General Information on Andros
Andros is the northernmost Cycladic island and second largest following Naxos. Its mountainous landscape is interrupted by fruitful and well-watered valleys.
Andros, according to the 2001 census, has 4,107 inhabitants on a surface area of 102.8km². The island is a unique combination of traditional Cycladic elements, such as –windmills, dovecots, fishing boats, paved alleys–, mountainous villages, green valleys and excellent beaches. Andros is ideal for travelers that want to explore and enjoy the variety of the landscape, the architecture and the numerous villages.
History of Andros
According to mythology, Andros was named after Apollo’'s grandson, Andros or Andreas. In antiquity, the island was inhabited by Carians, Pelasgians, Phoenicians, and Cretans. In ca. 1000 B.C., it was colonized by Ionians. During the Persian Wars, Andros fell under Persian domination until 480 B.C., when it was passed to Athenians. When the Peloponnesian war ended, Andros, as a member of the Athenian Alliance, was given to winning Sparta. In 338 B.C., the Athenians liberated the island.
During the Hellenistic period, the island came under the rule of Philip the Macedonian and later, under his son'’s rule, Alexander the Great. In 129 B.C., Andros became a province of Asia Minor, under Roman rule. At that time, pirates and civil wars between Roman governors impoverished the inhabitants. The island remained under asian ’administration up to the early Byzantine times. When Constantinople fell to the Franks, in 1204 A.D., Andros came under the rule of Marino Dandolo, while the Venetians later assigned Petro Zeno as ruler of the island. In 1579, Andros became part of the Ottoman Empire until the War of Independence in 1821. Andros played an important role during the revolution, in which many Andriots actively participated.
Towns & Villages in Andros
Gavrio: After a remarkable beautification of the main port of the island in recent years, this village now offers many tourist facilities and entertainment choices.
Batsi: The main tourist resort of the island is built on two hills overlooking a fine natural harbor with a beautiful sandy beach. Batsi is a quiet family resort, though it can get crowded by visiting Athenians; it is only two hours away from Athens, rendering it an ideal weekend getaway. As expected, the place caters for all necessities: taverns, shops, bakeries, banks, an open-air cinema and more.
Paleopoli: The beautiful village of Paleopoli is built on the slopes of mountain Petalo with its unique for Cyclades waterfalls. The place is teeming with vegetation that covers the houses. There are few taverns and cafes.
Agios Petros: Agios Petros has a large and interesting fountain and a strange creepy atmosphere.
Ormos Korthi: It is a seaside and lively place with cafes and taverns along the sea. There is a folk museum in the village open during summer.
Menites: It is a very green, quiet village with many springs, gardens and big planetrees.
Katakilos –- Pano Katakilos: The villages of Katakilos and Pano Katakilos are on either sides of a long ravine, inland from Batsi to the east. This area was settled even before Batsi, due to the springs found here, which also create a number of pretty waterfalls.
Beaches in Andros
Batsi: The beach at Batsi port is very long, sandy and well organized. In the summer, the beach gets really crowded. The water is shallow, and there are many shade-providing trees.
Agia Marina: South of Batsi, Agia Marina offers three small beaches. Two of them are quite small and narrow with pebbles and gravel and no facilities. The one inbetween, also small and narrow, has sand as well as a large hotel complex that makes it very crowded during high season.
Liopesi: The beach at Liopesi has a distinctive and well-photographed rock formation and nearby caves to explore. It is not very good for swimming, as it is tiny and rocky.
Psili Ammos: This is probably the best beach of the island. It is long with golden sand and the dunes provide shelter from the noise of the main road, which is right behind the beach.
Vitali: The Vitali beach lies on an impressive bay. The beach has golden sand and is surrounded by rock cliffs. There are fresh water lagoons, a small tavern and a lovely chapel. Access to the beach is very difficult. There is only a bumpy road, thus make sure you drive an off-road vehicle.
Felos: Beyond Gavrio there is a gorgeous, non-organized beach at Felos with soft golden sand.
Grias Pidima: This is a unique beach with a singular stone column that stands erect from the sand. It is a small sandy beach and despite the fact that the footpath leading there is very difficult, it is worth the effort.
Top Things to Do in Andros
1. Paleopoli – The ancient city: The ancient city was near the port, much lower than the new one. The road leads to the lowest point of the village, and you should then take the path towards the sea. The adventurous can park by the asphalt road and take the steps leading down to the village, explore and continue the descent. A well-maintained path leads to the sea, in a journey through time. You can take a magical walk by the picturesque spring, where the stone benches are ancient. Take a look at the old-Christian churches, the ancient wall and swim near the old port. Now, you may return to your car via 1039 steps .
2. Agios Petros Tower: This tower is hellenistic (4th century B.C.), and one of the best preserved in the cluster. It is a circular 20-meter high construction with at least five floors and it is built on an ideal location, since it overlooks Gavrio and the sea routes.
3. Zoodochos Pigi Monastery: This is the largest monastery on the island. The date of construction is still unknown; it is first mentioned in a document dating back to 1400. In the monastery, there is a rich library, a museum exhibiting holy vestments and other religious equipment and a small collection of prehistoric tools.
4. Ancient Zagora: The signed path (45 min walk) to Ancient Zagora starts from Stravropeda. The ancient settlement had been inhabited since the 10th century B.C. and till the end of the 8th. Excavation findings and a representation of a house and the sanctuary, are exhibited at Andros Archaeological Museum.
5. Pano Kastro: This was the largest and most developed city in Andros in the Middle Ages. The Venetians built it at an altitude of 600m and it could protect almost 1000 people. Considered impregnable, legend has it that the Ottomans could not conquer it, so they sent an old lady and her pregnant daughter to ask for help. At night, the old lady opened the gate and the Ottomans swarmed in and slaughtered everyone. The old lady, in a fit of grief, threw herself from a cliff into the sea.
6. Museums: Andros has two outstanding museums, both found in Hora. The Archaeological Museum exhibits the 2nd century B.C. Hermes of Andros, as well as findings from the ancient cities of Zagora and Paleopolis. The Museum of Modern Art holds annual international exhibitions by major European artists from June to September. Do not miss it.
How to Reach Andros
Up to eight daily ferries connect Andros to Rafina depending on the time of year; the trip lasts 2 hours. Keep in mind that there are no connections between Andros and Piraeus. There are also daily ferries to Tinos and Mykonos, and twice a week to Syros. Less frequent services run to other islands of Cyclades.
Getting Around in Andros
Weather in Andros
Top 10 Destinations in Andros
All Destinations in Andros
Map of Andros