Mindfulness meets romantic beach getaway: Lose yourself in the turquoise water and the secluded surroundings of one of Greece’s best kept secret at Onar Resort on the island of Andros, Greece.
When Martin and I were looking for a place to go and relax and spend some quality time together, we came across a website that offers mostly secluded retreats and boutique hotels. I-ESCAPE boasts a large selection of places all over the world, with many different search criterias you can use to find just the right destination for your next getaway. Ours would turn out to be the amazing Onar resort on the island of Andros, Greece.
For this trip we wanted to go somewhere in late May, where it would be warm enough to go swimming in the sea, ideally with a beach in walking distance. We always prioritize healthy eating and so we look for a place with local and organic food. We wanted our stay to be about the two of us, lots of hanging out together at a quiet beach, reading the day away, enjoying the calm and quiet of a place nestled in nature. That and so much more is what we found at Onar resort!
Onar is truly a magical place. Onar is the Greek word for “dream.” The resort is far away from the otherwise busy beaches of Greece. It is situated on the island of Andros, which is less touristy than the other greek islands. To get to Onar, you have to fly into either Athens or Myconos and then take the ferry to Andros, which takes about 2 hours. Once there, you need to have the driver from Onar pick you up. Let me repeat this: You need to be picked up! Do not rent a car and attempt to find Onar on your own (unless it is in the morning and you know exactly where to go, maps will be useless believe me.) We had read about how strenuous the drive to the resort is. This was confirmed when we were sitting in the car that picked us up and realized how crazy the drive really is. It is nearly impossible to get to Onar without a 4×4, and still the rocks and the road will have you bump your head at least once or twice. It takes about 1 hour to get to Onar from the port of Andros. So this isn’t for everybody, which is exactly as it should be. What you will find there is so worth the adventurous drive!
Once you get to Onar, it really starts to sink in how secluded this resort really is: It is located in a small valley, with a stream that leads to one of the most amazing beaches in all of Greece. Achla Beach is a true paradise. There is simply no place like it. In times of large hotels and mass tourism invading all of the main Greek island beaches, Onar and Achla Beach are a rare gem. The beach is nestled in nature, only to be reached by walking down a path along a small river. The sea water is the clearest you can imagine and the pebbles are rounded off, so walking and laying on them doesn’t hurt. We were never more than 10 people at the beach at the same time, making it the definition of a secluded beach. During the week the only people at the beach will be from Onar. Seeing the resort only offers space for about 40 people at a time, you can rest assured it will always be pleasantly calm.
The resort itself is a place where you can fully unwind and relax. The stone houses are situated about 10 min from the beach and are all far apart enough from each other to ensure privacy. They all have their own patio and hammock, just as one dreams of. They are furnished in authentic Greek style and decorated with love. The quiet of the house at night, with nothing but nature’s sounds, will remind you that you are far, far away from any town or village.
I especially enjoyed the local olive cosmetic line that was supplied in the bathroom. It is an organic beauty line with shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion and my skin and hair were amazingly nourished throughout our stay. I wish I could order them online but alas I didn’t find it anywhere. I will continue to look for it, though.
There is an outdoor restaurant that is breathtakingly surrounded by olive trees and the stream that flows nearby. The food is partly harvested from their own on site organic garden. Martin and I value sustainability and living in harmony with the environment so finding a resort like Onar has been a blessing. The meals are healthy, diverse and cooked to order by the chef. Breakfast is plentiful, with fresh fruits and an array of Greek yogurt and organic teas. We booked half-board and were never hungry, as we would have late breakfast and then take some fruits with us to get us through the day.
The atmosphere at Onar is always very laid back, the staff very helpful and attentive. It is not a place with all the amenities you might be used to from staying in large hotels. But that is exactly why it is so great! The owner, Matteo, is not always there as he spends his time between Athens and Onar. We enjoyed the communal almost familial atmosphere, having dinner with people from all over the world. Most of them with a similar mind-set of wanting to escape the busy rhythm of the cities and just enjoy the lovely nature of Onar.
I truly have nothing to say about Onar other than: This is paradise. I wouldn’t change a thing. I understand that the way to get there might turn some people off but that is exactly how it needs to be in order to stay as secluded a place as it is. Bonus: It doesn’t hurt that for such a lovely resort it is quite affordable. In May we paid about 1100 Euros per person for one week, flight from Zurich to Athens and the fare for the ferry included.
So if you are looking for your next romantic getaway or are flying solo and need time for yourself, this is the place to go! You can find all the necessary information on Onar’s website here.
Mindfulness grade: 10/10
Nothing but peace and quiet here. You’ll be spending your day reading, relaxing at the beach, enjoying the wonderful surroundings. Plenty of time and space to meditate and live slowly.
Eco grade: 8/10
Considering that you will most likely have to fly into Greece, it’s not the easiest spot to reach by public transportation. But once you are at the resort, you can rest assured that you will be living quite sustainably. There is almost no waste being produced as the beauty products in the bungalows are refillable and breakfast does not rely on one-way packaging. There is almost no plastic on the grounds and nothing you can buy that is wasteful. There is no shop at the resort or at the beach. I am not sure about the cleaning products used, so that’s something that might be a potential for greenifying the resort.
Value for money: 9/10
Flights from Europe mainland to Athens are quite affordable if you book them for low season. The resort itself is very afforadable and you get a lot of quality and a high standard for your money.
P.S. Don’t forget to offset the CO2 emissions you create by donating to myclimate.org or cotap.org for example. Some airlines will let you choose to offset automatically while booking your flights online.
Here are some of our impressions from Onar: