Andros is a large, mountainous island in the Cyclades, with beautiful beaches, monasteries and abundant water sources. It has active farming communities and villages, and three main towns/resorts: Gavrio (the port), Chora Andros (the main settlement, pronounced "Hora"), and Batsi (a resort).
The main settlements are:
- Gavrio [Γαύριο]. This is the main port, where you will arrive if you come by ferry. All the car-hire outlets are located here. Most holiday-makers do not stay in Gavrio, travelling straight to Batsi or Chora on arrival (a bus is timed to depart shortly after ferry arrivals). However, Gavrio could be a useful base for exploring the north-west of the island, and there are two beautiful beaches within 2-3 km of the port.
- Korthi Bay [Όρμος Κορθίου]. This is a seaside village, which contains a museum of folklore and a small harbour. From here you can access Ghrias Pidhima beach, and a number of picturesque hamlets in the surrounding area.
There are numerous other picturesque small villages that you can pass through or visit if you have transport. You will only find tavernas in areas where there are hotels.
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 has mountains and fertile valleys blessed with verdant slopes full of citrus and olivetrees, waterfalls, mountain streams and numerous high quality water springs.
According to Greek mythology the island got its name from the first settler Andros, a hero descended from the Olympic gods. 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 Fort 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.
From the Greek mainland ferries and hydrofoil services run daily from Rafina and Lavrio. (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) and Tinos (1 hour and a half).
The main ferry services connect 1 Rafina port. (5 km from Athens main airport) to the main island port of 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.
You may also reach the island by private helicopter which may land either at Gavrio or at Chora. 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, Chora, Korthi
- rent car services at Gavrio, Batsi or Chora
- rent motor bike or bicycle services at Gavrio, Batsi, Chora
You may also use your own car by transporting it via the ferries.
Useful phone numbers:
- Rafina Port Authority: +30 2294 028888
- Andros Port Authority, +30 2282 022250.
- Andros Bus Service +30 2282 022316,
The island is also connected by the ferry companies Alpha Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, Cyclades Fast Ferries, and Sea Jets catamarans, Hellenic Seaways with Tinos and Mykonos islands. Trip time to Tinos is 01:00 hours and to Mikonos 01:45 hours.
The island is quite large and unless you are visiting in cooler seasons with the purpose of hiking (see below), you will need motorized transport to get between the major settlements, to the more remote beaches, monasteries and to other sights.
There is a KTEL bus service linking Gavrio, Batsi and Chora Andros. Buses are mostly timed to depart shortly after the arrival of ferries in Gavrio. The cost is €4 from Gavrio to Andros (pay during the journey), and the trip takes approximately one hour. In Gavrio, buses depart from the port, directly opposite the disembarkation quay. In Chora, the 2 Bus terminal, ☎ . is a couple of streets south of the pedestrianized shopping parade, at the top end of town.
You can hire mopeds (and cars) in Gavrio. Mopeds can also be hired in Andros. Mopeds cost €20 per day, can carry two people (ensure you ask for two helmets), and are sufficient for accessing monasteries, springs, waterfalls and some beaches.
A taxi from Gavrio to Andros costs approximately €45.
There are several car rental companies in Gavrio. In high season, advance reservation is essential, as there is very limited availability. It is possible to rent a car in Chora Andros, but there is even less availability than in Gavrio, and it is virtually impossible in high season. Prices start at €50 per day, but cheaper cars may not be adequate for driving on unpaved roads (required to access beaches such as Achla).
Numerous religious feasts used to be celebrated in Andros in the past. Each village would have a ceremony on its patron saint day, followed by a "greeting tour" of the village, where participants would be welcomed into the inhabitants' homes and offered a full meal including everything from sweets to fruit and tsipouro; celebrations would continue for much of the day. Nowadays, these festivities called "panegyria" are mostly organized by local 'cultural societies' and usually take place in the villages' square or on the church patio where locals and guests meet each other and enjoy the festivities.
Notable feasts include:
15 August: Ammoloxos church (9 km from Gavrion)
23 August, Varidi school (13 km from Gavrion)
Easter Monday Tromarchia (30 km from Gavrion)
27 July at St. Pandeleimon chapel at Katakilos
5th Friday of Lent (acathyst hymn) at the Church of Our Lady Theoskepasti in Chora
Many beautiful and unspoilt beaches await visitors in the northern part of Andros, most notable are Vlihada, Pirgos, Vitali and Zorkos. Lots of Athenian and young people swim and enjoy parties at Aghios Petros and Psili Ammos beaches.
Don't bother if you want to swim nude, there is no nudism on this island
If you have a 4X4 vehicle Ahla or Vori beaches on the north-east side of the island are excellent choices as well.
Don't miss trying the local dairy products such as Volaki and Kopanisti cheese, as well as pork derivatives Louza and Sausage.
- Perrakis Hotel, Kypri, 84501, ☎ , fax: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 3 star hotel. 55€ and up.
- Andros Prive Suites, Gavrio, ☎ .
- 1 Mare e Vista Epaminondas Hotel, Batsi Andros, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. This 4-star hotel offers beautiful views to the sea and the bay of Batsi village. It is 200 m from Batsi's main seashore and has a variety of air-conditioned apartments that can accommodate up to 6 people. There is a fresh water swimming pool and indoor parking. from 60 eur/day BB.