According to mythology, Dionysos was one of the lesser gods of ancient Greece. He was an important one, though, as he was the patron of the theater, vegetation, fruit, and not the least of all, wine.
Our hike starts by the beach next to Andros town and will follow the twisty stone-built path through the villages of Ypsilou and Lamyra. We will continue towards Menites, the picturesque village named after the Maenads, who were Dionysus’ female followers. Here, the ancient temple of Dionysus is believed to be located under the chapel of Panagia Koumoulos, which is still in service today. It was believed that the water from the local mineral water spring flowed straight out of the temple’s center. The legend states that the spring even flowed with wine once a year during the Dionysus celebrations.
From there, we will ascend an altitude of 500-meters to reach the Panachrantos Monastery, built before 1000AD, one of the most important landmarks on Andros. Nikephoros Phokas, the Byzantine emperor, funded its construction after he visited Andros to pray on his way to Crete. Apart from the annual local celebrations in July and August, the monastery attracts visitors all year round from all parts of the world due to the treasured religious artifacts collection.
Reaching our destination, completing a 750-meter vertical ascent with breathtaking views, we will visit the monastery and explore its buildings and chapels. We will also refill our bottles with fresh spring water from the monastery. The nature 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. The village was deserted during the 1930s and is a ghost village today, falling 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, museums, and art galleries as we reach our starting point.
Please be prepared for hiking on stone pathways, with lots of steps. Please bring proper hiking or trail running shoes and water as the weather can get hot, especially during summer. We’ll walk past some natural springs on the way, so refilling will not be an issue. You can always top up your walk with a cool swim at the beach where our tour ends. As an option, we can visit the beautiful seaside chapel of the Virgin Mary of the Sea (Thalassini) and call it a day to remember.