Greek Island Hopping – the Cyclades
It was the 1988 film “Le Grand Bleu” which put Amorgos on it the map and, as I dock at the tiny port of Katapola, the solely different vacationers are talking French.
The harbour has a cluster of straightforward eating places and tiny guesthouses, reminding me of how life in the Greek islands was once. It’s located on a pretty horseshoe bay, actually a group of three separate villages – Katapola correct on the south facet, Xylokeratidhi on the north shore, and Rahidhi in the center.
Behind, the mountains stand up into one lengthy ridge reaching 800m at its highest level and so they’re coated in a community of properly-signed trails. The panorama is the star right here, relatively than the seashores, and the greatest means of discovering the delights of the island is on foot. Even higher you may really respect the magnificent settings of the historic cities.
The bus climbs upwards to the centre of the island. Surrounded by rocky hills topped with decapitated windmills, Chora, the island’s capital was constructed as safety in opposition to pirate assault.
The ruined thirteenth century Kastro perches precariously on an upright volcanic plug, wrapped with a chapel or two. It’s surrounded by low white homes, linked by a labyrinth of slender lanes, sprouting purple bougainvillaea.
From right here I take a path downwards in direction of the sea after which begin to climb 350 steps to the eleventh century Moni Hozoviotissis monastery. The dazzling white sheer construction is embedded into the cliff face and eight flooring, related by slender stone staircases, are carved into the rock.
Only a few monks occupy the fifty rooms now however they nonetheless supply conventional hospitality. Every visitor is handled to a sugary lump of loukoúmi, a warming shot of raki, with honey and spices, and a cool glass of water.
Suitably fortified, I comply with a properly-signed path northeast alongside the excessive backbone of the island. This is a barren treeless panorama however in the distance, I could make out tiny white villages. I quickly drop all the way down to Aegiali,
Amorgos’ second port, even sleepier than Katapola. Resisting the temptation to relaxation on the city’s sweep of sand, I take a round path upwards by means of the beautiful villages of Langada and Tholaria. After one other three hours, I’m again at the shore and take a well- earned dip.
The subsequent day I set out in the other way and climb out of Katapola on the steep street to succeed in the historic metropolis of Minoa in about 40 minutes. Like most issues on the island, it’s very low key, with no info on show, however the setting is spectacular. I see fragments of wall, the foundations of an Apollo temple, and trays upon trays of unsorted pottery shards.
The observe follows the shoreline south-west, descending virtually to sea degree earlier than climbing up by means of deserted terraces to succeed in the website of Ancient Arkesini. It’s in a commanding state of affairs, perched precariously on the clifftops, surrounded by water on three sides. It dates from the ninth century BC however was later deserted due to pirate raids.
Tower of Agia Triada
A brief distance inland is the Tower of Agia Triada, in-built the 4th century BC to present residents secure haven. It’s certainly one of the largest and greatest-preserved towers of the Cyclades, fairly spectacular in dimension. This rectangular fortress, constructed of native limestone, is a attribute instance of Hellenistic structure and stands out in the panorama.
Unlike the north of the island, the south is much extra fertile with ample olive bushes, and I descend steeply to a slender bay. The seaside is abandoned, neglected by an outdated chapel, and the sea beckons. After a last dip, I make my means again inland to Kolofana and tuck into fantastic native specialities at Apanemo restaurant. Of course, every little thing right here is natural, picked from the proprietor’s gardens and I significantly take pleasure in mom’s gradual-cooked goat.
FLY: Wizzair has low-cost flights from London Luton to Athens.
GETTING AROUND: Most ferries from Piraeus go through Naxos. There are additionally hyperlinks with Mykonos and Santorini. Use the restricted bus providers on the island to discover on foot.
STAY: Diasino Studios, simply behind the port in Katapola, makes a cushty base.
EAT: Mouragio Taverna serves up glorious seafood proper on the harbour.