Only a couple of hours from Athens and you’re right in picture postcard Greek holiday territory. The white houses, the blue shutters, the clear blue waters, everything’s there, only Andros has a few hidden gems up her sleeve.
The Chora (the island’s capital) is full of beautiful mansion houses, which are a testament to its nautical tradition and the commercial success achieved by its well-known shipping families. One of these families, the Goulandris, built the museum of modern art, which adds a special touch to the town with their uniquely curated selection of permanent and visiting exhibits. Cobbled streets with glimpses of the Aegean around every corner, overflowing bougainvillea plants, the imposing statue of the unknown sailor and boutique hotels in neoclassical mansions. A different holiday experience, which feels like a getaway to more romantic times gone by.
Batsi offers a livelier atmosphere with bars and tavernas but still in a laidback Andros style. This is not a clubbing destination, but definitely one for the foodies out there. For those who can brave the country roads, the tavernas in the mountain villages are well worth a visit. Farmers who serve their own produce, often within the farm itself. We’ll probably never live down the meat feast at Kossis in Ano Fellos (sigh). A stop off in Batsi at the Kolitsas butcher’s to pick up local produce like meat, yoghurt, rice pudding and cheese is only rivalled by seeing said produce used in their taverna, To Balkoni tou Aigaiou (Aegean’s balcony). If fresh fish is more your scene, Nona’s in Niborio (the small port at the base of the Chora) is everything you could ask of a family run taverna.
For the all-important tanning sessions, you’ll be hard pushed to run out of options in Andros. Hiring a car or bike is essential but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, the island won’t disappoint you. The ever-photographed Tis Grias to Pidima (Old lady’s jump) is only the icing on the cake. Organised or completely untouched, sandy or pebbly, the choices are endless.
So in a nutshell we have picturesque villages, great food, endless beaches and a laid back vibe within a few hours of a major airport. Sold yet?