Arkesini and Kalofana on Amorgos
In the south-west of Amorgos, an unusual for Amorgos flat agricultural landscape spreads out, the area is called Kato Meria and is unlike anything else on the island. There are no high mountains or deep valleys here, only fields and pastures. But still very beautiful surroundings, well suited for easy hiking.
View of parts of Kato Meria. Agia Triada Tower in the center of the picture.
Kato Meria is not visited by so many tourists, the vast majority stick to northern Amorgos, in for example Katapola, Chora and Aegiali. It's a shame because there is plenty to see and do here.
In the area are the beaches of Mouros, Ammoudia, Paradisia and Kalotaritissa, the villages of Arkesini, Rachoula, Vroutsi and Kalofana. There is no shortage of sights either, here is the Olympia shipwreck, Agia Triada Tower, Ancient Arkesini and the special church of Agia Paraskevi. Don't miss Kato Meria when you're on Amorgos.
The hiking-friendly landscape of Kato Meria.
One of the villages in Kato Meria is Arkesini which is about 14 kilometres west of Chora. It's a tiny village and if it weren't for the village's only tavern, there would be no reason to stop here. As I said, the village is small, and only consists of a few houses and a couple of alleys.
View of the small village of Arkesini.
Taverna Marouso in Arkesini.
We visit Arkesini at least one time to eat lunch at Taverna Marouso every time we are on Amorgos. The taverna is the archetype of a family taverna that you only find in very small villages: there is a menu, but the thing that is on the menu is finished (or never existed), the food takes time to cook, the service is slow, the food is cheap and extremely good. In other words, one tend to be seated for a long time on Taverna Marouso, and by that I mean nothing negative.
Taverna Marouso in Arkesini serves very good Greek home cooking.
Agia Triada Tower near Arkesini is a rather unknown sight on Amorgos. The tower was built in the 4th century BC as protection for those who lived in Ancient Arkesini. It is built of large stones and is very impressive.
On the far left is a person, then you understand how big Agia Triada Tower is.
You might think you are in Mycenae on the Greek mainland.
Picnic at Agia Triada Tower in spring. The village in the background is called Rachoula.
Before reaching Arkesini there is a path that leads down to Ammoudi beach which is one of Amorgos least known beaches. After Ammoudi beach is the wonderful Mourous beach, which you can read about via the link at the bottom. Near the next village of Kalofana there is a small beach called Paradisia. Despite the name, it is not a paradise beach, but for washing off the road dust it is perfectly fine.
Paradisia beach near the village of Kalofana.
Kato Kambos beach near the village of Kalofana is nothing to write home about.
A few kilometres west of Arkesini is Kalofana, which is even smaller than Arkesini. It is a very rural village about 17 km south of Chora. A few permanent residents live here who mainly work in agriculture and cattle breeding. Also in Kalofana there is a tavern, it is called Delfini and is even smaller than Taverna Marouso in Arkesini.
View of the small village of Kalofana.
Taverna Delfini in Kalofana.
If you continue the road after Kalofana, you eventually reach Kalotaritissa, where southern Amorgos ends. Before arriving at Kalotaritissa, you can make a detour to the church of Agia Paraskevi and the Olympia shipwreck.
The wreck of the cargo boat Olympia lies rusting in the small bay of Liverio.
In February 1980, the captain of the cargo ship Olympia sought refuge in the small bay of Liverio near Kalotaritissa. There were strong northerly winds of upwards of 12 beuforts. The rescue operation failed and the boat ran aground in the bay. No one in the crew was injured.
Picnic with a view of the Olympia shipwreck.
Ever since then, the wreck has lain and rusted. One might ask why the scab has not been removed. Maybe because the wreck is something of a tourist attraction? Maybe because the shipwreck was in several scenes in the film The Big Blue by Luc Besson? Since I took the photos, Olympia has split in half and today consists of two parts.
The church of Agia Paraskevi is located between Kalofana and Kalotaritissa and famous for the celebration of the church's name day on July 26. The day before the name day, the food to be served is prepared. On July 26, the party is in full swing with food, local music and dancing. This party called panagiri in Greek is the biggest festival on Amorgos and attracts thousands of visitors. Incidentally, Paraskevi means Friday in Greek.
Agia Paraskevi Church between Kalofana and Kalotaritissa.
The long length of rooms in front of Agia Paraskevi church.
When the church is celebrated on July 26, it is not as empty as in the picture.
Then we arrived at Kalotaritissa, which is a tiny village with a few houses, below the village is a bay with the same name. The bay is protected from the elements and when there are storms, the fishermen usually anchor their boats here. In the bay there is a beach where sometimes, surprisingly, there are sunbeds and umbrellas, something that is otherwise unusual on Amorgos.
The beach in the sheltered bay of Kalotaritissa.
ACCOMMODATION IN KATO MERIA
The range is small, to say the least, and I think that few tourists choose to live in the area. Maybe because there is almost nowhere to live. In Arkesini there is a villa you can rent, but it costs quite a lot. The villa is called Maison Shiro and looks very nice.
WHAT YOU MUST NOT MISS WHEN YOU ARE IN KATO MERIA
READ MORE ABOUT AMORGOS