We’re pretty sure that the Greek Islands need no introduction. Especially the world-famous ones like Mykonos or Santorini. However, there are quite a few 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. That’s why we thought we’d help you plan the perfect Andros holidays by compiling a list of the best things to do in Andros Greece, an off the beaten path island just 2h away from Athens.
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Table of contents
- Top 13 things to do in Andros Greece
- 1. Get lost in the magic of Andros Town (Chora)
- 2. Go hiking
- 3. Embark on an incredibly scenic road trip
- 4. Swim in crystal clear waters at the most remote Andros beaches
- 5. Taste the best traditional food on Andros Island
- 6. Walk from Sarisa Spring to Pithara Waterfall at Apikia Village
- 7. Explore Foros Cave
- 8. Visit some of the best museums in Andros
- 9. See and be seen at cosmopolitan Batsi
- 10. Mingle with locals at Gavrio
- 11. Marvel at the Tower of Agios Petros
- 12. Catch breathtaking sunsets
- 13. Party and play at the trendiest beach bars
- 1. Get lost in the magic of Andros Town (Chora)
- Andros Guide
Top 13 things to do in Andros Greece
1. Get lost in the magic of Andros Town (Chora)
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 in general will say Chora when they 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.
Any walk around Andros Town starts from pedestrianised Embirikou Street 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.
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 is most of the times), you can walk down the steps to take a close look at the beautiful stone bridge which connects the Castle to Andros Island. The brave ones cross the bridge and visit the Castle’s ruins. Don’t ask if we’ve done it. I said the brave ones do it, didn’t I?
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 time listening to the sound of huge waves crushing on Paraporti Beach.
Alternatively, head to the opposite direction and go down the steps for magnificent views to Panagia Thalassini Church and Tourlitis Lighthouse, the only one 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 beach side bars and restaurants.
2. Go hiking
Andros Island is home to a wide network of ancient paths which comprises more than 160km of hiking trails. Simply put Andros is a hiker’s heaven. Lush valleys, dramatic mountain tops, running rivers and ancient settlements, Andros has it all. 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 include an easy hike or two in your summer Andros holidays itinerary. However, if hiking is the main reason why you’d like to visit the island, you’ll be better off in spring or autumn when temperatures are milder, thus more appropriate for physical activity. As a matter of fact, the best time to visit 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. So 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 across Andros Island can take you to the most remote villages like Korthi as well as to the most picturesque ones like Stenies, once the wealthiest maritime village which nowadays is 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 and Batsi to Andros Town via Katakilos, Arni and Vourkoti villages.
4. Swim in crystal clear waters at the most remote 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 remote ones is a fantastic experience in its own right.
Vitali is one of the most impressive Andros beaches. It is located at the northeastern part of the island and it is about 15km from Gavrio, the port of Andros Island. 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 reminds of the Scottish Highlands at some points.
Now, regarding the beach itself, we are talking about a heavenly setting of sand, small white pebbles, tall rocks providing shade and some of the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. The sea is deep and the brave ones (again, not us) 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 Greek restaurant as well as one of the prettiest beach bars we’ve seen to date which serves amazing burgers and superb pasta salad with tuna. 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 Zorgos. A 15km drive from Gavrio, this route also includes 5km or so of dirt road which is in good condition during summer. Zorgos is a very long beach. At 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 yourself. 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 as well. Again, there are sunbeds and umbrellas available and under no circumstances should you visit Zorgos 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 potatoes, local sausages seasoned with aromatic herbs, 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. However, fourtalia is delicious and nothing like an omelette as we know it. Although a vegetarian myself, I always share a fourtalia with Katerina as it is very easy to avoid the enormous pieces of sausage or meat.
Andros Island produces amazing local cheese as well. 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 mozzarela-like balls, only a lot smaller. Try it on your Greek salad and you can thank us later.
There are also mouthwatering sweet things to taste while in Andros. Pastitsakia are makaroon-like treats and amygdalota are also made of almond and covered in icing sugar. Bananakia (literally meaning 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. Walk from Sarisa Spring to Pithara Waterfall at Apikia Village
Unlike most of the other Greek Islands which are dry and suffer from lack of water, Andros Island 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 is home to 10 rivers which have continuous flow all year round. The picturesque village of Apikia is proof that Andros Island has no shortage of water whatsoever. Sarisa Spring provides the island with fresh drinking water and the factory by the same name which produces high-quality bottled water is also situated at Apikia village.
Andros Island is also home to a small yet fascinating waterfall. Follow the easy but charming signposted path from the centre of Apikia and after 15′ or so, you’ll find yourself at Pithara Waterfall, a spot of untouched beauty known to locals as fairyland.
7. Explore Foros Cave
Who would have guessed that one of the most impressive caves in Greece would be on an island in the Aegean Sea? Yet here it is. Foros is one of the lesser-known caves but one which is definitely worth a visit.
8. Visit some of the best museums in Andros
Andros Island has quite a few interesting museums. We haven’t visited all of them yet but we really enjoyed the ones we have. The Archaeological Museum of Andros is in Chora and it displays numerous findings dating back to the island’s earliest settlements. The small museums housed at Agia Irini Monastery are also worth checking out with their collections of musical instruments, writing equipment and many more. 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 summer months.
If you only have time for one museum though, you should definitely pay a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros Town. Locals call it Goulandris Museum, after its founder Vassilis Goulandris, one of the greatest Greek shipowners of his time. Along with his wife Elisa, Goulandris opened the museum back in 1979 and 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.
9. See and be seen at cosmopolitan Batsi
Batsi is the most popular town on Andros Island. 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 about it that we find irresistible. In the summer, locals and visitors alike flock to Batsi in the evening for dinner and late night drinks. It’s definitely 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.
10. Mingle with locals at Gavrio
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.
11. Marvel at the Tower of Agios Petros
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 so as to protect the island from potential invasions.
12. Catch breathtaking sunsets
OK, sunsets and sunrises are beautiful everywhere. Fair enough. However, there’s something special about sunsets in Andros. The sun diving in the sea or behind the mountains of Evia is quite a spectacle. The western part of the island sees the most stunning sunsets.
13. Party and play at the trendiest beach bars
Beaches in Andros are abundant and, as we said earlier, very diverse. Alongside the most remote 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 kick-ass 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 is one of a handful of beaches that are protected from the strong winds that often blow on the island. Therefore, it is usually very difficult to find available sunbeds and umbrellas. 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 of at most beach bars. Perhaps Kypri Beach boasts the largest selection of water sports of all.
Where is Andros Island Greece
Just so we are clear, we are talking about the Greek Island of Andros so if you’ve already started packing your bags for Andros Island in the Bahamas you’ve been reading the wrong post 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
It goes without saying that 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 so 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 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 and enjoy the mildest Andros Island weather imaginable. Given the island’s size and its abundance of spectacular beaches, we’d say that anything less than a week wouldn’t do Andros justice.
How to get to Andros Island
Sadly, there is no connection between Andros Island and Pireaus, the main port of Athens which is very easily accessible by means of public transport. Ferries from Athens to Andros depart from Rafina Port instead which lies 25km east of Athens city centre. However, there are buses which 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.
Rafina to Andros ferry schedules are frequent and the journey takes 2h. There are a couple of ferry companies which operate services between Rafina and Andros Island. However, we always choose Fast Ferries. The latter boast the most modern and cleanest ferries on this route. Most of all, though, we are very fond of the Fast Ferries people and the excellent customer service they offer.
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, I would like to stress the importance of driving. The latter gives you the freedom to stay anywhere you want 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 of some of the best beaches.
If you are into camping, there is a campsite in Gavrio. Now, for nightlife lovers, Batsi would be the best shot. 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 are dreaming of a peaceful holiday in a stunning town with gorgeous architecture, choose Chora. Some hotels are housed in neoclassical mansions and you should definitely not miss the chance to stay in one of those. We have stayed at Egli Hotel and we loved it. The high-ceilinged rooms are spotlessly clean and are clad in an aura of nostalgia. Breakfast is delicious and staff are super sweet.
As far as we are concerned, we usually stay at Gavrio. We are lucky enough to have family there and a place to call home.
Where to eat 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. First things first. When in Andros, you must try fourtalia. For the best fourtalia, go to Platanos in Andros Town, Giannoulis on Agios Petros Beach and the tavern on Zorgos Beach. Giannoulis and Zorgos are among our favourite taverns in Andros for serving excellent Greek food.
Although an island, Andros is not renowned for fish and seafood. Living on a mountainous island, the people of Andros quickly turned to agriculture and livestock production rather than fishing. So the local cuisine is meat based. Kossis Tavern serves the best local meat on the island. Vegetarians have only a couple of options based on fresh vegetables which are in the appetizers section of the menu. Everything Kossis serves comes from the family’s farm which spreads dreamily around the tavern itself. Kids can have fun watching the animals at the farm and the location is ideal for watching the sunset of a lifetime. Kossis Tavern is situated at Fellos Village near Gavrio.
OK, we’re all about local cuisines ourselves but let’s be honest here. Who doesn’t crave a slice of pizza or five during a long vacation at some point? Well, when this pizza craving kicks in, head to either Hot Spot Pizza Bar on Agios Petros Beach or Rodia at Batsi. For breakfast and snacks, the fresh homemade cheesepies at Krisilias in Andros Town are second to none. They are totally worth the trip to Chora even if you’re staying at a different part of the island. Kokkinis Bakery at Gavrio Port has a large selection of sweet and savoury treats, among which a wide array of freshly made sandwiches. Last but not least, our favourite all-day hangout is Eftichia (Ευτυχία) in Gavrio. From delicious breakfasts and mouthwatering desserts to mixed food platters, great house wine and fantastic cocktails, Eftichia has it all.
Wait, there’s more. We’ve saved the best for last. Remember when we said that Andros Island has a long sweets tradition and that you MUST try the pyramid-shaped almond miracle? Although there are many bakeries and pastry shops on the island (which all serve fresh and delicious creations, no doubt), our favourite by far is Patisserie Lygizos in Andros Town. Why? Because we’ve tried each and every one pasta amygdalou on the island and none of them tastes as divine as the one at Patisserie Lygizos.
NOTE: We can guarantee that all of the above mentioned establishments are open during summer months. However, if visiting outside high season, please check in advance if they are open.
Greek Island hopping from Andros
Andros is the perfect base 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 islands daily during summer. It also connects to various other islands on a weekly basis. Check out all ferry schedules here.
Andros travel tips
Language: Greek but, as in most places in Greece, almost everyone speaks good English.
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 driving a scooter when strong winds are blowing. You can rent a car or scooter at Gavrio Port just as you get off the ferry.
So, here’s pretty much everything you need to know about a Greek Island we hold very dear. Do you know what we do sometimes before visiting a new destination? We watch a film set there so as to prepare ourselves for what to expect. In this spirit, you can watch one of the best Greek films from the last decades, Little England. The film 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, feel free to ask us anything. Perhaps we’ll even meet some of you there one day. Καλή αντάμωση!
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Disclosure: Fast Ferries kindly offered us complimentary tickets to and from Andros for our recent trip. However, as always, we express nothing but our very own and honest opinion about the experience we had.