Please note that there are two ports on Amorgos, Katapola and Aegiali. You need to disembark at Aegiali. Occasionally the ship only goes into Katapola in which case disembark there. Either way Paul & Henri will be waiting for you on the quay. It is easy to spot Paul. He will be the only person on the island wearing a jacket and tie! Henri will be wearing a dress and jacket – also unusual outside church.
Please do not forget to settle your hotel bills before you leave for any drinks, meals or telephone bills which are outside the inclusive package. It is advisable to settle up at reception the evening before departure, especially if it is an early morning start. This will have to be in cash. You will be taken down to the port for the ship. Special Interest Holidays monitor all ship movements to the island and will ensure that everything is running on time before you leave the hotel.
If you are on an inclusive package with Sunvil Holidays our agent in Athens, Dolphin Hellas, will have someone waiting for you at the airport. They will be standing at the meeting point, designated on the information letter you receive with your tickets, holding up a sign. They will then take you to either a hotel or direct to the ship depending on the ship’s schedule.
If you have any problems from arriving at Athens airport, please contact Paul & Henri in Amorgos on +30 6939 820828 (24 hours). Should you need to speak to our agents in Athens please telephone +30 210 922 7772.
The only bank on the island is in Katapola it is usually open 08:00 – 13:00 (Monday – Friday). The bank also has an ATM outside. There is also an ATM in Aegiali and one in Hora. The machines frequently run out of money so plan ahead for your needs. The ATMs take most cards.
Formal dress will not be required either in Athens or on the island. Please see ‘Etiquette’ for dress requirements; monasteries and churches. We suggest that you take some light trousers as some paths are bordered with foliage and fairly dense undergrowth. An alternative to this defence is a pair of long socks. The climate in this small part of the Aegean is quite unique in that rain between April and October is extremely unusual. However a waterproof windcheater is a good item to carry as you can get cool winds at altitude. For the walking programme worn-in hiking boots are essential although there are some walks where a stout pair of shoes will suffice. The special interest programmes do involve walking. However, they are very flexible and you can do as much or as little as you wish. Most of the paths are rocky which is why we advise hiking boots. Shorts are of course a must.
There are no visa requirements for Greece for EU residents. US, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian residents receive entry and exit stamps in the passport and can stay as tourists for ninety days.
Sales of duty free goods between countries within the European Union ceased on the 1st July 1999. This primarily affected sales of alcohol and cigarettes. Perfumes and other fancy goods on sale at the airport were always sold just as tax-free and so are not affected. Wine and spirits are usually found to be the cheapest in the shops on Amorgos or in Athens. Cigarettes are particularly cheap in Greece but recognised brands are usually stronger than their British sold counterparts.
For details of what you may take out of the country depends upon your destination. British bound clients may apply for: ‘A Guide for Travellers’ available from HM Customs and Excise, New King’s Beam House, 22 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PJ, Telephone +44 (0)171 202 4227.
Amorgos has a very traditional and old-fashioned community. The people are exceptionally friendly and will not be upset when a visitor to their island doesn’t understand their customs and way of life. However, over the years we have found that clients wish to know at least a few points of etiquette in order to reciprocate the warm welcome they receive.
The most important points involve the Greek Orthodox Church. If you are not Greek Orthodox it is not advisable to enter any large village church, indeed most of these are locked to prevent this happening. On all programmes you will be taken into so many churches and monasteries you will not feel deprived!
In churches and monasteries Gentlemen should wear trousers and Ladies should wear skirts that extend at least to the knee. For the ladies a wraparound shift over the top of shorts or trousers is most acceptable. Everyone should have their shoulders covered and ladies are not allowed behind the altar screen. Having said this if there are no local people about these rules do not have to be strictly adhered to.
Our clients are particularly welcome on Amorgos because they learn more about the island and it’s people than most visitors. Also Henri and Paul are working hard with the islanders to promote eco tourism. To this end you will find the local people particularly generous towards you. They will give you flowers, bunches of grapes, cheese, figs, pomegranates etc as you pass. It will slightly offend them if you refuse. In these cases it is worth noting that donkeys will eat almost anything! And, there are plenty of donkeys.
There are some fantastic photo opportunities on the island, which is why we run the photography courses. One small point worth noting though is that generally the older ladies do not like having their photograph taken, there is no harm in asking though. In complete opposition to this the older generation of men usually love it and will pose for you. If your photographs come out well send a copy(s) back to Paul & Henri to give to them, you’ll be a friend for life.
Breakfast can either be taken inside the hotel taverna or on the terrace over looking the sea. Breakfast is a free choice from the menu including tea/coffee, fruit juices, fresh fruit, cheese, local yoghurt and honey, cereals, eggs cooked to order, bacon and of course fresh bread still warm from the family bakery next door. If you have a studio room there is a kitchen area where you can prepare your own breakfast or light meals.
There are a few tavernas in Langada where you are staying and more down in the port of Aegiali, prices are very reasonable. Fish is comparatively expensive and sold by the kilo. You will be advised on the price of the fish you choose before you order.
Dining at the hotel taverna is highly recommended. It is one of the best restaurants in the Cyclades, most of the produce is organic and from the owner’s farm on the island.
No vaccinations/inoculations are required for this holiday however it is an idea to check that your tetanus protection is up to date. Greece has a reciprocal arrangement with EU countries regarding medical care. You should get a E1-11 from a post office in the UK or the equivalent in Sweden and this together with your travel insurance will entitle you to medical care. In the unlikely event of requiring treatment you may have to pay in Greece but the insurance company will reimburse you upon production of a receipt.
There is a doctor on the island and a dentist who visits on a regular basis. The nearest optician is on Naxos. If you rely on glasses please carry a spare pair. Henri is a retired British registered nursing sister (RGN) and can help and advise on matters of health. There is a well-stocked pharmacy in Aegiali which is open Monday to Saturday, mornings & evenings.
Taking a camera to Amorgos is a 'must', but to ensure maximum pleasure there are a few things to keep in mind. If you have not yet joined the 'digital age' the use of 'colour print' film (C41) is recommended, either 100asa or 200asa. Although it's possible to buy such film on the island, it would be best to take some rolls with you. Please make sure this is in your 'hand carry on baggage' and not in your 'hold' baggage, which may be subjected to strong x-ray search. It's essential that you take a spare set of camera batteries for your camera; there is a small camera shop in Katapola but they may not stock suitable batteries There is no film developing service on the island. If you have a new camera, particularly digital, it is an idea to bring the instructions with you.
There is a post office in Aegiali which is open normal shop hours. Outgoing mail can take up to three weeks, depending upon the time of year. It is advised to take any post to the post office, not to use the post boxes.
If you are not happy with anything please talk to any of the management, the agents or the person involved directly. All of the people we employ are very experienced and skilled in their roles. It may be that there could have been some sort of misunderstanding or an exceptional circumstance may have occurred. If you feel uncomfortable with this or do not receive a suitable solution or explanation please make a note of the situation and the names of those involved and report it to Paul or Henri or write to:
Special Interest Holidays
For email contact please use the form on our Contact page accessed from the link on the footer menu.
We encourage positive feedback and constructive criticism at all times. Anything we can do to make your holiday more enjoyable will be implemented. If this can be achieved during your stay, all the better. One of the directors of the company will be available most mornings at breakfast if you have any problems.
From Athens the ship takes just over 7 hours, The ship will call in at up to five other islands on route and once under way the purser will be able to give you a pretty accurate estimated time of arrival. If you have a cabin they will phone you when you are an hour away from Amorgos. They are usually very punctilious but do not rely on this. The announcements are very clear these days and are in Greek and English. The sea is usually fairly calm in the summer but if you do have a tendency towards seasickness we strongly recommend the tablets ‘Sturgeron’ which can be obtained from any UK chemist.
The few small shops in Langada and down in the port of Ormos Aegialis, are relatively well stocked for the islander’s every day needs. They also have a few items for visitors, films, sunscreen etc but the choice is very limited and it is generally more expensive than Athens or the UK. The only way to get these items there is on the same ship you travel on. Katapola, the main port, has a few more shops.
There is a telephone in every hotel room and out going calls can be made at any time by prior arrangement. Incoming calls can only be received when reception is manned, usually between 09:00 and 23:00.
For long distance calls the cheapest option is to use an OTE booth there are two close to the hotel and a number down in the port. Phone cards may be purchased at the post office and some of the village stores.
Most mobile phones now work in all of the main villages and certainly at the hotel. We will not tell your office this if you don’t!
Upon arrival at Athens International Airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, you will normally be able to go straight to the ship. It is a drive of about 1 hr depending upon the traffic. The reason that Amorgos is so quiet and peaceful is because it is not easy to get there and this is why we have many people looking after you, in the UK, Athens and on Amorgos. They, particularly Paul & Henri, will be monitoring your progress and will get you there by the fastest and most comfortable means. Nine times out of ten everything goes according to plan but please be prepared for small changes to your itinerary.
Sunscreen and sunhats are essential and you will find a small rucksack useful to carry picnics and water. A good torch is also an idea as the old, but well paved, donkey track from the hotel down to the port is unlit. Towels are provided of course and changed daily if you wish but for swimming and sunbathing we recommend you bring a beach towel.
We advise that clients carry a small first aid kit that includes insect repellent, sting relief, elastoplast, blister pads, antiseptic cream or wipes and Imodium.
Other useful items are a 2-pin adaptor, travel alarm clock, binoculars and of course a camera. At the hotel most people speak English, however most of the villagers do not. They are exceptionally friendly people and will greet you every time they see you. They would be delighted if you just knew a few words of Greek. Paul & Henri will help you with this but carrying a small Greek phrase book is a good idea.
Water is safe to drink in most establishments in Greece but it is not advisable. At the hotel in Amorgos they have their own borehole. To reach water they had to go down almost to sea level. To this end, the water is slightly salty which is safe and most acceptable to wash in or clean your teeth but not very nice for drinking. If you ask for water at the hotel in Amorgos they will give you a jug full, but it will actually be mineral water. When out walking we recommend you carry bottled water, which is not expensive and readily available in any village store or the bakery next to the hotel.