Last updated on April 24th, 2021 at 11:00 am
With over 180km of restored and signposted paths that date back to ancient times, Andros hiking is a unique experience for all walking lovers.
The northernmost of the Cyclades Islands, our beloved Andros is an island of unparalleled beauty. It’s where mountain slopes covered with olives trees alternate with tranquil whitewashed villages, and 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 Andros hiking trails.
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What Makes Andros Hiking Special
Unlike nearby Mykonos and other famous Cyclades Islands, Andros is a laid-back haven of unspoilt nature and authentic ambience. On top of that, Andros is home to a wide network of ancient pathways that narrate the island’s history in the most eloquent way, while reflecting the locals’ special connection to nature; one that has forged the island’s unique culture throughout the centuries.
There’s no better way to get to know Andros and its people than walking along the island’s hiking trails. The same paths that were used by locals to get from one village to the other in older, harder times are now restored and ready to take locals and visitors alike on an unforgettable journey through the island’s past, legends, and traditions.
Moreover, Andros hiking amid lush greenery, past singing streams, gorgeous stone bridges, and enchanting ruins is the best way to appreciate the island’s distinct scenery and raw beauty. There are no words to describe the landscape’s peacefulness, the softness of the island breeze, and the intoxicating scent of Greek herbs you enjoy while walking.
Back in 2010, a group of passionate volunteers decided it was time to show the world that Andros is the ultimate hiking destination in Greece. Therefore, they committed themselves to the restoration, maintenance, and marketing of the island’s paths. That’s how Andros Routes came to life. Since then, the team have signposted over 180km of walking trails, turning hiking in Andros into a fascinating and perfectly safe activity for visitors and locals of all hiking levels.
Impressed by the fabulous work done by Andros Routes, at some point 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 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, Olga became aware of the hidden treasure of Andros: its wide network of paths. The vision she shares with the rest of the Andros Routes team is to preserve the cultural identity of Andros by protecting and promoting the island’s most valuable assets: the natural environment and the man-made landscape. The ultimate goal is to make Andros an excellent example of sustainable tourism and its benefits.
Andros On Foot Festival
The Andros Routes team took their love for Andros Island and its trails a step further by establishing a unique walking festival that celebrates the island’s nature, culture and traditions. The first edition of the Andros On Foot Festival took place in October 2018 and we were more than happy to attend and walk along our beloved island’s ancient paths in the company of fellow hiking enthusiasts.
During the festival, participants can enjoy hiking some of the island’s best routes, while attending cultural events and visiting museums and other points of interest along the way. Most importantly, though, attending the Andros On Foot Festival is a unique opportunity to get in touch with the island’s breathtakingly beautiful nature and support the local economy and community in the best possible way.
The Best Andros Hiking Trails
Andros Island is a true hiker’s heaven. With so many walking routes to choose from, there are options for all ages and levels, from absolute beginners to advanced hikers. Yet there’s one thing all Andros hiking trails have in common: jaw-dropping scenery.
Here’s a small selection of the most spectacular Andros paths:
The 100km Andros Route
The Andros Route is a continuous 100km hiking trail that runs the entire length of the island from North to South. This fascinating route has been awarded the Leading Quality Trails certification for two consecutive years. The Andros 100km Route can be completed in ten days. During this time, hikers get to spend each night at a different traditional village, tasting handmade delicacies and immersing themselves into the local community.
Best Hiking Paths in Andros For Beginners
Andros hiking is suited to absolute beginners, as long as you stick to some of the network’s easiest routes. We’ve immensely enjoyed all three trails suggested here, and, mind you, we’re not the fittest people on the planet.
1. Route 2a: Apikia – Pithara Waterfalls (15 minutes*)
This is the easiest Andros trail that literally anyone can hike. It’s more of a leisurely walk, to be honest. Route 2a was the first-ever path we hiked in Andros. In reality, it is a detour on the longer Route 2.
Route 2a starts in Apikia, a beautiful traditional village built according to the island’s neoclassical architecture. As you walk along the signposted narrow trail amid lush vegetation, you hear nothing but the water running from the mountains. At the end of the trail, the small yet impressive Pithara Waterfalls await. No wonder locals call this area Fairyland.
*You have to walk back to Apikia via the same path; therefore, allow for 30 minutes in total.
2. Route 8: Apikia – Gialia Beach (2 hours)
Route 8 is a fairly easy yet fascinating hiking trail that starts from Apikia Village and ends in Gialia Beach, past gorgeous landscapes and impressive ruins. The route involves walking alongside riverbeds and streams in lush greenery along the Gialia River valley. While hiking, you get to admire stunning views of Stenies, one of the island’s most picturesque villages.
At some point, a small detour brings you to Fabrica, an impressive watermill nestled in the heart of the valley. Most Greek Islands are dry and suffer from lack of water. Andros is the exact opposite. There are ten rivers with continuous flow all year round. That’s why the island is home to 240 watermills. Fabrica, which means factory in Greek, is the largest and most impressive among them, and it was used as a grain and pasta factory in the past.
3. Route 15: Gavrio – Agios Petros Tower – Agios Petros Beach (2.5 hours*)
An excellent introduction to the island’s scenery, Route 15 is one of the best hikes in Andros. The trail begins in Gavrio Port but we kind of cheated last time we hiked there; we were given a lift to the Tower of Agios Petros and started our descent from there. The keyword here is descent. Therefore, if you are absolute beginners, you might want to skip the first part of Route 15 and start from Agios Petros Tower too for a super easy yet exciting hike.
This trail gives you the chance to check out the Tower of Agios Petros, one of the island’s main attractions. Built in the 4th or 3rd century BC, the Tower’s function was probably to control sea and land thanks to its strategic position. Entrance to the Tower is not allowed but standing at its foot and taking in the surrounding natural beauty is utterly rewarding. Needless to say that the views of the sea and the plains below are breathtaking.
From then on, the marked path towards the beach is generally easy. There are just one or two spots that require more attention, but nothing too strenuous. Towards the end of the route, the path runs along the valley that leads to the sandy beach of Agios Petros. There’s no better way to end the hike than a swim at one of the best Andros beaches.
*If you start from the Tower, the hike takes less than 1.5 hours.
Best Circular Routes
More often than not, circular routes are ideal for people who are short on time and wish to enjoy a hassle-free hiking experience.
1. Route 17: Chora – Livadia – Chora (1.5 hours)
Route 17 is an easy hike that lets you wander around the fertile Livadia Valley under the shadow of gorgeous Chora. The route will take you through citrus groves, imposing cypress trees and quintessentially Greek dry-stone fences.
2. Route A1: Arni 1 Circular (2.5 hours)
The circular Route A1 is a feast of natural charm and quaint traditional architecture. This hiking trail goes through lush vegetation and running water streams, past picturesque chapels and romantic stone bridges.
3. Route Men1: Menites Circular (1.5 hours)
Walking Route Men1 is a rare opportunity to hike along an ancient path of the utmost natural beauty. The trail starts and ends in Menites, a lovely village with spectacular water springs.
Best Hiking Trails in Andros Over 10km
Intermediate and advanced hikers are spoilt for choice in Andros. The island’s longer routes are the ones that hide the most precious treasures.
1. Route 3: Chora – Dipotamata – Korthi (4.5 hours)
This is an exceptional hiking trail of varied scenery that connects the central to the southern part of the island. Route 3 starts in beautiful Chora and ends in laid-back Korthi via the wondrous Dipotamata Valley, which is dotted with splendid arched bridges and abandoned watermills. During this hike, you get the chance to catch spectacular views of two of the most impressive beaches in Andros: Tis Grias To Pidima and Syneti.
2. Route 6: Vourkoti – Agios Nikolaos – Achla Beach (3.5 hours*)
Route 6 is the epitome of the island’s raw beauty. From Vourkoti starts a journey through the history of Andros, past century-old monasteries, farmhouses and arched bridges. The trail ends in Achla, arguably the best beach in Andros.
*There’s no road access to Achla Beach. Keep in mind that you have to walk back a few kilometres until you reach the closest road crossing.
3. Route 14: Gavrio – Ammolochos – Frousei (5 hours)
We saved the best for last. Locals and visitors alike swear by Route 14, considering it the most enchanting hiking trail in Andros. This long-distance route demonstrates the diversity of the island’s scenery, which ranges from lush green valleys and running waters to magnificently barren mountain ridges.
Where Is Andros Island?
Andros is the northernmost and the second largest of the Cyclades Islands, the most quintessentially Greek cluster of islands in the Aegean Sea.
How To Get To Andros Greece
There’s no airport in Andros. You can reach the island by ferry from Rafina Port near Athens. Travel time is two hours.
How To Get Around Andros Island Greece
Where To Stay in Andros Greece
When planning a hiking Andros trip, choosing the best place to stay has to do with the trails you are interested in. Get a copy of the best Andros Routes map to help you decide.
Like all other Cyclades Islands, Andros enjoys relatively mild weather all year round. The best time to go hiking in Andros Greece is spring and autumn. Winter is not recommended because trails can get slippery and dangerous because of the rain and, rarely, the snow. On the other hand, summer is too hot, and the scorching sun is the worst hiking companion.
Beyond Andros Hiking: Other Cyclades Islands We Love To Hike
Andros Island is like a second home to us; therefore, it’s only natural that it was the first Greek Island we ever hiked. Walking in Andros made us fall in love with the diversity of its hiking trails and the raw beauty of its spectacular scenery and fuelled our desire to go hiking on other Cyclades Islands as well.
So far, there are two more islands in the Cyclades that we consider ideal for hiking lovers. One of them is Amorgos, our favourite island in Greece, with its otherworldly scenery and smiling people. The other is Sifnos, a dream of an island, which boasts a unique blend of authenticity and cosmopolitan vibes.
We love to hike the Greek Islands and we owe that to Andros hiking for inspiring us to unveil the secrets of the island by walking along its ancient paths. We do hope we get to add more Greek Islands on our list of best hiking destinations in the country.
Which island should we visit next for hiking? Let us know in the comments!
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