Last updated on February 17th, 2021 at 12:52 pm
Although we’re both born and raised in Athens, Andros Island has gradually become a second home to us and this is why we’re happy to share you with our ultimate travel guide to the best things to do in Andros Greece, an off-the-beaten-path island just two hours away from the Greek capital.
We’re pretty sure that the Greek Islands need no special introduction. Especially the world-famous ones like Mykonos or Santorini. However, there are several Greek Islands which have managed to keep a low profile and offer their visitors authentic and laid-back moments to remember for life.
One of those hidden gems is Andros, which happens to be one of our favourite islands and one that we know extremely well. So, read on to find out what to do in Andros Greece for a fantastic vacation washed in the bright Greek sunlight.
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Table of contents
- Why Visit Andros Island
- Top 15 Things To Do in Andros Greece
- 1. Wander Around Andros Town (Chora), One of The Prettiest Places To Visit in Andros
- 2. Go Hiking
- 3. Embark On an Incredibly Scenic Road Trip
- 4. Swim in Crystal Clear Waters At The Remotest Andros Beaches
- 5. Taste The Best Traditional Food on Andros Island
- 6. Listen To The Water Whispering The Island’s Secrets in Apikia
- 7. Step Inside a Fairytale
- 8. Explore Foros Cave
- 9. Visit Some of The Best Museums in Andros
- 10. See And Be Seen At Cosmopolitan Batsi
- 11. Mingle With Locals in Gavrio, One of The Most Authentic Places To Visit in Andros
- 12. Marvel At the Tower of Agios Petros, One of The Best Things To See in Andros Greece
- 13. Catch Breathtaking Sunsets
- 14. Party And Play At The Trendiest Beach Bars
- 15. Enjoy The Best Island-Hopping Experience
- 1. Wander Around Andros Town (Chora), One of The Prettiest Places To Visit in Andros
- Andros Guide
Why Visit Andros Island
The second largest of the Cyclades, Andros is unlike any other island in the group. With rivers flowing across its fertile land and mountain peaks disappearing behind the clouds, the raw beauty of the island’s scenery is captivating. Andros is ideal for nature lovers, hikers, and pretty much everyone who dreams of spending their holidays in an authentic destination like no other.
Top 15 Things To Do in Andros Greece
1. Wander Around Andros Town (Chora), One of The Prettiest Places To Visit in Andros
The main town of almost every Greek Island bears the name of the island itself but it is more often known as Chora or Hora (Χώρα). So, although you’ll probably see it written as Andros Town (or just Andros) on your map, locals and Greeks use the name Chora to refer to the island’s largest settlement.
Having seen many a Greek Island Chora, we can say for sure that the Chora of Andros is among the most enchanting ones. Built on a small peninsula between two long sandy beaches, Andros Town is fascinating in terms of both location and architecture.
Unlike other Greek Islands where small whitewashed buildings dominate, Andros Town is dotted with magnificent neoclassical mansions which date back to the time when the island was a maritime superpower. Just walking around Chora and taking in its old-fashioned charm is one of the best things to do in Andros.
Any walk around Andros Town starts from pedestrianised Embirikou Street. This is the exact spot where the magic begins since no vehicles are allowed from that point onwards. The street concludes at super quaint Kairis Square where cafés look as though they have sprung out of a 60s Greek movie.
However, the real magic begins once you cross the arched passageway to the Old Town.
Passing one neoclassical mansion after another, you will soon reach the glorious Goulandris Square where the statue of Afanis Naftis (Unknown Sailor) dominates. The marble square boasts breathtaking views to Paraporti Beach on the right, Nimporio Beach on the left and the remains of the Lower Castle of Andros at your feet.
If it’s not super windy (which it usually is), you can walk down the steps to take a closer look at the beautiful stone bridge which connects the Castle to Andros Island. Now and then, daredevils cross the bridge and visit the Castle’s ruins. We’ve never done it and we advise you against doing it as well.
Once back at Kairis Square, there are two options. Having the arched passageway to your back, go down the steps on your left and spend some relaxing moments listening to the sound of huge waves crashing on Paraporti Beach.
Alternatively, head in the opposite direction and go down the steps to your right for magnificent views to Panagia Thalassini Church and Tourlitis Lighthouse, the only lighthouse in Europe built on a rock in the middle of the sea. Then walk along the path from Nimporio Old Port to Nimporio Beach where you can either have a swim or catch your breath at one of the beachside bars and restaurants.
2. Go Hiking
Andros Island is home to a wide network of ancient paths which comprises more than 180km of hiking trails. Simply put, Andros is a hiker’s heaven. With lush valleys, dramatic mountain tops, running rivers and ancient settlements, hiking is one of the most exciting activities in Andros.
Most importantly, hiking on Andros Island is accessible to everyone. There are routes for beginners, advanced and highly-skilled hikers alike. Award-winning Andros Routes, a team of passionate volunteers, is responsible for restoring, signposting and maintaining all those hiking trails.
You can add an easy hike or two to your Andros holidays itinerary during the summer. However, if hiking is the main reason you’re visiting Andros Greece, you’ll be better off going in spring or autumn when the weather is mild rather than hot, thus more suited to physical activity. The best time to visit Andros if hiking is your top priority is during the Andros On Foot Festival, an amazing hiking event held by no other than the enthusiastic Andros Routes team.
3. Embark On an Incredibly Scenic Road Trip
Andros is a fairly big island and due to its natural morphology, it boasts unbelievably beautiful scenery. High mountain tops, golden-hued slopes and melodious streams are succeeded by green valleys, whitewashed villages and stunning beaches. This ever-changing scenery can be best explored and enjoyed on a road trip.
Therefore, do not hesitate to rent a car during your Andros holidays. A scooter could also be an option but not the best one for two reasons. First of all, many routes involve dirt roads and, secondly, when it’s super windy, riding a scooter can get scary.
A road trip is among the best things to do in Andros Greece, as it can take you to the remotest villages like Korthi or the most picturesque ones like Stenies, once the wealthiest maritime village, now a perfect example of zero tourist presence. Instead of sticking to public transport routes, renting a car offers the unique opportunity to explore off-the-beaten-path roads with stunning views.
Some of the best scenic routes include:
- Korthi to Andros Town
- Gavrio to Vitali
- Batsi to Andros Town via Katakilos, Arni and Vourkoti villages
4. Swim in Crystal Clear Waters At The Remotest Andros Beaches
Andros Island is home to some of the best Greek beaches. That says a lot considering that Greece is so famous for its beaches. There are beaches for all tastes yet visiting a couple of the most secluded ones is a fantastic experience in its own right.
Vitali is one of the most impressive Andros beaches. Located in the northeastern part of the island, it’s about 15km from Gavrio, the port of Andros Island. If you’re driving to Vitali, keep in mind that the last part of the route involves about 3km of dirt road. Before going into detail about the beach itself, you should know that the route towards Vitali Beach is perhaps the most scenic one on the island. Suffice it to say that the landscape vaguely reminds of the Scottish Highlands.
Regarding the beach itself, imagine a heavenly setting of sand, small white pebbles, tall rocks, and some of the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. The sea is deep and the brave ones (not us, that is) can dive into the emerald waters from a rock at the far left side of the beach. At the same spot, the rocks form a small cave and a super tiny second beach.
There is a traditional restaurant and a beach bar in Vitali. Moreover, there are sunbeds and umbrellas for a fee. Try to avoid visiting Vitali Beach when there are strong winds as it won’t be easy to swim then.
Hands down the most exotic of all Andros beaches is Zorkos. A 15km drive from Gavrio, this route also includes 5km or so of dirt road which is in good condition during summer. Zorkos is a very long beach. On its left side, the beach is sandy while at the right half there are white round pebbles which enhance the water’s exotic turquoise colour.
No words can describe the beauty of this beach. You simply have to go see it for yourselves. Plan to spend the whole day there as the beach is also home to one of the best taverns on the island which, alongside delicious food, serves exquisite homemade wine. There are sunbeds and umbrellas available and under no circumstances should you visit Zorkos Beach on a windy day.
5. Taste The Best Traditional Food on Andros Island
The typical dish of the island is fourtalia, a special omelette unique to Andros Island. Its main ingredients are local sausages seasoned with aromatic herbs, potatoes, spearmint and, sometimes, chunks of pork. You can ask for a vegetarian version which is made with courgette instead of sausage. However, it’s not 100% sure that the restaurant will accommodate you. Most often your request will be dismissed with a we-are-out-of-zucchini or similar statement.
Furthermore, Andros Island produces amazing local cheese. You simply ask for it like that: local cheese (ντόπιο τυρί). Not even locals use the special names attributed to each kind of cheese produced in Andros. The local cheese of Andros is white and it can come in many forms. As a spread, as a feta-like yet softer cheese and in mozzarella-like balls, only a lot smaller. Try it on your Greek salad and you can thank us later.
There are also mouthwatering sweets to taste while in Andros. Pastitsakia are macaron-like treats and amygdalota are also made of almond and covered in icing sugar. Bananakia (Greek for small bananas) are banana-flavoured marzipan treats covered in dark chocolate. Andros Island also has a long tradition in fruit preserves.
Last but not least, due to the island’s maritime tradition, captains and merchants used to import Western dessert recipes to the island. This is why fresh pastries are intertwined with the island’s culture and considered traditional sweets in Andros. You can try the chocolate or hazelnut ones but you must save the best for last. The flagship of Andros Island sweets is the pyramid-shaped almond pastry (pasta amygdalou).
6. Listen To The Water Whispering The Island’s Secrets in Apikia
Unlike most of the other Cyclades Islands which are dry and suffer from lack of water, Andros is very rich in water and this is also the reason why the island is graced with such lush greenery. An impressive fact about Andros is that it’s home to ten rivers with continuous flow all year round.
The picturesque village of Apikia is proof that Andros Island has no shortage of water whatsoever. The island’s most famous spring is Sariza and it’s situated in the heart of Apikia Village. The spring provides the island with fresh drinking water, which has proven therapeutic properties. SARIZA WATERS, the factory by the same name which produces high-quality bottled water since 1929, is also in Apikia Village.
Your journey along the island’s water routes doesn’t stop there, though. From the heart of Apikia Village, follow a super easy yet utterly charming signposted path and after 15 minutes or so, you’ll find yourselves at the Pithara Waterfalls, a spot of untouched beauty that locals like to call fairyland.
7. Step Inside a Fairytale
If you think that the Pithara Waterfalls is the only dreamy location in Andros, think again. The island’s countryside is dotted with several fairytale-like villages tucked away in the arms of lush valleys and kissed by fresh running streams.
Probably the prettiest village in Andros is Episkopeio, a traditional village built in dark stone amidst glorious cypresses and fragrant fig trees. No vehicle can enter the heart of the village and this is part of its magic. There’s a main cement path zigzagging its way across the entire village until it reaches the ultimate highlight of Episkopeio: the so-called Bridge of Love.
In a setting of exceptional beauty with ivies climbing on dry-stone walls and a stream running at the foot of the mesmerising ruins of an old watermill, you’re going to have to pinch yourselves to make sure you’re not dreaming, as you wander around one of the most enchanting places to visit in Andros.
Another village worth visiting for its charms alone is Menites near Chora. Similar to Apikia Village, Menites is famous for its water springs and lush greenery. Even in the hottest of summer days, the tiny square of Menites is a cool haven under the thick shade of century-old plane trees. Of course, don’t forget to snap a selfie with the iconic marble lion heads before you leave Menites.
8. Explore Foros Cave
The impressive Foros Cave is one of the lesser-known caves in Greece, but visiting it is one of the best things to do in Andros Greece. Foros Cave is situated in Aladinos Village near Chora. To get to the cave, you need to cross a beautiful arched bridge, built in 1680 AD by builders coming from the Epirus region, who were renowned for their stonemason skills. From then on, the cobblestone path that leads to the cave coincides with a hiking trail: Andros Route 18a.
You can visit the cave by guided tour only, which lasts about 15-20 minutes. During the tour, you get to learn the cave’s history. From how it was first discovered to its inclusion in the official list of caves in Greece by the Hellenic Caving Association. Although not large, Foros Cave abounds in impressive formations such as stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, gours and many more.
9. Visit Some of The Best Museums in Andros
Andros Island has quite a few interesting museums. The Archaeological Museum of Andros is in Chora and it displays numerous findings, which date back to the island’s earliest settlements. The small museums housed at Agia Irini Monastery with their collections of musical instruments, writing equipment and many other treasures are also worth checking out.
Andros is an island rich in maritime history, a few fragments of which are displayed at the Maritime Museum of Andros in Chora. The latter is open only during the summer months. On the other hand, for a glimpse into the island’s vast agricultural past, don’t miss the chance to visit the Cyclades Olive Museum, too.
If you only have time for one museum though, you should choose the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros Town, which is one of the best things to see in Andros. Locals call it Goulandris Museum, after its founder Vassilis Goulandris, one of the greatest Greek shipowners of his time. Together with his wife Elisa, Goulandris founded the museum back in 1979. Ever since then it is a cultural hub of great importance not only for Andros Island but for the entire country as well.
The Museum of Contemporary Art has two wings, one of which houses the permanent collection. The other hosts a special exhibition every summer, which pays tribute to a different distinguished artist each year. We never miss it and we can honestly say that Goulandris Museum has taught us a lot about contemporary art in general.
10. See And Be Seen At Cosmopolitan Batsi
Batsi is the most popular town in Andros. It has the largest number of hotels, restaurants, bars and night clubs on the island. It’s not our favourite part of Andros because it tends to be very touristy. Yet it has a nostalgic 80s aura that we find irresistible.
In the summer, locals and visitors alike flock to Batsi in the evening for dinner and late-night drinks. Batsi is the place to be for a night out in Andros. Its long sandy beach is perfect for an afternoon stroll but not among the top choices for a swim.
11. Mingle With Locals in Gavrio, One of The Most Authentic Places To Visit in Andros
As mentioned above, Gavrio is the port of Andros Island. It used to be dark and melancholic in the past but lately, it has become a vibrant yet still laid-back spot. Our favourite combination. We may be biased as we love ports but we absolutely adore Gavrio. Its cafés and restaurants are decorated with taste and we love its local feel and ambience. For magnificent photos, walk to the far left end of the port and keep your camera handy just as the ferry enters Gavrio Port.
12. Marvel At the Tower of Agios Petros, One of The Best Things To See in Andros Greece
When it comes to Andros sightseeing, the Tower of Agios Petros is an essential stop. Boasting a unique strategic position, the Tower was built in the 4th or 3rd century BC. Most probably, its purpose was to control sea and land alike to protect the island from potential invasions. Nowadays, the Tower is among the most popular attractions in Andros.
13. Catch Breathtaking Sunsets
OK, sunsets and sunrises are beautiful everywhere. Fair enough. However, there’s something special about sunsets in Andros. Watching the sun diving into the sea or hiding behind the mountains of Evia is quite a spectacle. The western part of the island enjoys the most stunning sunsets.
14. Party And Play At The Trendiest Beach Bars
Beaches in Andros are abundant and, as we said earlier, very diverse. Alongside the most secluded ones, there are also beaches which are crowded and know how to party. There are bars on most Andros beaches and some of them play loud music, serve fancy cocktails or even throw parties with guest DJs. You can party at Agios Petros Beach, Piso Gyalia Beach and Apothikes Beach to name but a few.
The most popular of all though is Gold Beach. It’s the top choice for locals and tourists alike because it’s one of the most easily accessible yet stunning beaches in Andros. It lies halfway between Gavrio and Batsi. Most importantly though, it’s one of a handful of beaches that are protected from the strong winds that often blow on the island. Therefore, it’s usually very difficult to find available sunbeds and umbrellas there. Especially in August.
If you are into water sports, Andros is the right island for you, too. You can hire jet-skis, windsurfing boards and so many others we have no idea about at most beach bars. Perhaps Kypri Beach boasts the largest selection of water sports of all.
15. Enjoy The Best Island-Hopping Experience
Island-hopping is among the best things to do in Greece. Andros is the perfect base from where to explore other nearby Greek Islands. Its proximity to Athens and the frequent ferry schedules during summer months make Andros an island-hopping paradise. Andros is connected to Tinos, Mykonos and Naxos daily during summer. It also connects to several other islands, such as Paros and Syros, every week.
Where Is Andros Island Greece
Just so we are clear, we are talking about Andros in Greece. Therefore, if you’ve already started packing your bags for Andros Island in the Bahamas you’ve been reading the wrong article all this time. I’ve been dying to joke about this since the beginning of this post. Now that we’ve got my super cold joke out of the way, I can go on to say that Andros is the northernmost and second biggest island in the Cyclades complex in the Aegean Sea.
When To Go And How Many Days in Andros
Andros Island is an ideal summer destination. Its busiest time is in August yet, unlike the majority of Greek Islands, not even then does it feel unbearably crowded. It is a very big and off-the-beaten-path island, which means that there is room for everyone even during peak season.
That said, if you can avoid planning your Greece holidays in August, by all means, do so. Apart from being overcrowded, another thing we hate about the Greek Islands in August is that the weather is usually annoyingly windy.
Let us repeat here that if hiking is the main reason you’re visiting Andros, then you should plan your Andros holidays in spring or, better still, in autumn to enjoy the mildest Andros Island weather imaginable.
As far as the duration of your Andros holidays is concerned, we’d say that anything less than a week wouldn’t do Andros justice, given the island’s size and its abundance of spectacular beaches.
How To Get To Andros Island
Sadly, there is no connection between Andros Island and Piraeus, the main port of Athens, which is very easily accessible through public transport. Ferries from Athens to Andros depart from Rafina Port instead which lies 25km east of Athens city centre. However, there are buses that connect Athens to Rafina Port for a very reasonable fee (2,60€ one way). Click here for the Athens – Rafina Port bus timetable.
There is also a direct bus from Athens Airport to the port of Rafina. For timetables and more information on the latter, click here.
Looking at the Rafina to Andros ferry timetable, it’s easy to see that ferries are very frequent. Journey time is two hours each way. There are a couple of ferry companies which operate services between Rafina and Andros Island. However, we almost always choose Fast Ferries, which are the cleanest and newest ferries on this route. Most of all, though, we are very fond of the Fast Ferries people and their excellent customer service.
How To Get Around Andros
Public transport in Andros will only get you from the port to the main towns and villages, such as Batsi and Chora, and the most popular beaches in between. By far the best way to get around an island of this size and with so many hidden treasures in every direction is driving.
As in most Greek Islands, roads are winding and sometimes you have to drive on the cliff side. There are no road lights at night so you need to be extra careful. Also, extra caution is needed if riding a scooter when strong winds blow. In fact, we don’t recommend scooters for getting around Andros. You’ll be better off with a car.
You can rent a car at Gavrio Port just as you get off the ferry, but it’s best to book your car in advance just so you are on the safe side, especially during high season when available vehicles run out fast.
Where To Stay in Andros Greece
Andros is a big island and where you choose to stay has to do with what you expect of your Andros holidays. For the thousandth time, we would like to stress the importance of driving in Andros Greece. That would give you the freedom to stay anywhere you wanted on the island. From laid-back farm stays to tranquil villas lost in olive groves.
However, if driving is not an option, perhaps the best accommodation choice would be near Agios Petros Beach. The latter is very close to Gavrio Port, it has a couple of fantastic places to eat and it is within walking distance from some of the best beaches.
If you are into camping, there is a campsite in Gavrio. For nightlife lovers, Batsi would be the best choice. Still, don’t expect the club scene of Mykonos. Andros Island is a lot quieter yet irresistibly authentic. The majority of Andros hotels are in Batsi whose central location makes it an ideal base to explore the entire island.
On the other hand, if you’re dreaming of a peaceful holiday in a stunning town with gorgeous architecture, choose Chora. Some of the best hotels in Andros are housed in neoclassical mansions scattered around Chora and you shouldn’t miss the chance to stay in one of those. We’ve stayed at Egli Hotel in the past and we loved it. The high-ceilinged rooms are spotlessly clean and clad in an aura of nostalgia. Breakfast is delicious and the staff are super sweet.
As far as we are concerned, we usually stay in Gavrio. We are lucky enough to have family there and a place to call home.
Where To Eat & Drink in Andros
Although we like to try new places and tastes every time we visit Andros Island, there are some favourite spots of ours we keep going back to. We’d love to share them with you so here it goes.
Chora & Around
- Krisilias for the best handmade cheese-pie you could ever dream of.
- Platanos for a cup of coffee, a glass of beer or a dish of delicious fourtalia in the most picturesque setting.
- Ta Skalakia for the best Greek cuisine in Chora at super generous portions.
- Patisserie Lygizos for top-quality desserts, including the best almond pastry on the island.
- Zairis, another dreamy pastry shop with superb handmade ice-cream among others.
Gavrio & Around
- Kokkinis Bakery for a huge selection of sweet and savoury snacks you can have as breakfast.
- Laas Café is open all day for coffee, brunch, drinks, etc, but if there’s one thing you MUST try there, it’s the mouthwatering loukoumades (Greek-style doughnuts).
- Eftichia is another all-day hangout, popular with locals and visitors alike.
- Francesco for the best pizza, pasta and burgers on the island.
- Hot Spot Pizza Bar is another top place for pizza lovers (Agios Petros Beach).
- Giannoulis is one of the best traditional restaurants on the island and one of the few serving seafood dishes; the fourtalia is amazing there, too (Agios Petros Beach).
- Kossis for meat-lovers; apart from the best meat on the island, the menu there features just a handful of appetisers and salads. Our dear vegans/vegetarians you have been warned (Ano Fellos).
- Zorgos Tavern for delicious Greek food and homemade wine with stunning views (Zorkos Beach).
Batsi & Around
- Rodia for scrumptious pizza and pasta.
- Als opens early in the morning for coffee and brunch, but it’s at its best in the evening for a cocktail or two.
- Agios Kyprianos Restaurant for homemade Greek food (Agios Kyprianos Beach).
NOTE: If visiting outside the high season, perhaps some of these places won’t be open. Please check in advance to avoid any disappointments.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about a Greek Island we hold very dear. Do you know what we sometimes do before visiting a new destination? We watch a film set there to prepare ourselves for what to expect. In the case of Andros, you can watch Little England, one of the best recent Greek films. It’s a period drama that provides insight into the island’s important maritime past as well as screenshots of many of its beauties. Watch the trailer here.
Not to brag or anything, but we’re kind of experts on Andros Island. We’ve been there countless times and we will never cease to discover more of its secrets. So, if you’ve read this list of the best things to do in Andros Greece but still have a question or two, feel free to ask us anything in the comments.
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Disclosure: Fast Ferries kindly offered us complimentary tickets to and from Andros for various trips between 2018 and 2019. However, as always, we express nothing but our very own and honest opinion about the experience we had.