Some things are just too nice to share. Just like that last biscuit on the tin, the Greeks are not about to give Andros away to the highest bidder. Luckily for them, the Andriots are the highest bidder. As it turns out, Andros is another one of those islands reserved only for Greeks (like Aegina and Spetses) due to the high concentration of local capital. It is a decidedly aristocratic one. Marine clubs, stone neo classical mansions and grand structures point to the island’s opulent past and present. No brownie points for guessing if shipping magnates live here.
But it’s not all eggs and ham. For us plebs, there are still chances of a shot at la dolce vita. Prices are reasonable, the beaches fabulous and the food as always delicious, without breaking the bank. And the fact is that Andros is shaking off the cobwebs and showcasing another side to it. It is a side that attracts people to see its natural wonders; more than 300 km of hiking trails have been opened up in the last couple of years. With several springs and waterfalls, as well as mountainous jungle-y enclaves, caves and routes, Andros is being touted as a premier naturalist destination (over a third of the island is in fact a nature reserve).
And rightfully so. The island is teeming with life. Its lush fertile canopy is a cornucopia of colors and smells. Blackberry bushes, wild acorns, ivies, myrtles, wild mint, oak trees, cypresses, chestnut trees are some of the plant species you’ll come across. In addition to the flora there is abundant fauna, too. Several types of predatory birds and reptiles call Andros home, most notably Eleonora’s Falcon.
In between walks (the longest trail would have you walking for 10 days!) you’re sure to spot hidden surprises. They may include ancient stone bridges, even more ancient hidden foot paths, 4 million year aged caves, steep ravines, gorges, waterfalls and even archaeological finds.
Palaeopolis will be one of those. Andros’s ancient capital, situated on the south western edge is still visible, half-submerged into the water. The remnants of the Frankish, Venetians, Ottomans, and Byzantines are still on display all over the island.
The true essence of Andros is its nature and connection to nature. Everything is interconnected here. Man and nature co-exist peacefully, with respect and nurturing. You may not get the chance to party till dawn, but you will feel better for re-establishing your primal roots.