Andros Island

Travel Guide at a Glance
Destination best for: relaxation, swimming, family vacation
Visitors rating:

Picture of Batsi, Andros.
Batsi, Andros

Introduction

Andros' proximity to Attica makes it an ideal destination for a quick weekend vacation, and its quiet character is conducive to an even longer relaxing holiday.

Despite the short two-hour trip from Rafina (about half hour away from Athens), Andros has remained under most tourist radar screens. Most of the island hums a rural Greek tune, and only a couple subdued tourist spots on the east coast act as reminders that it is an Aegean island.

If you are looking for an island that feels "Greek" and is less "touristy", Andros fits the bill nicely. A stroll along the busy Chora (Andros town) would bring you among families of local or visiting Greeks, in an atmosphere similar to any non-touristy Greek town. Legend among Greeks have it that the locals (meaning the shipping tycoon families of yesteryears who made Andros their favorite island nest) don't really desire or need tourism, so it's an industry that they haven't catered to.

But don't let such legends keep you away from Andros. You will feel perfectly welcome and treated to a more genuine Greek hospitality in an island full of class and good taste.

Things to do

Archaeological Sites

The archaeological site of Ypsili.The only archaeological site that's open to the public is Ypsili, just south of Batsi on the west coast of Andros. The ruins date from the Geometric and Archaic eras (9th -5th c. BCE), and besides an expanse of building foundations, there is not much else to see on the wind-swept hill that overlooks the Aegean.

The site was protected by a thick wall that reached about 7 meters on the east side. The excavated town is a rare example of Archaic town plan in the Cyclades. At the center of the acropolis, a sanctuary was probably dedicated to Demeter and was active between 8th and 5th c. BCE. An inscription marks the spot of it, and other significant buildings on the archaeological site, but otherwise it's difficult to decipher the low ruins without a high vantage point through the uncleared brush.

A ticket to the site costs 2 Euro and gets you admission to the site and a brochure with the history of the place. A leisurely visit would take about 15-20 minutes over a very rough terrain that makes up the visitor's path. Sturdy shoes are recommended, and we would not recommend the site for those with mobility issues. During our visit in the summer of 2013 the site was so windy we could barely stand on our feet as we wandered around the site with a nervous guard following our every step, so choose a calm day for your visit if possible.

Museums

Statue of Demeter from the Archaeological Museum of Paleopolis.Andros is home to Archaeological Museums of note - one in Andros Chora and one in Paleopoli south of Batsi, a renown museum of Modern Art, and a Maritime museum both in Chora.

Beaches

Batsi beach.Kypri beach near Gavrion.Grias Pidima beach near Korthi.

If swimming is your pleasure, there are plenty of beaches in Andros to keep you happy. The largest ones are close to the rudimentary roads and small towns, but some are way out of the way. As a rule of thumb, in the summer the beaches of the west coast are better sheltered by the northern winds that can be very strong on the eastern coast of the island.

Delavoyas beach south of Batsi.Our favorite beach during our visit was Delavoyas beach (top-left photo), a little to the south of Batsi town. Its soft golden sand lines a cozy rocky cove accessible easily on foot through the stone steps on the side of hotel Aneroussa.

 

Travel Advice and Guide

BEST TIME TO GO

Summer and spring is the best time to visit Andros, with May-July being the optimum months. In August the island is visited both by the strong Meltemi winds and all the Athenians who own vacation homes on the island.

GETTING THERE & AROUND

Best way to get to Andros is by ferry from Rafina. In the summer, there are at least five ferry departures for Gavrio (2 hours) and tickets cost 16 € for adults, and 42 € for a car (in 2013). You buy tickets at the port of Rafina.

Don't Miss

Strolling through the Chora (Andros town) at night and soaking in the genuine Greek atmosphere it offers.

WHAT'S NEARBY

Andros has multiple daily ferry connections to the nearby Tinos and Mykonos, and Mykonos has good connections to Paros, Naxos, and Santorini.

WHERE TO STAY

There are plenty of rooms for rent on the island and several holiday resorts, most of which are in and around Batsi and near Gavrio. A two-day visit with a rental car would be perfectly fine to explore most of the island if you are on an island hopping trip.

TIPS & ADVICE

It is possible to visit Andros on a quick one-day trip from Athens with a car since the first ferry leaves Rafina at 7am and the last one leaves Gavrio at 9pm.

Photo Gallery

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