An overview of Andros island
Culture, natural beauty, deep blue waters, Andros has it all
Culture, nobility, quaint alleys, fragrant gardens, stone mansions laden with bougainvilleas and neoclassical buildings. Gorgeous beaches, some popular, others isolated but all unique with crystal clear water. Abundant springs, plane trees, creeks, small waterfalls not to be found in any other island of the Cyclades. And all these in Andros at a distance of just two hours from the port of Rafina in Attica.
Batsi, Gavrio and Agios Petros are the most famous tourist places on the island, on its western side. Thanks to its affluent seafaring community, Andros stands out with its impressive neoclassical mansions, and its variety of museums and cultural foundations, all bearing witness to the island’s rich history and civilization. In the summer months, the Museum of Modern Art exhibits works of famous Greek and international artists, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The island is also a walker’s paradise. Its wild mountains are cleaved by fecund valleys with bubbling streams and ancient stone mills. On this lush island, springs tend to be a feature of each village and waterfalls cascade down hillsides most of the year. It’s worth renting a car to get out to the footpaths, many of them stepped and cobbled, which will lead you through majestic landscapes and among wildflowers and archaeological remnants.
Stay in Chora of Andros, the best place in the island
About Andros town (Chora of Andros)
Chora, Andros’ lively capital and cultural center
Chora, the capital of Andros, is located on the east coast of the island between two large beaches, Niborio and Paraporti. This is an attractive town with two beautiful squares, steep-narrow alleys and stone walkways.
In Chora you can also view the remnants of the Venetian Castle, on a small island which is connected to the town by a small stone bridge. It was built in the 13th century during the Venetian occupation by Marinos Dandolos.
Take a stroll around Chora starting from Georgiou Embirikou Street, the market street that is full of shops, cafés, pastry shops and restaurants. The so-called “Porta” is a gate to Chora’s past, to the old part of the town that is of particular architectural interest.
The steps on the right side of Kairi Square lead to Paraportiani with its long beach. Paraporti (which means side door) was named after the small door next to the Porta that sealed the exit towards it.
Chora is also the seat of a number of significant museums that give the island its artistic reputation. Among them the Museum of Modern Art stands out with its permanent collections and its special exhibitions in the summer months.
Traditional wine making in Andros
Do not miss the traditional method of wine making in Andros
Andros, as most Aegean islands, has an important winemaking tradition that dates back to the Neolithic age. Having developed a strong shipping network, Greek ancient islanders traded their wines throughout the known ancient world.
The moderate Mediterranean climate of the Aegean combined with the rocky, often volcanic soil, plentiful sunshine and constant sea breezes provide excellent conditions for the cultivation of grapes. Even today wine is another product for which Andros is well-known for, particularly the Sinetiano, the traditional wine of Andros made with sun dried grapes, bursting with flavour.
Old methods of wine making are still prevalent in the island where 250 year – old factories are still operative, with the traditional method of grape feet stomping being used in order to obtain the grape juice. In Andros there are several vineyards, but yet not a winery. However, you can easily find (mostly in women’s cooperatives) homemade liqueurs and raki, like “Potzi”, a type of “rakomelo” (mixture of raki and honey).
Traditional sweets of Andros
Andros is a paradise for the visitors with a sweet tooth
Judging by the number of pastry shops in Andros, the locals must really love desserts! Andros’ typical traditional desserts are the ‘amigdalota’, made with almond paste, honey and rose water, the “kaltsounia”, a mixture of nuts, honey and spices wrapped in phyllo dough, “pastelia” with sesame or walnuts, pasterlaries (dried figs with ground walnuts and sesame) and of course “spoon sweets” made with lemon flowers, bergamot, walnuts and other fruits and berries.
Do not be surprised if you hear the people of Andros Island referring to mille-feuille, nougat and other international desserts as local Andriot sweets. In the past the captains, sailors and travelers when returning to the island brought with them various sweets from their trips, contributing in the creation of a dessert making tradition in Andros. A true legend in Andros’ pastry making is Dimitris Galanos who learned the art of pastry making in the famous patisserie “The Athenian” in Alexandria, Egypt and then brought the knowhow to the island.