Onar Andros, Achla
Andros is not a well-known destination for tourists, and that's what helps make it a paradise.
Meaning 'dream' in Greek, Onar is a collection of gorgeous independent stone houses built with natural local materials, set idyllically in an organic farm and gardens that produce everything from olives to oranges, including cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and herbs. Huge nearby plane trees that are hundreds of years old also grace the property with their shade, nourished by a stream that passes through the area.
Sit out on your balcony and relax in a hammock, sample the healthy organic Mediterranean dishes served in the property's restaurant, take a hike around the verdant hills and dip into the deep blue sea. Onar represents one heavenly Mediterranean experience that you will want to relive often.
Stone houses, natural yet majestic
Our admiration goes out to the Pantzopoulos family who has carefully built the stone houses in traditional style using only local materials from Andros whenever possible. The traditional humble architecture fits harmoniously with the environment, yet on the inside the rooms possess all the 21st century comforts while adhering to a green philosophy – rich cotton bedding, energy-saving electronics and air-conditioning, natural toiletries by the renowned Greek brand Apivita and even ceiling fans that are perfect for the island's climate. Seven amazingly spacious villas with sleek architectural interiors and refreshingly minimalist décor will offer the ultimate stay for families or groups of friends up to six people. There are also eight cottages that open on to the gorgeous gardens and that can accommodate anywhere between 1-5 people. You'll just love the inviting verandas with pergolas to sit back and relax during the long summers, while the fireplaces offer the perfect antidote for colder months or evenings.
Organic treats right at your table
The Onar restaurant is more about the best of traditional cuisine than luxury dining. Building on local gastronomy and organic ingredients right from the garden – from fresh eggs and ripe-picked vegetables from the garden to the fisherman's catch of the day and certified organic products. You can even participate in picking the fruits and vegetables yourself. Interestingly, meals are served at long tables that were once used in the mess halls of a local monastery, now sitting comfortably under the shade of the plane trees.
Andros has a delicious local cuisine and the chefs at Onar take pride in preserving and sharing these simple, fresh and healthy Mediterranean recipes. To ensure the highest quality of produce and ingredients, the Onar farm plants traditional, old-variety seeds that aren't available on the market anymore. The lunch or dinner table isn't complete without some of the island's local wine varieties, and you'll be surprised by the bouquets and palates of these wines.
Adventure time, from hiking to winemaking
You'll be surprised at the number of outdoor activities you can enjoy in this tranquil corner of the island. Hike along the stream and discover the wetland's natural secrets, from scented herbs and age-old trees to skipping hares and lazy turtles. Don't be surprised to see a partridge or pheasant in your path, or an eel swimming in the stream nearby.
You'll also be tempted to swim yourself, an activity that can be enjoyed on the clean Ahla coast below the property, where you can also snorkel. For a more original dip in crystal waters, try the small lakes known as 'vathres' and made by the river that winds down to the sea. If you're a fan of mountain climbing, head to the village of Vourkoti, the highest village on the island. For a more hands-on activity, help in picking fruits and vegetables from the garden or take part in the winemaking process during September and October.
Beyond the immediate vicinity this relatively large island has a lot to offer, from visiting Byzantine monasteries and shipwrecks to admiring old watermills and stone bridges. Boating, fishing, yoga and children's activities can all be arranged by the helpful and hospitable owners of this treasure of a property. You won't go wrong spending your nature-led vacation here.