It’s kind of a given when visiting the stunning Greek Islands that you already have a beaten path you’re meant to take! Not that it’s a bad path by any means, partying in Mykonos, sunsets in Santorini, foodie trails and culture in Crete and friendly catch up’s in Naxos. However, there are 6000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, 227 of these islands are inhabited. So it’s easy to see how you might have missed a few!
I decided to venture off the traditional tourist path and ended up in Andros, the secret holiday spot of the Greeks! I was travelling solo with plans to meet up friends in Mykonos and had a few days to kill before they arrived. I was bursting to get off the mainland and start my Greek Islands adventure but hadn’t booked anything, so started researching possible islands. I needed an island that was connected by ferry to Mykonos, but one that wasn’t a huge jump from Athens! I knew my liver, waistline and sleep were probably going to take a little bit of a beating after I joined up with my friends, so I wanted an island that was a bit more chill #becausenana
After a bit of Google map and image stalking, the island of Andros popped up on my radar in a big way! Images promised clear azure and turquoise waters, rugged hills and most importantly a high level of island chill and serenity. It seemed to tick all the boxes for #islandgoals
What I wasn’t prepared for was just how gorgeous and quaint the town of Batsi would be once I got to Andros. Batsi used to be a fishing village that now is one of the more popular villages on the island, however the town doesn’t let this go to its head, retaining a traditional and picturesque charm (nice once Batsi!). In fact we managed to capture Batsi’s charm all on our iphone, yep not one of these images was taken with a SLR.
The stunning little town encircles a bay with a cute sandy beach and local architecture that absconds up a hill rather quickly, offering sublime views of the Mediterranean Sea. You can walk everywhere in Batsi and are constantly connected to stunning glimmers of the ocean. You’re not short of vibrancy here, with lots of Greek cafes and restaurants, gelati shops, stone roads and footpaths, white buildings, the traditional splashes of blue and pops of delightful colour in decorative flags and décor.
To top it off the prices for accommodation and food in Andros are much cheaper than the more touristy islands (yeah I’m looking at you Mykonos!) making it a great stop for your wallet, even during peak season.
I spent my days here either working from Marjo Café Cocktail Bar, a local open air bar which had one of the best views in town and a swimming pool as the centerpiece, as well as lazing down at the beach on sun loungers. These are provided by the cafes, so order food or drink and you’re in! I was on a sun lounger for about 2 hours and only ordered an iced coffee and a bottle of water. Wild I know. There are also endless walking adventures you can go on, so pack some bottles of water, grab some local Greek snacks and get exploring!
I was also greeted by a seriously beautiful surprise on my first day in Batsi, white swans happily swimming in the ocean, right in the bay. I felt like I had stumbled across a unicorn sighting, it was that freaking majestic!
By night the charm in Batsi continues as the restaurants and eateries really come to life. Pretty lights guide you down to the bay and life ceases to get any better as you eat Greek delicacies and drink Ouzo.
The island of Andros is easily connected by a 2 hour ferry ride from Athens, you just have to get to the Port of Rafina which has connecting buses from Athens city, or hire a driver (my Airbnb host in Athens organised one for me because I had a very early ferry). I went with the Super Ferry through Golden Star Ferries which was 19 EUR and was really happy with the service.
Where to Stay
I stayed at Villa Fiamegou which offers absolutely gorgeous self contained rooms with the BEST breakfast I had in Greece! The hosts were so warm and welcoming too. It’s a 2 minute walk to the beach and provides glimpses of ocean views (although if you are in the higher room you get better ocean views). Prices range from $65-$135 per night for a double room (depending on season and nights stayed) including their amazing sweet and savoury breakfast which I would pay $25-$30 for back home!
Where to Drink and Eat
Because Batsi isn’t a big town you could easily work your way through the main restaurants and eateries over a week…poor you, afflicted with delicious Greek food . If you do visit Andros then you need to have a drink at my favourite bar Marjo Café Cocktail Bar, you can thank me later!
Where Else to Explore on Andros
If you have the time a visit to the capital Chora on the other side of the island, do it! The town features a combination of medieval, neoclassical and island style evident in its houses. Flights of stairs, a spacious square with trees, narrow streets, remarkable churches and museums, shops, cafes and restaurants play their part in the beauty of the place. To top it off you can see a Frankish castle on an islet connected to the main island with an arched stone bridge of the 13th century.
I also stayed a few nights just outside of the port of Gavrio and had a ball going for long walks, discovering a beautiful combination of unspoilt beaches, devoid of tourists which were intermingled with more populated beaches playing soft lounge music with families, Greeks and holiday makers frolicking in the crystal clear ocean.
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