Looking for the best things to do in Andros, Greece? From visiting Batsi beach to exploring the cute town of Chora, this is what to do in Andros!
If you’re thinking of visiting Andros island in Greece, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog post I’m going to tell you all about the top things to do in Andros and why this place needs to be on your Greek bucket list.
I’ve just spent a week island hopping in Greece, but instead of following all the other tourists to Mykonos and Santorini, I wanted to visit a couple of the lesser-known islands. That’s when I found Andros and Tinos.
Unlike a lot of the other islands in Greece that are rocky, Andros is very fertile and green due to lots of natural springs and rivers dotted all over the place. This gives it a lush green colour that contrasts beautifully with the glistening blue of the Aegean Sea.
That means if you like your adventure activities, then you’ll absolutely love this place. There are caves to delve deep into, you can explore all the different bays and beaches, and I’ll tell you all about a gorgeous river trek where you can swim in the most picturesque waterfall at the end of it.
So, if you fancy visiting somewhere very different in Greece but with hardly any of the tourists, then this is what to do in Andros. I really hope you love this place as much as I do!
Where is Andros?
It’s very easy forgetting how many islands there are in Greece. How many do you think there are – a hundred? A thousand? There are over 6,000! Isn’t that crazy!?
Okay, so of these only 227 islands are inhabited, but that’s still a lot more than I realised.
Andros itself is part of a group of islands known as the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. This includes the Greek gems of Mykonos and Santorini, but other islands such as Naxos (the largest) and Syros (the most populated).
The Cyclades derives its name from the Greek word “cyclos” which means circle. This is the shape of the islands as they form a circle around Delos (near Mykonos), the sacred island of the ancient Greek god Apollo.
The Cyclades islands are arguably the most popular to visit in Greece, and they are famous for their whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches, beautiful beaches and cute villages.
Getting to Andros
Located close to Athens, Andros island is the perfect introduction to the Cyclades Islands in Greece.
I spent one week in Greece, and I wanted to visit a few places. Instead of flying straight to somewhere like Santorini, I flew to Athens to explore the city first.
From there, getting to the Cyclades was easy. Early one morning I caught a taxi to Rafina Port which took around 45 minutes.
And then from Rafina Port, I caught the Fast Ferries boat direct to Andros which took 2 hours.
Andros is the first island in the Cyclades, so a lot of the ferries stop off here first.
Ferry tickets cost €25 (you can buy tickets here) and there are a couple of shops on board where you can buy pastries and drinks. As I caught the 07:30 ferry, I was very glad they sold good coffee!
I always love travelling by boat. At the sun was out, I jumped on the top deck, put on some music and watched the world go by.
I knew we were approaching Andros long before we got there. With about 15 minutes to go, all the locals came outside on deck to see the island. The views along the coastline are something else – it just makes you even more excited to get off the boat and explore Andros.
Things to do in Andros, Greece
I completely fell in love with the little town of Chora. When you see pictures of this place you’ll understand why.
Located about an hour from the port of Gavrio, Chora is the capital of Andros and it’s where a lot of people base themselves while exploring the island.
What I loved about Chora were the narrow marble streets and old-fashioned Neoclassical buildings. The Venetians used to call this place home, so a lot of the houses are these grand buildings built out of Venetian stone with marble balconies.
If you can resist popping into all the boutique shops, there’s this really lovely walk from the main square all the way down to the water.
This will take you through the narrow streets, past the church with the blue-domed roof, and down to the water where you’ll find Andros Castle. The views of the bay from here are just stunning.
Another thing that’s great about Chora is that the town is flanked by two beautiful beaches either side of it. Paralia Paraporti (on the right of Chora) is more popular with adults, and Neimporio beach (on the left of Chora) is more popular with families.
Climb up to the ruins of Lower Castle
Right on the tip of Chora peninsula lies the crumbling ruins of Lower Castle (also known as Andros Castle).
Built during the Dandolo dynasty (1207-1233), this was once one of the most important castles in the Aegean. The castle was in very good condition until WWII when it was bombed by the Germans in 1943 – it’s such a shame as it would’ve been amazing seeing the castle in its original state.
You can actually get over to the ruins of the castle via the stone arch bridge. Don’t worry, it’s a lot scarier than it looks!
I climbed over the bridge a couple of times while I was in Chora. It’s only about 5 steps to the top of the bridge, then it’s a lot easier walking over to the island.
Once you climb up to the castle, you have the most beautiful views looking back at the town. I came up here one evening for sunset and it was such a peaceful spot.
Take a boat trip to Tourlitis Lighthouse
Just beyond the castle is Tourlitis Lighthouse, the lonely lighthouse perched on a tiny rock. Rising up out the water with a spiral stone staircase, this looks like a wizard’s tower straight out of a fantasy novel.
One of the best ways of seeing the lighthouse is by going on a boat trip. We went on a tour with Explore Andros where we jumped on a local fishing boat and visited the local beaches and bays. And when I say local fishing boat, I really mean it. There were fishing nets everywhere!
After we visited a few secluded spots around Andros, we then sailed to take a closer look at the lighthouse. When our captain asked if I’d like to hop off the boat and see the lighthouse for myself, I jumped at the chance.
I have this strange attraction to desolate and isolated places, so I loved seeing the lighthouse. I would’ve stayed there the night if it was an option!
Just taking photos of this structure is one of the top things to do in Andros – it’s a real photographer’s dream.
Have lunch at Barbarola Restaurant
If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Andros, then look no further than Barbarola.
Perched on the edge of the cliffs, the views along the coast are something else. Add in delicious food, a couple of beers and you’re in paradise.
At Barbarola they serve traditional Greek dishes, so expect things like freshly grilled fish, octopus marinaded in olive oil and paprika, cuttlefish cooked in a deep red wine sauce. I loved all the food from here and the portions were massive.
My recommendation is to come here for a lazy lunch so you can enjoy the views for longer.
Go river trekking with Explore Andros
One of the most adventurous things to do in Andros is go river trekking.
For our tour, we were picked up by Argie from Explore Andros in the morning, and he drove us to the start of the river trekking trail.
From there, we followed Argie through the forest, past ancient farmland, climbing over giant boulders and following the gentle sounds of the river.
This is a cross between hiking and scrambling, and it’s a proper adventure. I love scrambling over boulders like a kid, and it was so peaceful following the river through the trees.
At the end of the river trek you’ll discover Gerolimni waterfall, this magical waterfall that’s seems almost hidden away among the boulders and trees. Just don’t forget to pack your swimming stuff (more on that below!)
I can honestly say Argie was one of the best tour guides I’ve ever had. He was so passionate and knowledge about Andros – he just brought the place to life. Also, I was also very jealous of all the adventures he’s been on!
And swim in the waterfall at the end of it!
It’s time to go swimming!
Once you’ve made it to the end of the river trek to Gerolimni waterfall, obviously you’ve got to jump in the water and go swimming. This is the perfect way to cool off after a sweaty hike (trust me on that one!)
For those of you who want to take things to the next level, you can either jump off one of the rocks into the water or fling yourself off the Tarzan swing. Yes, there’s a Tarzan swing here.
The rock jump is actually surprisingly high, about 8 metres, so this is definitely the scarier of the two. The Tarzan swing is just pure fun though – I would say everyone should be able to do this one.
I will say the water is very fresh, but it’s definitely worth it.
Visit the picturesque villages dotted around the island
One of the things that Andros is most famous for are these little villages dotted around the place. Hugging the mountain slopes, some of these villages have the best views overlooking the Aegean Sea.
A few villages I’d recommend visiting are Messaria, Menites and Pitrofos where you’ll find the Olive Museum of the Cyclades.
My favourite village was Stenies though, this beautiful place with magnificent mansions and towers. It feels like such an authentic place to visit without any of the crowds.
Drink the freshest spring water around
At a lot of the villages you’ll find natural springs with the freshest water around. This water is packed full of natural minerals and is even said to have healing properties.
The two most popular springs are found at the Springs of Dionysus at Menites, and the other one at Sariza. At both these water gushes out of lion’s heads and often you’ll see hikers drinking or filling up their water bottles.
In ancient times, people believed that the springs gushed from the ancient Temple of Dionysus, and that they flowed with wine during the day of his celebration. Now that sounds like my kind of party!
Discover Foros Cave
There’s always something so mysterious about a cave, isn’t there? It’s the total darkness and silence that gets me.
Foros Cave is located about 4km from Aladinou village, and it was one of the first caves discovered in Greece.
There is a bit of intrigue around the name too. It’s thought that ‘Foros’ could come from the Italian word meaning opening.
However, I much prefer the other explanation. ‘Foros’ means tax in Greek, and it’s thought that sheeps and goats were sacrificed here by falling into the cave as a tax to evil spirits. It’s a much better story, isn’t it?
We went on a short 30-minute tour down into the caves themselves. The tour starts at the opening before delving down into the depths of the cave 100 metres below. From here you can see the network of tunnels shoot off from the main chamber.
Our tour guide explained the geology of the area whilst also pointing out the different shapes in the rock formations. Just wait to you see the dragon’s egg and the sleeping dragon at the end of the cave!
Apparently this cave dates back 4.5 million years ago, so it’s safe to say it’s very old.
Tickets cost €5 and they provide a hard hat and torch too.
Enjoy driving around the island
Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures, isn’t it?
Andros is one of the larger islands in the Cyclades (it was much larger than I realised). Driving from one side of the island from Gavrio port to the other side to Chora took about 50 minutes. And driving from the top to the bottom takes around 90 minutes.
It’s not that the distances are long, but all the roads are windy mountainous roads. This makes them perfect for road trippin’!
There’s nothing quite like driving these roads with the glittering Aegean Sea all around you. It’s just bliss.
Relax by your hotel swimming pool
During peak summer from June to September, temperatures can hit 30 degrees, so it’s no surprise a lot of the hotels have swimming pools.
We stayed at Anemomiloi Hotel, a lovely little boutique hotel with views of the rugged landscape from our room.
Because we woke up early each day to explore the island, we would always get back late in the afternoon tired, so I was very happy we had a pool to cool off in.
Give me a good book, a couple of beers by the pool and a lounger in the sun, and I’m happy. This is your Greek holiday after all!
Visit the beautiful beaches at Batsi
One of the most popular places to visit in Andros is Batsi.
Located just 7km from Gavrio port, Batsi has a number of sandy beaches, small picturesque harbours and hidden coves along its coastline.
For Andros, Batsi can seem quite touristy at times, but it has still kept its traditional and authentic charm. I’d say one of the best things to do here is just wander around the narrow streets before making your way to Batsi beach.
There are plenty of plush and boutique hotels here too, so if you’re looking to stay somewhere closer to the main port for your Andros holiday, then I’d definitely put Batsi at the top of the list.
Also, the sunsets from this side of the island are just spectacular.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art at Chora
In Chora you’ll find the Museum of Contemporary Art, the first contemporary art museum in Greece which was opened in 1979.
The museum was initially opened to house and showcase the works by Andriot sculptor Michalis Tombros, which he had bequeathed to his hometown. Since then, it has become a beacon for local artists displaying their work.
The main objective of the museum is to continue to promote Greek and international modern and contemporary art, while seeking to contribute to the current debates on the visual arts as a whole.
Also see the Archaeological Museum of Andros
Another place that’s worth visiting in the Archaeological Museum of Andros.
At the Archaeological Museum of Andros, you will see findings brought to light by archaeological excavations on the island. It includes a collection of the Geometric settlement of Zagora and sculptures from the Archaic to the Roman era.
You can also see inscriptions and sculptures of the Early Byzantine and Byzantine period.
Have a delicious dinner from Micra Anglia
As a massive foodie, I love travelling to places like Andros. When you’re surrounded by the bountiful sea, you don’t need to look far for the freshest seafood.
We had loads of great meals while in Andros, but my favourite was at the luxury 5* hotel Micra Anglia.
This is fine dining while using local ingredients, and it’s really elevating Greek cuisine.
For starters I had a smoky aubergine that had been cooked over charcoal with lots of local sheep’s cheese crumbled over the top, followed by the most delicious squid ink risotto I’ve had in years. What I would give for another bowl of that risotto right now!
Hiking in Andros
To be honest with you, I could write about all the different hiking trails in Andros and still not cover them all.
Andros has an impressive network of over 300kms of footpaths all around the island. About 200km of these hiking routes have been fully restored with way-marked signs, so it’s very easy following them for a day’s hike.
In a day you can easily walk from waterfalls through ancient farmland and down mountains directly to the beach. And yes, you really can do all of this in a day.
If you’re thinking about a hiking holiday in Andros, Andros Routes is one of the best resources online for planning your trip and which route to take. I just wish I had more time to go hiking here!
If you’re looking at exploring one of the other islands in the Cyclades, then check out this amazing guide to the best things to do in Tinos, Greece.
This post was in association with Visit Greece promoting some of the lesser-known islands to visit in Greece. As always, views are entirely my own and without bias.
Are you planning a trip to the Greek islands? If you have any questions about it all, you can let me know in the comments below!
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