Andros walking holiday in Greece

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Andros walking holiday in Greece

Environment

We learnt about the Island Andros and the project of Andros Routes and decided to develop a walking holiday on this beautiful Cycladic Island. Andros Routes is a local group of volunteers who simply love the island, its culture, history and beautiful landscape. After visiting and walking on the island, we fell in love too!

If you book the self-guided walking tour on Andros, you also support this wonderful project. For every booking, we pay a fee to the volunteering group. This allows the organization to continue their hard work. Volunteers organize cleaning days and gather rubbish along the 160km path network. You, as a visitor, receive a form upon arrival from Andros Routes on which you note which locations are in need of clearance of vegetation and/or rubbish. We emphasize in our trip documentation not to litter and how you can help keep the paths clean. We also list in our destination manual handy tips & tricks on how to limit your impact on the environment during your holidays and beyond.

The hotels that we chose for this trek on Andros are all small, family run businesses. This way the money we leave on Andros Island as visitors is spread throughout the island. Our local agent in Greece has periodically meetings with the hoteliers during which the sustainability guidelines are being discussed and reviewed. What can the hotel improve for their breakfast for example? What is the origin of the products and packaging are reviewed. What can the hotel do concerning cleaning? Detergents used for cleaning, laundry (which machines are used? Drying outside?) What does the hotel do to use renewable energy, like installing solar panels?

The logistics for the trip on Andros are set up in such a way that there is minimal private transport involved, and you will travel some days on public local transport helping reduce the impact on the environment.

Community

We consider the Andros Routes project an example and pilot of how local communities can be involved and can benefit in the optimum way from Responsible Travel. All volunteers involved in the development and maintenance of the trail network have local businesses, for example a hotel, restaurant or a farm. Farms offer their local products (eggs, honey, meat, herbs) to the accommodations and restaurants, and some farms welcome guests to have a look around. Some of the women on Andros also organize cooking workshops.

Upon arrival on Andros, you will receive a pruner as well. This will allow you to assist in the maintenance of the paths network, simply by cutting some branches on the paths. At the end of your holiday you may contribute to the Andros Routes project as well by leaving a donation. Or who knows, you will go back as a volunteer and live for a week amongst the Andriotes.

The walks on Andros are developed in such a way that you can visit some of the local cultural attractions. There is the Cycladic Olive Museum in Ano Petrofos, well worth a visit. You may choose to have lunch in one of the tiny villages that you encounter during your walk. In our route notebook, we give some suggestions for this.

Andros is a great place to purchase local products of very high quality, such as olive oil, sun dried fruits and herbs. Especially in the town of Chora you will find very nice shops where handmade products and goods are on sale.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

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