Are you dreaming of endless stretches of golden sand kissed by emerald waters? Or do deep blue waves crashing on magnificent black rock formations thrill you more? Either way, we can all agree that the Greek islands’ popularity stems mainly from their beautiful beaches. However, there’s a lot more to the Greek islands than that and Andros is a fine example of this. With a network of about 160km of paths, hiking on Andros island is yet another reason to visit.
Andros, the northernmost of the Cyclades islands, is a 2-hour ferry ride from Rafina port near Athens. It is an island of unparalleled beauty. Mountain slopes covered with olives trees alternate with tranquil whitewashed villages. Green valleys with running waters rest idly alongside the most spectacular beaches imaginable. The best part is that all these natural wonders can be explored on foot via a wide network of ancient pathways.
A few years back, a group of passionate volunteers commited themselves to the restoration and maintenance of those paths. That’s how Andros Routes came to life. The team have signposted over 160km of walking trails ever since, thus turning hiking on Andros island into a fascinating and perfectly safe activity for visitors and locals alike.
Alhough I’ve been visiting Andros ever since I was 5 years old, only lately did I begin to truly explore its treasures. That’s why I haven’t enjoyed hiking on Andros island as much as I would like yet. So far, Katerina and I have only walked two of the various routes available.
Hiking on Andros island: Route 2a
The first time we went hiking on Andros island, we chose a super easy route. To be honest, route 2a is actually a detour of longer route 2. We started from Apikia, a beautiful traditional village built according to the neoclassical architecture typical of Andros island. Apikia village is famous for the Sarisa water spring. Route 2a is clearly signposted and it starts from the heart of Apikia village. It is a narrow, extremely easy path. We walked in the midst of lush vegetation listening to nothing but the water running from the mountains. Soon we reached the end of the trail where we admired the small but impressive Pithara waterfall. No wonder locals call this area “Fairyland”. It takes about 30′ from Apikia to Pithara waterfall and back.
Hiking on Andros island: Route 15
The second time we went hiking on Andros island we walked route 15 from the Tower of Agios Petros to Agios Petros beach. The route begins from Gavrio port but we were given a lift to the Tower of Agios Petros as we didn’t have enough time to walk the entire trail. From the main road, we descended a few stone steps until we reached the Tower of Agios Petros, one of the island’s main attractions. Built in the 4th or 3rd century BC, the Tower probably functioned as a way to control sea and land thanks to its strategic position. Entrance to the Tower is not allowed but standing at its foot, taking in the surrounding natural beauty is really rewarding. Needless to say that views to the sea and the plains below are breathtaking.
We then followed the signposting towards the beach. We mostly walked on dirt road. The marked path was generally easy all along. There were just one or two spots that required more attention but nothing too strenuous. As we walked, we couldn’t get enough of the landscape’s peacefulness, the island breeze and the intoxicating scent of Greek herbs. Towards the end of the route, we walked along the valley leading to the sandy beach of Agios Petros. No better way to conclude the hike than with a swim in the clear blue sea! It took us about an hour and a half to get from the Tower to Agios Petros beach at a relatively leisurely pace and with many stops to take photos.
This was just the beginning for us when it comes to hiking on Andros island. We are eager to explore as many walking paths on the island as possible and we have Andros Routes to thank for making this possible.