After a years living in the sunshine land I learned that there is no Greek island without its Chora, the capital city. Although the names of the main towns are pretty similar, the every atmosphere is something unique. Even if you are based at the heart of Andros Town, you would be enjoying the absolute silence of the island. The locals told me that its silence is due to the very rich islanders who used to live there for a long time and they wanted to keep their peace far away from holidaymakers. They wanted to preserve the traditional Greek island spirit, to be able to enjoy their life and raise their families in the best way, not forcing their life to be changed for a more tourists. So this large, lush island, only two hours from Athens, has stayed under the radar. Although, some of the islanders are trying to change it. Still, at Andros, everything is made in a favor to locals; there are traditional taverns, small boutiques, that old roads connecting villages. The real Greek life.
If you want to learn more about this island you can check how one local became my guide.
The gateway to the old city has been preserved and gives to the visitor the feeling of penetrating in another world and another time. The medieval atmosphere of the city co-exists in harmony with the modern one created by the new little shops, cafes and bars. The beauty of the architectures is due to the combination of Venetian, Byzantine and Ottoman influence. At Chora, there are two squares. The first one is next to the amazing huge tree just between cafeterias on pedestrian zone and another one is at the end of peninsula. It’s a place from my Greeklist.
I have longed to see that lighthouse and make a photo from there so it was understandable that the first day I ran there. Tourlitis lighthouse has been standing tall at the entrance of the port since 1887. From there you can also see the beautiful Venetian-style stone bridge connecting Andros Town to a little islet supporting the remains of an old castle, built during the Venetian period in order to protect the city. The Kastro was blown up in 1943. Thus, only some ruins from its towers, battlements and Venetian coats of arms are still preserved.
At Rivas Square, where a statue dedicated to the Unknown Sailor is located, I wanted to start my adventure at the island. In front of me was Chora, and all of its secrets were revealed from this point.
The colorful houses and wonderful Neoclassical mansions add even more beauty to the town. The famous Andrian Club, which began to operate as a meeting place in 1925 and is the oldest one in Greece, is also located at the beginning of the pedestrian street.
From time to time, I would spot tourists taking photos and discussing about the island. That’s how I met one French couple, while they were observing the church of the Assumption of Mary. Their story started 8 years ago. After a month of vacation, the couple have decided to make it to be their summer home.
I love how everyone we met was happy, cheerful and had enormous love to the place. Listening to them, I got a picture that I am in a fairy-tale and I wanted to live that life at least for a days there. The lady also told me about the artists of the island and the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art.
The MOCA is placed next to the second square, just next to the Archeological Museum. Following the stairs, few minutes, we have arrived. The museum is founded by the late Basil and Elise Goulandris, remembered for their uncontained passion and love for the arts. It is open in 1979 and since then its expanding its views in various ways.
The museum has two wings. The old one houses the entire collection of the Andros native sculptor Michalis Tombros as well as representative works by some of the most important Greek sculptors. And, the new one hosts exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collections. During the summer season (July – September) the Museum hosts temporary, individual or thematic exhibitions of major (pioneering) artists in collaboration with museums, foundations, galleries and private collections in Europe and the USA.
During my visit it was the exhibition of a dialogue among artists of different generations and, more importantly, artistic perceptions and is structured in thematic sections avoiding the linear narrative of chronological order.On the moment I wish I could spend more time enchanting this place, reading poems and savoring photographs on the life and work of Nikos Engonopoulos.
I guess that by now, I can understand those people who can sit in front of the painting for hours. Here I could do the same. The silence of the place, the spirit of the island made me to think about artists, their lives and motives to make these pieces.
More about tickets, opening hours and current exhibitions you can find on the MOCA’s website.
On our holiday break my partner and I didn’t want to spend the whole days on the beach, we wanted to be travelers. To explore the wild side of Andros. ( the link of the article is here) However, the days were warm and after strolling the streets of Chora, we deserved to have a time for swimming. At the beginning, when we were at the square I spotted it. It is Paraporti beach. As the name says by itself (the side gate), on the right side of the pedestrian zone the stairs were taking us there. On the Rock Beach Bar.
We came exactly for the opening of the bar. I like the fact how everyone here is cousin to each other. That’s why on the beach everyone knows everything. It looks like we were lost on a family island party. Do not take me wrong, I love it! They welcomed us so friendly and accepted us like they knew us for a years. As my boyfriend said after few days there we started to feel like a part of the tribe. Greeting everyone on the road.
This part of the island has many more charming things to occupy your attention. If you like museums the Archaeological Museum is definetely for you. Also, there is located the famous library – unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit. And if you would like to visit the far beaches but to avoid the hike part, from here you can take the boat to the mesmerized sea. By my experience you will not need more than a day to explore the capital but for staying at the island, this is amazing starting point and a base. During the night, as we did, you can enjoy a romantic walk on the coastline, listening a Greek traditional singers and drinking a glass of homemade wine. Be careful, do not expect Mykonos style or anything glamorous. This is the island for vacation.
I would like to thank to Micra Anglia fabulous luxury boutique hotel which made our stay to be like in a paradise. They couldn’t take care better of us and making sure that our stay is unforgettable. I love the most the smile of their staff. Also to get to the island, we have used the FastFerries Andros. Drinking a wine on the board and learning more about islands and services the FastFerries offer, the two hours trip was faster than i thought. Thanks to the VIP lounge we also managed to have fast nap. (More about the trip and the accommodation comes soon. )
Do not miss to try lemonade as they have the best one I ever tried!
Have you tried it yet? How did you like Chora? And what is your favorite part of the island?
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