Those who know us well can confirm that we are not the fittest people on the planet. Yet, we always embrace new experiences with immense enthusiasm. That’s why we were thrilled to find out that Andros, one of our favourite Cyclades Islands, provides unique hiking opportunities alongside its breathtaking beaches. Andros Routes, the team that restored and maintains the island’s wide network of ancient paths, have made sure that hiking trails are accessible to all. From absolute beginners to the most skilled hikers.
After getting a first taste of hiking in Andros, we couldn’t wait to go again. So, during our most recent trip to the island, we walked the part of route number 7 from the chapel of Agia Triada at Stavropeda to the archaelogical site of Zagora.
It is a fairly easy route but try to avoid it when the weather is hot. There is some uphill hiking involved that can be tiring under the scorching sun. The trails on this route coincide with the paths used in ancient times. The route concludes at Zagora, an ancient settlement dating back to the 10th century BC. It is built on a steep peninsula overlooking the big blue of the Aegean Sea.
Once more impressed by the fabulous work done by Andros Routes in clearing, signposting and maintaining the trails, we decided we had to meet these guys. We contacted Olga Karayiannis, who was more than happy to meet us and chat with us. Olga is literally the soul of Andros Routes. Falling in love with the island a few years back, she decided to move there permanently. She now calls home a traditional stone house situated in a tiny village in the mountains. Right from the start, she became aware of the hidden treasure of Andros: its wide network of paths. She enjoyed hiking them herself and she thought that this treasure should become known to the outer world.
From then on, she commited herself to restoring the trails and promoting hiking on Andros Island. It was a lonely road at first but soon she found allies in locals and foreigners alike. Nowadays, Andros Routes take pride in having restored and signposted more than 160km of paths. Among those, the exciting Andros Route, a 100km long continuous hiking trail. It offers the chance to hike the entire length of the island, from north to south, in 10 days staying on a different village each night, tasting homemade delicacies and being immersed in local life.
A handful of years after the first baby steps, Andros Routes proudly present the 1st On Foot Festival on Andros Island this October. From 06 to 28 October 2018 the festival will celebrate the treasure of the island: its paths. Andros Routes have prepared a 23-day programme with different hiking routes for each day. Alongside hiking, participants will have the chance to explore the island’s natural beauties, historic sites and laid-back traditional villages. At the end of each hiking day, participants will enjoy traditional feasts with handmade local dishes, singing and dancing.
The Greek Islands are simply stunning but they tend to be overcrowded during summer months. Therefore, attending the 1st On Foot Festival in October is a great opportunity to get to know the real Andros. Mild weather, still warm for a swim but so pleasantly cool throughout the day. Smiling locals, happy to have put yet another stressful high tourist season behind them. Fantastic beaches all to yourselves. Those are only a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Andros during fall. We know we won’t.
Not entirely convinced yet? Then you should know that Fast Ferries, the company we always prefer for our frequent trips to Andros for having the newest and most comfortable ferries on this route, offer a 30% discount on all fares for journeys from 10.09.2018 to 31.10.2018. The discount is applicable on all tickets to and from the islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your ferry tickets and register at the 1st On Foot Festival. See you there!
Read all about the Andros Routes mission on the official website.
Disclosure: Fast Ferries kindly offered us complimentary tickets to and from Andros for our recent trip but, as always, we express nothing but our very own and honest opinion about the experience we had.