesn’t have much to offer, save some bauxite seams.
Two regions of the island have been included in the European network “NATURA 2000″: the NE part of the island has been declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) and the N part of Amorgos has been declared a Site of Community Importance (SCI). Amorgos is one of the Important Bird Areas of Greece.
Modern residents occupy themselves with shipping, fishing, sponge fishing, agriculture and stock farming; tourism has been recently added to the above. The wine of Amorgos is a famed one. A remarkable image is created by traditional architecture (Chora, Aigiali, Arkesini) with lime-rendered houses with narrow façades, narrow slab-paved streets and vaulted arches connecting the upper floors of houses. Stone nosings and edges of the buildings are left uncolored, harmoniously contrasting with the white lime-cast of the rest of the surfaces. The same applies to churches, the center of the residents’ social life. Many of them were built on top of ancient ruins (e.g. the Venetian tower of Agios Georgios Valsamitis at the Chora, the church of Panagia Katapoliani at Katapola). Renowned is the feast of St Anargyroi of Aigiali (July 1st.)
Hiking on Amorgos
We should finally add that Amorgos is the right place for hiking. The modern road network follows a different route from that of old paths. Therefore, most of the old farming and mule paths have been entirely preserved. There are five types of paths: a) dirt roads unsuitable for vehicular traffic, b) large conspicuous stone-paved paths, c) large paths (these are the most), d) rough inconspicuous paths for experienced hikers, e) paths following the brow of hills and the natural passages. They have been organized in a network of 16 routes (taking from 45 minutes to 5 hours to cover). They begin from or end at one of the modern settlements and cover many places of the island, which are of environmental, ecological and historic interest. Therefore, they satisfy hikers and visitors that want to become acquainted with the island in an alternative way.