The best things to do in Andros are listed here in this comprehensive guide.
Day Trip to Chora Andros
The capital of Andros island is Andros Town, otherwise known as Chora. It’s around an hour’s drive from the port of Gavrio where the ferries come in. The town has quite a different feel to other parts of the island and there’s loads to see and do. I’ve made a separate post about all the things to do in Chora itself.
Definitely put a day aside to explore and experience Chora wherever you’re staying on Andros.
Outdoor Activities in Andros
Hiking has to be at the top of the list of outdoor activities in Andros. So much so that I’ve written a separate post about that too. There’s something for you whether you’re just up for a 25-minute trek or want to commit to hiking the entire 100km Andros Route.
Cycling on Andros
If you’d enjoy exploring the island on wheels then look at hiring a bike or joining a tour. This company will deliver a bike to you on Andros and collect it at the end of your booking. They also run a combined tour of Attica and Andros.
Take a Boat Trip
One Foot Forward offers a number of different boat trips from Batsi and Andros. They either go to different parts of the island or to nearby islets. In 2021 all their trips were private. Hopefully, they’ll be offering semi-private trips in the future again too.
Via Ferrata, Rock Climbing, Abseiling and River Trekking
You can do all of these exciting outdoor pursuits in beautiful settings on Andros. Explore Andros offers these activities on a small group basis so have a look through their website for dates and prices.
Andros has a number of dive sides around its coast as well as a few shipwrecks. Scuba Andros is based at the end of the harbour in Gario and has dives from beginner fun dives up to Divemaster and specialist courses. They also run snorkelling and scuba diving boat trips.
Cave and Stone Bridges
I’ve put these three Andros attractions: Foros Cave, Aladino Arched Bridge and Stoicheiomeni Bridge together because the first two are in the same village (either side of where you’ll probably park your car to visit the caves.) Stoicheiomeni Bridge is a bit of a hike but only about 1km. There are a lot of steps but it’s doable and the bridge is nice to go and see.
Foros Cave (sometimes referred to as Aladino Cave after the village it’s in) is quite a small cave but worth a look. It has interesting formations with stalagmites, stalactites, columns and intertwined marble and slate.
You go in with a guide for a tour that lasts about 20 – 25 minutes. The guide will point out the various structures and talk you through the facts and myths about the cave. I enjoyed it, I find caves quite soothing, despite the odd bat! The temperature is about 16 – 17 degrees year-round, so a welcome cool spot in the height of summer.
It costs 5 euros for entry and in terms of facilities, there’s a picnic table and a toilet on site.
The cave isn’t open all year but you can call to book a tour during the off-season. They seem quite good at updating via Facebook posts so check there if you’re not visiting in the peak season.
Getting to Foros Cave: head for Aladino and follow the brown road signs rather than Google Maps. Park up here and you’ll see the sign for the cave. Down the hill, you’ll spot the pretty Aladino Arched Bridge and stone picnic table.
Give yourself enough time to walk up the steep steps to the cave. It’s about 400 metres from the parking spot.
Aladino Arched Bridge
After you’ve been at the cave have a walk down a few more steps to the Aladino Arched Bridge. It’s a peaceful area to enjoy for a bit. If you bring lunch from a bakery on the way you can sit at the picnic area and eat beside the river.
Stoicheiomeni means haunted in Greek This is a beautiful stone bridge that has a bit of a gruesome myth attached to it. But in reality, it’s a tranquil spot and worth the short hike to see it. The vegetation was a little overgrown and there were a lot of stones on the path. Wear trainers or some other suitable type of footwear and keep half an eye out for snakes. (No more than usual when hiking in Greece.)
Pythara waterfalls and Sariza Spring
Apoikia village in Andros has an abundance of water. It’s home to the famous Sariza Spring and is one of the few places in the Cyclades with waterfalls.
The waterfall is about a 10-minute walk from the main road and is well signed. Pythara isn’t Niagra Falls but it’s a lovely tranquil spot and a nice walk from the village. The scenery in the general area is lovely too.
The Sariza Spring is the most famous natural water spring on Andros. It’s less than 100 meters from the start of the path to the waterfalls so pop there next and fill up your water bottles. Head up the wide white steps beside Apikia Spring Hotel and the spring itself is on the left.
The water is potable and supposed to have healing properties. Historically people have visited to take the water as a tonic for kidney problems and digestive disorders. Now there’s a water plant that bottles the Sariza Springwater and you’ll see it sold around the island.
Andros Routes hike 2 runs through Apikia with a detour that goes to the waterfalls. If you’re driving, then park up on the cement parking area by the start of the path to the waterfalls. Alternatively, there is space to park on the side of the road as you enter the village.
Apoikia Botanical Garden
The botanical garden in Andros is a great place to visit. If you love nature you’ll enjoy a walk around the garden. It’s not a long visit but you’ll get a proper tour of the plants. I went during the off-season and Panagiotis, the gardener, did the tour for me. He told me all about the various plants, herbs and fruits. It’s really interactive as you get to smell and taste things along the way. By the end, I had an aromatic armful of herbs and fruit to take away!
I really geek out on medicinal herbs and essential oils. So, for me, it was brilliant seeing some of those things in their natural state. Within the gardens, there’s also an old olive press. You’ll see the machinery that men, and donkeys, powered to create olive oil. There are two natural sources of water and a river that runs along the bottom of the garden.
Opening times vary throughout the year so check before you go (details at the bottom of this page). It may be different in the summer, but when I went the entrance fee was a donation of my choice.
Menites and the Marble Lions
Menites is my favourite place on Andros. It’s like a fairytale! It’s another village abundant with water, and therefore green, leafy and pretty. Park just before you get to the village and walk along the road to the lion head water fountains. There’s a taverna or two where you can enjoy a drink and relax to the sound of running water.
If you fancy working up an appetite or burning off your breakfast take a walk around the village. A few hikes go through this area but Men. 1 is a lovely 3km circular route that starts and finishes in the village.
It’s marked as moderate – difficult level as there are a lot of steps. Start by walking through the village with the lions on your left and walk around the taverna on your right. You’ll finish coming up the steps by the bus stop. (The circle symbol on the signs tell you which way you’re supposed to go but I went the wrong way!)
I’m putting this in here because a lot of things I read about Andros were confusing the waterfalls at Pythara and Paleopolis. As you saw above, the Pythara waterfalls are a short walk from Apoikia and a relatively easy visit.
The waterfalls at Palepolis are not something you can get to easily. When they are flowing they are much bigger and the water cascades down from the rocks way above. We passed the (not very impressive at the time) waterfalls when we walked route 9. If you’re keen to see the waterfall you’ll need to hike route 9 or join an activity like the abseiling I mentioned above.
Bear in mind that at some times of the year there is more water than others, and some years there is more flow than others. I was expecting some big, impressive feature and I only just caught the sound of the water as we were walking past.
Cyclades Olive Museum
The Cyclades Olive Museum tour came highly recommended. Unfortunately, the museum has been closed throughout 2021 so I was unable to experience it. I walked past the beautiful old stone building while doing the island’s hike number 9 and it was a shame not to be able to go in.
If you’re interested in this, do check whether the museum is back open. By all accounts, it’s a great visit.
Agio Petros Tower
This is quite a well-preserved tower near Gavrio. I’ve read that it’s most likely from the Hellenistic period, around 4th-3rd Century BC. It’s thought to have been a lookout tower to watch the sea for pirates and other enemies.
Agios Petros Tower is worth a quick stop since it’s not far from the main road. It’s also on Andros Route 15a if you fancy hiking past it. But you can drive right up to the steps that take you down to the tower if you prefer.
I’ve seen a few reviews of people saying it’s hard to find. You can access it by going up to Scholi village and climbing down the steps from there. Or, if you have eyes like a hawk you can take the dirt road off the main tarmac road on the way up to Scholi.
Keep an eye out to your right as you go up and you might see the sign. (I went back and made a pin for you to find the point where my car is above) The sign is pointing in the right direction but it’s facing the wrong way so you can only read it as you come back down the hill. When you see the tower to your right as you drive up the road, you’ve missed the turning.
If you do, just carry on up and you’ll see another sign on the right. Turn off the road there and follow the tarmac road down to the left. You’ll see another wooden sign on your right to access the steps.
Τοwer of Bistis-Mouvelas, Stenies
Personally, I wouldn’t make a special trip to see this tower but it’s a nice stop if you’re on the way to Stenies. I was really keen to see the tower, but when I went it was all held up by metal poles and you couldn’t really get round the front to see the facade.
To be honest, I thought it looked very grand and imposing when I saw it from across the valley in Apoikia. So if you visit the waterfalls and/or Sariza spring, look out for the tower from the road as you travel to or from Apoikia.
If you visit it on a detour on the way to Stenies, look also at the church just beyond. It’s very quaint and I’ve read there’s a beautiful fresco in it dating back a long time. The door was locked when I went so I couldn’t get in. I had a cheeky look for a key above the door but I didn’t find one so I haven’t seen inside for myself.
Castle of Faneromeni
This castle, now in ruins, is also known as Pano Kastro which means upper castle. (The lower castle is the remains of the Venetian castle at the edge of Chora.)
Faneromeni Castle is on the top of the hill behind Tis Grias to Pidima beach close to Korthi Bay (Ormos Korthi). You can reach it on foot by following route 3b from Chora. Alternatively, you can take the car. The last part is a dirt road and then you have a number of steps to climb to get to the top. The views are amazing but it can get very windy up there so take care.
This castle is one of the main features of your trip to the capital village of Chora. It’s the remains of a Venetian castle and is fun to explore. Read more about it in this post about Chora, Andros.
Ancient Sites in Andros
There are a few ancient sites around Andros. Some are actually quite important but most are not set up for tourists.
Ypsili Ancient Town / Archaeological Site
10 minutes from Batsi, just off the main road at Aprovato, is Yspili Ancient town. Ypsili is probably the best site to visit in that it’s somewhat organised. There’s a little visitor centre and a guide who will tell you about the ancient town. There is a small entrance fee and the site is open from 8:30am – 3:30pm Thursday – Saturday.
The site is on a rocky peninsula that really catches the wind so be careful if you visit on a windy day.
Ancient town of Paleopolis
Not far from Ypsili is Paleopolis. You’ll pass homes and tavernas on the main road and the village sprawls out onto the slopes of the hill.
The whole area, both sides of the road, is considered to have archaeological importance. There is archaeological work currently happening on the hillside up from the beach. Andros Routes walk 9a circles around this area but when I went I didn’t see anything that resembled ancient ruins. I’ve been told that everything is under wraps and purposely isn’t signed because the archaeologists don’t want anyone going in.
However, I’ve included Paleopolis here because of the Archaeological Museum. It’s right on the main road and they have explanations of the town’s ancient history and exhibit items that were found in the local area. Entry was 3 euro when I visited and they are open 8.30am – 3.30pm every day except Tuesday.
Even if you can’t see anything, the short circular walk to the beach is pretty. I went in the evening just before sunset and it was beautiful to watch the sun go down. Hopefully, over time the situation will change and you’ll be able to see more when you visit.
The geometric town of Zagora is an early Iron Age settlement dating back nearly 3000 years, from around 900–700 BCE. The layout of the buildings still exists along with artefacts that were used in the rooms. Unfortunately, only a small amount of the site has been excavated and nothing is signed so you’ll need a good dose of imagination. There is a website dedicated to the progress of the site so you can follow it here if that excites you. If you’re less interested in history or archaeology and won’t really know what you’re looking at then it may not be the best place to spend your time on Andros.
Plus it’s a bit of a trek to get there. The walk is very stoney and hard-going underfoot (part of Andros Routes walk number 7). It took me 30 minutes from the main road to get there (park opposite the church and then go back and take the route from behind the church) and about an extra 7 minutes on the way back thanks to it being uphill.
I wasn’t impressed with the ruins because I have no imagination for these types of things. However, the scenery from the peninsula is quite dramatic as you look at the cliffs going down to the sea. Zagora is on the same coast as Ypsili and Paleopolis so you get the same wonderful sunset if you do this walk in the late afternoon/evening. I did enjoy the short walk even though I was a bit disappointed with the ruins.
Strofilas rock paintings
Ok don’t get your hopes up, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see these. I’m including this here though because various posts I read about Andros before visiting told me these were a must-see. However, I couldn’t find any concrete instructions on where they were or how to access them. I tried twice to locate them and really got nowhere.
So I asked locals in the know. As with some of the other sites, this place isn’t advertised at all or encouraging people to visit. I found out these rocks are on the peninsula opposite Zagora but you have to go through the local dump/landfill to get there. I tried my luck as I managed to find the right road. But it was the weekend and the dump was closed with a gate across the road, and locked with the biggest padlock I’ve ever seen in my life. There was no option for walking from there either.
I’m not encouraging you to try and get through this area. Instead, it’s just a heads-up to help you not waste time on your holiday trying to find something you probably can’t access.
There are countless churches on Andros that you can stop and take a look at as you drive past. There are also a number of monasteries if they’re something you’re interested in visiting. I can promise you fantastic views whichever you decide to go to.
Just remember to dress appropriately which means no shorts for men. Women need to cover their knees (with a skirt, no trousers) and shoulders.
This is a beautiful monastery with friendly monks and an amazing view out over Andros. The road to get there is a bit hard work. You can also climb there on Andros Routes numbers 1, 7 and 18.
Agia Marina’s Monastery
Agia Marina is easy to access on a decent road close to Apoikia and the Botanical Garden. As with all the other monasteries, the view is fantastic. This particular monastery looks reminiscent of a castle. When I visited in November 2021 there were some building works going on. There don’t seem to be any specific opening times so go and see if you’re passing.
Agios Nikolaos Monastery
Another beautiful monastery on Andros is St Nicholas. It’s close to Apoikia and Agia Ireni, below. again, it’s accessible. The last bit of the road is dirt but not at all bad and there’s plenty of parking. If you’d like to walk to it, route 6 goes past on the way to Achla beach.
Holy Monastery of Agia Ireni
The Monastery of Agia Ireni was abandoned in 1834 because King Otto decreed that all Orthodox monasteries be disbanded. In 2006 a Captain bought the field that the monastery ruins were in. Over the next 10 years, he and his family renovated the buildings back to their former glory. Now they play an important part in the community holding exhibitions throughout the year and camps in summer for orphaned children.
Zoodochos Pigi Monastery
This is the largest monastery on Andros and it has an amazing view. You’ll find it between Batsi and Gavrio so a good one to visit if you’re staying on that side of the island.
Foodie Things to do in Andros
I have a whole separate post on food to eat in Andros and good restaurants to visit. But here are a couple of culinary experiences if you’re looking for related activities too.
Andros Cooking Classes
If you’d like to take part in a cooking class on Andros then Explore Andros offers two different types. One is a homestyle cooking class making traditional dishes with a local. The other is a cooking class with a local chef using seasonal foods to create typical Andros food.
Take a Workshop at Mèlisses
Mèlisses house in Aprovato offers elegant workshops and retreats including ones that involve food. Run by an Italian lady who splits her time between Italy and Greece it’s not something run by locals. However, the classes look wonderful and I have my eye on one or two.
Beaches in Andros
Andros has a lot of beaches, I counted about 50 of them on the map! Many lovely beaches are easily accessible from the main road. Others are harder to reach and need a jeep or other suitable vehicle. Some of the beaches on Andros do have bars and other facilities. However, if you prefer something more natural you have plenty of others to choose from.
There are a number of really nice beaches along the main road that stretches from Gavrio to Batsi so take your pick. Even in October, they shimmer with turquoise sea and white sand.
Golden Sand Beach
Golden Sand Beach is one of these. It’s a lovely stretch of golden sand that’s easy to get to from the road. This is a popular beach and fills up in summer since it’s not particularly big. Golden Sand is classed as organised as it has a bar with music. Beach chairs and umbrellas are around 4 euros and there are plenty of other facilities nearby on the main road.
Tis Grias to Pidima
This is probably the most famous beach on the island because of the unique stone column rising out of the water. It’s not particularly accessible but when I visited, it quickly became my favourite Andros beach.
The water is beautiful, turquoise all around. Because the water is so shallow it’s great for families. It’s another beach that isn’t huge and is popular in summer so go early to avoid the crowds. I went in November and there was just me and a father and son who arrived with their dog at the same time as me.
Tis Grais to Pidima is very close to Korthi Bay. It’s quite well signed although the Korthi streets are a bit confusing. You need to drive along the seafront (sea to your right) and then turn left. Follow the signs, even if it feels like you’re going back on yourself on a wild goose chase! You’ll go down a funny sloped bit by a bridge and then follow the road curving to the right out of Korthi Bay. The road is narrow but paved most of the way.
The road does become dirt but it’s do-able with a normal car and not too far to the beach from there. Look out for the sign to the beach on the right side of the road. Park up in the small bay on the left.
The path down is rocky and uneven (don’t even think about trying to take a pushchair down there if you have kids). All in all, it’s a bit of a trek but worth it for the reward.
Oh also, legend has it that the rock is an old woman who turned to stone when she jumped off the cliff (and gave the beach its name). Versions vary from her being lonely to her feeling shame for opening the door to the castle above and letting the Turks slay the occupants. Either way it’s all rather gruesome and I say, just go and enjoy the gorgeous beach!
Ateni beach (and little Ateni)
One of my favourite beaches on the island is Ateni beach. It’s on the northeast coast of Andros and is really long. What I love most is that the water is really inviting for swimming. It’s turquoise and shallow and perfectly set up for you to swim lengths of the beach.
Having said that, it has a beach bar there that’s open in summer with beds and umbrellas on the first part of the beach. So in the peak season, I’d probably prefer to plonk myself on the pretty Little Ateni beach on the other side of the church. There’s also much less litter on this beach. However, I assume that a lot of the rubbish I saw at the far end of Ateni is cleared during the summer.
Zorkos beach and Tryptes caves
Zorkos beach is also on the northeastern side of Andros. It’s a big beach and popular in summer with a beach bar onsite. It’s worth a visit as is the Tryptes Pirate Cave!
Just before you get to Zorkos you can veer off towards the cave. It’s on Andros Routes 20 which is a 1.1km/30 minute walk. It’s a bit of a scramble up to the two holes that are the entrance points to the cave and you need a torch. But you can get a pretty amazing view of the sea and it’s all good fun!
Agia Marina Beach
Agia Marina beach is a small strip of sand close to Aprovato, just outside Batsi. It’s pretty and has some trees that provide shade. There’s also a taverna right on the sand. I’ve heard mixed reviews but probably handy while you’re at the beach. Make sure you ask to see the menus and check you’re happy with the prices before ordering.
Fellos Beach and Kourtali Beach
I’ve put these two together as they’re next door to each other and I don’t think you can get to Kourtali Beach without going past Fellos. You’ll find them both on the northwest side of Andros.
Fellos is quite a long beach with soft sand and there are some trees there to give you some shade. Probably not the best beach to visit when the Meltemi or other northerly winds are strong. There is a taverna here too.
Kourtali beach is a bit further along if you drive past Fellos on your right. The road is a horrible dirt track but it’s not far and you can do it in a normal car. Kourtali is smaller than Fello but faces slightly more westerly so could be better in the north winds. There are some trees around the edge but not really enough to give shade.
Beaches in Andros Accessible by 4×4
There are plenty of beaches to enjoy without needing to go off-road. But, if you like to go off the beaten path and enjoy a quiet, wilder corner then these are the beaches to visit.
You will need a jeep or other car with high wheels. If you don’t have this or want to rent one, then you can join an off-road tour to some of them. VLM travel does trips to the following beaches:
Pyrgos beach and Tower of Vlychanda
In the northwest of the island is Pyrgos beach. It’s a pebbly beach with clear waters and you could easily have it to yourself. To make it a bit more interesting there’s a ruined tower to one side that you can have a walk up to inspect. There’s also another small beach next door that you could scramble or swim to.
This beach is on the eastern tip of Andros down an 8km dirt road. It’s a pretty and interesting beach with a river, and trees behind to explore. It’s another one to avoid when the north wind is strong otherwise you’ll encounter large waves.
The Gria lighthouse is in the same area so worth exploring at the same time. VLM Travel’s tour covers both and takes you to the lighthouse first and then drops you at the beach.
Another beach on the northeastern side of Andros that’s best avoided when there’s a northerly wind. Vitali is an organised, pebbly beach with a bar and a cave. Parts of the water are very deep for jumping off or scuba diving.
Enjoy Your Visit to Andros!
Well, if you’ve made it all the way down to here to the end of the post then I hope you’re super-excited about including Andros in your plans!