|The Greek islands||Agathonissi|
|The island of Agathonissi in Greece|
The Dodecanese islands is a group of 163 islands in the east of Greece of which 26 are inhabited. Agathonissi is the most northern island in this group. Agathonissi is a small island that is visited by some of the ferries on the route from Samos to Patmos. It is situated about one hour to one an a half hours away from the village of Pythagorion on Samos island. It is a rather barren island and there are not so many houses and people (about 150). From Samos there are nowadays once a week daytrips to this island, so the peace and quiet will probably soon be over with after people discover this small island. There are not many hotels or other kinds of accommodations on the island, so if you go there it seems a clever idea to book something ahead. You can check the ferry schedules to and from Agathonissi on the site of Greek Ferries.
In the harbour where you arrive there is a possibility to rent a room, because there are a couple of small hotels. Agathonissi is not a busy tourist resort but it's worth a visit. There are a couple of café's and some beaches on the island. In the bay of the village where the ferry arrives there are some kaiks (traditional wooden fishing boats) and you get the impression that people here still lead a traditional live, for instance as a fisherman.
On some websites I have read that the island has a daily connection with Patmos island, but as far as I know this is not true, and maybe it is only like this during the high season. Normally the ferry visits the island around three times a week on the way to and from Samos - Agathonissi - Arki - Patmos - Leros - Kalymnos. While we were on the ferry near Agathonissi we were greeted by a big school of dolphins.
The island has been occupied by the Turks, the Italians and the Germans, just like every island in Greece. Most of the people of Agathonissi live in Megalo Chorio (and there is also a Micro Chorio - the smaller village), where you can see a couple of houses with an interesting architecture. The village is behind the hill and was "hidden" in the older days because of pirate attacks.
The habour of the island is called St George and this is also the last of the three settlements on Agathonissi.
Agathonissi has been inhabited since antiquity and it used to have the name Yetoussa. It has had several other names amongst which "Gaidaros" or "Gaidouronissi", which means as much as "donkey". This was because of the way the island was shaped. Todays name of the island derives from the Greek word agathos, meaning "good".
On the island you can take a look at Byzantine and some other ruďns and there are plenty of churches and chapels. The island is shaped in such a way that it has many small bays and here and there you will find a cute small beach as well. The island od Agathonissi is 7 by 3 kilometers large but its coastline measures 32 kilometers in total. Because the island is not very occupied with tourism not many people speak English and one or two speak Italian and German. In Megalo Chorio there is a bakery that has fresh bread three times a week and there is a smal minimarket.