Tag: Andros (page 1 of 2)

First-time island hopping in the Cyclades: How to do it, and what you’ll see when you get there

Cyclades hopping, an animated video published by g travel, shows how to arrange a simple island hopping holiday in the north and central Cyclades

 

Island itineraries: If you haven’t been to Greece before but dream about taking an island hopping holiday there, you’re probably wondering where to go, and how to get from one island to the next. With dozens of destination options in six distinct island chains, plus an array of ferry schedules to sift through, it can seem intimidating to set up a vacation. That’s one of the main reasons why many travellers take a Greek Isles cruise or a package tour, or ask a travel agent to arrange everything for them. There’s nothing wrong with any of those approaches if you’re more comfortable with them or you simply don’t have the time to do your own planning. But it’s not that daunting and difficult to do it yourself.

The video at the top of this post, Cyclades hopping, shows how to arrange a simple do-it-yourself trip to one of the most popular island chains in Greece.

The animated film focusses on a few of the Cyclades, the islands instantly recognizable for their “sugar cube” white houses and blue-domed chapels perched on rocky slopes high above gorgeous golden sand beaches and the stunning turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.

Home to Mykonos and Santorini, two of the most world-famous and popular places in Greece, the Cyclades is where the majority of first-timers get introduced to the island hopping experience. Many get hooked and keep going back, or instead venture off to hop around the other island chains — the Sporades, Saronic, Dodecanese, Northeastern Aegean, and Ionian.

Crete, the biggest island in Greece, isn’t part of a distinct island chain, and is so vast that visitors are typically advised to devote a full two- or-three week holiday there to explore its incredibly wide variety of beaches, historic sites and attractions.  

 

When you watch Cyclades hopping, you’ll gain insights into travelling to Andros, Mykonos, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Ios and Santorini. I have posted several videos that highlight travel to those particular destinations on page 2 of this article, so you can see what each of those islands looks like, and get an overview of some of the top attractions and activities they offer. Additional videos offer peeks at other Cycladic island gems, including Sifnos, Folegandros, Syros, Amorgos, Tinos, Milos, Serifos and Kea.

 

Express Skopelitis ferry passenger

A passenger enjoys early morning views from the upper deck of the Express Skopelitis ferry as it departs Egali port on Amorgos en route to Naxos

 

Please turn to page 2 to continue reading and to view videos of islands in the Cyclades chain.

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Islands suffer flood damage after heavy rain soaks the Cyclades

Stormwater flooding on Naxos

Stormwaters surged across fields, farmlands and roads on Naxos after heavy rain lashed the island on Tuesday. This picture of an overflowing stream appeared in a January 23 2017 photo report published by Naxos Times.

 

Muddy Naoussa waterfront street

After the Tuesday rains, this waterfront strip in Naoussa village on Paros was left a complete muddy mess. This was one of several photos that Kay Will shared on Facebook to show the aftermath of the storm.

 

Devastating downpours: Winter weather has been packing a powerful punch in Greece this month.

First it was unusually cold temperatures and snowfalls that struck much of the country during the first week of January (see the stunning pictures and videos in my recent posts Amazing winter wonderland scenes from Greece and Greece in white winter glory).

The mercury has since climbed and the snow in many places has melted, but Mother Nature wasn’t finished — she decided to pound some of the Cyclades islands with heavy downpours that lasted throughout the day on Tuesday January 24.

 

 

The rain, occasionally accompanied by hail, pelted Paros, Naxos, Tinos, Mykonos, Sifnos, Andros and other islands for more than 24 hours.

Paros was particularly hard hit by the storm and seems to have suffered the most water damage. There was extensive soil erosion as well as some landslides, and flooding caused widespread damage to farm fields, shops, homes, churches, vehicles, and roadways.  

According to a January 25 report on the local news website ParosIn, damage to some areas was so severe, the island’s mayor has written to regional authorities requesting they declare a state of emergency so that resources can be deployed to assist with the massive cleanup and repair work that must now be undertaken.

The news story noted that the mayor’s letter described severe damage in the municipal areas of Naoussa, Kostos, Lefkon, Archilocus, and Marpissa, as well as places in and around Parikia.

According to the Naxos Times, the deluge doused Naxos with so much rain that streams turned into “rushing rivers” that “drowned” farms and fields, and flooded some roads.  Near Koronida village, where wildfires had burned several weeks before, the water washing down the streams was black from all the soot being carried away, the January 24 Naxos Times report stated.

 

This short videoclip, shared by the Maistros Panormos Tinos page on Facebook, shows some of the rainwater damage at Rochari beach on Tinos

 

Click on the link below to continue reading and see more storm photos and video on page 2 of this post.

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Aspects of Andros

Andros Greece Cyclades is a 3.5-minute video published June 21 by click

 

Andros revisited: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably have seen some of the photos and posts I published following our visit to Andros in late May 2015. (If you missed them, click here for a quick link to the articles.)

I haven’t looked at any of my Andros posts or photos for a few months, but this morning discovered a newly-published video that instantly made me feel like I was right back on the island, enjoying it all over again.

Andros Greece Cyclades is a short video that Epameinondas Marmaras filmed, in part, with a drone. His camera captures many of the beautiful sights and scenes that we got to see during our holiday last year, as well as some that we just didn’t have enough time to experience for ourselves.

Take time to watch the clip to see the impressive Andros landscapes and coastal scenery. Andros isn’t one of the mainstream tourist islands of Greece, but one viewing of the video may make you wonder why more people don’t go there– and why you haven’t yet gone yourself.

Glimpses of Gavrio, and a ferry ride from Andros to Tinos

Gavrio port at Andros

Gavrio harbourfront

The harbourfront at Gavrio, the port village on Andros island

 

Au revoir, Andros: When we arrived at Gavrio port on Andros at the start of our Greek holiday last May, we barely even noticed the village. Already groggy from our transatlantic travel and jet lag, we were struggling to shake off more cobwebs after dozing periodically during the ferry ride from Rafina. 

I saw a few shops and tavernas when we stepped off the ship, and can even remember thinking “there doesn’t seem to be much here” when I took a quick glance around. We didn’t have time for a longer look since we had to focus our attention on a more pressing issue — fitting luggage for four people into the compact car our friends had rented.

Soon we were pulling away from the port and driving up a narrow lane that squeezed tightly between rows of whitewashed houses before widening into the two-lane highway that would lead us to Andros Town. As we rounded a bend on the outskirts of Gavrio, we got our first views of exhilarating Andros scenery — fields, beaches and the wide open sea on our right side, and to our left a long line of mountains extending far into the distance.  It was a beautiful sight for our sore and very tired eyes.

View from highway on outskirts of Gavrio Andros

The mountain and sea view from the outskirts of Gavrio, seen in an image from Google Street View. This is the highway that leads from Gavrio to Batsi and onward to Andros Town.

 

We got a better look at Gavrio when we walked there from Batsi on the final full day of our Andros visit. As we turned onto the waterfront strip, we discovered there was much more to the town than we had seen while disembarking the ferry five days earlier.

On arrival day, we had basically seen just half of Gavrio’s commercial district — the extensive port authority area with its parking lots, loading zones, and of course the quays for ferries and ships, as well as a few of the businesses along the main street nearby.  We had not noticed that the street continued farther past the port, lined on one side with tavernas, shops and ferry ticket agencies, and a flagstone-paved walkway on the sea side. It took longer than we had anticipated to stroll the entire length of the road, and we were surprised by the large selection of restaurants and cafes — we had not been expecting to be so spoiled for choice in finding a place to have lunch. 

 

 

Though not as scenic as some other port towns in the Cyclades, Gavrio isn’t an unattractive place — it just doesn’t have the pretty, polished veneer of upscale boutiques and trendy cafe-bars that draw  the big-spending tourist and cruise ship crowds to places like Mykonos Town. And while Gavrio may be conveniently located for quick easy access to a variety of good beaches (see my post A bevy of beaches & coves on the scenic west coast of Andros), we were happy we had chosen to spend our holiday time at Andros Town and Batsi instead, since we preferred their overall look and feel.

Mind you, we didn’t walk around any of the residential streets on the hills tucked behind the waterfront strip, so we didn’t get to see all of Gavrio. We may have been more impressed had we taken time to explore beyond the port and harbourfront.

Gavrio harbourfront

We didn’t get to explore the residential streets on the hill behind the commercial waterfront strip

 

The next day we got more glimpses of Gavrio during a taxi ride to the port, followed by panoramic sea views of all of Gavrio Bay as we stood on the outdoor decks of the ferry taking us to Tinos. It was a brilliantly sunny morning, and Gavrio looked picturesque as it glistened in the sunshine.  I’m sure we’ll be back sometime for another look around.

Click on the link below to see more photos of Gavrio, as well as pictures of the Andros coast that we passed during our ferry trip to Tinos. There also are photos of the ship that took us there, the Superferry II, as well as the western coast of Tinos.

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A bevy of beaches & coves on the scenic west coast of Andros

Andros island west coast

 Looking along the west coast of Andros from a vantage point near Liopessi beach outside the town of Gavrio. More than a dozen places to sunbathe, swim and participate in water sports can be found along the 7 km stretch of seafront between Gavrio and Agia Marina.

 

a cove near Kipri beach on Andros

The coastline includes alluring small bays, inlets and quiet coves, like this one with warm golden sands near Kypri ….

 

Agios Petros beach Andros

… as well as several fully organized beaches, like Agios Petros, where sunbeds, bars, tavernas and water sports are available

 

Beach tour: Our final full day on Andros (Saturday May 30) was blessed with a mix of sun and clouds, warm temperatures and a slight breeze — perfect conditions for soaking up some sun and taking a dip at one of the island’s beautiful beaches.

But we were feeling too restless to simply laze away the day on a beach — our Andros visit was coming to an end, and we wanted to see more of the island before moving on to our next destination. So we spent the afternoon walking along the island’s west coast to have a look at all of the beaches situated between our hotel and the port town of Gavrio 7 kilometers to the north.

It took us about 3 hours to trek from Aneroussa Beach Hotel to the Gavrio harbourfront, following the two-lane highway that winds along the coast. It was a good way to enjoy the wonderful weather while seeing 10 main beaches — Agia Marina, Delavoyia, Stivari, Batsi, Kolona, Kyprianos, Kypri, Chrissi Ammos, Agios Petros, and Liopessi — plus the numerous coves and inlets that dot the scenic shoreline. It also gave us a chance to see more of Gavrio, which we had glimpsed only briefly when we arrived at the island five days earlier.

Our original plan was to walk all the way back from Gavrio, too, stopping for a drink at one of the beach bars along the way. But by the time we finished a late lunch in Gavrio, the sky was almost totally clear of clouds and the sun felt considerably hotter than it had during our hike to the port. Rather than risk sunburns, we took a taxi to Batsi, then walked from there to the Aneroussa hotel’s bar on Delavoyia beach, where we rested our tired feet and cooled off with some ice cold beer.

 

 

Though 10 beaches was a lot to visit in one day — far more than we typically see on our Greek island walkabouts — there were many others elsewhere on the island that we didn’t get to check out during our short time on Andros. They included Achla and Vitali, both of which often rank at the top of lists of the island’s “best” beaches, and Tis Grias to Pidima, which is pictured on scores of Andros postcards and travel guides. No worries — we’ll try to see  them on future trips to Andros. 

Please click on the link underneath the next two photos to continue reading  on page 2, where you can see pictures of all the beaches we visited on our coastal walk. I have also included links to websites with Andros beach information for those of you who might be planning to visit the island soon.

 

Liopessi beach on Andros

Besides beaches and coves, there is a lot of interesting scenery to view all along the Andros coast — like this curious rock formation at Liopessi beach …

 

hillside on the Andros coast near Batsi IMG_8416

 … along with steep hills dotted with houses and studio apartment buildings, as well as some impressive villas on sizable mountainside estates. The highway between Batsi and Gavrio also passes several tavernas, where the fragrant aromas of Greek cuisine will tempt your tastebuds as you walk by.

 

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Sizing up Stivari

Stivari settlement on Andros

The Stivari settlement overlooks a scenic coast and bay on Andros

 

Stivari settlement on Andros

The road through Stivari is lined on one side with buildings of reasonably-priced rental studios for summer tourists  …

 

sea view from Stivari area of Andros

… while the other side of the road offers wide open views of the sea, sunset, some small nearby islands and the Andros coastline

 

Batsi village on Andros

The beach resort village of Batsi is less than a 10-minute walk away

  

Studio suburb: There’s a lot to like about Andros, as we discovered during our first trip to the island in late May 2015 — and as I have already described in a series of Andros posts I have published in recent months.

Something else we really liked was the Stivari area, which we passed through several times a day while walking between our hotel and the beach resort village of Batsi.

Stivari is a small hillside settlement that’s basically a coastal “suburb” of Batsi, which is a mere 5- to 10-minute walk up the road.  There are more than a dozen different accommodation options right at Stivari or within close walking distance, and most of the rooms have nice garden or sea views from their balconies or terraces. The area has a popular taverna and a small shingle beach (actually just a few steps apart from each other), and is within a scenic 15-minute coastal walk of two better beaches, one of which boasts a superb seaview restaurant.

 

Stivari is a convenient base for Andros vacationers, especially those who don’t want to rely on a rental vehicle to get around  — it’s so close to all the amenities that Batsi village has to offer, yet still just far enough away to offer a little more peace and quiet than you’ll find in and around the village’s popular tourist center and beach.  

What we particularly liked about Stivari is the area’s impressive scenery: the surrounding steep hills are dotted with houses, villas and the accommodation properties; crystal-clear turquoise seawater sparkles beneath the rocky cliffs that line the coast; and there are beautiful island, sea, and sunset views from the hillsides and from the pebbly sand on Stivari beach. Whether we passed by in morning, afternoon or at night, there was always a pleasant and calming atmosphere  — though our favourite time was evening, when Stivari was bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun.

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where I have posted some of our photos of Stivari, and on page 3, where I have provided a listing of accommodations in the area, complete with photos and hotel contact information.

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Good eats on Andros

Agia Marina Taverna Andros

 Mastrozannes Restaurant at Agia Marina beach — where we enjoyed fabulous views with the two best dinners of our Andros visit

 

Memorable meals: We ate exceptionally well during our first-ever trip to Andros last spring, feasting on delicious Greek cuisine at every restaurant where we dined. At almost all of the establishments, either the settings and ambience, or the views, were as impressive and memorable as the meals. As a lucky bonus, we were treated to excellent food as well as particularly remarkable locations, views and atmosphere at two of the restaurants.

This was the case with our favourite place to eat on Andros —  Mastrozannes Restaurant near Batsi — where we ate dinner two nights in a row on the taverna’s spacious open-air terrace beside Agia Marina beach. On both evenings (one of which was my birthday dinner celebration), our wonderful meals of tantalizing home-cooked Greek cuisine were topped off with complimentary side servings of superb sea and sunset views, shown in the photos below.

view from Agia Marina Taverna Andros

view from Agia Marina Taverna Andros

Above are just two of the splendid scenery and sunset views we enjoyed from our table at Mastrozannes Restaurant

 

 

Another standout eating spot was Drosia mezedopoleio in the leafy mountain village of Menites near Andros Town. There, we lunched on a variety of savory selections, including a local Andros specialty, frutalia, in a truly sublime and unforgettable setting — a sun-dappled terrace encircled by tall trees, lush vegetation and the sound of streams coursing through the gully below.

I Parea in the heart of Andros Town proved to be a good choice for lunch and dinner, while  Archipelagos and O Nonas (both in Chora) and Stamatis taverna in Batsi also served up tasty dinners.

Drosia restaurant terrace in Menites

Shade trees and thick vegetation surround the outdoor dining terrace at Drosia mezedopoleio in Menites village, seen  here in a photo that appears on the restaurant’s Facebook page

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more restaurant photos on page 2 of this post .

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Where to hit the beach at Batsi

Batsi beach on Andros

The main beach at Batsi village on Andros is a long ribbon of golden sand that rings the northern shore of Batsi bay. I took this photo at the southeast tip of Batsi beach, near the town’s waterfront strip and harbour …

 

Batsi beach on Andros

… and shot this picture from a hill at the opposite end of the beach.  It takes just under 10 minutes to walk the full length of the sand.

 

Five strands: Travelling to Andros this summer? Batsi village is an ideal base for swimmers or sun worshippers who want to stay within walking distance of several beaches and still have a good variety of places to eat and drink.

The biggest, best and most convenient beach is right at Batsi — a long arc of golden sand that hugs the north shore of Batsi bay. Bars and restaurants are situated only steps away across the beachside road, while it’s just a short stroll from Batsi beach to the town’s main commercial area, which offers many more drinking and dining opportunities.

Four more beaches are within reasonable walking distance of the village, making Batsi a perfect location for beach loving visitors who won’t have a rental vehicle during their stay (which was the case for us during our visit in late May).

Kolona beach on Andros

Kolona beach is on a small bay directly opposite the village

 

Kolona beach is located directly across the bay from Batsi harbour (you can see the golden sand crescent from the town’s waterfront), and is about a 15-minute walk from the northwest end of Batsi beach. It’s a scenic walk the entire way, since the route provides extensive views of the entire village and bay area, as well as surrounding mountains and the coast beyond Batsi.

Heading south from Batsi, a 10-minute walk will bring you to Stivari, a strip of rental studios and apartments on a hillside overlooking a small bay. Stivari beach is a small pebble, stone and sand cove that’s more suitable for sunbathing than swimming, but it does offer impressive sea and sunset views, and it’s conveniently straight across the road from O Viomichanos / Stivari Gardens restaurant, where drinks and good food are served on a large tree-shaded terrace.

Stivari beach on Andros

Stivari is a small sliver of pebbles and sand a short walk south of Batsi 

 

From Stivari, a 5-minute walk up and over the adjacent headland takes you to the Aneroussa Beach Hotel, where a stone staircase near the hotel’s driveway entrance leads down the hill to Delavoyia beach. There actually are three small sandy coves here, separated by narrow outcroppings of smooth rock, and the hotel operates a cafe-bar on the biggest of the beaches.

Agia Marina beach is a further 5-minute walk past the Aneroussa. It’s a narrow band of brown sand with trees at the north end near the entrance to the excellent Agia Marina Taverna. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the beach and is a great spot to sip a cold beer or dine on delicious home-cooked food while savouring the superb sea and sunset views.  (We had two outstanding meals of Greek cuisine here.)

 

Delavoyia beach and Agia Marina beach

Delavoyia (foreground) and Agia Marina (center right) are about a 20-minute walk from Batsi along a road above the scenic coast

 

This is a short video I shot showing afternoon, evening and sunset views of Delavoyia beach

 

There are even more beach-hopping options for travellers with their own transport — several excellent strands are located a short drive away, along the highway linking Batsi to the port town of Gavrio. I will be publishing photos of those beaches in a separate future post.

Click on the link below to see additional photos of all five beaches on page 2 of this post.

 

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Our stay at Aneroussa Beach Hotel on Andros

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

Thanks to the clifftop location of Aneroussa Beach Hotel 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

we enjoyed exceptional beach, sea and sunset views … 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

from our room and its very comfortable veranda

 

Didn’t want to leave: After three nights at Andros Town, we moved across the island to spend the next stage of our spring holiday at a hotel near Batsi, a popular beach resort area on the northwest coast of Andros.

This marked only the second time in all our travels to Greece that we have stayed at two different places on the same island (in October 2013, we similarly split our stay between a beach resort and town during our two-week vacation on Naxos.)

For accommodations, we chose Aneroussa Beach Hotel, which is located on the coast south of Batsi at the small but delightful Delavoyia beach.

We could not have picked a better place — it perfectly suited our personal travel tastes and accommodation preferences, and it quickly became one of our favourite hotels out of the more than three dozen we have stayed at in Greece so far. In fact, when it came time to move on after our scheduled 3-night stay, we didn’t want to leave, wishing we could have spent more time at the Aneroussa.

Please click here or on the link below to continue reading our review and to see a video and photos of Aneroussa Beach Hotel on page 2 of this post.

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel photos on Flickr

My Aneroussa Beach Hotel album on Flickr contains 160 photos showing the hotel grounds, our room and terrace, the Aneroussa beachfront, and some of the hotel facilities. Click here to see the pictures.

 

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Impressions of Batsi

Batsi village on Andros

Batsi is a scenic seaside village on the northwest coast of Andros

 

Village views: When I told several regular travellers to Greece that we were planning a trip to Andros, they gave me two conflicting points of view about Batsi, a seaside village and beach resort on the island’s southern coast, about 6 km from Gavrio port.  Half of my acquaintances recommended we stay in Batsi, which they had personally stayed in and enjoyed. The other half warned me to avoid it altogether, and to stay only in or near Chora (Andros Town) instead. “Batsi has no soul,” said one. “It’s just a purpose-built resort with no character. It doesn’t feel very Greek there,” said another.

With my friends’ opinions about Batsi poles apart, I did more research and ultimately concluded that it was in fact where we should stay after spending three nights in Chora. But instead of choosing accommodations in the built-up area of Batsi, I booked us into a hotel at a scenic beach less than a 20-minute walk away. (I will be writing about the Aneroussa Beach Hotel in an upcoming post).

 

Batsi village on Andros

Approaching the harbour and the waterfront commercial strip of Batsi during the walk into town from our hotel

 

I felt apprehensive the first time we walked into Batsi, hoping we wouldn’t be disappointed. Happily, we weren’t — either then or on any of the other two times a day we visited the village. It’s pleasant, it does feel Greek, and it doesn’t have the artificial look and atmosphere of a resort specifically built for tourists (it’s not a place for shopaholics, though — they won’t find streets lined with trendy fashion boutiques or retail stores). We liked it — in all types of weather, no less. There was a mix of conditions during our May 28 – 31 visit — sunshine, clouds, strong winds and even a light rainfall — and we thought Batsi looked nice in all elements.

 

Click on the arrow in the middle of the image to see video views of Batsi from three different places along the bay.  A strong wind was blowing stormclouds over the area when I took the videos, and within a hour there was a short but light shower. Rain or shine, we thought Batsi looked beautiful.

 

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A teasing glimpse of Korthi

Ormos Korthious photo from islandandros.com

Korthi Bay and the village of Ormos Korthiou are seen in a photo from the Andros travel and information website Island Andros.

 

Quick peek: Have you ever experienced that nagging feeling, while travelling from one scheduled holiday destination to the next, that you’re missing out on some really worthwhile sights and attractions you simply don’t have time to stop and visit along the way? We certainly did during our trip to Andros last spring.

After spending 3 nights in Andros Town at the beginning of our vacation, it was time to move on. Our friends had to return to Athens, and they agreed to drop us off at our next stop — a hotel near the resort area of Batsi, on the northwest coast of Andros — while they drove to Gavrio port to catch their ferry back to the mainland. 

So that we could all see a little more of Andros during the drive, we avoided the most direct highway route from Andros Town to Batsi and detoured to the south, following a highway that winds through the island’s Korthi region. The plan was to stop at the fishing harbour and seaside village of Ormos Korthiou to have a coffee before resuming the drive to Batsi.

Click here or on the link under the next photo to turn to page 2 of this post, where you can continue reading about Korthi and view more pictures of some of its top  attractions.

Grias Pidima beach Andros

One of the iconic sights we didn’t get to see in Korthi was Tis Grias to Pidima beach (also called Old Lady’s Leap), shown in this photo from airbnb.gr.  Pictures of the sandy beach and its towering stone pillar can be found on scores of postcards, websites and travel publications for Andros.

 

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Strolling around Stenies

Stenies village on Andros

Approaching the Stenies mountainside settlement on Andros island

 

Valley village:  There is much to see in the mountain and valley areas near Andros Town (also called Chora) on Andros Island. In fact, visitors could easily spend several days sightseeing and exploring the surrounding countryside by car or, if they prefer, by foot (the island boasts a network of nearly two dozen sign-posted walking and hiking trails, several of which start in or near Chora).

Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much exploration time at our disposal. During the first two days we stayed at Andros Town in late May, we spent much of our time in and around Chora itself. But on our third (and final) day, we ventured a little further off to do some hillside hiking in Stenies village and vicinity.

 

Stenies village on Andros

At Stenies, visitors can stroll past churches, red-roofed houses and palatial private villas nestled against verdant valley hillsides …

 

Bistis-Mouvelas Tower House on Andros

… and see historic ruins, including the crumbling Bistis-Mouvelas tower house, which dates from the 17th Century

 

Situated less than a 20-minute drive from Andros Town, Stenies is a residential settlement area that stretches across rolling hillsides in a mountain valley verdant with flowers, greenery and towering Cyprus trees. Blue-domed churches and large houses with red tile roofs rise from the leafy slopes,  while several sprawling estates with palatial private villas indicate that Stenies is a popular valley enclave for the affluent. Besides recently-built and still-under-construction stone mansions, the hillsides are home to some crumbling old buildings, including the Bistis-Mouvelas tower house, which was built in the 17th Century.  And on the coast at nearby Gialia Bay are two beaches — the pebbly Empros Gialia, and the sandy Piso Gialia, where travellers can stop for a meal on the seaview terrace at Gialia Restaurant and Snack Bar.

We spent several hours at Stenies, where we wandered along a series of paved paths and dirt trails that meandered up and down hills, past attractive homes, over mountain streams and across grassy fields, eventually making our way to and from the Bistis Tower. After working up hearty appetites hiking in warm temperatures under a mixed sky of sun and clouds, we drove to Drosia restaurant in the village of Menites for a midafternoon lunch break. (Staff at the Andros Town hotel where our travelling companions were staying had highly recommended we drop by Drosia for a meal. We enjoyed it as much as they had promised we would.)

 

Drosia Restaurant at Menites Andros

Part of Drosia restaurant’s very pleasant tree-shaded patio is seen in this photo from the Drosia Facebook page

 

Drosia’s outdoor terrace was as delightful as its delicious food — shaded by soaring trees, the patio is perched on the edge of a ravine through which streams cascade down the steep slopes. As we sat amidst thick vegetation, with the sound of water rushing in the creeks below us, it truly felt like we were in a lush island oasis — something we’ve never experienced on predominantly barren other islands in the Cyclades, like Mykonos, Ios or Santorini. 

It was just a short — but sweet — visit to Stenies and Menites, and we realized we had merely scratched the surface in terms of the multitude of things to see and do in both areas. We hope we get the chance to go back and  see more.

 

I shot this short video from the mountain road that took us to Stenies. It shows views of the mountainside settlement as well as nearby Gialia Bay. Click on the arrow to start the video.

 

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 of this post, where you can read more about our day and view some of our photos of Stenies and Menites.  You can see full-size versions of the pictures, along with dozens more, in my Stenies and Menites album on Flickr.

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