Andros is an island located in the Cyclades Archipelago and is just a ferry ride away from Rafina port. The island’s closeness to Athens is what makes it one of the most popular Greek island destinations for the perfect weekend getaway.
There is no airport in Andros, but when you arrive at Athens airport, you need to take a taxi or a bus to Rafina port and board a ferry that transfers you to Andros. In Andros, you’ll find all the major car rental companies.
Andros is the 2nd largest island of the Cyclades after Naxos, and because it is so verdant and fertile, it’s a great place for long walks.
It has a Mediterranean climate with cool to warm summers and mild winters. With so many inhabited islands, there are boats to serve these islands, and Greece is renowned for its shipping tradition. Ferries and catamarans also make use of the main port Gavrio which also happens to be a popular holiday resort.
Things to do and see in Andros Greece
An Ultimate Hiking Destination
The island’s beautiful landscape is a mix of dazzling blue seas contrasting with the lush green hillsides. Small wonder that Andros is known as an ultimate hiking destination.
It offers wonderful walking trails cross mountain slopes and forests and takes you into enchanting little villages. Bird lovers will be amazed at the variety of birds that dwell in the forests including doves, whistling ducks and parrots. It is also pleasant hiking the 160km of well sign-posted trails during the summer as the winds cool you as you walk.
The varied landscape offers an assortment of hiking experiences. If you want to know more about the trails – they are shown in more detail in the map of Andros which can be got from the Anavasi map company. There is also a bookshop at the Andros harbor and the map is also available there.
Andros Route – the Best of Europe
One hundred kilometers of paths form a continuous walking route and this is known as the Andros Route. The path is fully marked and can be walked in 10 daily sections. In 2015 this Andros Route hiking trail received the hiking quality certification ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe’ from the European Ramblers Association, the only island so far in Europe to have this hiking certification.
In fact, even though the island is great for all kinds of activities, it is the only Greek island with a certified network of hiking trails that add up to be roughly 300 kilometers. The paths are maintained by nature lover volunteers from all over the world.
Hora – the Capital of Andros
The main town is Hora and is also known as Andros. The capital town perches eye-catchingly on a rocky peninsula and you can imagine that the views are spectacular.
Unlike other Greek Islands that have the traditional whitewashed buildings, Andros Town is better known for its fantastic neoclassical mansions. You can take a walk through the town and admire the neoclassical mansions.
Neoclassical is an architectural style of the mid 18th century, with its roots dating date back to the 17th century when ancient Greek architecture was revived. That’s the interesting thing with these Greek isles – the main town nearly always has the name of the island itself.
When visiting Hora, a trip into the main street will give you the chance to wander into the shops and taverns there or perhaps relax in the shady Kairi Square and listen to the tinkling sounds of the marble fountain.
There are other impressive buildings in the town and lovers of arts and culture will be impressed with the museums, art gallery and churches.
Sightseeing in and around Andros:
An illustrious art scene –
Andros is an island characterized by its art and culture. Art lovers will relish the many museums, staring with Palaiopolis. In 1956 excavations were started and in 2003 they opened the Archaeological Museum of Palaiopolis. It has collections of artworks ranging from the Classical to the Roman period, with an important exhibition being Pegasus, a marble winged, mythical horse dating to the 5th century B.C.
Andros celebrates art in different ways and there are many art exhibitions and other festivities taking place on the island. The dance festival of the Musical society is every June and there are other summer festivals in Gavrio and the other villages in northwestern Andros. You become part of the Andriot spirit, with wine, music, dancing and food.
Each year the capital, Andros Town or Chora organizes a music and arts festival known as the Ploes Festival, highlighting all the music and art events presented in Andros.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The purpose of this museum was to exhibit the collection of works by Andros sculptor, Michael Tombros. The founders of the museum, Basil and Elise Goulandris also have their personal collection of well known and distinguished Greek and foreign artists. The Museum offers free guided tours and there are also videos which go with the exhibitions.
There is a newer part of the museum which hosts exhibitions of more modern Greek painters from 1983 to 1985. The new wing of the museum also has a museum shop, library, and projection room as well as space set aside for international exhibitions. The Roof Garden, ideal for hosting events, offers views of the Aegean, the Andros Yacht Club and the chapel of Agia Thalassini.
Maritime Museum of Andros
If ships, captains, the high seas and nautical journeys intrigue you, the Maritime Museum of Andros, founded in 1972 will delight and fascinate you. It has exhibits of life on the seas before the 1821 Greek War of Independence.
Olive Museum, Ano Pitrofos village
This is an old preserved olive mill that dates back to 1823 and which was transformed into a museum in 1997. It retains its original equipment and in 1997 was transformed into a museum. Visitors will be able to get an idea of traditional oil production in the Cyclades.
Other Must-See Points of Interest:
Several Monasteries –
Monastery of Panachrantos
Built in the 10th century by the Byzantine emperor Nikiforos Fokas, the monastery, with its aura of tranquility, is set high in the Geronakas mountainous in the south of Andros. It offers splendid views of some of the villages such as Menites, Lamia and Messaria.
There are actually monks living in the monastery too. It is surrounded by a high wall, giving you the idea of a fortress. Traditionally, it is believed the monastery was built in a place shown by the icon of the Holy Mother, an icon still found in the monastery. Interestingly, you’ll also find the skull of the martyr Agios Panteleimon.
The Zoodohou Pigis
This monastery of Zoodochou Pigis is referred to as Monastiraki by the locals and is found near the village Christos in Agios Kirykos. It has been renovated a few times. What is of interest with this monastery are the preserved cells and an ecclesiastical tabloid that dates way back to the 19th century AD.
Lots of villages to visit
This ancient village that dates back to the 17th century has some old manor houses such as the mansion of George Emmanuel Argyros, built in 1888 and transformed into a museum that holds items from the 19th century. If you’re looking for accommodation in this ‘must-see’ village, the museum’s ground floor is a 5-star guest house.
The village has lots of shops and restaurants and it is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. You can visit one of the wineries for a wonderful wine-tasting experience.
The mountain village is found about 6 kilometers from the capital, Chora. Menites is also close to Messaria and is magnificently built on the Petalo Mountain. The village is famous for its abundance of water and its springs. The village has plenty of paved paths and alleys, and in fact you can walk to the Panachrantou Monastery.
The Feast of Dionysos is celebrated in Menites and there is plenty of festive fanfare with music, dancing, eating and drinking.
Souvenirs – Batik Fabric and Garment manufacturing Factory
On Central Andros, next to the Lighthouse Club in Fresh Creek is Androsia Batik where you can see artisans creating designs for cotton and silk fabrics for cool island-style wear. You can buy skirts, caftans, shirts, shorts and lots of trendy accessories, all beautifully hand-painted.
The famous factory has been in business since 1973 and is known for its brightly colored garments. You can actually see artisans at work on the fabrics and the store provides super gifts for you to take home to family and friends.
Cool Places to Dine in Andros Greece
You can get to enjoy all the traditional flavors of Greece in the local taverns of which there are some pretty good ones. Andros is a place for delectable Greek island food at its best. You’re bound to come across Labriatis – marinated goat stuffed with onions, cheese, parsley, eggs, butter and olive oil and then baked in the oven with rosemary.
Oti Kalo is a charming restaurant overlooking the small fishing port of Batsi. The restaurant has a high position, offering splendid views and great food. People come from far to enjoy their deliciously popular omelet with country-style pork sausages and potatoes.
Nightlife and Bars on Andros Greece
Andros has a vibrant nightlife, after all the Greeks are known to be fun-loving, entertaining people. There are plenty of bars, night clubs, cafes and restaurants as well as beach parties that you won’t want to miss. Music, dance, wine and good friends are what the nightlife is all about. Many of the hotels and beach bars offer music from live bands and these are generally crowded in the summer.
An exciting range of Accommodation Options
Andros offers a range of fantastic beach holiday experiences. There are many self-catering apartments, chalets, guest houses, cottages, small and large hotels in the villages, towns and cities. You can easily plan a trip to Andros and get accommodation that suits your budget.
You can book your accommodation online. Some of the accommodation offers a shuttle service from the port to your accommodation and there are also taxis on the island.
You can take your pick from stylish guest houses in Andros such as Lorenzia’s House which offers fabulous amenities such as free wifi as well as a bicycle- and car rental service for your convenience.
Beach days in Andros
The capital Andros Chora has some beautiful beaches, with the main beach being Niborio. You’ll find beach loungers to rent as well as umbrellas. The beach is ideal for families and there are cafes and taverns close by to keep beachgoers fed and watered.
In the vicinity of Andros Chora are a number of other beaches that can actually be reached by foot. One of these is Sineti Beach with its beautiful white beaches and turquoise waters.
Megali Peza Beach
This is a beautiful beach, somewhat secluded and on the northern side of Andros Cyclades. It’s a small beach with crystal clear water and is thought to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. If you’re looking for a quiet time of sun tanning and swimming, this beach is perfect for you, although you need to know that there aren’t any facilities offered.
This is a popular beach in Andros and with good reason. Unlike some less popular beaches, this resort town with its beach is well organized with lots of tourist amenities and you can rent deckchairs and umbrellas.
You can relax on the soft, white sand and be highly entertained by all the activities and water sports. The shallow water also makes it ideal for families and it is protected from the wind. The fishing harbor is close by and of course, there are plenty of cafes and taverns offering traditional Greek food, pastries and other treats for the beach.
It can be enjoyable taking a stroll from the beach and going into the town of Batsi where there are more restaurants and other shops.
Andros summons images of blue skies, endless beaches and never a dull moment. If you plan well, you can do a lot over a weekend, a week or a month, especially as many popular sights are close to each other to visit. The island offers so many amazing experiences and there is no doubt you’ll have a fantastic time.