Andros is an island that has enough tourism to be quite well organised, but not so much that it has become too commercialised.
A fairly green island for the Cyclades, Andros offers some really nice beaches, pretty villages and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. It is the second largest island among the Cyclades, and its high mountains and deep valleys make an unforgettable impression.
Although not a party island, the nightlife here is quite varied and those who love fishing, sailing and snorkelling will certainly find their paradise
Geography: Andros is the most northerly and second largest island of the Cyclades after Naxos. Its size is 374 square kilometres, with a length of 39.8 kilometres and a width of 16.7 kilometres at
its widest. There is approximately 110 kilometres of coastline. The terrain is mountainous but the habited areas are relatively level. The island is divided into five regions by four
mountainous masses. These are, Mount Saranda (725 metres) which faces north from the highlands of Makrotandalos (approx height 200 metres) and south from the valleys of Batsi,
Ateni and Katakoilos. Mount Petalo the main mountain on the island, with the highest peak of Andros (Kouvara at 994 metres) lies between the above mentioned valleys to the north
and the valley of Messaria in the south. Mount Gerakonas (at 720 metres) lies between the valleys of Messaria and Korthi. .Finally is Mount Pachi (at 681 metres) which is south of the
valley of Korthi and ends at the most southern tip of the island.
Four small rivers cross the island from west to east.These rivers, along with the mountains, are the beauties of Andros. Unlike many Greek islands they flow all year round fed by the
mountain peaks. The River Arnipotamos flows into the bay of Lefka, the River Achla which flows into the bay of Achla, the Megalos Potamos River flows into Paraporti beach in Hora
and the Dipotamata River flows into the bay of Syneti. Aside from these rivers there are around seven streams which also flow continuously all year. This makes a total of eleven
waterways, nearly all of which shape small aquatic areas at the mouths, with rich vegetation and remarkable aquatic fauna.
The coastline of Andros is particularly rugged creating many small, picturesque bays, which mostly have good sandy beaches. Some of the largest bays on the island which are worth
mentioning are Gavrio, Batsi, Hora and Korthion, all of which have organised harbours, Also is the bay of Fourni and in the north is the beach of Agios Petros, which is mentioned by
Lloyds as a safe haven for boats.
Andros is completely different to all other islands in the Cyclades. With its high and craggy mountains, deep, green and fertile valleys, its abundant running water, plateaus, terraced
farmlands, steep coasts and the many large and small golden sandy beaches, is one of constant contrasts and surprises. Its perfect for gentle strolling, hiking or driving and within a
few kilometres the landscape surroundings change dramatically. One moment you are in a dry, scrubby windswept area and the next in a forest of pines, or a wood of chestnut, plane
and oak trees with the sound of running water babbling over its stony riverbed. You can move from the sunbaked sandy beach with clear sparkling blue sea of the seashore to green
and fertile valley or lush gorge that is rich with vegetation and flora.
Agriculture on Andros is plentiful although the areas for cultivation are relatively small due to being confined to the valley areas that lie between the mountains, tucked in snugly to
protect them from the strong winds that are characteristic of all the Cycladic islands. The plentiful water and vegetation of the area has made the soild particularly good making the
valleys exceptionally fertile and bountiful.History According to mythology, Andros was a grandson of Apollo and general under the Cretan king Rhadamanthus. Because he had served the king well, he was given this island.
Many peoples have lived on Andros: it was first settled by Carians, Phoenicians and Cretans in the 2nd millennium BC. Much later, in the 5th century BC, it was conquered by Persia, and so joined the Athenian league for protection. Athens demanded too high tributes, though, and so Andros changed sides and joined the Spartans.
In the 4th century the island was ruled by the Macedonians, and then by the Romans.
The Venetians ruled Andros from the beginning of the 13th century, and by then the island was very rich. The Byzantine years had been good to it, and because of the defense, it had managed to ward off most pirate attacks.
The Turks invaded in 1537 under general Barbarossa. Andros fought hard in the war of Independence that broke out in 1821, and was liberated nine years later.
The greatest catastrophe came in 1943 when the Germans bombarded the island until it was completely destroyed. Read more about the History of Andros
What to See In Andros’ capital, Chora, there is a museum about the island’s shipbuilding through times. There is also an archaeological museum with artefacts from many periods in history.
The Sariza wells are natural wells where you can drink that water straight out of them. Much of the bottled water on Andros comes from here.
Menites is a lovely village to stroll around in.
The tree covered valley of Messaria covers the complete width of Andros from the west to the east and ends at the coastal capital town of Hora. Here you can find some of the most
beautiful villages of the island. On the northeren side are the villages of Strapouries, Pitrofos, Menites, Lamira, Mesathouri and Ipsilou and, to the south the villages of Aladino, Falika,
Koureli and Sasa. In Byzantine times, all this area, with Messaria at its centre, was the epicentre for the economic development of Andros. The same area saw a second boost in its
development at the beginning of the 20th Century with the growth of navigation. In this area, too, you will find many of the island’s beautiful Byzantine churches and the Monastery of
Panayia Panachrantou (Virgin Mary). Hora itself, stands out as an elegant and well-maintained town. Here you can see the beautiful, neo-classical town houses and mansions of the
upper-classes and ships’ captains who lived here throughout the last century. All of these featuresare found in a lush, idyllic landscape of gardens and rich farmlands, which owe their
existence to the plentiful water, which literally flows everywhere. The final wonderful quality of Hora is its peace and tranquillity owing to the fact that its main centre is pedestrianised.
Cars are parked at the edge of the centre and the centre itself is reached by foot. The same goes for the outlying villages. You can only go as far as the outskirts of each village by car
and from there on walking using the village lanes. Furthermore, the whole island is a paradise for walkers as you can visit all this, taking in a complete picture of the area, by means of
a large and well maintained network of footpaths.Gavrio:Gavrio is where all visitors enter the island and, although there is no known historical background to this town, it lseems it was an ancient port that connected Andros to Attica in the same way it does today. As the ship enters the port you can see the small town of Gavrio which has many kinds of shops, cafes, restaurants and tavernas on the seafront. Walking along the promenade you can find small sandy beaches. From Gavrio, buses depart to Hora. If you want to discover Andros under your own steam, you will find car hire firms and tourist offices at the portside. Also, if you are interested to buy land or property on Andros, here you will find many real estate agencies. A good idea is to visit Ano Gavrio, either by foot or car. The road takes you through glorious countryside and farmland, over babbling brooks and passes a fine example of the famed pigeon houses of Andros, the pigeon house of Manjoros is just past the first little bridge over a river and is easy to spot with its traditional quaint structure and decoration. Continuing along this road will lead you to the church of Agia Sofia, the main church of Gavrio.
Batsi:Next to Gavrio, towards Batsi, is the wonderful sandy beach of Agios Petros. Here is located the interesting Tower of Agios Petros which is worth a closer look. Batsi is probably the most developed tourist town of the island, although it must be said that it is nothing like the mass tourist developments that can be seen on other Cycladic islands. At Batsi you will find most of the hotels, apartments and the only camping site on the island. Batsi has a small marina where yachts and fishing boats berth. Around the marina and along the promenade you will find many restaurants, tavernas and clubs. Batsi, like Gavrio, belongs to the municipality of Hydrousa. The most beaches of Andros can be found here as well as many picturesque villages clustered on the slopes of the mountains and the bays.
. What to Do :Andros is a perfect island not only for walkers but also for people who like to swim, snorkel, fish and sail. Every summer sailing races are organised and there are countless wonderful beaches for windsurfing on the island fuelled by the well-known Cycladic winds. At the little harbour town of Batsi there are various water sports available during the summer season. Recently the Town Council of Andros has developed a programme to develop and support low-key tourism. This has involved clearing and signposting the basic network of
footpaths on the island for the use of residents and visitors alike. Although the maintenance of these paths is at times patchy, they do provide an ideal way of getting around the island.
If you want to experience the history and tradition of over six thousand years in Andros and to get to know its wonderful and special nature, its mineral and curative waters, its fauna
and its hundreds of species of wild flowers and herbs (some of which can only be found here in Andros ),- then all you need to do is follow the ancient paths which have supported the
socioeconomic life of the island from prehistoric times until the early post-war years. The experience will be one that will stay with you forever.
Beaches The most popular beach is probably Batsi, but other places to recommend are also Agios Petros, Fellos, Korthi, Gavrio, Kypri, Lefka, Kaminaki.and the bay of Korthi.
Nighttlife:If you insist on “clubbing” a bit, there are music bars in Batsi and Gavrion, at least during high season. There are also many bars, and you can enjoy both Greek and foreign music, whatever you prefer. In Chora there is also an outdoor cinema: all films are shown in their original languages with Greek subtitles.
Food There are many taverns and restaurants on Andros, and quite a few local specialities. You should try the local sausages, sun dried wine and various mezedakia – tit bits. The pastries should not be missed: Andros is renowned for its excellent sweets especially those that are made of almonds the famous “kaltsounia”. Coming out of the ferry in Gavrio the restaurant ‘Konaki’ right on the waterfront offers excellent Greek cuisine. In Chora you will find local meze dishes in ‘Nefeli’ opposite the church of Panagia, in Georgiou Empeirikou street that leads to the Archaeological museum in Korai square and further down to the Maritime Museum and the statue of the Unknown Sailor.
Shopping: There are many shops in Andros town, Chora, as well as in Batsi. Apart from the usual souvenirs, you can also get textiles, jewelry and ceramics.
Getting Around Andros is quite a large island, so it is definitely a good idea to rent a vehicle. There are also local buses connecting some of the main villages, as well as taxis. From Gavrion the buses to Chora are at the exit of the port.
Getting There :There is no airport on Andros, so you’ll have to fly to Athens or maybe Mykonosand take the boat from there. The suggested itinerary is from Athens (Rafina) , there are daily 3-4 ferries departing from Rafina to Andros check here for the daily departures. The orange buses (KTEL) for Rafina depart from Pedion Areos (ticket price 2.10 euro). A faster option is to take the Athens Metro until the station ‘Ethniki Amyna’ in Mesogeion street and from there to continue with the KTEL bus to the port of Rafina.
|Facts about Andros *
||Andros Phone numbers*
|Population: about 9 000
||International code: 0030
||Local code: 22820
|Cash machine: Yes
||Health Center: 23333
|Internet cafe: Yes
|Highest Mountain: Petalo 995m
||Port Police: 22250
|Price rate: Average
|Size: 380 sq. km