General Information on Alonissos
Alonissos is the calmest of the Northern Sporades islands. With a surface area of about 130km², it is inhabited by approximately 2,700 people. Tourism grows at a slow pace; natural beauty and amazing beaches are the main poles of attraction to this island. Crystal clear waters, dense pineforests, superb rock formations and a Marine Park of endangered flora and fauna, such as the Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus-monachus), render Alonissos an ideal destination for those seeking quiet holidays at an exceptional environment.
History of Alonissos
Alonissos, or Ikor as the island was once named, has a history of over 100,000 years and was once connected to all other islands in the cluster. During the Classical era, the island reached its economic and cultural peak, and it mainly produced high quality wine. When Romans invaded Greece in the 2nd century B.C., the island became a place of exile, while high taxation stripped the locals of their money, making the island fall back to its original agricultural stage.
This continued during the Byzantine period. In 1207, the Venetian Ghizi family took control of Sporades and in the 15th century A.D., Alonissos fell in ottoman hands. The Turkish domination was terminated in 1830 when Alonissos, along with the rest of the Sporades islands, became part of the new Greek state. In 1965, an earthquake shook the island, destroying most of the buildings. The residents of the old village had to move to Patitiri. In the 1970’s the ruined houses of the old village were sold, mainly to Germans, and the village started becoming more lively again.
Towns & Villages in Alonissos
Patitiri: This is the main harbor, capital and largest settlement on the island. In Greek, “patitiri” means winepress, referring to the numerous winepresses and wine storage areas that used to be in the area. The vineyards were destroyed in the late 1960s due to phylloxera (a north american bug that feeds on vine roots). Patitiri has many hotels and shops, along with a post office, supermarkets, banks, tourist agencies, police station, health center etc. You will also find most bars and clubs of the island.
Hora (the old village of Alonissos): It is situated on the hill, 3km away from Patitiri. Today, only five or six local families are permanent residents. Because of its location, the view is exquisite, offering one of the best sunsets in Greece. In Hora, you will find traditional rooms to let, many taverns and small shops.
Steni Vala: This is a small fishing port about 12km from Patitiri. The village is quite old and it was once a lair for pirates. Steni Vala has managed to keep its traditional character, with only few rooms to rent and taverns. The Monk Seal Treatment and Rehabiliation Centre, located in a small hut on the beach, is found here.
Votsi: The village took its name from Admiral Votsis, who made Alonissos his base for the Greek naval fleet during the Balkan wars. The little fishing village of Votsi is slowly assimilated by Patitiri, forming a single settlement. This calm village has a small harbor keeping its traditional character.
Beaches in Alonissos
Chrisi Milia: it is located 4km northeast of Patitiri. It is one of the few organized beaches on the island with sun beds, a snack bar and a tavern. The beach is characterised by golden sand and shallow waters. At the far end of the beach, there are rocky pools and some pine trees.
Milia: About 2km from Patitiri, this is a beautiful place, with colourful round pebbles and crystal-clear waters. The beach is situated at the heart of a bay and is surrounded by trees and untouched natural beauty.
Megali Ammos: Despite the name, which means “Big Sand”, this beach is neither sandy nor big. However, Megali Ammos is ideal for nature lovers who like nature and wild beauty. The beach is located about 5km from Patitiri, but the road is quite bad.
Megalos Mourtias: it is one of the nicest beaches in Alonissos, close to Patitiri. It is a pebbled, organized beach with crystal clear blue waters.
Vythisma: The beach is located very close to Megalos Mourtias. It is a beach of dark sand, with colourful shingles and crystal clear waters. Access to the beach from the inland is quite difficult, as the path is very steep, covered with shrubs and next to a cliff. The easiest way to get there is by boat.
Leptos Gialos: It is a white pebble beach with clear turquoise waters and pine trees, just 7.5km from Patitiri. There are two taverns here which operate until late into the night.
Agios Dimitrios: it is considered the best beach of Alonissos. It is a huge triangular pebbled beach, creating a dramatic scenic headland. The beach is about 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from Patitiri.
Marpounda: it is a tourist resort with large hotels and two nice organized pebbled beaches. It is situated 3km from Patitiri, on the southernmost point of Alonissos.
Tzortzi Gialos: it is believed that the bay, on which Tzortzi Gialos is situated, was the location of the port of ancient Ikos. The beach is small and narrow, full of shingles and pine trees. It is ideal for families, as the waters are shallow and calm.
Top Things to Do in Alonissos
National Marine Park of Alonissos: Alonissos is surrounded by eight uninhabited islets, all of which have rich flora and fauna. The largest remaining population of the monk seal (Monachus monachus) is endemic in the area around Northern Sporades. Except for monk seals, there are other rare species here, such as Eleonora’'s Falcon (Falco eleonorae), the red coral (Coralium rubrum), Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii), Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the wild goat of Gioura (Capra aegagrus). These unique species necessitated the creation of a marine park in 1983. The park is divided into two zones. Zone A comprises Alonissos island and the island of Peristera and is open to visitors without any restrictions, other than prohibition of free camping and fire lighting. Swimming and walking are amongst the simplest and most interesting ways of coming in contact with the environment. In Zone B, which includes the islets of Kyra Panagia, Gioura, Psathoura, Skantzoura and Piperi, access is limited. Restrictions on activities apply on all islands of this zone, while visitors are not permitted on Piperi completely, since it is home to about 33 bird species, including 350-400 pairs of Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae). Also, this island is the main habitat of the monk seal.
Peristera (Zone A): This flat, uninhabited island can be freely visited. Of particular importance is the ancient wreck discovered off its coast by recent underwater archaeological investigations. Visitors should take necessary precautions to avoid causing any damage or even loss of objects through thoughtless actions.
Kyra Panagia (Zone B): The ancient island of Alonissos is in Zone B of the Marine Park. Hilly with a rounded relief, it has two deep bays, Agios Petros to the south and Planitis to the north. On the eastern part, there is a recently renovated post-Byzantine monastery dedicated to the birth of Virgin Mary. The island is also called Pelagos or Pelagonisi.
Gioura (Zone B): Gioura is northeast of Kyra Panagia. Its relief is striking and bold and its rocky shores are awe-inspiring. The “Cave of Cyclops” is of particular beauty. Many birds and a limited number of wild goats (Capra aegagrus) live on the island. The island has been declared a Scientific Research Refuge and follows special regulations for the protection of the aforementioned species and the habitat of monk seals.
How to Reach Alonissos
There are several ferry services from Alonissos to Volos per week and the trip last 5 hours. Also, the island is connected to Skopelos, Skiathos and Agios Konstantinos on a daily basis. By air, you may land on the airports of Skiathos, Skyros and Aghialos at Volos.
Getting Around in Alonissos
Bus: during summer time there is a bus service that connects Patitiri to the old village almost every hour. Also, there is a service to Steni Vala from the old village via Patitiri.
Boat: The easiest way to get to the east coast is by taxi boats that leave from the quay in Patitiri every morning.
Weather in Alonissos
The climate in Alonissos is the same as the rest of the island cluster. It is characterized by mild winters, frequent precipitation and warm summers with high temperatures, cooling from meltemia” (north winds) during late July and early August.
Top 10 Destinations in Alonissos
All Destinations in Alonissos
Map of Alonissos