Andros, the most Northerly of the Cyclades is a short hop across from Athens. Known as the Island of sea-farers it has a variety of differing aspects worth seeking out. Athenians visit Andros at weekends as a place to get away from the hubbub and smoke. There are some very stylish houses which sit empty for a lot of the year. Andros has three lush valleys between fairly high mountains, natural springs (Sariza is bottled here and sold in M & S), and a good wildlife population. (But no jellyfish!)
Depending on your method of travel you may land either in Gavrion or Batsi.
Gavrion is the main Port, with the sun setting behind the mountains early, this made it seem quite dark and grim when we arrived early evening. Gavrion is generally given the thumbs down but as we often went through it en route to other destinations we grew to appreciate some of the many tavernas where we would sit and watch the general disorganised commotion of the ferries loading and unloading. Some of the ex-Cross-Channel ferries run around the Cyclades (we arrived on the 'new' Superferry II, an 'old' Swansea-Cork machine still with original name plaques). A tiny shop in Gavrion sells the island's thyme honey, the only place it may be purchased due to some bye-law.
While riding around we found a couple of very promising beaches overlooking Gavrion on the Northern side. Head North/West out of Gavrion, and when the road climbs steeply at the hairpin bends take a path straight-on at the second left-hand hairpin bend (Toubi's gets it wrong again, we visited some bemused farmers). This unmade road goes around the North side of the Gavrion inlet, the road splitting a few times so keep to the lower track each time and note the route for returning as it's easy to forget which track to take (it's only a short road so not a real problem just a pain having to turn round and retrace your steps). At the very end of this road is a suitable parking spot and a short climb down to two beaches, the furthest seemed very good. It was late afternoon so we didn't stop, and we would have returned but for the weather turning. These beaches should be far enough out of the harbour to avoid any oil and grot; a local naturist told us that they are suitable beaches.
Batsi is generally the only tourist resort for UK packages, it is small and still fairly quaint with lots of rooms and tavernas for the summer season. In mid-September we found Batsi to be very quiet indeed, with places already starting to close up until next season.
Batsi beach is convenient but not particularly quiet or idyllic. Naturism is out of the question as you are in full view of the world as they go about their business. To the right there is another smaller beach (still in the same bay) which is slightly more secluded and quieter but naturism cannot be recommended here either as it is too public and used by general tourists.
This is still the main recognised nudist beach. Everybody seems to have heard of it in Batsi. It's not on the Toubi's map. Walk around Batsi to the South (left) along the road to the war memorial, turn right and keep to the surfaced road past the Villa-Erotica (wonder how it got the name!). Soon you will come to the Stivari beach (textile), continue along the road and you may get a wave from the local on his donkey, he makes the trip several times a day.
The beach comes into view after five minutes below the pastel-painted Anerousa Hotel in pink, blue and lemon, yuk! The path down is at the bend just before the hotel. The walk down is through a tunnel of trees and bamboo, this could be nice if people didn't throw their rubbish away along the path, bins are provided on the beach. There is a small bar at the beach if you need a drink or some Cap'n Barefoot sunning shade. Well this beach isn't particularly big so you need to get there early for the best spots. The naturist part of the beach is obvious enough (you overlook it as you walk there) it's on the right over a small rocky outcrop, with occasionally some nudists seen on the left side when crowded. A few textiles sometimes sit on the nudist beach, but don't seem bothered about it. The majority of the naturists seemed to be from the UK, my contributors chatted with a couple who live on Andros permanently. In June they had caught a couple of snakes (only 3 feet long!) at the beach so it might be safer to keep off the rocks at the back of the beach. We don't know if they were poisonous or not! It takes about 25 couples before the beach starts to get quite crowded. Quite nice and sandy but on one trip we picked up a lot of tar from the beach (after a storm). When the wind blows from the South/West the water level rises reducing the area of sand by about 50%. A strong wind can get the surf quite rough. On return from the beach it's worthwhile stopping by the Stivari beach tavern for a beer, this is run by a London lady and has become very popular. Plus points are that it's very easy to reach on foot. 6 out of 10.
The right (naturist) end of Delavoyas beach was still 100% naturist in June 2006, mainly with people from France and Sweden, while a couple more naturists lay at the mainly textile part of the beach. No-one seemed to bother any of the naturists, on the contrary Barefoot reporters felt very welcome and amazingly, the sun-beds were free of charge! Without even asking our landlady for a naturist beach, she mentioned Delavoyas as a commonly known naturist beach.
Barefoot reporters were amazed to find in September 2007 not only that this beach remained 50% nudist (completely accepted by the textiles), that it was immediately below a holiday complex, which usually precludes naturism, and that the sunbeds and umbrellas were still free. It was still the same situation in September 2008.
A report in July 2013 says: Delavogias remains suitable for nudism.
A kind Greek contributor tells the Captain there are four completely secluded beaches to the southern parts of Andros. Many of these beaches aren't even mentioned on the maps. There are dirt roads to these beaches but again they are not shown on maps to deter tourists. The beach is Agios Ioannis Kremides (= Onion Beach). The Saint John beach is named because there is a small church above the beach. (Do not let this deter you though.) The beach is majestic. It is completely natural with no buildings or homes in sight. You feel one with nature. It is a white sandy beach with about 2000 square metres of sitting space. It is a shallow water beach and very clean. No garbage, no tar, no rocks. There is only sand in the water! It is another beach that regardless of the weather the water is never choppy. The water is so still you can compare it with olive oil in a plate.
Around the corner of the small mountain there is another very small bay which has a small rocky beach. The rocks are so smooth that you can walk without the fear of stubbing your toe. The beach is located south of Korthion. There are 3 ways of reaching this beach. Fisherman boat, walking (not recommended: 2.5 hours each way from Korthion) and a dirt car road which has been smoothed out. If you go by boat you leave with any fisherman for a small price 5-10 euro. He drops you off and then returns after 5-6 hours of his fisherman duties (this is nice because you get to see all of the other small secluded beaches on the way). By car you leave Korthi going towards Batsi, turn right to go up to Iedonia and when you pass the (Nichols Hotel) you make the first left.
Follow this road to the top of the mountain (you can see all of Korthion at a bird's-eye view and on clear days you can see Samos, Chios and Kos). On the tip of the mountain you continue straight and trek down the mountain. About 1 km down the mountain you will see the small church on the left and the beach (Guide mark). 1km after, the road splits and you take the road that goes down (left) and follow this road till the beach. Logically I believe that this a nudist beach (except on September 20th which the church opens for a festival). My contributor went with his significant other and they stripped down. There were two other groups of textiles one family with kids and and adult company but they did not deter us from stripping down. In a place like this Greeks prefer to see nudists. We even went on one corner of the beach and achieved an intimacy that left us feeling that there was nobody at the beach.
In August about 10th till the 30th there are very few small groups that go to this beach. The rest of the year it is completely empty. Perfect time to go is June or July. I rate this beach a 9 out of 10. I subtract only one point for the long trek. But it is definitely worth it. When you go there you do not want to leave. And since I had no problem going 7 times this summer, there is proof of not minding the long trek.
Quite a way from Batsi (30km). My intrepid reporters hired a scooter and it took them about 35 to 50 minutes. From Korthi, go left around the bay, up a short dirt track to a church and half a windmill, and park the bike here (there's not enough room for cars). Walk round the back of the church; the beach will become visible, jump over a low goat fence and join a dirt road, this soon brings you out above the beach. Take a deep breath and climb down the rocky path with very soft sand, it's actually harder going back up as the sand is so soft. Rating - is 10 out of 10 too much without a taverna?
To pidima tis grias
(previously described here as "Melissa beach")
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, says my contributor: this must be a 'perfect' beach by any standards. But unfortunately recent reports say this is not a nudist beach any more; a report from June 2006 confirming lots of young Greek families and no chance of naturism whatsoever, and another from September 2007 confirming its textile character.
Whether nude or not this picture postcard bay is quite lovely. It's the one with the rock pinnacle sticking out of the water. Don't be put off by the steep climb down: it is much easier than it looks. Shade, water-filled caves, clean and sandy with some rocks to the left and shallow water without currents, I don't think I've left anything out, only no taverna perhaps, somehow that would spoil it for us. While we were there we saw only one other person on the beach fishing with a line for a few hours. We went to the opposite end at the right, and stripped off immediately. Our local informant had told us that this beach is a go-as-you-please beach but with virtually no-one else there it is hard to comment really. The left half of the beach is partly overlooked by the dirt road above (which goes nowhere anyway) and the steep cliffs make the rest of the beach very secluded. PS: the Toubi's 1996 map puts the beach in the wrong place, it is closer to Korthi than they show it.
Many signs indicate the way to the beach from Korthi. You can get there by car, motorbike, taxi, or on foot. There is now a path getting down from the road. The access is very easy. This is why "To pidima tis grias" is not a naturist beach any more. However the second time my contributor visited it (at nine o'clock in the morning) there was only one young woman nude and my contributors stripped off only until the first family came (at one o'clock) and started yelling at them that the beach is not a naturist one. Anyway, naturist or not, the beach is wonderful.
A report reaches the Captain of a beach said to be nearby which we will call Pidimatis Grias No 2. You pass the wooden sign for Pidimatis Grias and after the left turn off the road (about 100 metres) there is on your right an entrance for a yard (my contributor found it open but if it is closed it's easily jumped) you enter and after 15 metres the paved road ends (it must be a parking) and a path begins, you see on your left a very nice rock house, the way down is easily found but a couple of times you must be careful and especially when reaching the beach where you must jump over 30cm of a gap in a rectangular construction. There you are: a beautiful beach with pebbles, rocky on the left, a bit small (15-20 people make it very crowded) but you can move on left on the rocks as far as you wish.
Every time my contributor visited it he was alone but you might see some brave swimmers or a group of textile youngsters who swim to the right hand end of the beach to dive from a big rock there. In that case he had to respect their choice to be textiles and moved to the left of the beach. My contributor rated it 100%, although there are no facilities, because it is so beautiful.
In June 2006 To Pidima tis Grias No2 was empty and one could easily strip off without bothering or offending the textiles of beach No1, since you can't be seen from there. People can see you only from the road above the beach but I'm sure this would not be a problem at all.
The word from September 2007 is that [where] the Rock House mentioned above has been built, it is sternly marked "Private Property: No Entrance". Access, as mentioned above is by a path descending to the right of the Rock House. In September 2008, the contributor and his wife shared the small beach with three local Greeks. A few folk swam round from Pidimatis Grias No 1, removed their swimming gear and spent some time sun-bathing on the nudist beach before returning. For strong swimmers it is worth the 5 minute swim across to a lovely secluded small beach. As you look out to sea it is off to the left partly hidden by rocks.
Next to Paraporti bay (a dangerous beach because of the unstable bottom of the sea, don't swim there). Paraporti is one of the two beaches of Chora (Andros Town) (the right one, the other is Neiborio).
How to get to Lydi: You walk along the Paraporti beach and you find a hill. On the hill there are two small churches. You are trying to reach the right one and after a while there is a road. You cross the road and you can see the Lydi beach. You have to get down the other side of the hill and there you are. It's easier than it looks - but still not very easy.
There is a path up the hill from Paraporti beach, although not particularly distinct - it begins where the road petres out at the very far end of the beach - it zig-zags up to the church on the skyline. Then turn left along the road to a small lay-by - this marks the most direct descent to Lydi (still fairly rough).
From Chora to Lydi takes no more than 30 minutes on foot. The beach is quite idyllic. The sea is lovely. My contributors were usually alone on the beach. It is a wild beach with a quiet sea (the bay is very closed) with no traces of human presence. In my contributors' opinion the beach is ideal for nudists, although the beach is visible from the road, which is not frequented at all. My contributors rated it 90%.
North of Andros Town on on the east coast. Superb wide white pebble/sand beach, with a church and small stream at one end and rocks for shade at the other. In early June 2007 it was deserted - long rough track to reach it - best by hire boat from Andros Town (30 mins) - can sail nude as the coastline is wild and remote.
Vori / Boris
What, another nice beach, Andros seems to get better and better! Shipwrecks, lovely clean coarse sand - a well sheltered bay with good views. Vori is perhaps the most difficult beach to reach due to poor maps and it being a long way down a rough track. To get there involves heading first up into the mountains to Arnas, take something warm to wear, on a bike it got so cold only wearing T-shirts that we nearly gave up. Toubi's map can get you seriously lost here too. We were a bit dubious about what we would find as it was so close to Ateni beach which we describe below as appalling. As you get to the beach, in between two rocks, a large ship becomes visible, strangely this appears to be resting on the hillside! Well actually it is, it was shipwrecked and cast ashore last winter (1995). Rumour is that it won't be salvaged as it's much too inaccessible to reach. It seems to be a fair sized merchant vessel with two pairs of masts/cranes/whatever sticking up. Worth the visit just for a look! We are informed that if snorkelling, just off the beach is another old sunken shipwreck. Perhaps it's worth avoiding this area on a sailing holiday!
Unfortunately, a storm came up so we left here early before we got a chance to swim but the water looked very clear indeed. Very clean sand, it's not overlooked, quiet and unspoilt, probably excellent snorkelling, and interesting. No taverna, but as you need transport to get there you can carry provisions anyway. 8 out of 10 (maybe more if we had spent longer here).
Potentially this seemed pleasant enough from a distance; however, it is one to be avoided like the plague. Covered in litter; and, in places, with rabbit droppings. Quite a few houses were close enough to us with fairly active inhabitants making this beach less than comfortable. Overlooked by an active church and no taverna either. No charm, give it a miss. 0 out of ten.
North of Fellou beach along a really poor track (shown as a footpath on the Toubi's map but used by 4WD vehicles quite a lot). Turn right well before Fellou down a concrete slip. Not at all secluded having either a house or taverna in the middle of the beach and other houses not far away; probably not suitable for naturism.
Fellou / Fellos
This is a beach which grew on us and we revisited it a few times. First visit was by taxi from Batsi for 2000 drs, not bad considering the roads and it took 20 - 25 minutes. There was one taverna back up the road but it was closed while we there, disappointingly. Fellou is a long sweeping bay, it seems best to go to extreme left into one of two small parts separated off by a few rocks. On our first visit there was a German couple with the man nude. We sat on the next part and spent the day stripped off. On the main part of beach everyone else (six people) were textiles. Entering the water you face them and the gradient is quite shallow so they may have been surprised! While swimming about a couple of kingfishers flew around us and small transparent swordfish could be seen swimming on top of the water. Later in the day a snorkelling fisherman appeared from the sea who was only wearing flippers so we assume that this is a naturist-tolerant beach. On our second visit a young English textile couple were in our previous spot so we used the first section and stripped off (they didn't stay long so if you're reading this and we offended you, sorry). On other visits saw nobody else at all on the beach. Nice sand, some shade, clean, quiet, close enough to Batsi to make it a regular spot. This bay is almost enclosed which means that it stays calm on rough days making it ideal when other beaches are being hammered, this we know. 7 out of 10, and 8 if taverna was open.
Barefooters visited here in September 2006. There was a newly built road from Gavrio to the beach - with signs to the beach! Access is easy by car, just a 30 minutes drive from Batsi, for example. The taverna above the beach was closed. The beach was long and almost sandy, the water was calm. My intrepid reporters spent several whole days there. Usually just 2 - 4 couples were on the beach. Both ends of the beach were good places to be naked.
This is South of Fellou beach, reached along the short track at the left rear of the beach. Much the same as Pissolimionas only smaller, much easier to reach. All textiles on our visit. Some campers. Didn't stay.