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Andros:
The Island of Arts

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Andros: The Island of Arts

The second largest island of the Cyclades is one of the most cosmopolitan and majestic islands of the Aegean. A pioneer of Greek shipping and the cradle of a long maritime tradition, aristocratic Andros has a rich cultural history.

Here, the arid Cycladic landscape swings with lush green vegetation and countless cultural treasures. Discreet, committed to the philosophy of slow tourism, inexhaustible with nature’s ornaments and the locals’ creations, the "...most beautiful in the world" -according to the poet Andreas Embirikos-, Andros overturns every Cycladic stereotype and promises an authentic travel experience for culture lovers and wanderers.

Routes & Attractions

Built on a peninsula that leads to the islet of the medieval Venetian castle, Chora of Andros emits an aristocratic aura. Walk along the alleys and admire the neoclassical captains' houses of the 19th - 20th century. You should visit the emblematic Museum of Contemporary Art (Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation), which attracts art lovers from all over the world for its temporary summer exhibitions. In the excellent Archaeological Museum of Andros, the findings of excavations from the island, such as the Hellenistic "Hermes of Andros", will impress you. Start from Riva square, with the emblematic Statue of the Unknown Sailor, for a romantic walk on the waterfront. Opposite the Venetian castle, Tourlitis Lighthouse (1897), built on a rock in the sea, is another enchanting sight.

Surprises await in the dazzling hinterland of Andros. Stenies is a jewel of traditional architecture with stone cottages and beautiful squares with wall fountains. The village hosts the cottages of eminent shipowners as well as the imposing Bisti tower (1734).

Seaside Batsi offers a smooth balance of tradition and cosmopolitan nightlife. In the area of Korthi, all roads lead to the Castle of Faneromeni, the ruins of the strongest medieval state of Andros with the homonymous chapel and the stunning view of the Aegean Sea. In the village of Episkopio, the fairytale "Bridge of Love" is an awe-inspiring sight, a stone-built work of art in a verdant setting. A landmark in the area, the imposing Holy Monastery of Panachrantos (9th century), hosts unique post-Byzantine wood carvings. The view from the monastery's balcony to Chora is breathtaking.

The most beautiful way to discover the natural monuments and cultural treasures of Andros is to walk the paths of Andros countryside. You absolutely must stop at the village of Mainites for its orchards and the springs of Dionysus where water runs from the mouths of marble lions, the tower houses in Aidonia, the waterfalls of Pythara in Apatouria, the forest of Karydia, the valley of Dipotamata with its stone bridges and the 22 stone watermills, the archaeological site, and the museum of Paleopolis. 

Also, the impressive cave of Aladinos and the Tower of Agios Petros in the plain of Gavrio, a monument of the Hellenistic period (4th - 3rd century), with fantastic views of the endless blue.

Beaches & Activities

Andros is surrounded by 176 km of coastline adorned by some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean. The most famous are the heavenly Achla and the much-photographed Tis Grias to Pidima (meaning “Old Woman's Jump”), with its exotic scenography of turquoise waters and the trademark of a huge obelisk that stands in the sea.

The cosmopolitan Batsi (Golden Beach) competes in action with the bustling Golden Sand, two organized beaches with beach bars and many opportunities for water sports, popular with both families and younger people. Youngsters also love Agios Petros (the largest on the island), an ideal beach for running, dancing in beach bars but also, isolation. Romantics and couples head to the northeast coast, for seclusion and untouched nature. Zorko is known for its dreamy view of the endless blue and fragrant vegetation, Vori, for its wild beauty and shipwrecks, and fascinating Vitali for diving from the rocks.

The island offers countless opportunities for water sports. In Kypri you will enjoy windsurfing, water skiing, wake boarding, SUP or canoeing in the bay.

Andros is ideal for hiking. Follow the popular circular route of the Maenites with countless springs, Byzantine chapels and stone cottages. Also, the path from Chora to Korthi bay, with more than 40 old watermills and countless dovecotes.

Tastes of the island

Andros gastronomy is a mixture of Cycladic tradition with influences from the Venetians and recipes brough to the island by the well-travelled people of Andros. It all starts from the fertile land of the island that produces fine citrus fruits and vegetables, the cheese, and livestock tradition. Andros is famous for its cheeses and elegant spoon sweets. Try the famous Petroti (fresh unsalted semi-hard cheese), volaki (cow's milk mozzarella from Andros) and the tasteful manouso (soft salty cheese).

Sweeten up with citrus spoon sweet (pampiloni), walnut, rose and wrapped bitter orange.  The locals also make excellent spicy pork sausages and louza (vasilikia). Andros has a long tradition in distillery, with strong spirits such as ponzi (rakomelo from black berries and heather honey) and koummari (raki made from the koummaria variety grapes. The village of Syneti is also producing fine wine since antiquity.

The most famous specialty on the island is fourtalia or froutalia (fluffy omelette with potatoes and local sausages). Also, Easter Labriatis (lamb meat stuffed with cheese, offal and herbs, baked in a wood-fired oven) and rooster braised with pasta. Apart from the spoon sweets, you will enjoy local pastries, such as kaltsounia (pastry sheet filled with nuts, honey and spices), amygdalota (with rose water and bitter almond aroma), nougatina (paste of fluffy meringue biscuits and pastry cream filling) and pastitsakia (biscuit with almonds or walnut).

Traditions & Events

At the top of the cultural agenda is the emblematical Andros International Festival (30th July – 25th August) with important theatrical performances, classical and Greek music concerts, dance groups and film screenings.

Summer is the most beautiful time to experience the traditional festival of Andros. Don’t miss the feast of Agia Marina (July 17th) in Paleopolis, the feast of the Dormition on August 15th held in the courtyard of the primary school of Ammolochos with a traditional music and dancing, patsas (tripe soup), appetizers with tsipouro and doughnuts, and the feast of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (August 29th) in Makrotantalo.

Andros Easter is famous for its special atmosphere. The Resurrection is celebrated in the churches of the island with hundreds of fireworks. The fireworks “war” continues from village to village on Easter Sunday, after the noon feast, with the custom of "Maskoula". In the central square of Paleopolis, the locals play the "Tsounia", a type of bowling, with... free beer for the winners.

Don’t miss...

Enjoy the organized wine tours in the vineyards of Andros hinterland and wine tastings in its wineries.

MAP OF ANDROS
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