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Hotel News From La Gomera

Jardin Tecina Hotel La Gomera
Jardin Tecina Hotel La Gomera
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Different By Nature

Exciting news arrived in my inbox last week: the fabulous Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf in La Gomera, which I visited and loved last year, is set for significant renovations and improvements in 2024.

The hotel aims to uphold its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and natural living through these changes. Expect refreshed decor and furnishings in the rooms, as well as revamped public areas like the Salon Bar, Beatriz de Bobadilla Terrace, Main Restaurant, and Pool Barbecue. Even the little ones will benefit, with major upgrades planned for the Palmito Club and “Laurus.”

Based on this video teaser, it seems this upgrade will elevate an already wonderful hotel experience to new heights!

Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf

For those who plan ahead, whether it’s for a Christmas family getaway, a golfing excursion, or even a holiday in 2025, the Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf on La Gomera should be on your radar. This unspoiled island gem is set to become even more sought-after with these enhancements!

The hotel will be closing on the 8th of April 2024 and will reopen following the changes on the 6th of December 2024.

Contact Information

For more information on the Hotel Jardin Tecina and Tecina Golf check out my review from last year. To book contact your local travel agent, tour operator or visit the Hotel Jardin Tecina website.

Till next time…

Mykonos: Picture Perfect But Pricey

Little Venice, Mykonos
Little Venice, Mykonos
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Having enjoyed the Greek Cyclades Islands of Andros and Naxos, the last leg of my island-hopping adventure in the heart of the Aegean Sea was to be Mykonos – an island known for its attractive old town of Chora, pristine beaches, glamorous nightlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Sadly, I was only staying a couple of nights, so my experience was going to be short-lived, but let’s see what I was able to discover!


Known as the “Island of the Winds,” Mykonos boasts a diverse landscape characterised by rugged coastlines, golden sandy beaches, and rolling hills dotted with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches.

The island covers an area of approximately 85 square kilometres and is in the Cyclades group, southeast of mainland Greece. Its strategic position in the Aegean Sea has made it a hub for maritime trade and tourism.

History and Culture

Mykonos boasts a rich history that dates back thousands of years, with evidence of ancient settlements and civilizations found throughout the island. According to Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos, the son of the god Apollo.

Over the centuries, the island has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Minoans, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines, each leaving their mark on its culture and architecture. Today, Mykonos is renowned for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, attracting artists, celebrities, and travellers from around the world.

Chora Town

During my brief stay in Chora, the capital of Mykonos, I was keen to enjoy the towns charming ambience. The town’s incredibly pretty cobblestone alleys are adorned with boutique shops, quaint cafes, and inviting tavernas.

Whilst exploring these picturesque whitewashed streets is a pleasure, it’s worth noting that the establishments here tend to be pricey, so be prepared for some eye-watering bills when dining or shopping. Despite this, the allure of Chora’s bustling streets and lively atmosphere makes it a must-visit destination on the island.

Make your way towards the coastal side of town and you will come to the Little Venice district which is the most celebrated part of town. It is named due to the merchant sailors, who had come from Venice, and used to stop here to refresh and replenish their supplies.

Watching the sunset is a must in Mykonos and the place to do it I was told was from a bar cafe, or restaurant in Little Venice. Along with hundreds of tourists, I made my way there only to be told by a grumpy waiter at my first stop that I could not take a table without first agreeing to a minimum spend of 70 euros…. I moved along and sat on a wall and watched it for free.

Having had nothing but a friendly welcome in Naxos and Andros I was a little taken aback by this approach. As I moved along I started scanning these bars and it was clear this was a place to be seen with many locals and tourists flamboyantly sipping fancy cocktails or champagne. I have never been one for paying over the odds for a drink, especially when you can buy it in a supermarket up the road for a fraction of the price. As you can tell I was not keen!

When in Mykonos one of the signature landmarks is the iconic windmills. Back in the 16th century, the island of Mykonos was known for its production of grain and in particular wheat. With the island’s notorious windy weather, it soon became clear that the use of windmills would be ideal for supplying grain to not only the island but also to seafaring traders as this was an important shipping route.

There are many windmills on the island but the five, known as the ‘Kato Myloi’, are the most iconic in Mykonos Town. A short stroll up a slope from Little Venice will bring you to them. The ground around which they are located is a little scruffy but the views of Mykonos Town, the Aegean Sea and more than likely a cruise ship or two are spectacular.  


The culinary scene in Mykonos reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. Local cuisine emphasises fresh, seasonal ingredients from land and sea, with dishes prepared using traditional cooking methods and recipes passed down through generations. Seafood plays a prominent role in Mykonian cuisine, with specialities such as grilled octopus, fried calamari, and lobster pasta.

Other popular dishes include… souvlaki (grilled skewered meat), moussaka (a layered dish with eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce), and spanakopita (spinach pie). Meze, or small appetizer plates, are also a staple of Greek dining, featuring a variety of dips, salads, and grilled meats.

Sports and Recreation

Mykonos offers a range of outdoor activities and sports for visitors to enjoy. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing along the island’s pristine beaches. Scuba diving and snorkelling excursions provide opportunities to explore the vibrant underwater world of Mykonos, with crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life.

For those who prefer land-based activities, Mykonos boasts scenic hiking trails that wind through rugged landscapes and offer panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. Cycling tours and horseback riding adventures provide unique ways to explore the island’s natural beauty and charming villages.


Mykonos is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, with a plethora of bars, clubs, and beach parties that cater to every taste. The island comes alive after dark, with throbbing waterfront tavernas, chic cocktail bars, and open-air clubs pulsating with music and energy.

Many head to Little Venice for Sunset however as I mentioned, I was put off by bars on the front wanting a minimum spend of 70 euros plus they rather frowned at me when they saw I was on my own. I did however find the lovely Parthenis Cafe which is set back from the front but still in a delightful location. I met a couple of ladies on holiday who were great fun and who were planning to enjoy a few days in the town and on the nearby beaches. Just one for the road turned into three or was it four – who knows – it was a pleasant stop and the staff at Parthenis were friendly, fun and welcoming.

From sunset drinks at waterfront cafes to dancing until dawn at world-famous nightclubs, Mykonos offers endless opportunities for unforgettable nights out.

Top 20 Things to Do and Places to Visit In Mykonos:

  1. Delos: Just a short boat ride away from Mykonos lies the uninhabited island of Delos, an ancient archaeological site that is steeped in mythology and history. Discover the ruins of temples, theatres, and statues dating back to the 8th century BC.
  2. Ano Mera: Experience traditional Greek village life in Ano Mera, located in the centre of the island. Visit the historic Monastery of Panagia Tourliani and sample authentic Greek cuisine at local tavernas.
  3. Paradise Beach: Known for its lively atmosphere and crystal-clear waters, Paradise Beach is a hotspot for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Relax on the golden sands, sip cocktails at beach bars, and dance the night away at beach parties.
  4. Other stunning beaches of Mykonos, include Super Paradise Beach, and Psarou Beach, known for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant beach clubs.
  5. Archaeological Site of Mykonos: Explore the ruins of ancient Mykonos, including the Mycenaean Acropolis and the Roman-era amphitheatre, which offer insights into the island’s fascinating history.
  6. Visit the historic Panagia Paraportiani Church, a stunning example of Cycladic architecture, located in the heart of Mykonos Town.
  7. Sample delicious Greek cuisine at the traditional tavernas and seafood restaurants scattered throughout Mykonos, offering fresh seafood, meze dishes, and local specialities.
  8. Experience the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos at the island’s famous beach clubs, bars, and nightclubs, with world-renowned DJs and a lively party atmosphere.
  9. Take a scenic drive or hike to the Armenistis Lighthouse, located on the northern tip of Mykonos, for breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and neighbouring islands.
  10. Explore the beautiful countryside of Mykonos, with its rolling hills, olive groves, and traditional Greek villages, such as Ano Mera, Marathi, and Ftelia.
  11. Visit the Mykonos Folklore Museum, housed in a traditional 18th-century Mykonian house, and learn about the island’s rich cultural heritage and customs.
  12. Relax and unwind at one of Mykonos’ luxury spas, offering a range of rejuvenating treatments, massages, and wellness programs.
  13. Go shopping in Mykonos Town, with its boutique shops, designer boutiques, and local craft stores, offering unique souvenirs, fashion, and artwork.
  14. Take a day trip to the nearby islands of Tinos, Paros, or Naxos, accessible by ferry from Mykonos Port, and explore their beautiful beaches, charming villages, and historic sites.
  15. Enjoy water sports activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing at the island’s many beaches, equipped with rental facilities and water sports centres
  16. Discover the hidden gems of Mykonos, such as the small churches and chapels scattered throughout the island, known for their beautiful frescoes and stunning views.
  17. Attend one of Mykonos’ many cultural events and festivals, such as the Mykonos Biennale, the International Music Festival, or the Mykonos Jazz Festival.
  18. Take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront of Little Venice, known for its charming cafes, bars, and restaurants overlooking the sea.
  19. Discover the fascinating history and culture of Mykonos at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, with its impressive collection of artefacts from ancient times.
  20. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mykonos with a hike or bike ride through the island’s rugged terrain, exploring hidden coves, rocky cliffs, and scenic viewpoints.

Where To Stay in Mykonos

I stayed at the small luxury boutique, My Mykonos Hotel which is just a 10-minute walk downhill into the town of Mykonos.

The rooms were excellent and with fabulous views over Mykonos from up high on the hillside. The pool area was the standout feature due to its size and location, not to mention the space and availability of sunbeds.

Breakfast was also a delight with a wide choice of pastries, fruit, cereals and hot dishes, all served until 11 am. If you wanted an evening in the hotel then the restaurant was also available for dinner.

Just across the road is a handy supermarket and a few restaurants if you just fancy eating locally one evening.

Final Thoughts

With its stunning beaches, rich history, vibrant culture, and lively nightlife, Mykonos is one of the most loved destinations in the Aegean Sea.

My experience was brief and while I found the costs to be excessive, there is no denying that Chora is a picture postcard town. I heard that the beaches in the area were excellent so whilst I did not enjoy the island as much as I had on Naxos and Andros, I appreciate that I only caught a brief glimpse of what is a very popular destination for tourism. With that in mind I know there is more to Mykonos and hopefully one day I will get to return!

Till next time…

Contact Information

For more information on visiting Mykonos, contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator or pop over to the Visit Greece website for more information.

New Direct UK Charter Flights to Cuba


This week I was privileged to have been invited by The Cuba Tourist Office and Iron Travel to attend an event at the Melia White House Hotel in Albury Street, London to mark the launch of two new flights planned to operate directly from the UK to Cuba in 2024.

In attendance were journalists, tour operators and key dignitaries with a vested interest in travel and tourism to Cuba.

Although there are still some hoops to jump through and red tape to be cut, it would appear that from the 5th of May 2024, there will be a programme of charter flights on an A330-343 aircraft starting on Sundays from Manchester to Holguin and then on Fridays from the 10th of May 2024 from London Gatwick to the Jardines Del Rey Airport on the island of Caya Coco.

Special rates have been negotiated for those using the charter flights with key hotel partners such as Melia, Iberostar and MGM Muthu Hotels so we can expect the prices to be attractive.

Having experienced Cuba last year I can vouch that this destination delivers a great option for year-round sunshine.

For those travelling from Manchester to Holguin on the northeastern coast of Cuba lies the enchanting town of Holguin and the picturesque resort area of Guardalavaca. Renowned for its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture, this region attracts travellers with its laid-back charm and tropical allure. Holguin is often referred to as the “City of Parks,” as it boasts verdant squares, colonial architecture, and a welcoming atmosphere. Meanwhile, Guardalavaca is a haven for sun-seekers, with pristine sands and crystalline waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and soaking up the Caribbean sun.

The Gatwick flight takes you to the Jardines del Rey Airport from where you can experience a choice of idyllic islands. Boasting pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush natural landscapes, the Cayos beckon travellers seeking a tranquil escape. Whether you’re unwinding on powdery shores, snorkelling among vibrant coral reefs, or exploring the diverse marine life, the Cayos promise an unforgettable Caribbean experience.

Another option to consider for those travelling for a longer duration is to tour the island and take in the iconic capital Havana, the charming town of Camaguey or the beaches of Varadero.

In recent times many of the larger operators have pulled out of Cuba meaning there are no direct flights from the UK. The reasons for this decision are unclear so I am looking forward to hearing confirmation in the coming days that Iron Travel together with the support of the Cuba Tourist Office has successfully got these flights on sale!

I will be watching and I will be a customer once the flights are up and running as I have so much more of Cuba I wish to discover!

For more information contact your local tour operator such as Simply Cuba or your local travel agent.

The Beauty of Naxos Island

Naxos Island Greece
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Introducing Naxos

Having spent four days on Andros Island, I now had a taste for Aegean adventures, so I was excited to be travelling on to Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades Islands in Greece.

The island is renowned for being laid back and hospitable, not to mention its stunning beaches, crystalline waters, and picturesque villages. Naxos offers an idyllic escape for holidaymakers seeking sun, sea, and relaxation. But beyond its coastal charms, the island boasts a wealth of cultural treasures, including ancient ruins, medieval architecture, and traditional festivals.

Whether you’re lounging on golden sands, exploring historic sites, or savouring local cuisine in charming tavernas, Naxos promises an unforgettable holiday experience that captures the essence of Greek island life.

Let’s find out what I discovered!

Travelling to Naxos

Some of you will fly to Athens and then pick up a ferry from the Port of Rafina to Naxos. You can also catch a ferry from Santorini or Mykonos.

I had already travelled to Andros, so I took the SeaJet ferry from Andros involving a stop at Tinos and Mykonos before pulling into Naxos. Overall, the journey was just over 2 hours and a one-way ticket costs 40 euros during this time of the year (early June).

As we approached the port, I could immediately see one of the symbols of Naxos – the castle or Kastro, towering over Naxos Old Town or Chora below. Many towns in the Cyclades Islands have their main town known as Hora or Chora. In English, this word means “Town or Village”.

I was met by Kostas who picked me up at the bustling little port and drove me no more than 10 minutes to the Princess Mare Hotel where I was to stay for three nights in the centre of Chora, Naxos Old Town. The location was ideal – just 100 yards from the beach and not much further from the main promenade and harbour.

First Impressions of Naxos

Compared to the island of Andros, Naxos was busier, and with the harbourside restaurants already buzzing this early in the season, it was clear to me that this was going to be a different experience. I guess this is the beauty of Greek Island hopping. Each offers its own unique vibe and experience. I welcomed the sudden buzz of Naxos and was keen to discover more.

Having arrived on a barmy spring afternoon I quickly check-in and took a short stroll into town for a look around and dinner.

The Temple of Apollo – Portara

As I made my way into Chora the sun was setting, and I noticed crowds of people at the far end of town. They were gathering up on the rocks on the little islet of Palatia which is connected by a slim artificial causeway. They were not only enjoying the sunset but also viewing and taking selfies by the monument known as the Gate of Portara which translates to “doorway”.

Dating back to the 6th century this “doorway” is the entrance to a temple that is dedicated to the God, Apollo and is one of the most iconic and symbolic landmarks on the island.

When in Naxos, make sure one evening at least, you take time to sit on the rocks and just enjoy mother nature at its very best.

Boulamatsis Restaurant

Dinner was at the Boulamatsis Restaurant which is tucked away behind the main promenade but with a terrace overlooking the harbour. This bustling traditional Naxos restaurant serves up an array of seafood and meat dishes accompanied by salads.

As is often the case when I am let out without a minder, I messed up on the menu order. Simply put – one was hot tomatoes and cheese; one was cold tomatoes and cheese and then the main course of pork belly. All were delicious – I just wish the waiter had pointed out I was ordering the same thing as there are only so many tomatoes and pieces of cheese a man can take!

Naxos By Night

Wandering around the shops in the back streets of Chora is a delight. There is no litter, no dogs, no problems – just a relaxing air to a town that was starting to get busier for the impending season.

For a late-night drink and just one for the road, of course, I stumbled across the Rum Bar. In the heart of the marina and on the first floor, this super cool bar with great summer tunes and vibes was superb. From its attentive staff to its stylish and tasteful decor, you could tell this place had a little class. I noticed that it ranked number 2 on Trip Adviser for the best bars in Naxos.

One for the road turned into a couple, before taking a walk back to my hotel for an early night. Tomorrow I had an organised tour, exploring some of the history and traditional towns and villages of Naxos.

Day 2 on Naxos

After breakfast, I was met at 9 am by Angela (Aggeliki) from Naxos Bus Transfers. This may sound like a rather simple company name as they also organise island excursions as well as transfers and are located at the bus station at the port end of the marina.

Angela was originally from Athens but moved over to Naxos a few years ago to escape the busy city life. She now enjoys her summers guiding tourists around Naxos, while in the Winter months, she paints and coordinates art exhibitions.

A Traditional Naxos Farm

Our tour commenced with a visit to a traditional farm near the village of Filoti on Naxos. We arrived as Stefanos, the owner, was due to start milking 300 goats and sheep. Despite his schedule, he stopped and graciously offered us a selection of delectable cheese samples and a potent glass of Rakhi. A couple of those before 9 am every morning and I think I could milk 300 goats and sheep in the blink of an eye.

Stefanos took us around his cheese-making rooms where the milk is first heated and then packed into moulds for eight days. It then matures over three months before he can sell to visitors and local businesses and restaurants. The farm produces three varieties: a soft salty cheese, and two harder types ideal for pasta and salads.

Having seen how it is made, Stefanos needed to crack on and get milking. I followed as we entered a dimly lit, fly-infested stone barn, where both Stefanos and his daughter took on a herd of 30 goats. They battled to control each of these mischievous characters, before milking them. I loved this demonstration but could only feel that this was a tough job. They took 30 minutes to milk these 30 and with another 270 to go their days are clearly long and physically hard.

After what was a lovely visit, we left him and his daughter to crack on with the remainder of the herd.

Filoti Village

Just a few minutes from the farm and 19 kilometres from Chora is the incredible village of Filoti, where we would learn about both past and modern local life.

Perched on the slopes of Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, Filoti offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. This area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, mountain biking and exploring nearby natural wonders such as the Cave of Zas.

Filoti boasts a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its whitewashed houses, narrow alleyways, and quaint squares adorned with vibrant bougainvillaea. A stroll through the village reveals historic churches, including the imposing Panagia Filotitissa Church, and the Venetian Tower, which dates to the 11th century and features stunning Byzantine frescoes.

Filoti showcases the traditional way of life in both tranquil and authentic surroundings.  Visitors can explore local tavernas and cafes, where they can savour authentic Greek cuisine and mingle with friendly locals.


The neighbourhood of Fassolas is a quite remarkable area to discover. Before the construction of the main road from Chora to Apeiranthos, the neighbourhood was the centre of commerce, crafts and social events of Filoti. There were small business premises, such as grocery stores, bakers, tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths, carpenters, olive mills and a distillery, as well as cafes and restaurants.

Fasolas sadly lost its appeal when almost all the shops were moved to the main road. Thankfully all the old buildings were left intact and today they have been restored to their former glory with love and passion by dedicated individuals such as Nikos Moustakis. 

I loved wandering along these pretty streets while Nikos proudly showed me each of the shops from yesteryear. It truly is stepping back in time and there are even some artefacts that remind me of my youth, including pots of Nivea Crème, that my mother used to swear by!

Also, there is a small but fabulous museum dedicated to the history of coins and money, not just in Greece but all over the world.

Chalki Village

In the heart of Chalki village, the old capital of Naxos, lies a small distillery, founded in 1896, called the Vallindras Distillery.

The distillery is free to enter. You can enjoy a tour of the museum that charts the history of the distillery and the equipment used through the ages to distil the leaves of the Citron tree. Following the tour, you can sample the traditional Kitron liqueur that’s unique to Naxos. Of course, if it’s to your taste you can purchase a bottle or two! 

Chalki village itself is gorgeous and worth wandering around the handmade jewellery shops or just stopping at a pretty café and watching the world go by.


The village of Kaloxilos, on Naxos Island, is very much recommended. Far removed from the tourist crowds, Kaloxilos offers a glimpse into traditional island life, where time seems to stand still amidst the rustic beauty of its surroundings.

As you wander through the winding cobblestone streets of Kaloxilos, you’ll be greeted by whitewashed houses adorned with colourful flowers, friendly locals, and a sense of tranquillity that pervades the air. The village square, shaded by ancient trees, serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors alike, offering a glimpse into everyday life on the island.

Visit the Olive Oil Mill that dates to the 19th century and where you can learn about the production of olive oil, soap, and homemade tapenades. The mill closed in 1985 but since then it has been restored and the machines and artefacts preserved. At the end of the tour, you are invited to sample the various flavoured virgin olive oils and other produce.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Kaloxilos is the perfect base for exploring the natural beauty of Naxos. Lace up your hiking boots and set out on scenic trails that wind through olive groves, vineyards, and rolling hills, offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding countryside. Or venture off the beaten path and discover hidden beaches, secluded coves, and picturesque landscapes.


We enjoyed the liquor, the cheese, and the olive oil and now it was time to visit the Limpertas Manolis Pottery in the village of Damalas.

Here you can watch as skilled craftsmen create all manner of pots and even bird whistles. The prices are extremely good and far better than those you find in the main towns.

I particularly liked the wine mug known as a Pythagorean cup. Should you be greedy and pour yourself too much wine then the whole mug empties via a siphon effect! Now I know a few people who would come a cropper!

Naxos Old Market

After a day out and about exploring the island I wandered into Chora, Naxos Town and decided to check out the Old Market which is very popular with tourists. The pretty colourful streets are full of fashion, jewellery, and souvenir shops. Whilst I enjoyed the ambience the prices were quite high compared to the villages which you would expect.

I took a pre-dinner drink at the Cream on Top Bar located on the marina edge looking along the promenade. The comprehensive cocktail and spirits menu included Finlandia Vodka and Coke for 7 euros. I felt this was worth it for the view, although the rather direct request from the waitress to consider offering a tip was not necessary. If you deliver good service then good things will come, like anything in life, I guess.

Dinner at Yasouvlaki

Restaurants start to fill from about 8 pm with most not taking advanced reservations. Tonight, I was dining at the Yasouvlaki restaurant directly in front of the marina on the promenade.

The restaurant offered a choice of traditional Greek dishes, Souvlaki, Veal, Pork, Burgers, and Salads. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and the food was excellent. I learned that in the peak summer months, the restaurants stay open till 06:30 am!

Day 3 on Naxos

My last full day on the island of Naxos involved hiring a car and getting out on the open road. I was to spend my day travelling from Naxos Town in a southerly direction, along the West coast of the island. It was here that I was told the best beaches are to be found, along with some other places of interest.

My car hire was from the lovely people at MotoNaxos. When I turned up there were several 4X4 beach buggies available for hire, which I have to say, looked great fun. However maybe those days for me are over, so I took a basic car which to be fair was ideal for what I required.

Pirgaki Beach

I decided to drive to my most southerly destination first then work my way back to Naxos Town. The first stop was a highly-rated beach called Pirgaki where I parked on the beach. Bearing in mind I was arriving on a hot sunny day at the beginning of June the wide-open glorious sandy beach was almost deserted, aside from a couple of sunbathers. The main reason I guess, was due to the winds in this part of the island but on the day, I was there it was a little breezy but not uncomfortable.

I liked this wild open beach and consider it a bit of a hidden gem. It was magnificent and perfect for those of you wanting a little peace. Note there were no sun loungers or areas of shade.


It had been suggested that I visit the village of Alyko. As with many seaside locations along this western stretch of Naxos the beaches are superb. Here at Alyko, there was a lovely, popular, secluded beach along with many small coves and sandy bays. However, the beaches were not the reason I was here!

On the peninsula, there are the ruins of a derelict 60s hotel that has been turned into an open-air art centre with various pieces of superb graffiti adorning the walls. A Balinese street artist is said to be the man responsible for these works. As you wander around the site, you then start to get a little braver and step inside some of the old hotel rooms. As your eyes adjust to the light, further works appear in the dark, along with people who are maybe tourists, artists or people sleeping rough. Yes, it is a little edgy but that’s part of its appeal.

I understand that there is a battle going on locally to preserve these ruins rather than let them be bulldozered for yet another hotel or set of apartments. This was one of the highlights of my entire visit to Naxos, so you can guess which camp I am in!  

The beach is backed by an ancient Cedar Forest which is both beautiful and important for the local wildlife and nature that frequents these parts.

Glyfada Beach

The beautiful sandy beach of Glyfada is found between Alyko and Kastraki. It is another beautiful long sandy beach, in fact, one of the longest on the island. Once again it was quiet probably due to the fact it was exposed to the strong winds. If you pick the right day, I can imagine this is another heavenly spot!  

Kastraki Beach

Kastraki is another beautiful beach set on the western Naxos coast. It is positioned between Glyfada and Mikri Vigla Beach.

It has many free areas where you can lay on a beach towel, however, there are a limited number of kiosks where you can hire sunbeds with umbrellas. The northern end of this beach is rockier and offers some areas of shade. 

Cape Mikri Vigli

Cape Mikri Vigli is the place on Naxos to go if you are into kite and windsurfing. The area is packed with surf schools that are available to teach you a range of water sports activities whether you are a beginner or an experienced pro!

Parking here was a little difficult but once I had found a space and looked around it was clear that this was the cool place to be. The beach was packed with trendy surf dudes and chicks (am I allowed to refer to people like that these days?) enjoying the fresh air, a gorgeous beach and some magical waters and great surfing conditions.

Plaka Beach

Plaka Beach is the longest of all the beaches in Naxos and just 15 minutes from Naxos Town. This four-kilometre stretch of golden sands boasts a selection of seaside accommodations, ranging from cosy guesthouses to luxurious beachfront resorts.

Visitors can indulge in delectable Greek cuisine at the charming tavernas lining the shore, where freshly caught seafood and traditional dishes are served with a side of stunning sea views. I parked up in a large car park alongside the Three Brothers Tavern which was quite eerily quiet – maybe they knew I was coming!

Being one of the island’s most popular beaches you can expect to find trendy beach bars who charge a fair price for drinks and the right to be on their patch!  

Adventure-seekers can also partake in a variety of water sports, including windsurfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Agia Anna

Agia Anna is a pretty bay and a popular spot for sunbathing. The bay attracts scuba divers as it is an area protected from the northern winds. This is organised locally by the Naxos Diving Centre and run by Nikos. They take groups all year round from individuals up to 10 people. The dives cost 70 euros per person and last about 2.5 hours, with 45 minutes of that underwater, subject to the level of ability.

The bay is also popular for both fishing boats and tourist boats who organise excursions daily, subject of course, to the weather conditions.

Prokopis Beach

Considered by many to be the best beach on Naxos, Prokopis is once again that perfect Mediterranean beach. Golden sands, shallow waters that are ideal for families, and backed by a wide choice of excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars.

One such bar I stopped at for a refreshing drink was the classy Kahlua Beach Cafe which offers cocktails and a very relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.  

Laguna Beach

With the day coming to an end, I wanted to end my journey by travelling along the coast via a beach that had been recommended to me for the wildlife, particularly the birds. This was Laguna Beach.

I pulled up and found a beach hut from where a guy was offering windsurfing lessons. As I passed, I started to walk along the beach and for the first time all day was shocked at what I experienced. The entire beach was covered in rubbish and plastics.

I approached the guy in the kiosk, and he confirmed that this was a problem that affected this beach due to the winds bringing in the litter. Feeling a little upset at what I had witnessed, I asked him if they do beach cleans, and his response was they do. However, he went on to say that whilst this was a good thing it was soul-destroying as the following day the plastic was back.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I asked him for some bin liners and over the next hour I cleaned the beach from one end to the other, collecting two bags of plastic bottles, nets, sun cream lotions and a host of other unsavoury items.

It was ironic that I had been sent to this beach to study the wildlife, yet it was the actions of humans that left me so disappointed. I was however pleased with what I had done, and as I left, the kind guy at the windsurf school gave me a keyring – made from recycled plastic.

Dinner at Meze *2

That evening, I headed into town for dinner at Meze *2 on an outside terrace on the main promenade. The speciality here was seafood and the jovial waiter took great delight in ensuring I chose well. That meant the fish of the day! There was also a variety of other main dishes including salads, pasta dishes and meats.

As an idea of prices salads start from 7 euros, seafood mains from 10 euros, and a litre of wine from 12 euros.

After a lovely dinner, it was time to retire after a long day exploring this beautiful island.

Day 4 On Naxos

I was on a mid-afternoon ferry to Naxos, so without wanting to waste time, I thought I should go and explore more of Chora, Naxos Old Town, and particularly the castle.

The Kastro, Naxos Old Town

Towering over Naxos Old Town is the 13th-century citadel, or Kastro. I could not leave Naxos and not take the lung-bursting walk up to the top for not only the views but also to uncover some of the hidden treasures within the alleyways and city walls.

The Castle has two entrance gates: the main gate to the south is the Paraporti, and the northern gate is the Trani Porta where the Della Rocca Barozzi Tower is of significant interest.

As you walk the streets, and probably get lost, you will find many shops which are ideal to use up your last few euros before you come home! You may need a bit of time as the various antique shops, fashion houses and jewellers are the best in town.

I came across a couple of interesting museums. The Venetian and Folk History Museum includes furniture and artefacts while also hosting regular art events. The Archaeological Museum has works of art and objects from the Late Neolithic times to the Early Christian period.

Close to the main square is the Catholic Cathedral while you can also enjoy one of the oldest buildings in Naxos, the Orthodox Church of Panagia Theoskepasti. There is also the Capuchin Monastery so lots of history to discover.

In need of a drink after the walk up to the top, I found the Avaton – a rather gorgeous, historic place to take a Coffee, Brunch or Wine on its sun terrace. If you are looking for the very best views of Naxos Town, then go to the Avaton as it’s wonderful!

Naxos Marina

Once down from the Castle, I took a little time to wander along the promenade and admire the busy Marina. Numerous tourist vessels are parked up at the front while the larger yachts and boats are moored up behind. The picturesque scene of Naxos Town, framed by numerous cafes and bars overlooking the marina, is a great place for a leisurely breakfast or a relaxing evening drink.

With just an hour to go before I left the island, I took a Cappuccino at the Cream On Top Bar overlooking the Marina and Kastro and reflected on my stay on the island.

Final Thoughts On Naxos

Arriving from the much quieter island of Andros it came as a shock at first to experience the busy bustling Old Town and lively beaches of Naxos. However, having explored the island I liked the fact you could find that deserted beach just a few kilometres from one that offers a very different experience with water sports, bars, and beach clubs.

Naxos has much to offer, and I enjoyed my stay. It’s a great place for a holiday, especially for families with those amazing beaches, and for historians keen to discover the island’s past.

The next stop was Mykonos… till next time!  

With Thanks

My thanks to Visit Greece, to Angela for showing me around Naxos and to MotoNaxos for the hire of the car – both trips I thoroughly enjoyed!

Contact Information

For more information on visiting Naxos Island in the Cyclades, Greece contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator.

For local specialist expertise then please contact Naxos Bus Transfers.

Taking My Time On Andros Island

Andros Island
Andros Island
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Introducing Andros

I have always found there to be something so exciting about boarding an early morning ferry. When it’s bound for an island I have never visited, in the heart of the Aegean Sea, it makes it that extra bit special! Last year I embarked on a Greek Island-hopping adventure and my excitement levels were off the scale! I had been very kindly invited to discover three of the Cyclades Islands, Naxos, Mykonos and my first port of call, Andros.

A little pre-trip homework had told me that Andros was considered to be how Greece used to be. It was authentic and charming with great food, the friendliest of people and naturally beautiful but without the crowds. I could not wait, so for a change, I was super organised and took a flight to Athens and spent the night just a stone’s throw from the Port of Rafina from where I was to pick up the early “red eye” ferry to Andros the following morning.

Rafina Port to Andros Island

Rafina Port is quite a busy little place and one of three main ports in Athens – there is Piraeus, Lavrion and Rafina. The Port of Rafina has plenty of cafes, restaurants and even a little fish market. I made my way to the ticket office from where I was to check in. There are two types of ferries – slow and fast. I was on a slow ferry called…wait for it… “Fast Ferries”.

I hastily lugged my bag across the port and along the iron ramp, before climbing the steep steps and up onto deck to watch as we sailed away. The passengers on board ranged from locals with cats in pet transporters to workers and holidaymakers. I soon found myself talking to a couple of very nice ladies. Sarina and Tracey were part of an 80-strong group tour on an island-hopping tour from Toronto. We shared stories and when passing over my business card, Sarina asked for my autograph …. well, there you go …. it took until the age of 54 and in the middle of the Aegean Sea for that to happen. From small acorns and all that.

Welcome To Andros

After a journey of some 37 nautical miles, taking less than 2 hours, I arrived at the Andros port of Gavrio which receives regular connections from Rafina. There are two other ports on Andros. There is Batsi Port, which welcomes mainly private boats and Chora Port also for private boats and fishing vessels.

I was greeted by Fotis from “Explore Andros” one of my guides for my stay here on Andros. Fotis had worked in Athens for some years, but the pull of his homeland drew him back to Andros where he delights in showcasing this special island to holidaymakers and the occasional British Blogger!

Fotis explained that Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades and the second largest after Naxos. The Port of Gavrio is on the west coast of Andros and we would be taking a 45-minute road trip south then cutting across the island to our home for the next few days, Chora, the capital of Andros.

It was at this moment I realised that Chora is not unique. Well, not by name, as it appears that many islands in the Cyclades have a town called Chora. A little confusing but fascinating. Either way, I was looking forward to my visit to this Chora.  

Geography of Andros

As we left the bustling port of Gavrio behind we were soon enjoying the scenery of Andros. With its pristine beaches, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage, at first glance, Andros mesmerizes with its diverse landscape, boasting rugged mountains, and lush valleys, that provide a stunning backdrop to the island’s coastal towns and villages. The scent of citrus groves (their lemons are enormous!), herbs and wildflowers was remarkable and a memory that will linger longer when I think of my time in Andros. Thinking back to my time living on Corsica that island too had its fragrant smell of the maquis. I need to “sniff” these islands out more on my travels.

As Fotis calmly drove us across the island he expertly highlighted some of the key geographical elements associated with the island. Profitis Ilias is the highest peak on Andros and just 997 metres. I later learned that the highest peak on the Island of Naxos is 1003 metres. As you can imagine there is much fun – our island is taller than yours – about the difference of 6 metres. Size matters in the Cyclades!

History of Andros

With a history dating back thousands of years, Andros Island has been shaped by a rich tapestry of civilizations and cultures. From its ancient roots as a centre of Cycladic civilization to its prominence during the Venetian era, Andros has played a significant role in the Aegean region.

Over the centuries, the island has been inhabited by various peoples, including Greeks, Venetians, and Ottomans, each leaving their mark on its landscape and culture.

Today, Andros stands as a testament to its storied past, with archaeological sites, medieval castles, and traditional villages preserving its heritage for future generations to explore.

In modern times Andros became very prosperous and was known as a centre for commercial shipping. The maritime history of the island is strong and can be witnessed in many locations around the island. Over the past couple of decades, the island has started to develop its tourism industry however it is doing so with the utmost care so as not to damage both the appearance and culture of the island.  One such example is that no buildings over a couple of floors are permitted – I liked that as it means no high-rise, mass tourism hotel chains are likely to move in…at least for the foreseeable future.

Chora Town, Andros Island

For those seeking a taste of authentic Greek life, Andros’ charming villages offer a glimpse into traditional island living. None capture your heart quite as much as Chora, the island’s main town.

Its Neoclassical and Cycladic buildings, labyrinthine streets, whitewashed buildings, and bustling squares are where locals gather to enjoy coffee or ouzo. Take a walk through the narrow alleys lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and tavernas serving fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine.

On arrival, Fotis and I did just that, we went for a wander, like two old school friends reflecting on life. The route took us through the peninsula on which the town was built. The main street is called Agora, and after passing the occasional Mulberry Tree we finally reached the end of Chora and a large open square known as the Riva. Standing alone in the middle of the square is the monument to “The Unknown Sailor”. This stunning sculpture symbolises the Naval History of Andros and honours all those who lost their lives at sea.

From the square, we took the short sloping path to the Kamara which is an arch bridge that connects the square to one of the most iconic attractions in Chora, the Agios Nikolaos Fortress. If you want to get onto the ruins of the fortress, then you need to scale the arch which is not for the faint-hearted! It is steep and a little scary so be careful. It was at this moment that my guide Fotis uttered the words that were to stay with me throughout my stay on Andros. As I reached for each ledge to pull myself up, he calmly told me to “take your time”. This was to prove a valuable and worthwhile piece of advice that came up again and again. It made me smile and if anyone says that to me now, I think of Andros Island where nothing is too hurried in life – that is good!

Dating back to the Venetian era, the fortress stands as a testament to the island’s strategic importance throughout history and offers panoramic views of the town and the sea beyond. It was built during the 13th century however it was largely destroyed in 1943 during World War II.

Beyond the Fortress is in my opinion the symbol of the island and without doubt the most stunning lighthouse I have ever seen. The Tourlitis Lighthouse was constructed in 1887 and is the only lighthouse in Europe, that is built on a rock, in the sea. Its design and form which to me resembled a corkscrew, are just breathtaking.  

Elsewhere in Chora, visitors will discover a wealth of cultural treasures, including the Archaeological Museum of Andros. Housed in a neoclassical building, the museum showcases items spanning thousands of years, from ancient pottery and sculptures to Byzantine icons and Venetian-era artefacts, providing insight into the island’s rich history and heritage.

For art enthusiasts, the Museum of Contemporary Art offers a modern contrast to Chora’s traditional architecture. Housed in a renovated mansion, the museum features rotating exhibitions of Greek and international contemporary art, showcasing the creativity and innovation of modern artists.

Chora is also home to several impressive churches and chapels, each with its own unique architecture and religious significance. The Panagia Thalassini, or Church of the Virgin Mary of the Sea, is particularly noteworthy for its stunning seaside location and intricate marble carvings.

In addition to its cultural attractions, Chora offers ample opportunities for shopping, dining, and strolls. The town’s bustling main square, Plateia Miaouli, is lined with charming cafes, tavernas, and boutique shops, where visitors can sample local delicacies, sip traditional Greek coffee, and browse for souvenirs.

On our way back from the lighthouse Fotis, who seemed to know everyone on the island, bumped into a delightful lady called Mary. She is a British expat living in Andros and first visited in 1988. Today she is known as the cat lady of Andros. Mary through the goodness of her heart spends time dedicated to looking after about a dozen cats that live in Chora. Thankfully you will find that the locals also like the cats so it’s not as harrowing a task as some kind people take on in other parts of the world. I was to meet up with Mary again later in my stay!

As evening falls, Chora comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and tavernas offering live music, traditional dance performances, and festive gatherings late into the night. If you are looking for a great start to the day head to the Lithi Bar which serves up a mouthwatering breakfast called Shakshuka which is comprised of Tomato, Toast, Eggs, peppers and Chilli. In the evening, the Neo Bar which has been built within an old slaughterhouse, may not at first appeal but when you go it’s very cool and full of character. The cocktails are superb, locals friendly and they even serve up tasty pizzas!

Whether exploring its historic landmarks, admiring its architectural beauty, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of its lively streets, Chora invites visitors to experience the timeless allure of Andros Island.

Pythara Waterfall

Back in the car, it was time for Fotis to introduce me to some of the local attractions away from Chora. We were off on another walk – nothing too strenuous mind as after all I had just been mountaineering up a steep-sided stone arch. We were to take our time!

Just 15 minutes from Chora and tucked away amidst lush greenery and rugged terrain, we embarked on a scenic but moderately challenging hike through verdant forests, following winding trails that lead to the cascading waters of Pythara.

As the waterfall comes into view, its graceful descent into a crystalline pool below captivates the senses. All around there was wildlife from insects to butterflies and frogs to birds. It was a wonderful introduction to the nature of Andros.

Apoikia Village

From Pythara we visited the little village of Apoikia. This sleepy little retreat features traditional architecture, winding stone-paved streets, narrow alleys, adorned with blooming bougainvillaea and stunning vistas of scenic countryside and rolling hills.

One of the village’s highlights is the Tower of Apoikia, a well-preserved medieval tower. Locals come to Apoikia as it is the source of the mineral water “Sariza”, which is famous for its healing properties. Fotis advised it was taken by those who suffer from kidney stones. I took a few slurps for good measure, and we were once again on our way!

Hiking Trails

It was here in Apoikia that I first noticed the numbered routes that are prevalent throughout the island. Andros is a hiker’s dream and it’s worth getting a map from the local tourist office in Chora which details each in order of length, time, and difficulty.  

Throughout my stay, I bumped into many hikers all of whom were waxing lyrical about the simplicity of a hiking holiday in Andros not to mention the breathtaking beauty.

Saint Marina Monastery, Apoikia

Perched atop a verdant hillside overlooking the azure Aegean Sea, the Saint Marina Monastery stands as a beacon of spiritual serenity on Andros Island. Dating back centuries, this sacred site is dedicated to Saint Marina, a revered figure in Orthodox Christianity.

Visitors can explore the monastery’s ancient stone walls, Byzantine frescoes, and ornate iconography, immersing themselves in the timeless beauty and tranquillity of this sacred space. With its breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and its profound sense of peace, the Saint Marina Monastery offers a glimpse into the rich religious heritage of Andros, making it a must-visit destination for spiritual seekers and history enthusiasts alike.

Dinner at Endochora Restaurant

In the evening I was hosted by Christos the owner of Explore Andros at the Endochora Restaurant which is located in the heart of the main street of Agora in Chora.

This typical Andros restaurant was perfect with a wide choice of seafood dishes including Sea Bass, Octopus, and Calamari plus various other Meat, pasta and salad options. The main courses started from 11.50 euros for a Risotto. The range of desserts was equally impressive including Soumada, an almond-flavoured panna cotta and a chocolate and olive oil fondant. Beers started at 3 euros and a bottle of wine was from 10 euros.  

After my first day on Andros Island, I felt strangely at home. I was relaxed, had met lovely people, tasted great food and was excited for the adventures ahead.

Achla River Walk

My second day in Andros was to involve another hike, this time along the Achla River, but this time a little harder but with the same goal, to enjoy the magnificent nature that the island has to offer.

Fotis took a day out from scaring me and so today I was guided by Argie. Now Argie is the type of guy that if you were lost in the Amazon, you would want him by your side. He was as fit as a butcher’s dog and as strong as an ox. He was also a previous contestant in the Camel Trophy which, if you are of a certain age you may remember, was an extreme event back in the 80s and 90s for 4X4 vehicles across all corners of the globe. I liked Argie – he was a real man’s man.

We met at the delightful Fresco Juice & Salad Bar on the main street in Chora along with a couple of Belgium ladies, Greta, and Ellen, who were on holiday and seeking adventure. Argie gave us some instructions about our walk which was to take us along the banks of the river to the mystical Gerolimni pool where during the peak season people congregate to swim, relax, and enjoy nature. As an avid wildlife lover, I was keen to know what animals we might meet on route and was promptly told to look for Golden Eagles, Hawks, Frogs, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Snakes. The latter got our attention, but Argie confidently stated that there was just a 1% chance of seeing a snake.

With mosquito spray slapped all over, we headed out into the bush. After just five minutes one of our Belgium ladies stopped in her tracks. Sure enough that 1% chance came in as there before us was “Sid” the 5-foot-long Caspian Whipsnake sunbathing across a footbridge. Our man Argie stepped in and slowly caressed him out of the way with a stick so that we could continue our hike. It was all such fun. Honestly, I loved it!

As the morning ensued Argie expertly showcased much of the island’s nature from herbs and wildlife to the trees and rock formations that had been carved through centuries of water flowing from up high in the Andros mountains.

The Gerolimni Pool was indeed magical. As we sat on enormous stone slabs, listened to the roar of the waterfall, staring into crystal clear water, we shared stories of adventures from yesteryear. It was a very special morning and one where I fell in love with Andros…. This is indeed the real Greece and long may it stay that way!

Our journey back involved another sizable snake – son of Sid I reckon…. now did Argie say 1%? I repeat…it was such a great morning! 

We dropped the Belgium ladies back in town and Argie and headed for lunch in the gorgeous Gialia Seafood Restaurant in Stenies. As chance would have it, we bumped into another Belgium couple who were on the island due to their love of hiking. Argie had taken them out the previous day, so we enjoyed a lovely lunch together.

Neiborio & Paraporti Beaches

After lunch, I asked Argie to drop me on the outskirts of Chora so that I could walk along the main Neiborio Beach which is to the west of the Chora peninsula.

It takes about 15 minutes to walk the length of this sandy attractive beach which is backed by a road and a line of shady trees under which numerous cafes and restaurants reside. With the words of my guide Fotis ringing in my ears, I decided to “Take My Time” and duly purchased a cool drink and watched life go by. This beach is perfect for families of all ages and the beach has areas with loungers and showers. The Andros Nautical Club is also based here.

On the east side of the peninsula is Paraporti Beach. This beach is beautiful but it is exposed to the northern winds which make for strong undercurrents. It is for strong swimmers and perhaps not so recommended for families as Neimporio.

Zairis Patisserie, Messaria

My final full day was back with Fotis who collected me from my hotel for another day of adventure. The good news was that it was to start in a patisserie and end in a vineyard – now that’s my kind of day trip! I would certainly be taking my time!

The Zairis Patisserie is located on the outskirts of Chora in Messaria. This culinary gem is known for its delectable pastries and warm hospitality. Established decades ago, by Adamantios Zairis, this charming patisserie has been delighting locals and visitors alike with its exquisite selection of traditional Greek desserts, ice creams and baked goods.

Stepping into Zairis Patisserie is like entering a sweet haven filled with the irresistible aroma of freshly baked treats. From flaky baklava and creamy galaktoboureko to decadent chocolate cakes and delicate pastries filled with seasonal fruits, every creation is a work of art.

But perhaps the most delightful aspect of Zairis Patisserie is the warm hospitality extended by its friendly staff, who welcome guests with genuine smiles and personalized service. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular patron, you’ll be treated like family from the moment you walk through the door.

I was invited into the kitchen where I met the kind and welcoming owner and baker extraordinaire, Leonidas Zairis along with some young apprentices learning the craft! Leonidas was a lovely man who took over the business from his father in 1995. He was deeply passionate not only about the family business but also about passing on his knowledge and skills to the would-be bakers of the future. It was truly inspiring to witness that first-hand.

I left with perhaps the tastiest sweet treat I have enjoyed in many years. I love almonds, so the handmade Amigdalota which are egg-shaped, covered in fine icing sugar and filled with a soft almond filling were just heaven! The Kalsounia is another similar treat. If you are planning to take something home from Andros then a box of either of these is a must!

For a taste of authentic Greek pastry-making tradition and a truly memorable culinary experience, be sure to visit Zairis Patisserie in Messaria during your stay on the captivating island of Andros.

Menites Village

With a belly full of Amigdalota we hit the road. Along the way, we stopped by the picturesque village of Menites.  Set amongst lush greenery this hidden gem is known for its traditional Cycladic architecture, whitewashed houses, colourful flowers, narrow cobblestone streets, and charming squares shaded by ancient trees.

One of the village’s highlights is its natural springs, which have been a vital water source for centuries and are said to possess healing properties. Visitors can relax by the springs, enjoying the serene ambience and refreshing coolness of the crystal-clear waters.

Menites is also renowned for its traditional tavernas, where visitors can savour authentic Greek cuisine made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. For those interested in history and culture, Menites boasts several notable landmarks, including the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, a beautiful Orthodox church dating back to the 19th century. Its stunning architecture and intricate frescoes make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and architecture buffs alike.

Like most of Andros, this area is popular for hiking and exploring. Lush forests, winding trails, and breathtaking viewpoints await those who venture into the countryside surrounding Menites.

Agia Irini Monastery

The Monastery of Agia Irini in Andros was built in 1780 in Apikia, by two brother monks however in 1833 the monastery was dissolved. over the next 100 years the monastery fell into disrepair until in 2006, Captain Eleftherios Polemis bought the land that included the monastery.

Over the next 10 years, Polemis and his family restored and recreated the buildings of the monastery. They have even added a small room that showcases a collection of traditional musical instruments.

On arrival, we were greeted by a lady along with a rather handsome hound dog. This lady used to work for Polemis and since his passing a few years ago she maintains the monastery for visitors as well as groups that flock to the Agia Irini Monastery to seek solace, reflect on faith, and marvel at its timeless beauty.

Panachrantou Monastery

On the island of Andros, you can visit several monasteries dating from the Byzantine period to the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Some, like Agia Irini, have been recently renovated. All of them are of exceptional interest, as they preserve important relics.

I also visited the Panachrantou Monastery and got to view not only the ancient and deeply religious site but also enjoy a coffee and some Turkish delight in the kitchen with some monks. One caught my eye. A gentleman well into his 90s was orchestrating the other monks while feverishly making dinner of flavoured rice stuffed into Zucchini flowers. This was a humbling moment and one I will remember for a long time.

The island is rich in religious history, featuring some excellent hagiographers (a writer of the lives of saints), whose works have been preserved and now decorate various churches on the island. Besides the monasteries, one can also visit old Byzantine churches, such as Taxiarches in Messaria, Melida, Ypsilou, Kimisis Theotokou in Mesathouri and Agios Nikolaos in Korthi.

Korthi Bay

Korthi Bay, nestled on the southeastern coast of Andros Island in Greece, is a picturesque coastal village renowned for its tranquil atmosphere, stunning natural scenery, and traditional charm. Surrounded by verdant hillsides and overlooking the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, Korthi Bay offers visitors a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The bay boasts a beautiful sandy beach lined with tamarisk trees, providing ample opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and strolls along the shoreline. With its crystal-clear waters and gentle waves, Korthi Beach is an ideal spot for families, couples, and solo travellers alike to relax and unwind.

For those seeking adventure, Korthi Bay offers a variety of water sports and outdoor activities, including snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. The calm waters and favourable wind conditions make it a popular destination for enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Beyond its natural beauty, Korthi Bay is also home to charming tavernas, cafes, and restaurants serving delicious Greek cuisine and freshly caught seafood. Despite some inclement weather, I enjoyed a superb lunch on the covered outside terrace at “Sea Satin Nino” which serves a fine selection of fresh salads, pasta, seafood and local dishes.

Pidima Beach

Fotis asked me if I wanted to visit the beach – hell yes – I loved Andros and only wanted to see more of this fabulous Greek island!  

Just around the corner from Korthi Bay is the little Pidima Beach. It’s a little bit of a treacherous walk to get down to it but they say all the best places are difficult to reach.

This peaceful secluded beach is small and known for its dramatic rock formations and pristine waters. It stands out from other beaches due to the “Old Lady” stone pillar-like structure that comes straight out of the sea before you.

There are various stories and myths about this rock but whichever one you believe, it revolves around an old lady climbing the rock and taking her own life. Not the most uplifting of tales but the view of the rock from the beach kind of makes up for the sad story!

Kourtesis Wine Estate

We left Korthi Bay for our final stop of the day and one I had very much been looking forward to! The Kourtesis Wine Estate in Andros. This is a delightful haven for wine enthusiasts and those seeking a taste of authentic Greek viticulture.

This family-owned winery boasts a rich tradition of winemaking that spans generations. Visitors to the estate are treated to guided tours of the vineyards, where they can stroll through rows of meticulously tended vines and learn about the unique flavours that impart character to the wines.

Wine tastings offer the chance to savour a selection of handcrafted wines, from crisp whites to robust reds, each reflecting the essence of Andros’s fertile soil and Mediterranean climate. With its charming rustic charm and commitment to quality, the Kourtesis Wine Estate offers a truly immersive experience in the art of winemaking on Andros Island.

I would very much recommend a visit. The views are accompanied by superb wines, and a tasty charcuterie board, with bread, tomatoes and oils – my idea of heaven!

Micra Anglia 5* Hotel & Restaurant

That evening Fotis and I went for dinner to reflect on my trip and to chat about life, the universe and anything else that came our way.

We were hosted at the delightful 5* Micra Anglia Boutique Hotel and Restaurant which is local just behind the Agora in Chora. It’s a lovely location from which to enjoy Chora and comes with a small outside pool, beautifully appointed rooms and the most sensational restaurant serving delicious local dishes accompanied by some of the finest wines of the island including those from the Kourtesis Estate.

Whilst I was staying in a lovely typical family-style hotel, this hotel gives visitors, ideally couples or honeymooners, the option for more of a luxury stay. I thought it was good to see this alternative and very much enjoyed both dinner and the hotel.

Animal Magic

It was sadly my final morning on Andros however it was not the end of my excitement! I was meeting with two ladies from the UK who have made their homes on Andros. The time I spent with them in a place called Magic Mountain, was very special, as I learned about the considerable love and dedication they give to looking after some poor and needy animals on Andros.

This last morning was so inspirational that I have written another blog. It would not be doing it justice to include a couple of paragraphs here! Please take a moment to read about my morning meeting with Mary who in her spare time cares for a dozen or so cats in Chora, and Sandy who in 2007 started the Andros Animal Shelter rescuing, caring and rehoming dogs and other animals.

Batsi Town

It was time to leave Andros but en route to Gavrio Port, we took time to pop into Batsi. This popular summer beach haunt is perhaps the busiest on the island in peak season with visitors coming from afar to enjoy sun-soaked days on the very nice beach.

As the sun sets over the Aegean Sea, Batsi comes alive with the sounds of music and laughter. The island’s vibrant nightlife scene offers something for everyone, from cosy seaside tavernas serving local wine and meze to lively beach bars and clubs where revellers dance until the early hours of the morning.

I would love to come back and experience Batsi during the peak season for another taste of Andros.

Where To Stay on Andros Island

During my 4 nights in Andros, I stayed at the charming Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel in Chora, Andros.

Please take a moment to check out my review of the hotel which highlights why, in my opinion, it is a great choice when staying in Chora and for exploring the island.

Final Thoughts on Andros Island

When I first heard about Andros – I was “sold” it by a charismatic, larger-than-life tourism official. He claimed it was an island that delivers authenticity, a friendly welcome, fresh food and incredible nature. One day I will meet him again and thank him, as that is exactly what I got and I loved every moment of my stay!

As Fotis so often told me, I “took my time” to savour this special island, where every corner reveals a new facet of Greek culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, in Andros you will experience the essence of the Cyclades Islands and an island that you will return to again and again.

Thank You

My thanks to the Municipality of Andros, and their tourism consulting partners for this invitation. Thanks to Christos, Fotis and Argie from Explore Andros for their professional service and the faultless itinerary they put together, not to mention their friendship.

Finally to Mary the Cat Lady and Sandy from the Andros Animal Shelter – as an animal lover I am in awe of their efforts to look after our four-legged friends.

Contact Information

For more information on visiting Andros Island in the Cyclades, Greece contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator.

For local specialist expertise then please contact the amazing people at Explore Andros.

Till next time…

The Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel, Greece

Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel
Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel
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When looking for a small family-run hotel that is ideally located and offers a traditional authentic vibe, then you can do no wrong in choosing the little Anemomiloi Boutique Hotel in the town of Chora, on Andros Island in Greece.

I recently spent four nights at the hotel and what captivated me most during my stay was its simplicity and warm hospitality, offering a perfect base for exploration. Alongside its convenient location, the hotel boasts a range of amenities ensuring your comfort and relaxation.

Whether you’re enjoying a delicious breakfast, lounging by the pool, hiking the many trails on Andros, or exploring the enchanting streets of Chora, a stay at this boutique hotel promises an unforgettable experience.

Let me introduce you to the Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel in Chora, Andros.

Getting There

For most guests getting to Andros involves a ferry from the Port of Rafina in Athens which arrives at Gavrio Port on the West coast of Andros. From there you will need to take the road across the island to the capital of Chora on the East coast of Andros.

You can hire a car or as I did, utilise the excellent services of “Explore Andros” who provide transfers to the hotel. From Gavrio Port to Chora it is about 25 kilometres and takes approximately 45 minutes.

At First Glance

The hotel is in what appears at first sight to be located on a quiet residential street on the outskirts of Chora. It was just a 5/10-minute walk into the centre of town and just 10 minutes to one of the two local beaches – Neiborio & Paraporti.

As my transfer pulled up alongside the steep driveway the whitewashed wall of the hotel blends traditional Cycladic architecture with modern sophistication. I took the little staircase up to the terrace where you have all the facilities in one area – the swimming pool, restaurant, terrace, reception, and bar. I was greeted by a charming lady and her gorgeous super friendly, labrador who has seen many a tourist come and go.  


The reception room is petite but provides maps and local tourist information plus a couple of chairs where you can sit and make plans for the coming days. The polite staff are on hand to assist with information on hiking routes, local excursions and sightseeing tours including boat trips, or simply any information that you may need. They are also on hand if you decide to hire a car or arrange a transfer. There is also free private parking available on-site.

After some of the usual check-in administration, I was escorted to my room. i was excited to be staying at the Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel.

Rooms & Views

The 22 bright airy rooms are either set overlooking the swimming pool or on the outside of the building looking out to the mountains or sea in the distance.

My room had a lovely ground floor outside terrace with comfy loungers on artificial grass as well as a couple of chairs and a little table. I loved relaxing here and getting my thoughts together while the local cockerel and a couple of donkeys from across the valley showed off their vocal skills.

Stepping inside my comfortable room there was air conditioning, a king-size bed, a desk and chair, a wardrobe, a small kitchenette with cooking rings, a sink and a refrigerator. The kitchen was equipped with a kettle, cooking pans, cutlery, plates, and all the amenities that you would need to rustle up a light meal.

Every room is equipped with a private bathroom fitted with a bath or shower as well as towels, beach towels, bathrobes, and free toiletries.

There was also a flat-screen TV, and the Wi-Fi was excellent throughout the hotel.

The furnishings were of good quality and the pastel décor with a nod to the island’s maritime past was stylish, as was the simple art adorning the walls. I felt very much at home in my room which was cleaned every day.  

Bar & Restaurant

To be fair I did not spend any time in the bar, as Andros is such an incredible island you just want to get out and explore. I spent my days discovering Andros and my evenings enjoying the atmosphere of Chora. However, what I would say is the bar is small but adequate. The staff will serve you a cool refreshing drink that you can enjoy either on the outside terrace areas, around the pool or inside the little restaurant.

The restaurant perfectly represents the hotel. Simple, great quality and delivered by attentive staff. Every morning, I took a seat on the pretty outside terrace. Initially, there was an order for tea or coffee and then I was presented with a basket of bread along with a tray of various dishes including pastries, fruit, jams, yoghurt, and local honey plus freshly squeezed orange juice. Each day I asked for eggs, and these were cooked to perfection.

All in all, I enjoyed the breakfast and the general ambience. Fellow travellers staying at the Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel shared stories of their time in Andros, and all expressed how much they loved this little hotel.

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool is ideal for an afternoon relaxing in the sun. There are some comfy loungers, tables and chairs and with the bar and restaurant just a few steps away, you do not need to venture far if you just want a lazy day at the hotel.

In The Vicinity

Chora, the capital of Andros is just a 5-minute walk from the hotel and the two main beaches a little further just 10 minutes from the hotel.

The Port of Gavrio on the west coast is about 45 minutes by car while the popular resort of Batsi is about 35 minutes.

Hiking, rock climbing, sailing and visits to some of the island’s natural and historical wonders are all within an hour’s drive. Excursions and sightseeing trips can be arranged in reception.

Final Thoughts

The award-winning Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel is the perfect base from which to either enjoy the capital Chora or go out for days exploring the wonderful island of Andros.

I liked the laid-back authentic vibe of this small boutique hotel where staff genuinely look to assist but are not overly intrusive. They have the balance just right and I was very grateful and lucky to have stayed at this delightful hotel.


To book, visit the Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel, Andros, Greece or contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator. 

Anemomiloi Andros Boutique Hotel
Address: Anemomiloi, Andros 845 00, Greece
Phone: +30 2282 029067
E-Mail: info@anemomiloi.gr

To read all about Andros please head over to my blog “Taking My Time On Andros Island“.