Touring in the Cyclades islands: Andros

Andros, Cyclades - Photo by S. LambadaridisPanoramic view of Andros – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis
 
 

3rd stop: Andros

Coordinates: 37°50′N 24°56′E

Andros is the northernmost island of the Greek Cyclades archipelago, about 10 km southeast of Evia, and about 3 km north of Tinos. It is nearly 40 km long, and its widest point is 16 km. Most of Andros island is mountainous, with many fertile valleys. The area is 380 km2 alltogether. The largest towns are Andros town, Gavrio, Batsi, and Ormos Korthiou. The island is famous for its Sariza spring at Apoikia where the water comes out of a lionhead. Palaeopolis, the ancient capital, was built into a steep hillside, and its harbor’s breakwater can still be seen underwater.

Andros town

Andros town, Andros, Cyclades, GreeceThe chief town of Andros island, Andros Khora, lies in the central bay on the east coast. From the harbour a picturesque flight of steps leads up to the old town, situated on a rocky promontory with a ruined medieval castle. The newer part of the town, with its market square and its busy wide main street, extends farther inland.

 The old Venetian castle above the town of Andros (Chora)
This photo of the old ruined Ventian castle at Andros town is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 

Andros town has many neo-classical mansions side-by-side with Cycladic houses. Its steep and narrow alleys are lined with arcades, and there are fine churches as well as two nice squares in the town centre.

You’ll find daily boat connection with Rafina in Attica.
There are good beaches for swimming at Nimborio, Paraporti, Korthi bay near Batsi, Gavrion and Vitali.

Basil & Elise Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art
The Basil & Elise Museum of Modern Art in Andros opened in the early 1980s. This museum is one of its kind in Greece and has an international reputation.
The museum highlights works by sculptor Michalis Tombros as well some of the most famous Greek artists.
Basil & Elise Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art, 6 P. Aravantinou Street, 84500 Andros, Greece  Museum website
Hours: April 1 to May 31: 10:00am-4:00pm  Closed on Tuesdays
June 1 to September 19:
10:00am-4:00pm  Closed on Tuesdays
September 20 to October 31:
10:00am-4:00pm  Closed on Tuesdays
November 1 to March 31:
10:00am-2:00pm  Closed on Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Tip:
Admission is discounted during the winter months.

Andros Archeological Museum
The Andros Archaeological Museum has finds from the Geometric settlement at Zagora, and inscriptions collection, as well as pieces from the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

Andros Archeological Museum, Plateia Kairi, 84500 Andros, Greece
Hours: 8:30am-3:00pm  Closed on Mondays and national holidays
Tip:
Admission free on Sundays between November and March

Street view from Andros island - Photo by Sotiris LambadaridisBatsi village, Andros island, GreeceInterior of watermill on Andros island, Cyclades, GreecePhoto to the left of old street in Andros by Sotiris Lambadaridis
 

In Andros’ four ranges of hills (with Mount Petalon, 994m)  are marble quarries which were already being used in ancient times. Thanks to its abundance of water Andros has a flourishing agriculture and green, lush nature.

In antiquity Andros was dedicated to Dionysos, and its celebrations of his cult were widely famed. Originally colonized by Ionians, the island soon came under the control of Eretria.

After the battle of Salamis, Themistokles made war on Andros, which had supported the Persians, but it did not become a dependency of Athens until some time later. In 338 B.C. it fell into the hands of Macedonia and after the defeat of Macedonia passed into Roman control. From A.D. 1207 Andros was ruled by the Venetians, and the island has many watch-towers dating from the period of Venetian rule. In the early 15th century, many Albanians settled in the north of the island, and their descendants preserved their own language until the 20th century. Andros was occupied by the Ottomans in 1566, and remained under Ottoman rule until its incorporation in the new kingdom of Greece in the 19th century.

Palaipoli

A view of Paleopolis, Andros, Cyclades, GreecePalaiopoli (‘old city’) is an ancient city on the west coast of Andros.

From the archaic to the first Byzantine period, the center of the island’s activities is traced to the area of Paleopolis, which is found on the west side of the island, at a distance of 5 km from Ipsili and 10 km from Zagora. The ceramic findings, which were gathered from the area, are dated back to the Mycenean period, though some remains show signs of inhabitation during the Geometric period. Important findings of the area, which date back to the 6th century B.C., show that the city experienced considerable prosperity during the Archaic period. Construction in the area, according to the most recent findings, began during the beginning of the 5th century B.C. and continued through the old Christian times.

The area of the city is evident since the fortification of the area is visible along its length and in some areas is very high. The center of Paleopolis (or Agora) was located near the coastline, towards the east, which was near the port, whose remains are still evident today submerged in the sea. On the outskirts of town to the East and West, one will find the cemeteries. From the remains, the many sculptures and written sources, one can see that the city was very well fortified and not only had a marketplace but also had a theatre, altars and temples.

From the 1st century C.E. the city began to decline although life continued throughout the 6th century C.E., as it is evident from the remains of pre-Byzantine basilica churches found in the area.

The Archaeological Collection of Palaiopolis features sculpture, reliefs and inscriptions from Classical to Roman times.
Archaeological Collection of Palaiopolis, Andros, Greece

Hours: 8:30am-3:00pm  Closed on Mondays
Tip:
Admission free on Sundays between November and March

Zagora

At Zagora, south of Paleopolis, is one of the most important geometric temples to have been discovered anywhere in Greece. One section of the complex dates to the 10th-8th centuries B.C.

Zagora, 84500 Andros, Greece
Hours: April 1 to October 31: 8:00am-7:00pm; Mondays: 12pm-7pm
November 1 to March 31:
8:30am-3:00pm  Closed on Mondays

Dipotamata

Dipotamata is a river-basin of great natural beauty, with a length of about 7 kilometers, in the south-east side of the island, between Syneti, Paleokastro and Kochylou. Even though water is sparse these days, in Dipotamata it doesn’t stop not even in drought times. The natural environment is unspoiled, since the traffic has stopped for the last 35 years. As a consequence the vegetation is very thick with a great variety of trees and bushes. The whole area is a shelter for manyspecies of animals, such as weasels, badgers, hares, snakes and birds.

The gorge in Dipotamata, Andros, GreeceWatermill in Dipotamata, Andros, GreeceChiomeni lake in Dipotamata, Andros, Greece

 River and gorge on Andros island, Greece
This photo of the river and gorge of Andros is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 

The gorge is crossed by a wide slated cobbled road (the only road connecting Korthi with Chora till 1950). In the intersecting point with the river, there is an arch-shaped bridge and occasionally small fountains. There are also other narrow step-like paths connecting the other villages of the area with the fields and the water mills.

Sariza Spring

The Sariza Spa in Andros is recommended for obesity, gravel, diabetes, stones in kidney, liver disorders. The method of treatment is drinking the bottled water.

Castle (Kastro) of Faneromenis

Kastro Faneromenis, Andros island, GreeceKastro Faneromenis is one of the most characteristic sights on Andros. It is situated on a peak near Kochylou, which is the access point as well.

It is a Medieval castle (even though it seems there are signs of Roman fortifications) built for protection from the pirates, who ravaged the Aegean Sea islands at the time. The position is ideal; inaccessible and at the same time giving a panoramic view of the sea.

Inside the castle you will find the impressive protective walls, which, in many places,  are in a good condition. Also ruins from numerous structures, many of which are underground and visible only because the ceilings have collapsed. The legend says that through these tunnels there is a hidden passage to the nearby coast of Melissa.

Don’t miss the special folklore festivities taking place in mid-August, by Panagia Faneromeni church, situated inside the castle.

Beaches on Andros

Beach "Tis Grias to Pidima" on Andros, Cyclades, Greece
This photo of the beach “Grias Pidima” on Andros is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 

There are many beaches on Andros to enjoy and more isolated ones to explore.

The most famous beach is Grias Pidima, near Ormos. In Ormos you will also find the large Mylos beach and the smaller Vintzi and Agia Aikaterini. Walking a short distance you will find Bouro and Melissa, where you can explore the impressive caves. Your own boat or a fishing boat (kaiki) can take you to Ai-Giannis in Kremmydes.

In the area of Steno you’ll find the large sandy Steno beach, while on the west coast you will find Plaka with the green-blue waters.

In Syneti you can enjoy the spectacular beach with the stalactites by the sea and a little further you will find the isolated Lidi beach.

Things to do

Hiking and walking: Andros island with its lush valleys, the green gorge with its river and several interesting historical sites and castles is a perfect choice for walking or hiking along ancient and medieval paths. It also has a rich flora and fauna.

diving in GreeceScuba diving: Discover the majestic depths of Andros, make a journey to the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea in the northernmost island of the Cyclades and have a unique diving experience.
Wrecks, reefs, caves, rocky small islands, walls, spectacular biodiversity and tense underwater life will amaze and give you an unforgettable time.

ScubAndros is located in Kypri Bay, 2.5 km from Gavrio port and 4 km from Batsi, viewing the beach. Every day, two dives are taking place in various selected diving spots. Scuba experience programs (fun dives) and dive training programs of all levels, are available.

ScubAndros – Kypri Beach, Gavrion 84501, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22820 71456  ScubAndros website

Accommodation

Krinos Suites Hotel
Andrea Empeirikou Street, Batsi 84 503, Andros Island,  Greece
Tel: (+30) 22820 42038, Fax: (+30) 22820 41787
Hotel website  Email: contact@krinoshotel.com

Hotel Perrakis Andros
Kypri, Gavrio, 84501, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22820 71456
Hotel website  Email: hperrakis@otenet.gr
Book now: Prices from 50€

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