|Subject: Re: Amorgos and the Greek islands|
Richard: Please check first. It has been our experience, that many of the
more untouched islands do not really begin to open up (i.e. have places to
stay or have restaurants in which to eat -- except a basic few) until
mid-May. We are not beach goers either, and we hate the hot sun, but mid-May
might be better if you want to visit the remote islands. When we were on
Santorini, and even at that time, Oia was just beginning to awaken from it's
winter nap. The other main towns had more open in terms of hotels and
restaurants, but you just might want to do more research
to make sure that you won't have any surprises.
Regarding Amorgos --- This is a fabulous island. We spent 10 days there, before going on to Serifos (after Naxos and Paros) Both of these islands are not high-traffic islands, and April or May would, in my opinion, be ideal.
We stayed at two places. First of all, on all islands, the ferries are met by people who want you to stay in their hotels or rent from their room rentals. We usually prefer the room rentals on the water with balconies overlooking the gorgeous Aegean -- as these are cheaper, but in the months of April and May nothing on the islands is very expensive - especially the remote ones. We have never had a problem finding accommodations without reservations during these months.
We first stayed at the Aegialis Hotel (http://www.dilos.com/hotel/385) view looking up at hotel - stay on one of top floors facing pool and the sea and harbor. We got a suite and we were one of 3 couples there! It was very reasonable w/ a delicious breakfast included. Our sentimental favorite, however was the Pagali - located on the other side of the port of Aegiali and up in a village called Langada.(http://www.united-hellas.com/tourism/amorgos/pagali/) - (Incidentally, in Greece, names of places are spelled differently many times! Don't be dismayed. They also, in Crete, had two names for the same town... !) Nikos, the owner, is a warm, gentle, wonderful soul and his rooms are complete w/ air-conditioning; his food on the his outside taverna is superb! We stayed here happily for the rest of our stay. Also, his helper (when we were there) is a lovely woman from Oregon or Washington -- named Michael-Anne. Both of these people were very helpful and we walked most everywhere on the island.
The town of Aegiali is small, (the first stop on the island with our ferry -- The other stop on Amorgos is Katapola) We preferred the small, quiet side of the island where we could just get to know the villagers and eventually, meet the small group of other tourists who came in the spring.
We walked trails all over, but we did rent a car at the port (from the only car rental place) and we were very happy.
Also, to note re car rentals: Sometimes, when renting cars on the islands, the rental company wants to hold your passport for security. We did not leave ours, bringing another credit card so that we could leave one with them. This never presented a problem as all they wanted to make sure of payment. In the spring, car rentals are very inexpensive, also.
You need a car to see the highlights of the island as buses in the spring are sporadic and we wanted to see everything while coming and going freely.
The weather on Amorgos is warm in the spring but it can be very windy. We always bring an umbrella and a windbreaker as for the past several years, the weather has been more fickle than in the past. Hiking is terrific and the locals can help you with everything. I would suggest getting a map of the island and asking directions if you are concerned. We would have people draw trails for us and we always asked. The maps will give you the main roads only - but people are always helpful!
The flowers in the spring are spectacular and the people are warm and welcoming as it is the beginning of the tourist season. We like this time of year as it's never crowded and the temperature rarely gets above 82 F. Sometimes we go to the beach late in the day to watch the unfolding colors of sunset. It will take your breath away.
If you decide to go to this island, you might want to consider going to Serifos for a day or two. They, with the exception of Folegandros, Serifos has the prettiest Chora in the Cyclades!!! The ferries make their last stop here and then go directly to Piraeus, so you might want to consider this island for your return.
Katapola is the other ferry stop on Amorgos. This is a much bigger town with more hotels and restaurants and a real working port. It is busier and much nosier -- We loved coming here for dinner sometimes, but preferred staying on the other side of the island!!! If you stay here, you might want to stay opposite the port (about 200 meters away) where it is a bit quieter and you can see all the action.
As for sightseeing - Do drive to the top of the Chora to see the old windmills and, of course please take a tour of the Hozoviotissas Monastery. This is spectacular looming out of the mountain rock!!! -- I always carry a sundress in my backpack that I can put over my shorts and tee shirt so that my legs are as covered as my arms. However, we noticed now that the Monks have skirts and shirts (with elastic waistbands at the entrance for those tourists that forget.) You cannot enter most Churches or Monestaries without being covered. Men must wear trousers, also.
When you have an itinerary, please ask if I can be of further assistance. We've spent many wonderful days and nights on Crete, Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Ios, Folegandros, Sifnos, Karpathos, Rhodes, Samos and Patmos. Years ago (1961) I spent 2 weeks on Mykonos and visited Delos (Fabulous!!!), but it is very different now.
As you can tell, we adore the islands with the warm and lively Greek people, the wonderful food in the local tavernas and the relaxed way of life in the spring. If you would like me to scan in any photos for you, let me know. Good luck - Happy planning. Susie Newton, MA