Alonissos: A Paradise for Nature Lovers and Explorers

Keeping a low profile, this lush green island in the Sporades offers quiet and relaxing holidays in a wonderful natural setting.


The senses are awakened in Alonissos. Even if you are not a fan of hiking, diving, nature or explorations, in this part of the Aegean, you may reconsider your views. Its lush greenery is filled with pines, oaks, olive trees, fruit-bearing trees and grape vines, while its lace-like coastline is adorned with small coves, mainly with white pebbles. Most of the settlements on the island are located in the south, and the most famous beaches are found in the east. Equally enchanting, the central and northern parts boast dense vegetation and rocky shores.

Big and small explorations

Visit the Old Town (or Hora) with its stone-built houses tightly packed together, serpentine narrow streets and panoramic views. Regarding the other settlements on the island, there are three that stand out: Patitiri, the port and capital, with its cafes, tavernas and the Historic and Folklore Museum of Alonissos, featuring antique naval charts, traditional costumes and the interior of a traditional farmhouse reconstructed on the ground floor. Votsi, a peaceful natural harbor where many fishing boats anchor, and Steni Vala, located 10 kilometers from the port, ideal for excursions to the nearby islets.

Go swimming at Xrisi Milia, Aghios Dimitrios, Megali Mourtia and Kokkinokastro beaches. You may also discover Gerakas, in the north, and Gialia, just underneath Hora. A completely different experience awaits at the Blue Cave, in the northeast, which can only be visited via excursion boats or your own vessel.

 

The island’s hiking routes are sufficiently marked. More experienced hikers can traverse the Kastania Gorge, or hike up to the summit of Aghios Konstantinos, while novices can choose footpaths such as the one leading to Leftos Gialos. For guides and tours, contact Albedo Travel ([email protected], Tel. (+30) 24240.658.05).

Home to the Mediterannean Monk Seal

The National Marine Part of Alonissos and Northern Sporades was established in 1992 with the goal of protecting the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and rare seabirds. Covering an area of 2,220 square kilometers, it is the largest marine park in Europe and an important habitat with strict operating regulations. It includes Alonissos and six smaller islands (Peristera, Kyra Panagia, Psathoura, Piperi, Skatzoura and Gioura), as well as 22 rocky islets. The heart of the Park is Piperi island, which cannot be approached within 3 nautical miles by any vessel. For more information, Tel. (+30) 24240.663.78, alonissos-park.gr

Treasures of the Sea

At the Underwater Museum of Alonissos in Peristera, guided tours of the “Parthenon of Shipwrecks” take place at a depth of 30m. Visiting divers swim above the remains of a 2,500-year-old shipwreck from the Classical era, which sank sometime in the last quarter of the 5th century BC while transporting amphorae filled with wine. For more information, contact tel. 24240-66502, or the following diving centers: Alonissos Seacolours Dive Center, Alonissos Triton Dive Center, and Ikion Diving Center Alonissos

Food

 

The restaurant scene on this remote island of the Sporades has begun to change, with traditional flavors giving way to unexpected culinary experiences. The bar-restaurant Dolopes (Tel. (+30) 24240.662.37), at Leftos Gialos, serves mainly Mediterranean cuisine and refreshing cocktails.

The welcoming and picturesque Para Thin Alos (Tel. (+30) 24240.660.29) at Tzorti Gialos, literally by the sea, you will enjoy well-cooked dishes and friendly service.

In the fishing harbor of Steni Vala, at Tassia’s Cooking (Tel. (+30) 24240.655.45) you must certainly try the traditional striftaria, the local version of cheese pie.

On the stone-paved terrace of Hayiati patisserie/piano bar (Tel. (+30) 24240.662.44) you must try the loukoumades (Greek style donut balls) with honey and Alonissos galatopita (milk pie), or enjoy a drink while listening to music performed by featured bands and musicians.

Make sure to buy some amygdalota (Greek almond cookies), Alonissos white tuna and other local products from the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative of Alonissos at Patitiri (Tel. (+30) 24240.662.70). 

Alonissos is located 3-5 hours from Volos by boat.



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