A fairly green island for the Cyclades, Andros offers some really nice beaches, pretty villages and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. It is the second largest island among the Cyclades, and its high mountains and deep valleys make an unforgettable impression. Although not a party island, the nightlife here is quite varied and those who love fishing, sailing and snorkeling will certainly find their paradise.
Andros is the most northerly and second largest island of the Cyclades after Naxos. Its size is 374 square kilometers, with a length of 39.8 kilometers and a width of 16.7 kilometers at its widest. There is approximately 110 kilometers of coastline. The terrain is mountainous but the habited areas are relatively level.
Chora, the Capital of Andros
The history of Chora begins from the times of the Venetian rule. It was a small settlement under the protection of the castle, whose ruins can still be seen at the Cape. In the beginning, the settlement was connected to the castle by a wooden bridge which was later replaced by the existing stone one. The entrance to the castle can be seen today and is still the main entrance to the old town. The picturesque old town of Andros, Hora, maintains its original medieval road layout and the architecture is an excellent example of a combination of Byzantine, Venetian and neoclassical styles. The town began to slowly expand out of its ancient walls, flourishing especially at the beginning of the C20th when the shipowners of Andros controlled almost a quarter of the Greek merchant fleet. It was during this time that the beautifully elegant neo-classical mansions were built making Andros, Chora, one of the most charming capitals in Aegean. The moderate tourist development is mainly in the area of Emborios.Here you will find most of the accommodation to rent, restaurants and clubs. There are two beaches in Hora that can be reached by foot. To the south is the beach of Paraporti and to the north is the beach of Nemborios. A further very picturesque beach is 20 minutes walk from the track that begins at the end of the beach of Paraporti, taking you to the beach of the Lidi. Two other beaches worth visiting are the beaches of Gyalia and Piso Gyalia which are about 15 minutes drive from Hora.In the summer months you should take a boat trip to the beautiful beach of Achla where the river Achla empties into the sea creating a wonderful wildlife sanctuary that sees many varieties of flora and fauna as well as hundreds of visiting migrating birds. Andros is the home of Sariza Springs. Sariza mineral water is bottled in Sariza-Andros and distributed all over Greece.
Historical Facts about Island
According to mythology, Andros was a grandson of Apollo and general under the Cretan king Radamanthus. Because he served the king well, he was given this island. Archeological excavations prove the existence of developed settlements, dating back to Mycenaean times or even earlier. The island is historically known during the Geometric period (9th-7th century BC), as it is proven by traces of a settlement found in Zagora, in the south-western part of the island, near Zaganiari.
The capital of Andros island, during the classical times, was Paleopolis. The prosperity during that period is shown by the large production of coins. Relevant findings together with Hermes of Andros statue are exhibited in the Archeological Museum.in Hora. In the 7th century B.C. Andros island participated with the Chalkidians to the colonization of Chalkidiki and the coastal areas of Thrace in northern Greece.
Andros, following the rest of Aegean islands, the fate of continental Greece, consecutively fell under Roman, Frank and Ottoman occupation. Dating back to the 11th century, Byzantine style churches are found around the island, like Taxiarchis in Ipsilou, Melida and Messaria and Kimisi Theotokou (Assumption) in Mesathouri. In the 14th century, the “Agias Monastery” (Zoodochos Pigi) was built near Batsi, while the Agios Nikolaos monastery was founded in 1560 and rebuilt in the 18th century. The Panachrantou monastery was founded in the mid-17th century. At Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) in Korthi, the school was established in 1813, before the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans. It was founded by Samuel Plasimis and incorporates a separate building, serving as the teacher’s house and library.
On May 10th, 1821, Theofilos Kairis declared the War of Independence, marking the starting point of the island’s recent history, during which Andros reached the peak of its economic prosperity thanks to its ships. It is worth noting that Andriot Dimitris Moraitis initiated Greece-North America line in the beginning of the 20th century, while Andros was in 1939 second to Piraeus regarding ship registration.
The Archaeological Museum in Chora is located at Kairi Square and you will admire the exhibitions from the Geometric, Classical, Roman and Byzantine eras that have left distinct surface finds as well as finds from excavations. The Museum of Modern Art (just like the Archaeological Museum) was donated to the state by Vasilis and Elise Goulandris of a wealthy ship-owned Andriot family and it has earned Andros an international reputation in the art world. It usually features the work of several prolific Greek artists, but each year, from July to September, the gallery stages an exhibition of one of the world’s greatest artists.
As you leave the square and walk under the archway you will arrive at Afanis Naftis square with the Statue of the Unknown Sailor created by M. Tompros. You will also find the Nautical Museum, which has a rich display of ship models, photos and ship instruments. At the entrance to the town you can visit the Folk Art Museum, with local men’s and women’s costumes on display. From the square you will see the remnants of the Venetian Castle, on a small island that is connected to the town with a small stone bridge. Built in the 13th century, the Venetian occupation, by Marinos Dandolos.
Moni Agiou Nickolaou at Vidou-Apikia. Built in the 16th century by two monks who arrived in Andros from Saint Oros. At Saint Nickolas you should see the miraculous head of Saint Nickolas the New. An amazing embroidery icon from the hair representing Saint Nickolas is displayed by the Nun Leondia from Smyrni dating back to 1770. Moni Agias Marinas (Ipsilou at Apikia). Moni Panachrandou is located on the mountain side of Gerakones. While visiting Messaria looking south to the island on the mountain top you will see the huge Monastery. From Messa Vouni you will follow signs to arrive at the Monastery. During the summer time the monastery celebrates Agia Pandeleimona, the head of Saint Pandeleimona is kept at the monastery for worship.