Andros Tourist Attractions & Day Trips Greece - Greek Travel Guide
If you tire of the local beach scene Andros has plenty to keep you busy by day, especially if you've hired some wheels to get around. Unless you're an avid hiker, a rental car or moped is the best way to get the most out of the island because bus routes are limited and services infrequent.
If you're staying in the island's only major resort of Batsi, take the time to visit the capital Andros Town on the east coast (30 kilometres south east of the port at Gavrio). It's a delightful place with cobbled streets and an old-world elegance created by the wealth of 19th century neoclassical mansions which line the streets. The carved galleons which adorn the buildings are a legacy of the wealthy ship owners and sea captains who once lived here.
The capital is built on a long, narrow peninsula at the end of which you can see the ruins of a 13th century Venetian fortress on a small island linked to the headland by an arched bridge.
The main pedestrian street leads out towards the headland to Kairis Square where you can see a bust of local hero Theophilos Kairis who was one of the leaders in the War of Independence against the Turks (1821-1829). He was later branded a heretic for his unorthodox religious beliefs and died in a Syros prison in 1852.
The town benefits from some interesting museums courtesy of wealthy ship owner Vasilis Goulandris who was born on the island. The Archaeological Museum in Plateia Kairis has exhibits from the Mycenaean age through to the Roman period but the star attraction is the 2nd century BC Hermes - a life-size marble statue found by a farmer at Palaiopolis, the ancient capital of Andros on the west coast of the island.
The Museum of Modern Art has works by 20th century Greek sculptor Michael Tombros, great masters including Picasso and Matisse and a fascinating display of electromagnetic kinetic art by the pioneering and radical Greek artist Vassilakis Takis. There is also a Sculpture Museum, with more works by Tombros, and the Nautical Museum charting the town's seafaring history.
A visit to Palaiopolis is worthwhile even though most of the ancient city disappeared beneath the sea in the 4th century BC. There's a lovely village here in a beautiful mountain setting and you can still see the site of an ancient acropolis, now occupied by an Orthodox Chapel. The marble remnants of ancient buildings and statues lie scattered near the beach.
Head for the pretty village of Menites, six kilometres south west of Andros Town, to listen to the nightingales while you sit in the local taverna beside a stream. The village is famed for its marble lion's head fountains which spurt forth cooling mountain spring water.
If you're feeling energetic, make the two hour trek from Mesaria (near Menites) to the spectacular monastery of Panachrantou. The Byzantine monastery was built in 961 AD, perched 230 metres up in the mountains. Today it's home to just three monks but attracts many of the Greek faithful who flock here to tap into the alleged healing powers of the skull of Saint Agios Panteleimon which is one of the monastery's many religious treasures.