Below are a list of my favourite places for a range of activities. Hopefully this can provide you with some food for thought.
Best place for…
1. A beer/cocktail
This one is easy. Apomero in Gavrio has to be my favourite place for a drink.
This bar is located in Gavrio and involves a 5 minute walk away from the main street at the port of Gavrio. It has a great view over the bay between Gavrio and Batsi as well as the mountain Kouvara in the distance. It is one of the few places I have found in Andros where you can buy a range of bottled craft ales from across Greece. There are also a couple of draught options and they also have an extensive spirit collection. This place fills up in the evenings so make sure to get a seat early during the summer months. The location is highlighted below:
2. A swim
Vitali beach. There is a reason why people make the slightly convoluted trek along a dirt road to get to this beach. It is a stunning beach with plenty of space, diving rocks, a taverna, a beach bar, plenty of coast to explore snorkelling and sun loungers. It is easy to fill a whole day here.
3. A meal out
O’ Kossi restaurant. This isn’t a high end pretentious place, it is a down to earth restaurant serving good food all year round. We are talking lamb chops, beef burgers, charcoal cooked chicken and goat, all washed down with a complementary bottle of Raki (local spirit).Its a 20 minute drive out of Gavrio into the sticks but it it is worth making the extra effort. It is a family-run place and a lot of the produce is sourced from the surrounding land. Consistent quality, attentive staff and pleasant surroundings, no wonder it is a favourite for the locals.
The location of Kossis is seen below. Head out of Gavrio and at the turn off for Fellos, turn right, away from Fellos and follow the very occasional signs for Kossis. This might be one to use the GPS map on your phone.
4. A coffee
Ευτυχία Cafe Creperie Gavrio (pronounced ef-ti-chi-a). This cafe is located below hotel Perrakis on the main street of Gavrio. The Greeks love their coffee and this place does it very well indeed. Options include the traditional Greek coffee (ellinikos kafes) which will come with coffee grounds settled at the bottom of the glass and more modern versions such as the frappé coffee which is made with instant coffee and ice making it better suited to the hot weather. Ευτυχία is located in a handy spot if you are waiting for the ferry as it is directly opposite the pier where the ferries will dock. It great place to watch the world go by with attractive surroundings and pleasant staff.
5. An unusual day out.
The Monastery of Panagia Panachrantos perches on the side of a mountain overlooking the capital Chora. The monastery can be visited throughout the year from sunrise to sunset. When visiting try to wear conservative clothing. The monastery is quite large and has only a handful of resident monks therefore has a peaceful, almost deserted feel. The monks are very welcoming to tourists so don’t be hesitant. There are many centuries worth of history contained within its walls. Be prepared for a long, winding road to get up to the monastery. This is a great idea if you fancy doing something a bit different with your day. See this blog entry for full details.
Andros routes incorporates this monastery in to some of their walking routes. The scenery from the monastary is breath-taking.
6. A museum tour
The Cyclades Olive Museum at Ano Pitrofos was recognised as the sixth top Museum in Greece for the year 2016! Dimitris Chelmis, the tour guide provides a fascinating and engaging insight in to the history and techniques involved in olive oil production. Even if this isn’t something you feel you would be interested in, this 90 minuted tour gets consistently excellent reviews thanks primarily to the passion and enthusiasm of the host. Olive oil is something you must try while visiting Andros and this tour will give you a new appreciation of this delicious ingredient. For the exact location of this museum click here.
7. A walk
One of the most popular Andros Routes walks is Route No. 1 which links Chora with the Monastery of Panachrantos. It begins at Nimporio beach in Chora and finishes at the Monastery. From Mesaria to the Monastery there is plenty of uphill making it a reasonably challenging section. The section linking Mesaria and Menites is reasonably easy and can be accessed from the main road at Mesaria. Walking up to Menites takes you through the prosperous fertile valley in which Chora, the islands capital sits. Once in Menites there are a couple of nice tavernas to enjoy a meal or drink and admire the natural springs pouring out of the mountain side. For a far more detailed account of the different Andros Routes walks visit: Cycladen.be.
8. A breathtaking view
Mpalkoni tou Aigaiou (Μπαλκόνι του Αιγαίου) meaning balcony to the Aegean is a taverna located in Ano Aprovátou (see map below). Serving up unpretentious traditional food this place is worth visiting to appreciate the stunning view out across the Aegean sea. Try coincide your visit with the sunset and you will not leave disappointed.
9. Isolation/Peace & Quiet
The North-West of Andros is home to many different secluded beaches. This area is far away from the hustle and bustle surrounding Batsi, Gavrio and Chora. Beaches such as Mikri Peza, Megali Peza, Selienitis, Pyrgos, Kaminaki and Kalamitsi. For exact locations see this link. This area of the island is reached by dirt roads and it is often the case that you have the whole beach to yourself. Don’t expect amenities but if it is seclusion you are after then this is a place worth exploring.
The Cyclades islands get their fair share of wind thanks to the Meltemi winds blowing from the North. This makes them well suited for windsurfing. In recent years, stand up paddle boarding or SUP has also become increasingly popular in Andros. One of the best spots to try either of these two disciplines out is Agios Petros or St Peters beach (near Gavrio). Andros Surf Club provide lessons and rentals. With its array of bars and sun-loungers this beach is a good place to base yourself for a day of learning a fun new skill.