Dionysos was according to mythology one of the lesser gods of ancient Greece, however a very important one, as he was the patron of the theater, vegetation, fruit, and not least of all, wine.
So, once we start our Andros Ancient & Byzantine run by the beach next to Andros town, we will follow the twisty stone-built path through the villages of Ypsilou and Lamyra, heading towards Menites, the picturesque village named after Dionysus female followers, the Maenads. It is there that the ancient temple of Dionysus is believed to be located, under the chapel of Panagia Koumoulos which is in service today. In fact, it was believed that the water of the local mineral water spring was flowing straight out of the temple’s center and that it was even flowing with wine once a year during Dionysus celebrations.
From there we will ascend reaching an altitude of 500meters to the Panachrantos Monastery, built before 1000AD, one of the most important landmarks on Andros. Its construction was funded by Nikephoros Phokas, the Byzantine emperor himself after he visited Andros to pray on his way to Crete. Apart from the annual local celebrations in July and August, it is an attraction for visitors all year round, from all parts of the world, due to the important religious artifacts it is home to.
Reaching our destination, completing a 750-meter vertical ascent with breathtaking views, we will visit the monastery and have a look around its buildings and chapels. We will also refill our bottles with fresh spring water from the monastery. The nature around us is fantastic throughout the route, with wildflowers, herbs, and trees growing plentiful around the water sources.
We will head back to Andros town on a different trail, through the stone relics of Petrias village, deserted during the 1930s standing to this day as a ghost village, victim to the harshness of nature and time. The village of Vrachnou is our next destination before we head down to the beach of Paraporti. We will go right across Andros town and its pedestrian center, its museums and art galleries, as we reach our starting point.
Andros Ancient & Byzantine tour is a private tour so you will choose the pace that suits you, especially during the uphill parts of the route, so it might get a bit slower than usual. You should also know that although the difficulty is considered moderate, some parts of these trails are quite uneven, so a bit more difficult. It would be wise to have the ability to carry some water with you especially in the summer months as it can get very hot. You can always top up your run with a cool swim at the beach where our route ends.