Andros is an island in the Cyclades.
Andros is the northernmost of the Cyclades islands. It is second in size after Naxos and is located between Euboia - which it is separated by the Cavo D'Oro(Cape Caphereus)- and Tinos island. It is a mountainous island, blessed with verdant slopes full of citrus and olivetrees, waterfalls, mountain streams and numerous high quality water springs.
According to the Greek mythology the island got it's name from the first settler Andros, a hero of Olympic gods descent. Other names were also used in the course of history: Hydroussa, Nonagria and Lasia, all homage to the rich flora and water springs found on Andros. It was during the Classical Age that Andros showed first signs of flourishing civilization with its capital at the site of present day Paleopolis. The favored god was Dionysios with a great celebration in his honor where "water was turn to wine" taking place every third year the first ten days of January. In 133 BC Andros is taken by the Roman Empire and in 1270 passes to Venice and sees the construction of forts and towers, the Lower For in Chora being the most important and the Upper Fort in Kohilou. This period sees about 5 centuries of economic growth as it becomes an important centre of silk textile trade industry.
Andros is much bigger than one would expect, and has a number of small towns/villages on the different coasts of the island. The middle of the island is mountainous and rocky- somewhat empty expect for farms and tiny churches- and has a good system of roads. The tiny Port town is called Gavrio. About 10 minutes away by scooter is an picturesque beach town called Batsi. The biggest town is called Chora or Andros, on the eastern coast. It is about 45 minutes from the port, and large buses leave along with ferries.
It is important to note when reading about Andros- many sources are unclear as to whether they are referring to the Andros the Town or the Island. Pay close attention to where on the island you book accommodations; many places are not listed on google maps, and it is easy to realize you are far from more than a few restaurants and beaches.
From the Greek mainland ferries services run daily from Rafina. (Andros is not directly connected to Piraeus.) Andros is also connected by normal ferry to other islands, such as Mykonos (2 hours and a quarter), Paros (4 hours) ,Tinos (1 hour and a half), Naxos (4 hours), Syros (2 hours).
You may travel to Andros island mainly by ferry which connects the Rafina port (5km from Athens main airport) to the island main port at Gavrio. The distance is 37 nautical miles and the trip time is two hours. There is frequent and convenient every day service including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (except Christmas day and Eastern Sunday). The ferries are of closed type departing from Rafina in the morning hours between 7AM and 8AM while they return from Andros to Rafina at 3PM to 4PM. During spring and summer there are afternoon trips as well. Ferries to Syros, Sifnos, Sikinos and Kea island twice a week You may also reach the island by private helicopter which may land either at Gavrio or at Hora. There are private helicopter services at Athens which may be reached for such a trip.
The travel in the island can be done by: - bus services connecting specific villages - taxi services at Gavrio, Batsi, Hora, Korthi - rent car services at Gavrio, Batsi or Hora - rent motor bike or bicycle services at Gavrio, Batsi, Hora
You may also use your own car by transporting it via the ferries.
Useful phone numbers:
- Rafina Port Authority: +30 2294 028888 - Andros Gavrio Port Police Authority: +30 22820 71213 - Andros Bus Service +30 2282 022316,
The island is also connected through ferries - Alpha Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, Cyclades Fast Ferries, and catamarans Sea Jets, Hellenic Seaways with Tinos and Mykonos islands. Trip time to Tinos is 01:00 hours and to Mikonos 01:45 hours.
Andros island is a completely different and unique island waiting to be explored. It offers unforgettable moments of pleasure with its high and craggy mountains, deep green and fertile valleys, the water falls, rivers, fountains, plateaus, terraced farmlands, slopes filled with fig trees, olive trees, capers, wild flowers as well as the sandy beaches with the crystal clear waters, all together make it the ideal place for relaxing and enjoyable vacations.
The whole island is a paradise for walkers as you can visit it by means of a large and well maintained network of footpaths most of them being the old main roads for the locals.
Hiking - Andros Routes has marked an extensive network of trails criss crossing the island. Although they have a website, it it recommended to pick up a trail map (available in most book or souvenir stores for €4-€5).
Museums of modern art, nautical, archaeological and local traditional interest.
On shore or on boat fishing.
Local traditional dance and dining events.
Old oil and flour water mills.
Numerous religious feasts used to be celebrated in Andros in the past. On villages' patron saint days, there would be a ceremony followed by a "greeting tour" of the village, where participants were welcome into the inhabitants homes and offered everything from sweets to fruit and tsipouro, including a full meal, and celebrations would continue well into the day. Nowdays, these festivities called "panegyria" are mostly organized by local "cultural societies" and usually take place in the villages' square or in the church patio, where locals and guests meet each other and enjoy. Most notable feasts: 15th Aug Ammoloxos church (9 km from Gavrion), 23rd Aug Varidi school (13 km from Gavrion),
'Easter Monday Tromarchia (30km from Gavrion), 27th July on St. Pandeleimon chapel at Katakilos, 5th Friday of Lent (acathyst hymn) at the Church of Our Lady Theoskepasti in Chora
The island has more than 100 beaches the majority of which are accessible by car. They are beautiful, unspoilt beaches around the island so you will enjoy swimming under all weather conditions.
The most vibrant beaches which are the prefferable choice by lots of visitors and young people are Aghios Petros, Psili (or Chrissi)Ammos and Kypri bay. They are organised beaches with beach bars ,all day live party and water sports.
From the rest of beaches the most notable are Vitali, Zorkos, Apothikes, Plaka, Steno, Grias Pidima, Sineti, Mesa - Exo Gialia, Ahla, Vori, Lefka, Ateni, Vlihada, Pisolimionas, Felos, Liopessi, Batsi.
Don't worry if you want to swim nude, There are nudism free beaches.
Prefferably use a 4X4 vehicle and you will be able to visit all vehicle accessible beaches of the island.
Don't miss to try local dairy products such as Volaki and Kopanisti cheese, as well as pork derivatives Louza and Sausage. Dont miss the froutalia dish which is scrabbled eggs with fried potatoes and local sausage.
Andros produces a variety of home made sweets using local fruits.
Caper is another local product. You may notice many capper plants around the island near by the beaches or on the rocks in the main land.
For meat lovers the local meat is delicious and you should try before leaving the island. There are local restaurants which serve only local meat dishes.
You may try the local sumada light alcoholic drink.