The Andros Route
What follows is a collection of personal photos and a few words about our hikes in Andros Routes.
This summer we hope to see more of the routes.
Andros has a very extensive network of trekking routes, which is estimated to exceed 300 km in length, while Andros Route, a continuous 100km Andros track, on October of 2015 got the distinguished European Quality Certification Leading Quality Trails-Best of Europe managed by the European Ramblers Association, establishing the island as one of the leading quality destinations for hiking.
For further information, detailed trail descriptions and interactive map, follow the link www.androsroute.gr. The map is exhaustive and offers route combinations to explore. The signs in all routes are well maintained, so that you can hike on your own, still you need to pre organise your transfers non circular routes. You may buy the map, either online or in selected local shops.
Except for the priceless information and assistance offered by Andros Route, high value guided tours are offered by Andros Trekking & Outdoors Activities www.trekkingandros.gr Ariana Maselou and her expert team.
Tip – Especially during hot summer season, choose among hinterland routes, that end up in deserted beaches!! Carry with you cotton bags and collect oregano and mint for a whole year.
Andros Routes No 1&17
Chora – Ipsilou – Mesathouri - Lamyra - Panachrados Monastery
This one is a long route, that we started from Chora, crossed the picturesque villages of Lamyra, where we had the chance to take pictures of abandoned houses, Menites and Mesaria villages, the tower (mansions) of Theofilos Kairis, the ‘Bridge of Stihiomeni (haunted woman)’ and then up the mountain to the Monastery. There are difficult parts, such as the uphill step track towards the Panachrados monastery, while apart from summer months, part of the route has passages with waters. There are many shades to relax before the village of Messaria and ‘Karydies Springs’ in Menites village for the supply of drinking water.
Then we traveled along path No 17, through the valley of Livadia, leading to Paraporti beach. In Livadia you will find the most fertile fields with fruit trees and clusters of towering cypress trees - hedges of farmhouses and mansions, as well as beautiful horses.
Tip – A bit before the arched bridge, lie under the trees into the dry river springs during summer and have a rest. End your hike in Chora and taste local pastries ('pastes') in Lygizos, Laskaris or Ermis shops.
Andros Routes No 8, 8a & 2
Apikia (Pythara) - Stenies – Gialia beach & Chora – Apikia – Vourkoti
I would suggest part of this route as kids’ friendly, especially beginning with ‘Pythara’ waterfalls and descending down to the wetland with many turtles and the beach of Gialia. You will pass through the impressive villages of Apikia, Apatouria and Stenies and you will literally explore buildings that are characterized as monuments such as the towers (old mansions) of ‘Agadaki’ and ‘Bisti Mouvelas’, the "Fabrica" watermill with the large upright iron impeller that has been declared protected monument. The path has several stairs, but the dense vegetation protects from the sun during summer. Impressive as well, is the distance of many houses from central road access, while the landscape around them justifies this choice. Our parade and guide was a friendly dog!!
Tip – Hang your hammocks next to Pythara waterfalls and enjoy the fresh running waters.
Andros Route No 3
Chora - Sineti- Ormos Korthiou
Having several kids with us, we chose to make the route shorter, starting after the village of Sineti, at the entrance to the valley of ‘Dipotamata’ with many watermills, however only a few being in good condition. The tour was taken over by Trekking Andros Tours, which, apart from historical data, taught us to eat various flowers (eg morning glory), to collect myristics and herbs. George, representative of the LIFE Andros program, joined our team, spoke about the endangered species – birds, that find shelter on our island and gave binoculars to the children to observe them. The route has enough ascent and limited vegetation, but most of us managed to get to 'Faneromeni Castle' with the panoramic views of Aegean sea and Ormos Korthi. Descending was easier and ended up with swimming at the famous beach 'Grias Pidima'.
Tip – Considering time constraint, let the kids climb the rocky upper castle and visit the old coffee shop of Kochilos village to get refreshments.
Andros Routes No 4
Tromarchion monastery – Ammonakliou – Mousionas - Aidonia
Maybe the most spectacular and emotional moments of our trekking tours, through the beautiful stone-built villages of Aidonia and Mousiona, the settlement of Petria and without a doubt, the most hospitable inhabitants of the island. The path is quite easy and is combined with the circular of Tromarchion Monastery with the impressive views of the Aegean Sea and the dry stone walls all over the slopes. The treats were rich all the way (we still remember Mr. Antonis' tomatoes and the local tsipouro at Mrs Anna's house) and we promised a winter ride to try this year's production. The crops in the surrounding mountains betray the rural character of the area, all seasons. It is impressive the initiative of the local Cultural Associations for the renovation of community infrastructures (springs, bridges).
We thank the kind driver who brought us to Korthi and Mrs Vaso, the amazing car driver that picked us from a van (because we hitchhiked oops!) as we were getting tired and really far from our car, that had the keys of the monastery and offered us a precious tour inside.
Tip – Try to buy local fruits and vegetables. Do not miss the feasts of Panagia Tromarhiani on 15th August and Easter Monday.
Andros Route No 6
Vourkoti – Ag Nikolaos monastery – Achla beach
This is the hiking to be remember for years, with all our children, a dozen kids from 5 years old. We did not manage to get to the beach because we were very late and the descent was quite exposed to the sun. However, we covered the nicest part on the edge of the Achla River, inside the largest plantain of the Cyclades, diving and swimming in river springs 'vathres'. The route is quite difficult and unmarked, with many big rocks and requires mostly climbing than walking. We reached the stunning lake'Gerolimni', dipped from high rocks and swam in the icy waters.
Amazing day with our kids and Trekking Andros in a challenging trek organised especially for us. We chose the route to Achla river and beach, but never managed to reach the famous beach since climbing and swimming in river springs took most of our time. Achla is an important biotope with impressive plane trees just a breath away from the sea. The waters of Achla River flow even in the summer. Waterfalls ending in small lakes like Gerolimni lake, drove the kids mad. We ended our day with endless diving at the old castle of Andros town. Quite an experience but probably for older children. Do not miss!!
So, an impressive agricultural route stretching parallel to the biggest river of Andros, Achla, towards the homonymous beach and the important wetland. Finely-crafted old farm houses, the beautiful arched bridge of Achla, small waterfalls, the centuries old Agios Nikolaos Monastery and one of the most beautiful beaches of Andros, are some of the many attractions of this route.
Tip – Must be quite fit to manage this footpath and be careful with insects close to the river. You will get amazing shots and the best swimming ever. The kids get mad with the rocks!
Andros Route No 9 & 9b
We did complete this route only up to the green village of Menites, following the Route No1 and later visited Pitrofos village and the Olive Museum http://www.musioelias.gr that was awarded as one of the top 10 Museums in Greece for the year 2017 year) and No 1 in the Cyclades. The owner Dimitris Helmis personally guides the visitors, explaining all stages of olive oil production.
Menites is one of the most densely vegetated villages in the Cyclades. There are small waterfalls everywhere. You can hear the waters as you walk along the small cobbled roads. The scenery is amazing and long trees cover almost every part of the village.
Tip – The best way to finish this tour, is by visiting Katerina Remoundou at 'Chez Josef' tavern to taste local specialties!
Andros Route No 9a
Palaiopolis (circular hike with detour)
A journey with a lot of myth and history, quite difficult when it is hot due to the location of the old capital of the island and with few fountains for water supply. In the village there is an archaeological museum, an archaelogical site of excavations and a beach, usually deserted. Do not miss the island's finest sunsets and if you have time, approach neighbouring small bays.
On top of the village, the mountainous part heading from Aprovatou village to Palaiopolis, is called 'Ntrassa' and offers magnificent views, shadows, ideal pic nic stops and natural fountains like 'Turk's' spring.
We also had to climb a bit to get a panoramic shot of this beach at the right side of the village, which was the capital of the island during ancestry for over 1000 years. The excavations taking place here revealed much about the history of the islanders.
Tip of the route -The old coffee shop on the street serves splendid sweets (ask for 'lemon blossom') and the Archaeological Museum.
Andros Route No 10
Mesathouri - Evrouses - Apikia
This hiking was carried out during the maintenance of the path by Andros Routes, and it has several difficult points, both for ascenting and descenting and many alternations in the landscape. Much of the route is in dense vegetation, literally forest, but also part of the climb, in a dry landscape. We finished the route to the village of Strapourgies in "Egkremnistra" spring.
Many visitors from France, Germany and Greece along with local people did the clearing of the path.
Tip of the route - "Egkremnistra" spring is a relieving spot during this long and quite tough trail. However, since it is located toward the end of the route, you may rest next to the river springs much earlier.
Andros Routes No 12&13 & Arni Circular
Arni - Remata - Lefka Beach
A dreamy footpath, starting from the mountainous Arni (my grandfather's village), Kanavas Park in dense vegetation all the way to Remata and then more exposed to the sun up to Lefka beach. Trekking Andros Tours was also here with us for historical information like the separate detached chapels, matching the Orthodox and Catholic Christian church. However, we will not forget the abandoned houses of the farmers, the arrangement of the farmhouses (main rooms, stable, threshing floor), especially the one that, thanks to the surviving roof of cypress trunks, was preserved inside as the owner left it (see photograph).
At the end, we were exhausted and swimming in Lefka beach was not enough, so we also reached for a second dive the beaches of Ateni (small and large one).
Tip – Get a professional guide for this one, not to miss anything!! it is Trekking Andros that will show you the Energy Tree! Open the old chapels and teach about dry stone wall building. Do not miss Epameinonadas old bridge
Andros Routes No 14
Ammolohos village to Frousseoi old mills valley
Another footpath that takes your breath away due to rare nature sights. Landscapes not distinguishable from the main streets, ruins still telling stories, towers (old mansions) and, of course, the watermills of Frouseoi Valley. Approximately 6.5 km of hiking in unique vegetation and running waters, next to the river for half the route. During the walk we did some clearing as well. We also had the chance to meet with new people from different countries that voluntarily follow Andros Routes often. No 14 is a medium to difficult level path but an 11 year old boy managed to become an expert guide for quite a distance.
Tip - Begin the route at Amolohos village and have a shower at the river springs. After this route, it is worth visiting the beach of Zorgos, an island top destination. Close to the beach begins the Path No 20 with the caves - 'Trypes' that we will see this year!
Andros Route No 18
Vaconi-Aladinou (with Foros cave detour)-Falika-Petrias-Prophet Daniel-Vrachnou-Livadia
Getting familiar with Andros Trail Race 2018 routes, we followed this route with a few official race participants starting from the monastery where we had delicious pastries to get strong!!! The most impressive part of this route was our acquaintance with the local cultural association of the village of Aladinos, that manages the Cave "Foros", 4.5 - 5 million years old. It was discovered in 1932 and its name probably stems from the missing animals that fell into the deep cave and thus 'paid the tax to the gods'. Needless to say that we missed eye contact with the athletes quickly!! so we followed our pace and discovered thick vegetation jungle like tunnels that you can see in the photos. The terrain is quite diverse.
Tip - The picturesque village of Vrachnou and the stunning views to Chora for the most part of the journey.