The Greek islands of Andros and Tinos have plenty of things to see and do, as well as outdoor activities to enjoy. Here's a guide to outdoor activities in Andros and Tinos.
Things to do in Tinos and Andros
For most people, Greece is synonym to wonderful beaches and ancient sites. It’s absolutely true. Greece has some beaches beyond description. Places like Elafonisi, Balos, Egremni and Sarakiniko are constantly rated among the best beaches in the world.
As for the archaeological sites, you could spend a month in Greece and still not have seen them all. Athens, the Peloponnese, Crete, and anywhere you go in Greece is full of ancient temples and ruins.
Greece has a lot more to offer though, especially on the islands of Tinos and Andros. Hiking, trekking, rock climbing, cycling, mountain biking, snorkelling and scuba diving are all things you can try.
Outdoors activities in Andros and Tinos
We spent a couple of weeks on Andros and Tinos, two of the Cyclades islands that are quite close to Athens. They both have great beaches, and pretty villages that you can explore. Additionally, there is a lot to do on those two islands in terms of outdoors activities and water sports.
Hiking in Andros
Andros is a big, green island, with over a hundred beaches and beautiful, rugged landscapes. It's also famous for its fantastic hiking paths.
There are 18 distinct accessible hiking trails, estimated to be about 150 kms in total. The paths are maintained and kept in good condition by the local authorities, with the help of numerous volunteers.
The island was the first to be awarded the “European Leading Quality Trails-Best of Europe” certification.
One of the most unique features of Andros, and what makes hiking there so special, is its diverse landscapes. Andros is mountainous and rugged, but also has many springs and waterfalls, which is quite rare for a Cycladic island.
While hiking around Andros, you can see several man-made structures, like bridges, olive presses and numerous churches and chapels. You can also visit some of the caves, such as Aladinou or Vitali.
You might find hiking in Andros a little challenging in summer, as the weather will be hot. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to go hiking in Andros.
Watersports and diving in Andros
For people who love beaches, Andros is a true paradise. There are dozens of gorgeous beaches, and you won’t have time to see them all in a week. The locals will tell you that the island has over 100 beaches. The coastline is a whopping 176 kms, so we absolutely believe them!
Apart from topping up your tan on the beach, there are many sea-related activities in Andros. If you want to explore underwater Greece, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving. Consult ScubAndros at Gavrio port whether you are after a fun dive, a PADI license, or a snorkeling trip.
If you are an experienced diver, there are many wonderful spots where you can dive in Andros. We may not have the colourful fish of SE Asia, but we have many fascinating shipwrecks. You can also go diving around Paleopoli, and discover parts of the submerged ancient city.
Not a fan of being underwater? No worries. You can try watersports such as surf, windsurf or SUP. WeSurfin, based on Kypri beach, are a team with impressive bios, and are experts in these sports. They also provide fun water games, whether you are travelling with children or with your friends.
There is one thing that we absolutely need to stress here. Andros can get very windy, especially during the Meltemi season, which is normally July and August. Safety is first! If you are swimming, snorkeling or windsurfing on your own, make sure you take all necessary precautions. Always stay close the coast, as the currents are deceptively strong – you don’t want to end up in Tinos!
Hiking in Tinos
Tinos is another lovely island where you can go hiking. There have been recent efforts to clean and maintain the hiking paths. There is a network of around 150 kms of paths that are there for you to explore!
Tinos Trails offers detailed information on the 12 available routes. There are coastal and inland paths of various degrees of difficulty. You will enjoy diverse landscapes, literally hundreds of chapels, and the famous Tinos pigeon houses, or dovecotes.
As Tinos has dozens of villages worth exploring, you can combine hiking with sightseeing. Obviously, your hike can finish off at a nice village taverna or kafeneio!
Are you more into running? Then check out the Tinos Running Experience. This half-marathon has been organized since 2014, ant takes place in early June.
You might also be interested in: Hiking Trails in Greece
Rock climbing and bouldering in Tinos
If you are looking for something more extreme, you can try granite rock climbing and bouldering. The area around Volax and Exombourgo is a lot more than just a picturesque place.
It may come as a surprise, but the area around Exombourgo rock in Tinos is the largest boulder centre in Europe. The climbing area was founded over 10 years ago, and has been receiving enthusiastic visitors ever since.
There are dozens of rock climbing routes you can enjoy, at different heights and difficulty levels.
To get guidance, rent equipment and for any other information, get in touch with Climb Exomvourgo. This is a Tinos company that specializes in bouldering in Tinos, and can help with accommodation and any information.
Diving and watersports in Tinos
Another island with dozens of beautiful beaches, Tinos is ideal for sports activities and diving. Just remember that the Meltemi season will bring some pretty strong waves!
If you are interested in diving in Tinos, you can get in touch with Tinos dive centre. They also have instructors in Athens.
Due to the strong winds, Tinos is ideal for experienced windsurfers. Other watersports, including kitesurfing, are available on the island.
Kolymbithra beach, to the north of the island, has a well-equipped watersports school, Tinos Surf Lessons. You can take classes or just rent equipment.
Kolymbithra was actually our favourite beach in Tinos. Even though it’s on the north, it was fairly protected from the strong winds, while being ideal to windsurf. And it’s got lovely mushroom-like umbrellas if you don’t have your own!
Other beaches that are ideal for watersports are Agios Fokas, Agios Romanos, Kionia and Agios Ioannis (Porto). As we were staying near the latter, we can absolutely confirm that it can get quite windy there! While swimming was difficult at times, the beach is ideal for windsurfing.