BY Alexia Amvrazi

| Oct 04, 2016

Destinations

Alonissos, My Homeland

Since making it her home, Bente Keller, a Danish artist and gallery-owner, has written two popular walking guides about the lush island.

“My love for Greece, which I started visiting in 1978, led to me learn Greek, study Greek philology (along with gymnastics) at the University of Copenhagen and then return here to paint for three months on Alonissos, right after graduating. After that summer, I never left! It was all very quick – I decided to move here, and just one year later I opened up my own art shop, Gallery 5. I still love it here, and it’s been a great place to raise my son, now 14, who grew up swimming in the sea, climbing rocks, hiking in nature with me and learning how to fish with his dad.

The thing I love the most about the island is the wild nature – above all the incredible colors and scents. Fantastic small beaches like Tourkoneri and greenery throughout the year. Moving from the south to the north of the island is like going to another island because the topography changes so drastically. The villages are also completely different from each other – Palia Alonissos, on the hill, is completely traditional, with no cars in its steep lanes, while bis the busy port and Steni Valla has all the sailing boats moored there. And then there’s the National Marine Park.

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The thing I love the most about the island is the wild nature – above all the incredible colors and scents. Fantastic small beaches like Tourkoneri and greenery throughout the year.

My favorite places to visit are Megali Ammos on the northwestern coast, which has a very special feeling, and the Kalovoulos mountain behind the village, where you feel you can see the whole world! I also love Geraka in the very north because it’s so different – very rocky, with low trees. The sudden drop of 300m down to the sea makes it really dramatic.

For dinner, I sometimes venture to the picturesque old village, although there are also some nice places in Patitiri, like Kamaki, a fish taverna and tsipouradiko (a place that serves tsipouro and meze) with live music. I also visit the lovely Akrogiali taverna. For an aperitif, I would highly recommend the Sunset Bar, which has a fantastic sea view.”

Bente Keller is the author of Alonissos On Foot, The Alonissos Guide (also in Italian) and The Watercolour Dream ebook (a guide on painting and drawing). To find out more about her books and art, visit alonissos-eshop.com and www.bentekeller.gr.