Not too many people have heard of Andros in the Cyclades. It’s rather surprising, as this beautiful, green island has lots to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Andros Greece.
What to do in Andros Greece
Andros is the second biggest of the Cyclades islands. It’s famous among Greeks for its lovely beaches and its rich naval tradition.
Andros is an ideal destination for people who like the outdoors. There are dozens of fantastic beaches and a long network of amazing hiking trails. The island is big, and has kept its authentic character, so it’s easy to enjoy the wild nature.
At the same time, the island has a rich culture. The main town, called Chora, has several art and cultural museums. You would be surprised to find out that Miro and Kandinsky exhibitions have been held here!
How to get to Andros Greece
You can get to Andros on the ferry from Rafina port close to Athens. Depending on the type of ferry you choose, it will only take you one or two hours to get to the island.
As such, Andros is an ideal destination for a quick getaway, or a longer vacation. It can also be easily combined with another nearby island, Tinos, and perhaps the better known Mykonos.
In terms of peak season, Andros gets relatively busy in July and August. It’s a popular place for Greek families, but it never gets too crowded, so it’s ideal for people who like quiet places.
Does all this sound appealing? Here are some of our favourite things to do in Andros Greece!
Explore the towns and villages in Andros
Andros has a few villages and towns that you can visit. Depending on where you choose to stay, you can take day trips to other areas of the island.
Chora is the main town of the island and the only place that is somewhat lively year-round. As you are walking around, you will see the ruins of the Venetian castle, which was built in 1207, blending in with the famous white-washed houses.
There are also quite a few interesting museums, and it would take you more than one full day to see all of them. Don’t miss a relaxed walk on the beautiful, scenic promenade leading to the Panagia I Thalassini church.
The port town of Gavrio is small, and has a few shops, tavernas and rooms. There isn’t much to do here, though you can always have a coffee or meal with a view to the promenade. This is where you can rent a car, motorbike or ATV.
Batsi is a coastal town where you can find some action in summer, and a popular place to stay. There is a variety of tavernas, bars and beach bars, and even an outdoors cinema. While nightlife isn’t exactly huge here, there are plenty of places to have a late-night drink.
Korthi is a sleepy coastal town where not much is happening, but you can always have a coffee or meal by the seaside. What’s more, Korthi has a lovely sandy beach, that is quiet even when the strong meltemi winds appear – more on this below!
In terms of traditional villages, Andros has a fair few. Menites, Apikia and Stenies are among the most popular ones to visit, though don’t expect crowds. If you go to Stenies, try to count the churches – according to locals, there are over 25!
The meltemi wind
One thing to keep in mind if you are visiting Andros, or any of the Cyclades, is the meltemi wind. This is a strong seasonal wind in the Aegean, and it generally peaks during July and August. As comes from the north, any beach facing to the north will be affected, and therefore is not recommended.
We were in Andros in late August, and the winds were quite strong. On some occasions, staying on the beach wasn’t exactly pleasant. We had to drive around the island to find beaches that were protected from the wind – but that was part of the fun! Some people might consider staying at a hotel with a pool.
Explore the wild beaches in Andros
Every local we asked told us that Andros has over 170 beaches, bays and coves. It’s an impressive number and it won’t be possible to see them all in a few days, so you will have to return! You can absolutely spend your whole time in Andros just enjoying the sun on different beaches.
You will find all sorts of beaches in Andros. Some of them have loungers, umbrellas and beach bars. Others are natural and wild, and you will need to bring your own shade, water and snacks.
To begin with, there are several long, sandy, easily accessible beaches. Kypri, Chrissi Ammos and Agios Petros beaches close to Gavrio and Batsi are among the most popular beaches in Andros. Korthi beach, on the east side of the island, is also long and sandy. In our experience it is one of the best beaches in Andros when the winds are strong.
Some of our favourite beaches in Andros were Fellos and Kourtali, on the north west o the island. There are no facilities on either, so you will need to bring whatever you will need for the day. If you are happy to drive on dirt roads, you can also go to Vlychada and Pyrgos beaches, that are more remote and even less crowded.
Due to the strong winds, the locals suggested that we avoid some of the best beaches in Andros. These are all facing north, and their names are Zorkos, Vitali, Ateni and Achla, which is best reached by boat from Chora. Next time we visit Andros, we will definitely go there!
Finally, the famous Tis Grias to Pidima beach is really very picturesque and you should definitely go to check it out. In our opinion however, it’s not worth much more than a photo-stop, as it gets quite crowded!
Visit the museums in Andros
If you are after some history and culture, Andros has plenty of museums to keep you busy. Most of the museums are located in Chora, within walking distance from each other.
Perhaps the most famous museum in Andros is the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art, hosting permanent and temporary exhibitions. If you are interested in art, you should also check out the Petros and Marika Kydonieos Foundation, promoting exhibitions and cultural events in Andros.
While you are still in Chora, you can also visit the Archaeological Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Folklore and Christian Art Museum.
One really interesting museum in Andros is the Olive Oil Museum in Ano Pitrofos. Even if you have been to an olive oil museum before, it’s absolutely worth visiting this one. The founder, Dimitris Chelmis, is a passionate architect who restored and old, authentic olive mill transforming it into a museum.
This is what they used to make the donkeys walk faster… can you guess what it’s made of?
You will have a short guided tour, followed by a video Dimitris made after the mill was restored, showing how olive oil is produced. This is a great museum for families, as the children will love playing with the old equipment.
Visit the Panachrantou Monastery in Andros
Andros has several monasteries. If you only have time for one, and are happy to drive on steep mountain roads, go to Panachrantou Monastery. It dates from the 9th century AD, and is home to an icon of the Virgin Mary and the relics of St. Panteleimon.
Most of the monastery has been refurbished and it looks brand new. Still, it’s definitely worth visiting, if only for the wonderful views.
Visit Aladinou Cave in Andros
There are caves everywhere in Greece, and Andros couldn’t be an exception! Aladinou Cave, also known as Foros Cave, is on your way from Batsi to Chora. It’s a small cave, and you will be shown around by some very enthusiastic locals.
It is also possible to come here on foot, through the hiking paths. We wouldn’t recommend it in summer!
Go hiking in Andros
If you are visiting Andros in spring or autumn, you should definitely go hiking. There is a very long network of hiking trails and paths on this mountainous, wild island.
Works to clear, maintain and signpost the hiking paths were undertaken in recent years. At least 150 kms of trails have been cleared by the combined efforts of the Cyclades Prefecture and several groups of volunteers, such as Andros Routes.
You can also check out the “Andros Foot Festival” which is organized annually in October, aiming to promote hiking tourism on the island.
Taste great local Greek food
Anywhere you go in Greece, you will find great local Greek food, and Andros is no exception. You will find several types of yummy local cheeses, sausages and cured meats. The local fourtalia omelettes are also amazing, containing pretty much every available ingredient.
Wherever you go in Andros you will find at least one small taverna or kafeneio, so you won’t go hungry. One place that we absolutely fell in love with was the taverna O Kossis, up on the mountains. They specialize in grilled meats, that are absolutely divine! Vegetarians won’t go hungry either, as they have huge salads and some fries to die for.
Are you planning to go to Andros?
We hope our brief guide with the best things to do in Andros has inspired you to visit! For more information about the island, you can download our extensive travel guide to Andros and Tinos available on Kindle. It combines Andros and Tinos islands in Greece and there is a lot of detail on attractions, beaches, food and culture. Check it out!