Charming Andros Island!
Updated: Aug 13
In July, after dreaming about travelling to Andros Island for many years, the northernmost island of the Greek Cyclades, I finally got a chance to visit my dear friend Maria Kopsacheli, who with her sister Anna are the owners of the Astra Pyrgos Sareli, a very unique stone tower-like house from 1690 in the historic pedestrian village of Aidonia . . . that they have meticulously turned into a beautiful, comfortable boutique holiday house on the south-east side of Andros Island.
My trip started with a comfortable one hour and fifty-minute ferry ride from Rafina to the port town of Gavrio. There, just a few steps away from the harbor dock, I entered a local bus where the driver, much to my surprise, greeted me with my name and welcomed me wholeheartedly to Andros.
Little did I know, at that time, that Maria had arranged all the details of my two transfers (35 km total) with the local drivers who made sure I sat on the right side of the buses to enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean and oncoming sunsets along the way. Furthermore, the driver also made sure I got onto the correct smaller 2nd bus that took me through quaint little villages to Korthi, a really short distance from the village of Aidonia, that is known for its large beach with clear blue waters and sometimes strong winds that I found very refreshing upon my arrival . . . on a really hot summer evening.
I have to admit that I’ve visited many islands in Greece in the past, but I've never received such a heartwarming welcome that made me feel like a queen and was the beginning of a truly memorable holiday that I will always cherish and recommend to all my friends and family!
Maria, having heard through her special grapevine of informants that I was approaching Korthi, made sure there was no delay in getting me to my day’s final destination where a comfy apartment with all amenities awaited me . . . followed by a delicious evening meal by the swimming pool, accompanied by a few glasses of top notch chilled Greek white wine and lots of chit chat that included planning all the fun things we intended to do during my stay!
Andros is comparatively a large island full of lush vegetation, waterfalls abundant springs and picturesque villages. It’s a truly unique island, sophisticated yet traditional with many attractions, including cultural ones, to explore.
On the island you will also find significant monasteries dating from the Byzantine period to the last years of the Ottoman Empire that are open to the public . . . as well as plenty of gorgeous beaches and trails for hiking.
Actually, hiking on Andros Island is something I really recommend! There are lots of diverse and very well signposted trails and pathways throughout the island that are maintained by the Andros Routes group of volunteers. One can do shorter walks or day hikes as well as multi-day routes through forests and beautiful nature and if you are up for it there are also more challenging trails over rocky terrain.
One of my favorite walks in Andros was in the remote area of the Tromarchiani Monastery where, I not only enjoyed the landscape and its natural beauty but also the most stunning sunset of this trip! Actually, this hiking trail can be started or finished at the Aidonia village, but truth be told, I was driven part of the way and only did the trail's short version!
Another highlight of my trip was visiting Chora, the capital of Andros, that is located on the east of the island. A large part of the old town is situated on a peninsula and is closed to traffic. This makes it a real delight to stroll around town with its sophisticated, yet picturesque alleys, beautiful mansions and churches as well as truly striking pink bougainvillea.
Some other important attractions that I feel one should see/visit, time allowing, are the following: The Archaeological Museum, the Andros Museum of Contemporary Art, the monument of the Invisible Sailor (the “Afanis Naftis” that is a trademark of the great history of Andros) and the nearby Lower Castle or rather its ruins and the Nautical Museum of Andros. Last but not least, check out the many nice boutiques, taverns and coffee shops!
During my few days in Andros, it goes without saying that a daily early morning walk and a dip into the ocean at the nearby Korthi Bay beach was a must that was followed by a yummy breakfast by the Astra Pyrgos Sarelis’ pool . . . always made with delicious locally sourced ingredients that were outstanding! Take a look at the photos below to get an idea of my two favorite breakfasts as well as a healthy delish luncheon by the pool . . . that was so simple but oh soooo yummy!
Actually, as both I and Mary are early morning birds, before our daily exercise routine (walking & swimming), we would take a brisk walk to Aidonias’ local water spring (literally a 3–4-minute walk from the house) and fill a couple of bottles each . . . with exquisite fresh cold water that we enjoyed throughout the day!
What a treat . . . as was my time with Maria and all her hospitable and welcoming friends on the island of Andros. Definitely going back as soon as possible as there is so much more to see, do and enjoy on this fabulous Greek island!
Many, many thanks Maria for your lovely & generous hospitality!
See you soon again! Cheers!
13 August 2023
Since I posted this blog post two days ago, I've received some great feedback from quite a few of my friends and subscribers . . . that is, as always, highly appreciated!
Some of you who contacted me were wondering if I could upload a few more photos of the apartments and/or rooms and since I always take lots of photos of things I like, I'm happy to share more photos with you all . . . See below.
For mor information, or if you want to book a vacation rental apartment at the Astra Pyrgos Sareli, here is the website address: https://www.androsastra.com/
Until soon again.