Tinos & Andros sailing holidays

Andros island

The thickly wooded island of Andros - Άνδρος, the most northerly and, after Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, is a kind of south-easterly continuation of Evvia, from which it is separated by a busy and sometimes stormy channel only 8 NM wide.

In the island's four ranges of hills, the largest of which is Mount Petalon (997 m), are marble quarries which were already being worked in antiquity.

Thanks to its unusual abundance of water Andros – most Cycladic islands are rather barren – has a flourishing agriculture.

The lovely Korthi harbour on the north-east coast of Andros island.

History of Andros

In antiquity Andros was sacred to Dionysos, and its festivals in his honour were widely famed. Originally settled by Ionians, Andros came under the control of Eretria at an early stage.

In the 7th c. BCE it sent settlers to Chalkidiki. After the Battle of Salamis, when it had supported the Persians, it was unsuccessfully besieged by The­mist­okles. Later it became an ally of Athens; then in 338 BCE it fell into the hands of the Ma­ced­onians, and thereafter became Roman.

From 1207 Andros was ruled by Venetian dynasts, who built the watch-towers still to be seen on the island.

Andros
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At the beginning of the 15th c. Albanian incomers settled in the north of the island, preserving their language into the 20th c. In 1566 Andros was occupied by the Turks, and remained in Turkish hands until the establishment of the Greek State in the 19th c.

Ports & anchorages

Andros island ports & anchorages

Gavrio port: two sailing yachts moored at the designated section of quay between the ferry piers, looking south-east. Gavrionisia islets in the distance.

Gavrio

The port of Gavrio - Γαύριο has a demanding approach – reefs, islets and rocks – but once inside it provides safety except during the strongest southerlies (waves and swell).

Ask the harbour master for a berth, which will be between the two ferry piers → lots of scary close-ups of liners and wash from their wakes.
Early in season there can be strong north-west gusts, in the summer months north-east gusts.

Despite the many ferry visitors (including Atheneans) from the mainland, the place has its appeal and it is a convenient place to leave the yacht safely unattended and explore the gorgeous inland with many interesting villages!

Fellos

  Fellos - Φελλός bay is a delightful anchorage Lat Long just north of Gavrio which offers clear blue waters and a taverna “Το Στεκι Του Ανδρεα“ 200 m inland. Safe in all but south-westerlies.

Pisolimnionas

Pisolimnionas - Πισωλιμνιωνας is a useful bay on the westernmost coast of Andros island; solid holding in sand and weed; open to S – NW winds Lat Long
There is extensive pisciculture in next bay to the north!

North anchorages on the east coast

  • Vitali - Βιτάλι  ; very open to NNE – SSE Lat Long
  • Ateni - Ατένι Lat Long very shallow; reefs extending from north entrance; open to the prevailing N – E winds; nice beach bar
  • Lefka / Levka - Λευκά  ; open to the prevailing N – E winds Lat Long
  • Vori - Βόρη  ; (visible) wrecks (Semiramis cargo ship); ugly bay; open to the prevailing N – E winds Lat Long
  • Rozou - Ρόζου Lat Long narrow inlet; OpenSeaMap shows the correct location, yet C-Map and Navionics show Rozos too far east   at Platanistos bay (also a lovely anchorage) where there is good snorkeling; open to the prevailing N – NE winds

Achla

Achla - Άχλα anchorage under Cape Gria offers solid holding in sand. One of the best beaches; stunning surroundings; frequented by nudists Lat Long

On the battered north-east coast of Andros there are two useful & wonderful ports when crossing from Skyros or Chios → Korthi and especially Kastro / Chora:

Trip planning: see how to find distances.

Cape Gria with the lighthouse and Achla bay to the left, looking west.
Andros Chora looking from Cape Staras, with Kastro port behind the picturesque peninsula and the Tourlitis lighthouse to the right.

Andros / Kastro / Chora

Andros / Kastro / Chora - Άνδρος is a heavenly port guarded by the famous Tourlitis lighthouse – and the safest place on this side of the island when moored in the internal basin, during Meltemi moor here as far east as possible. The holding however is suspicious in rocks and sandy bottom, check your anchor → Mediterranean mooring and anchoring.
In all but easterly winds you can anchor securely just south of the port Lat Long

The capital of Andros island is situated mostly on the Thalassini promontory – extending towards the lighthouse – with buildings in ornate neo-classical style.
Visit the Archaeological and Maritime museums as well as the 13th c. Venetian Castle.
Rent scooters to explore the breathtaking villages of Apikia (Spring of Sariza) and Syneti.

Korthi or Korthion village and port on Andros island. Also see photo at the top.

Korthi

The port of Korthi / Korthiou - Κόρθι / Κορθίου is small but offers protection against the high waves and winds of a Meltemi / Bouro storm Lat Long Despite the 40 m extention of the quay there is little room for visiting yachts: the extremities of both breakwaters are unfinished and there are blocks / shoals.  

SSW winds funneling along the valley to the south will make this port untenable; strong gusts possible from NNE – NE.

You will find many tavernas along the waterfront towards the south, but rather aim for “Vintsi Cafe Bar Restaurant” to the north-east of the harbour. If you walk further north you will find “Tis Grias to Pidima beach” with the famous rock formation

Clouds obscuring the must-see Castle of Faneromeni at Kochylou will herald northerlies.  

Plaka, Apothikes, Palaiopoli

Both the four Plaka - Πλάκα Lat Long bays (nothing ashore) as well as Apothikes - Αποθήκες bay Lat Long bay (good beach bar) can be used to visit the Zagora ruins   a vital archaeological site since it is one of the few cities dating from the Geometric era that were abandoned and not built upon. Clearly visible from the water are the vertical rock formations and foundations of Zagora.
Zagora means “animal market” - Ζωαγορά.
Good protection from Meltemi.
Further north is Palaiopoli (Παλαιόπολη “old city”) bay Lat Long which offers perfect snorkeling conditions to examine an ancient mole In calm weather take a line to the modern mole.

Batsi

The port of Batsi - Μπατσί, just south of Gavrio port, offers good holding in sand and is the preferred safe haven on Andros island in stronger northerlies, although the south-west breakwater seems exposed. Use maximum scope (there is sufficient room) and with a well set anchor you can endure a Meltemi here. In westerlies you can also try to moor alongside the extended section of the southern pier.
The port is reportedly difficult in strong southerlies and local boats can block much of the available spots.

The village has its charms and isn't overly touristy, no ferries and beautiful waters/shores.

The lovely and safe port of Batsi – south-west coast of Andros island – as seen from the south.

Fournos

In the bay of Fournos / Kipri - Φουρνος / Κυπρί you can anchor in ~5 m either near the crowded beach or – more tranquil – close to the Church of Kyprianos in the east Lat Long tavernas ashore; visit the five-storey high Hellenistic Tower of Petros, which dominates the mountainscape, the inhabitants used the 20 m high tower for protection against enemy raids.  
Also visit the 14th c. Monastery of Zoodochos Pigis.

Yacht charters

Myconos and Paros are the closest yacht charter bases to Tinos and Andros. Most sailing holidays will start in Athens (and rarely perhaps Lavrion) though, which are much larger bases to rent quality yachts or catamarans from. See my yacht charters → unbiased guide to the best yacht charter companies in Greece.

Andros island
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After the Turks destroyed the medieval Exomvourgo settlement, the town and port of Tinos became the capital of the island: whitewashed cubic Cycladic houses.

Tinos island

To the south east, beyond an even narrower channel than Andros–Evvia, is the island of Tinos - Τήνος. Its highest peak is Mount Tsiknias (713 m), at the east end of the island.

The inhabitants live by farming on terraced fields. Characteristic features of the landscape are the Venetian-style tower-like dovecots (see image further down), of which there are some 1300, of which half are in good condition. There are also numerous windmills, streams and fecund valleys.

History of Tinos

In ancient times, from the 3rd c. BCE onwards, the Sanctuary of Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite was a major religious centre and in our own days, since the early 18th c., Tinos has possessed a leading shrine of the Orthodox Church.

Held from 1207 to 1712 by Venice, Tinos had the longest Frankish period of any part of Greece, and in consequence its population includes a considerable proportion of Roman Catholics.

Panormos bay with Limani Panormos quay to the right. Anchoring in the bay is even secure in mild easterly winds, preferably in Agia Thalassa bay round the corner to the left (north). The port also serves the verdant Pyrgos village.
The Orthodox population began to increase from 1822, when – during the War of Liberation – a nun named Palagia, guided by a vision, found a wonder-working icon of the Panayia, which soon became the object of annual pilgrimages of the feasts of the Annunciation (25 March) and Dormition (15 August), so that Tinos developed into a kind of Greek Lourdes.

Tinos
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The island came into international prominence when on 15 August 1940, two months before Mussolini's declaration of war, an Italian submarine torpedoed the Greek cruiser “Elli”, which was lying in Tinos harbour for the Feast of the Dormition.

Tinos island ports

Tinos port looking north-east: the submerged south breakwater in front, sailing yachts moored stern-to in the inner basin and Cape Akrotiri to the right.
Note that the outer west mole is further to the left and not visible.

Tinos port

The inner port of Tinos port - Τήνος offers all-round shelter but is affected by swell from W – NW winds (pull the yacht well away from the quay). Hydrofoils / catamaran ferries will be manoeuvring at high speed creating chaos as well as waves. In heavy weather also the larger ferries can enter the inner basin, which will increase the dangerous wash.

Contact the Harbour Office VHF 7, 12 for a berth, which will be in the north-west corner of the inner basin; GWP mentions a heavy chain fouling the seabed from that corner in SSE direction, and further mentions an obstruction, which we couldn't verify; there are fenders to go along-side; strong gusts from N and NE; good holding in mud.
The extension of the southern mole is partly submerged  

Rent scooters or a car to visit Aetofolia (walking trails), Volax (geology), Kardiani, Dyo Choria, Triantaros – Berdemiaros and many other picturesque villages.

Agios Romanou

Along the stretch of coast from Ag Romanos - Άγιος Ρωμανός bay Lat Long till Kardianis / Giannaka - Καρδιανής / Γιαννάκη bay Lat Long – with the truly scenic hamlet of Kardiani nearby – there are several unfrequented anchorages offering decent shelter against the Meltemi, for instance Agios Petros - Άγιος Πέτρος bay Lat Long
In northerlies with a western component Romanou bay is most suitable; one taverna to the north and “Kochyli Taverna” – which we enjoyed – right on the beach; the little harbour is too shallow.

Isternion

Isternion - Υστερνίων or Isternia beach is locally referred to as “the diamond”. The bay is open to SE – NW winds; violent gusts from the NE possible; anchor in a shallow 4 – 5 m for the best holding in sand; we were able to go stern-to the rectangular quay on the north side Lat Long Strong northerlies bring in an uncomfortable swell: instead of mooring at right angles you might want to point the bow out towards the sea.
Several tavernas and a bar ashore, but only aim for “Αυλή της Μαριλένας - the Yard of Marilena”.
Visit the village of Ysternia 2 km uphill, famed for its marble sculptors.

Koumelas

Koumelas - Κουμελας bay on the far north of Tinos island is unknown to most yachtspersons. Anchor at the head of the bay where you will find Malli - Μαλλί beach Lat Long totally open to the northerlies; total bliss  

A sailing yacht anchored at Malli beach (to the left) at the head of the deep inlet of Koumelas.
Panormos on Tinos island, with the pier and quay, looking SW; also see photo further up the page.

Panormou

The bay of Panormou - Όρμος Πανόρμουall weather port” on the north-west coast of Tinos island is used since ancient times as a port and a surprisingly well sheltered anchorage, also for the transport of marble.

Additionally, there are two useful coves: Agia Thalassa - Αγιά Θάλασσαholy sea” in the north and Rochari - Ροχάρη in the the south.

Note that only the permanent moorings can deal with easterly winds. Moreover, I have mixed feelings since the holding in Agia Thalassa is mediocre at best (seaweed) and the quay is fully occupied by locals, so the pier is really the only option and any swell entering the bay means uncomfortable rolling…
There is a reef with a white-ish beacon in between Agia Thalassa and the pier.
Visit Pirgos / Panormos, the largest village of Tinos, a delight; 40 min hike.  

Kolimpithra

The bay of Kolimpithra - Κολυμπήθρα is a river mouth with reeds at the south, the proper beaches and anchorages are to the east, notably Old Agiofylaktos - Παραλία Παλαιός Αγιοφύλακτος beach Lat Long
Excellent lunch and snorkeling stop.

Livada

Near the east cape of Tinos, Cape Livada with its conspicuous lighthouse, is the inlet of Livada - Λιβαδά; open to all northerlies; good holding in sand; brilliantly remote Lat Long

When, in 1204, Tinos was invaded by the Genovese, the inhabitants were forced to build dovecotes, their only reward being the pigeons’ droppings (fertilizer). Many of the 18th c. and 19th c. dovecotes still remain, some well-kept.

Dovecotes

All around Tinos, especially near Tarampados, Potamia and Tripotamos you will find the Venetian styled versions of a columbarium with usually two storeys; the pigeons living on the upper level.
These dovecotes adorn pathways, and notably streams, since the presence of water is essential to nesting.

The breeding of pigeons is a habit inherited from the Venetians.

Each dovecote is distinctively decorated with masonry triangles, rectangles, rhombuses or circles, but also non-geometrical cypress trees or suns are used.

Yiaros island

Although it is no longer prohibited to anchor near or set foot on the island of Yiaros / Gyaros - Γυάρος, see nautical chart, it is an arid and disconsolate island with no real anchorages, and still regarded as (semi)-off-limits by the Coast Guard.

Even in Roman Times the extremity of Yiaros' desolation was proverbial among authors like Tacitus and Juvenal as important persons were exiled here in the early Roman Empire.

After the Second World War – particularly under Greece's military dictatorship – it was again a place of internment and worse, see World Press Photos. Once a year, the surviving victims of the right-wing junta pay tribute and return to the island.

Prison bay

If you really feel up to it, you can visit the macabre prison buildings on the south-east coast by anchoring in 3 – 7 m in sand Lat Long
North of the structures are the camps where additional left-wing dissidents where housed in tents, both summer and winter.
Note that it is still prohibited to fish within 3 NM of the island as it is home to the largest population of Monk seals in the Mediterranean, yet another reason not to stop at Yiaros.
Under Glaronisi islet – an extension from the SE cape of the island – there is shelter from a Meltemi even with a NE component.

Off the beaten track

Despite being extremely beautiful islands both Andros and especially Tinos are relatively rarely visited by charter yachts. Yet, the ports of Batsi, Gavrion and Kastro on Andros, and the ports of Panormos and Tinos on Tinos island are definitely worth extra mileage.

The sublime seascape from Kardiani village on the southern slopes of Mt Pateles, with all-marble churches and belfries.