Home Destination Guides Accommodation 27th January 2020


    Alonnissos is the smallest and least developed of all the Northern Sporades islands, being approximately 20 kilometres long and a mere 4 kilometres wide.  The island itself is not unlike its neighbours, Skiathos and Skopelos, in that it is clothed with the green of pine, fig and olive trees. Yet Alonissos’ real charm lays in its tranquillity and Greekness, which transport you back to a life of simple pleasures.  The island has been inhabited since 33,000 BC and the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II of Macedonia, offered Alonissos to Athens as a gift.  The Athenians refused the gift, stating that the island already belonged to them.  In 42 BC, after his victory in Philippi, Mark Anthony offered the island to Athens again, and this time Athens accepted.
      Some feel that Alonissos is seriously under rated.  Its coastline is indented with small coves, pebble beaches and lovely sheltered bays, all washed by a crystal clear sea.  There are only a few roads to speak of on the island and many people travel round the island by boat, in fact some of the beaches are only accessible by boat.  Inland, Alonissos is a walkers’ paradise, with tracks criss-crossing the hillsides and the air scented by pine trees.  In fact Alonissos has become so popular with walkers and ramblers that there is now an established Alonissos Walking Club, which takes visitors on guided walks across the island.  Details and itineraries should be requested locally, but you can also obtain information from the web by searching on ‘walking alonissos.’ 
     In 1950 the island was seriously depopulated when the vineyards, a main source of income, were destroyed by disease.  Today, those people that remain still follow a traditional way of life, earning a living from farming, fishing and now tourism.
     To the north east of Alonissos lays an archipelago of small islands, most of which are uninhabited, and just off the east coast of Alonissos are the tiny islands of Peristera and Lehousa.  The sea around these islands is famous for being one of the last remaining reserves of the indigenous Mediterranean Monk Seal.   There are reputed to be only 20 pairs of this rare and endangered species in the seas around Alonissos and this area has been designated as a National Marine Park in an effort to protect the seals from extinction.
PATITIRI and the islet of KIRA PANAGIA
     The small port of Patitiri is the largest community on the island and the working harbour can become quite busy when the ‘day-tripper’ tour boats from neighbouring Skiathos and Skopelos arrive.  However, these boats only stay for a few hours, so the calm and serenity of Alonissos is soon restored.  In 1965 an earthquake reduced Patitiri to ruins, but the advent of tourism brought new prosperity to the island and the port has since been rebuilt, recreating all its original charm.  It nestles in a cove behind a cliff, with a small white pebble beach to one side of the harbour and a choice of tavernas and cafés.  There is a local bus stop in the centre of the harbour road, between the berths for the hydrofoils, the car ferry and the excursion boats.  Beach boats carrying visitors round the coast also have a berth in the harbour.  In the streets behind, there are shops, a chemist, local doctor, supermarket, post office, bank and ATM machine.  Patitiri is also home to the island’s only museum, the Historical and Folklore Museum that houses an interesting collection of local artefacts.
     One of the most popular tours from Patitiri harbour is the daily boat trip to the National Marine Park.  These trips take in the sea caves on the northern coast, before travelling north to the island of Kira Panagia (Virgin Mary), to visit the Byzantine monastery built in the 6th Century - a steep up-hill trek!  This tiny island was originally bought by the monks of Mount Athos and is still owned by them.  Old age forced the last remaining monk to leave the monastery in 1986 and the holy buildings are now looked after by a solitary caretaker.  Occasionally a monk from Mount Athos will visit the monastery to perform a service, sometimes attended by other priests.   On the return journey a stop is usually made at a beach on the island of Gioura, famous for its caves of stalagmites.
     Car hire is available, but because of the lack of roads it is probably better to hire a small, motorised boat (available from Patitiri harbour) to explore the island by sea.
      Just north of Patitiri is the hamlet of Votsi with its own charming harbour and adjoining pebble beach. 
CHORA (Old Alonissos Town)
     Three kilometres inland from Patitiri is the former capital of the island, Chora, or Old Alonissos Town as it is sometimes called.  High on a hilltop with magnificent views over the island, Chora also suffered a lot of damage during the 1965 earthquake.  As a result many of the islanders moved down to Patitiri and the rebuilding of homes initially centred on the port area.  More recently, renovation of some of the houses in Chora has begun and there are now some good tavernas, an assortment of cafes and bars and a few mini markets.  There is a local bus service from Patitiri to Chora, taxis are available and are reasonably priced, or for the really energetic there is an old track over the hillside to Chora, which will take about 45 minutes to walk.  From Chora there is a further 30 minutes walk down the other side of the hill to the beach at Megalo Mourtia.
     Half way up the eastern coast of Alonissos from Patitiri is the picturesque fishing hamlet of Steni Vala, which sits on a sheltered inlet opposite the island of Peristera.  There are a few rustic tavernas clustered around the small quay and a short walk across the headland will bring you to the beach at Glyfa.  There is also a shop and Patitiri can be easily reached by taxi-boats, which run between the two on a daily basis.  Steni Vala is on the border of the National Marine Park and is where the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Monk Seal is based, enabling them to monitor this rare mammal at close quarters.  Organised boat trips to the Marine Park are available where you may be lucky enough spot a Monk Seal at close quarters. You might also see dolphins or even a sea turtle.
     The island of Peristera is separated from Alonissos by a narrow strait and has become a popular beach boat destination.  It has one small fishing village straddling the narrow central neck of the island where visitors can enjoy lunch in the local taverna.
    Alonissos island has no airport, so package holiday companies usually fly their customers to Skiathos airport, (a 15 minute drive from Skiathos town), and then transfer them to Patitiri on Alonissos by hydrofoil, fast ferry or ferry.  Package holidays are available from Greek specialist tour companies.  Flying time from the U.K. to Skiathos is approximately 3 and a half hours, but depnding upon your arrival time, you may have to a wait for a ferry connection to Alonissos.  See Skiathos Island Connections for more details on Skiathos flights.
     From Patitiri, ferries leave on a daily basis to both Skopelos and Skiathos.  Hydrofoils take only 20 minutes to reach Skopelos and an hour and half to Skiathos. Ferry connections are available from Skiathos to Volos on the Greek mainland.  Alonissos also has a ferry connection to Skyros island.  It should be remembered that changing schedules and adverse weather conditions can affect all ferries and timings should always be checked locally.
The foregoing information was last reviewed in November 2006. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have updates or information that you think should be included here, please mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.


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