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Andros: A “hidden” Cycladic Paradise near Athens

Ενημερώθηκε: 31 Οκτ 2019

For some an unknown place, for others an island near Athens that they visited for a weekend and did not appreciate it especially because they did not get to see much of it, and for others a Cycladic paradise that keeps its authentic character and its beauties well hidden. Guess what our take on that is!

Although its proximity to Athens is ideal for a weekend getaway, we do not recommend it as Andros is the second largest island of the Cyclades, it is beautiful from North to South and in 2 days you won’t have enough time to see its treasures. So do not come ONLY for the weekend, unless you are planning to come for the next weekend and the next after that as well. Yes, this is also possible due to its proximity to Athens.


However, we recommend that you spend at least 5 days on this beautiful and diverse island. It's worth it!


Prerequisite: Α Car! Preferably a car with a sufficient height from the ground as the most beautiful parts of the island also have the most difficult access (no coincidence there) via dirt roads.


So, what can you do in these 5 days? Everything! Andros will meet every kind of traveler’s expectations. You want a relaxing holiday in a quiet place surrounded by nature? Do you prefer action and exploration packed holidays? How about cosmopolitan places with restaurants, bars and cute, narrow whitewashed alleys? Visits to museums and taking part in cultural events? Crazy Greek dancing at traditional festivals? Hiking on 160 kms of signposted paths through nature? Secluded beaches with crystal clear waters? Organized Beaches with lively Beach Bars? Waterfalls and small lakes for a refreshing dive? Traditional taverns and pastry shops with local products? Mezedopoleia for some bites and tsipouro under the shade of a sycamore tree or beside streams? Walks around picturesque villages? ANDROS OFFERS IT ALL AND THEN SOME!


For your holidays in Andros we recommend our favorite points of interest and activities by category and starting from north to south.


Beaches

Zorkos – A beautiful long beach with crystal clear waters. Access is by road and an easy to drive dirt road. It is partially organized with umbrellas and sunbeds but not recommended for very windy days. On your return, a must do is a lunch stop at Taverna "Kosses". We advise you to call ahead and book a table and their specialty, oven cooked goat wrapped in parchment paper with cheese. Mmmm! You can thank us later!


Vitali – Gides (Goats Beach) – Two beaches separated by a small peninsula. Both beaches have incredible turquoise waters and a combination of sand and small colorful pebbles. Vitali Beach is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds while Gides is quieter and more secluded. Access is by road and an easy to drive dirt road. Vitali is ideal for diving from high cliffs and swimming. It has a very nice Beach Bar and a Tavern.


Agios Petros – Golden Sand – Kipri – 3 large and organized beaches just 5 minutes from the port of Andros. They are ideal for windy days as they are more protected. Here you can relax on the sun lounger, play with the golden sand or practice a Watersport. Access is easy as they are located on the main road of the island. All three beaches have Beach Bars.



Achla – One of the most beautiful beaches and the most difficult to reach. Nothing as beautiful as that is easy to reach! It’s totally worth it though. Amazing turquoise green waters and small colorful pebbles combined with a rich biotope with sycamore trees. Follow the river behind the beach and you will find yourself in the small waterfalls of the river where you can take a refreshing swim and enjoy nature at its finest. Access is through a rough dirt road or by sea. There is a boat that makes daily trips to the beach and starts from the port of the island’s capital Chora. The beach is not organized so you have to be properly prepared with snacks, water and shade.


Piso Gialia – Beach with golden sand and ideal for windy days as the bay is more protected. It is one of the first choices for young people on the island as it has one of the best Beach Bars. Access is easy via road and stairs. However, the beach also has a second small bay without a Beach Bar for those who prefer something quieter.

On the way back up to the car, get ready for some serious exercise.



Paraporti – One of the two beaches of Chora; it’s a large with golden sand and nice waters. It has a nice Beach Bar in a small and cozy corner of the beach. Access is available either on foot from Chora or by car from a road leading to the Beach Bar itself.





Grias Pidima (Old Lady’s Jump) – One of the most famous beaches of the island due to its name and beauty. Blue-green waters and an imposing rock shooting up from the sea. Access is easy via road and a small footpath. The beach is not organized, and we suggest you visit it in the morning hours as the sun hides early in the afternoon behind the steep cliffs. On your way back you can stop for food in Korthi at "Vintsi" or "Lithodomi".


Apothikes – Crystal clear, blue waters and golden sand in a very beautiful, little bay. The view from above when approaching the beach is great and worth a stop to admire. The beach is organized and has a Beach Bar. Access is via road and an easy to drive dirt road.



Villages and Sights


Gavrio – The port of Andros is always lively and has all the necessary shops you will need when you arrive on the island. It is a good idea to visit it the day you leave Andros; go a few hours earlier than your ferry departure time to the port, take a walk along the seafront promenade, sit for lunch in the fish tavern "Karavostasi" and then for dessert and coffee in one of the patisseries or cafeterias.


~ You can combine it with a swim in Zorkos beach or Vitali beach.



Agios Petros – At Kato Agios Petros you will find some shops, taverns and the Agios Petros beach. In Ano Agios Petros, on your route to Vitali, it is worth making a stop to admire the Tower of St Peter that stands there from the Hellenistic period (4th - 3rd century BC).


~ You can combine it with your swim at Vitali beach or the beaches of Agios Petros - Chrissi Ammos - Kipri.


Batsi – The cosmopolitan village of the island, where you will find many shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and lots of people walking and chilling around the small harbor and its surrounding alleys. It is worth an evening promenade for dinner in the traditional tavern "Stamatis" and then enjoy some intriguing cocktails at "Buka" bar.



~ You can combine it with your swim at Vitali beach or the beaches of Agios Petros - Chrissi Ammos - Kipri.


Arni – A green, mountainous village overlooking the sea, deep in the mainland of Andros with plenty of springs and streams. Take a leisurely walk along the circular hiking trail of the village through dense vegetation, streams, stone bridges and amazing green landscapes. Arni is also famous for hosting the island’s largest annual traditional festival “Panigiri” on the 6th of August. On your return from Arni stop in the village of Katakilos for lunch at the "O Gregos" tavern.


~ You can combine it with a swim in Achla Beach if you go by car.


Palaiopoli – The ancient capital of Andros. Here you will find the Archaeological Museum of Palaeopolis and the Archeological site of the ancient city, dating back to the 6th century BC. It is worth a walk in the village and down at the Archeological site. As you are returning towards the main road you will see the imposing waterfall that flows down the mountain slope above Palaiopolis. When you get back to the main road, head to the traditional small café “To periptero” in the center of the village and hang out with the locals under the sycamore trees for a refreshment or a cold beer.


~ You can combine it with your swim in Apothikes Beach.


Vourkoti – The most precipitous village of the island, built at an altitude of 600 meters. It is very likely that even in the summer months you will find the village engulfed by thick fog. The temperature is always lower in Vourkoti, even in the summertime. The dirt road towards Achla Beach starts just outside Vourkoti as do also numerous, small rivers that go all the way down to Achla Beach, forming the biotope and the waterfalls behind it. These rivers have also formed a heavenly place called Gerolimni. Unfortunately, we cannot tell you more about this hidden oasis- go to Vourkoti and ask the locals about it. In case you do find it, you will understand why the level of secrecy! Shhhhh!!!


~ You can combine it with a swim in Achla Beach if you go by car.


Apikia – A beautiful village with lots of lush vegetation and running waters. Walk through it, stopping at the waterfalls of Pithara for a picnic surrounded by nature and the running waters of the streams. Apikia is home to the famous Sariza spring, known for its waters with wondrous healing properties.


~ You can combine it with a swim at Piso Gialia beach.


Menites – One of the most striking and greenest villages of Andros. Located in the most amazing nature and surrounded by sycamore trees and running fresh water streams. A walk through the village will make you forget that you are on a Cycladic island. After your walk, go to the center of the village and make a stop at the "Drosia" tavern for some local delicacies under the shade of the immense tree canopies and next to the springs. This location is by far the coolest of the island during the hot summer months.


~ You can combine it with a swim in Apothikes beach.


Chora – The island’s elegant capital; built on a peninsula, full of history and tradition. Follow the central pedestrian road of Chora where all the shops are located, cross the small Arch and head downwards through the old town until you reach the end of the peninsula, where you will find the Afanis Naftis Square and the Medieval Venetian Castle of Chora. Cross the old stone bridge and climb up to the castle for a great view of the Chora Lighthouse, Tourlitis, built on a small rocky island in the middle of the sea. On the central pedestrian street dotted with shops, you will also find the Archaeological Museum, the famous Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kaireios Library. Wander around the pedestrian walkway and the small narrow streets of Chora and you will get an idea of Andro’s rich, naval history and its old, imposing mansion houses. If all these activities have got your stomach rumbling, head to the "Endochora" restaurant on the main pedestrian street. If you decide to stay into the evening, you should sit down at the traditional ouzo-cafes on Kairi Square. Before you leave Chora, don’t forget to stop at the local patisseries and the shops with traditional products for an authentic taste of Andros.


~ You can combine it with your swim at Paraporti beach or Achla beach if you go with the boat that starts from the port of Chora.


FYI Boat to Achla Beach > Stef Lines Boat Cruises - For booking information, call +30 6976 550 224 on the day you would like to travel. The cost of the cruise is 15 euros. The duration is 4 hours (30 minutes from the port of Chora to Achla beach - 3 hours stay at the beach - 40 minutes return, passing by Tourlitis lighthouse and the old city of Chora).



Livadia – A village full of fertile fields and lush orchards next to Chora. Enjoy a stroll among the orchards of the village and stop for lunch at the "Gevsis Me Thea" Tavern («Delicacies with a View»)


~ You can combine it with your swim at Paraporti beach. Actually, the walk from the beach towards the Tavern and back is very pleasant.


Ormos Korthiou – A quiet, seaside village that becomes alive during the summer months. On your way to Gria Pidima Beach, it is worth stopping for a walk on the main pedestrian street to buy some local delicacies and supplies for the beach from the traditional bakeries of the village. Close to Ormos Korthiou is the old Castle of Faneromeni; an old medieval settlement built at an altitude of 600 meters. Wander through the ruins of this old castle and gaze out on the magnificent views of the Aegean Sea (be careful, if it’s really windy and you are more on the featherlight weight).


~ You can combine it with your swim at Grias Pidima Beach and the restaurants suggested with it.


Other villages and sights


~ You can also visit the village of the “shipping magnates”, Stenies, for a stroll between the old, neoclassical mansions and its green alleyways; as well as the village of Aprovato, which boasts spectacular views of the Aegean, the neighboring islands and the sunset. Visit the Tavern "The Aegean Balcony" one hour before the sunset and enjoy the breathtaking view and honest, traditional food.


- Visit Cave “Foros” in the village of Aladinou for a show of colorful stalagmites and stalactites.


- The archaeological site of “Strofilas”, the oldest city in Europe. It dates to 4,500-3,300 BC and has some significant finds from the Neolithic Age.


Monasteries – Andros has several important monasteries with remarkable religious history. The hand painted icons of some are also referred to as miraculous, like the one at St. Marina. Other great monasteries are Panachrantou Monastery, Agios Nikolaos Monastery, Agia Irini Monastery and the Zoodochos Pigi Monastery. Apart from their religious importance and tradition, they also have spectacular views.


Local Flavors – Everywhere in Andros you can find some of the local tastes of the island, such as Armexia or Petroti and Volaki cheeses, Fourtalia (omelet with potatoes and local sausages) and Labriati if you visit Andros in Easter(stuffed goat with cheese, eggs and rice). Do not forget the preserve sweets, almond sweets, and the famous kaltsounia and pastries. Accompany these Andros tastes with some local wine, raki and tsipouro.


Activities

Hiking - Andros is one of the top European hiking destinations. It offers a network of 160km hiking routes signposted to European standards that give visitors a glimpse of the beauty, natural wealth and the ancient man-made landscape of the island. Part of the network - the 100 km long Andros Route, crossing the island from north to south - has been awarded the European Leading Quality Trails-Best of Europe certification from the European Ramblers Association (ERA).


~ To view information about all the wonderful routes, enter the page www.androsroutes.gr , by the group of volunteers who maintain and preserve the paths.


Watersports – Many beaches and sites of Andros are ideal for all kinds of water sports; windsurf, Water Skiing, SUP, Sailing, Scuba Diving and more.


~ For Windsurf & SUP you will find more information here


~ For Scuba diving you will find more information here


~ For Tours, Adventure Activities & more here


If all that wasn’t enough and you managed to experience the entire island (which we hifhly doubt), then do not forget that Andros is just an hour and a half from Tinos and two hours from Mykonos where you can go for a day trip and a change of scenery.


Useful Information


How to get there – From Rafina's port in Athens. With a normal ferry the trip takes 2 hours and with a fast ferry just 1 hour.

From Mykonos Port with a normal ferry, the journey takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and with a fast ferry just 1 hour and 30 minutes.


Where to stay – leave that to us! We offer a variety of excellent accommodation options in all the areas of the beautiful island of Andros. You can see them all here


How to get around in Andros – Since Andros is a big island, it is important to bring with you a car or to rent one at the port of Gavrio. If you are going to rent one, we suggest you arrange it as soon as possible, due to the limited availability of vehicles. Alternatively, you can use the island's Taxis or the Andros Bus. See the bus schedule here


Useful Phones, Taxis, Car Rentals and Ticket Offices here


This was "our" Andros; our version of this beautiful island. A different Cycladic paradise. An authentic experience, off the beaten track and away from the hordes of mass tourists. Do not miss it!


We are waiting for you in Andros!


by Upgraded ~ Hospitality Reservations Experts