I visited Andros with my family a few weeks ago, and as they got all the benefits of my press trip with Heliades Villas I thought I’d get them to help write some posts too. As history buffs my sister’s Livi and Lexi have kindly written a post all about the rich culture and history of Andros. Over to you sisters…
Andros is a culturally diverse and beautiful island in the Cyclades. When imagining the Cyclades Islands, they conjure an image of barren landscapes with white washed walls and blue roofs. You know the photos of the beautiful blue and white buildings all over Instagram, right? Well Andros is distinctly different as the 2013 film ‘little England’ set on Andros suggests. The island boasts stunning green landscapes and authentic untouched villages. while still having plenty of beaches and sun for a holiday abroad.
The island is split into three distinct areas from the quiet town of Korthi, to the capital of Chora, originally a hub for rich ship merchants. Even today you can see a few super yachts in its port. There is plenty for everyone on the island, from hikes to home-cooked Greek food to beach bars and watersports.
As expected Andros has a rich culture due to its different ownerships with influences from the Phoenicians, Venetians, Cretans, Byzantines and Ottomans and later on the Germans, before becoming independent in 1821. That’s a lot history right there!
If you are a bit of a history buff and want to soak up some culture instead of the sun here are some great cultural insights on the island of Andros.
Paleopolis and the museum
The Paleopolis, translated as the Old Town, has a Museum that offers a bitesize portion of the excavations of Andros. With visually impressive sculptures and artefacts, it highlights the Greek myths surrounding Andros. It is only a small museum so is easily accessible to all.
You only have to cross the road from the museum to see more history right in front of you, from the terraced landscapes and old churches and ruins.
Andros is a great walking destination, with multiple organised routes along its stunning greenery. We did three days touring around the island with Trekking Andros. Ariana was a fountain of knowledge of all things Andros and I couldn’t imagine learning even half as much without her. By following the historic old mule tracks only recently excavated by Andros Routes you can discover the old traditional watermills which used to make the islands’ flour. These watermill houses were still inhabited as recently as the 1970s. Now in little more than a few stone walls, you can still walk inside what would have been a living space and see where the mills would turn to create flour.
Along the way the route is surrounded by flowers, butterflies and if you’re lucky mulberries to snack on too. So remember to pack some sensible shoes!
The Panachrantos Monastery is said to date back to the Byzantine empire and is currently home to a family of four monks. The Monastery offers a spectacular view of Chora, as well as the rich gold and ornamental chapel. It is open in daylight hours and is free to visit, though you can leave a donation if you wish. The monks will often offer your coffee and sweets as you admire the views inside and outside the building.
The road to get to the monastery is very windy, so I’d take a car over a bus, those steep bends are scary!
Tis Grias to Pidima
Not only a peaceful and scenic beach, but home to the “Old Woman’s Jump.” One of the most photographed places on Andros. Legend has it that the woman opened the gates of the castle to the Turks. So shameful she leapt into the sea where she was petrified as a rock. Definitely worth the journey for those Instagram photos, or just for a day at the beach with a sprinkle of history.
Day trip to Delos
To see one of the most astounding ancient sites with extensive excavations then it is definitely worth a trip to Delos. Originally the centre of the Cyclades, the islands’ ruins include temples, markets, an amphitheatre and hippodrome and its famous huge lion statutes.
Some of the lions are still intact, thousands of years later! If you want to learn more about Greece’s ancient history, beyond Andros then definitely spare a day for this fascinating place.
If you’ve got more time tie in your Delos day trip with a couple of days in Mykonos too for more incredible views, food and culture.
This is only a small part of what Andros has to offer, and we really believe that the island should definitely be your next holiday abroad.
Livi and Lexi xx
Thanks to my sisters for this great post about the history and culture of Andros and the best places to visit to learn more about it.
We were invited to review Heliades Villas and Korinna and her team organised an excellent itinerary for my family and I. As always all words my own (and my sisters) and 100% honest.
You can read more about my visit to Andros in my villa review post and look out for most posts coming soon.