It is the most remote island of Sporades group - first from the east, surrounded by crystal-blue waters and blessed with rugged natural landscapes; an ideal place of complete contact with nature, mysterious, with many surprises to sea lovers. Alonissos is an island ideal for those you want to unwind and enjoy leisure walks surrounded by pine forests, olive groves and orchards. It plays host to the National Marine Park of Northern Sporades, a refuge for rare seabirds, dolphins and the Mediterranean monk seal, monachus-monachus.
With a long history through centuries (Alonissos was one of the firstly inhabited Islands of the Aegean) is situated at the crossroads of major sea routes. It was from here that Argo, the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed to Kolhida to retrieve the Golden Fleece and the ships of Achaeans sailed to Troy. According to the Greek mythology, was first inhabited by Stafylos (meaning grape), the son of Dionysus and Ariadne. This myth explains the islandâs strong bonds with viticulture from ancient times until today. Numerous shipwrecks of classic and Byzantine times lie on the sea bottom, confirming the naval power of the island through the years.
Upon reaching the island you will encounter the picturesque harbour of Patitiri, todayâs capital of the island. Hora (or Old Village) is the old capital of the island. A medieval castle offering sweeping views to the sea, with numerous small churches, narrow paved streets walking you through traditional stone houses with picture-perfect courtyards and threshing floors; a picture that encapsulates the essence of a typical Greek island settlement. A path from Hora leads to the church of Agioi Anargyroi, where you can enjoy a lovely walk in the dense pine forest.
At Milia, you will find the International Academy of Homeopathy, which still keeps alive the deep-rooted tradition of folk medicine that cherished thanks to the miraculous herbs growing on the island. It also has a beautiful beach with turquoise waters.
Sea lovers will also find on Alonissos beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters. If you donât like the crowded summer places, you will fall in love with Agios Dimitrios, the biggest and perhaps one of the best beaches on the island. Megalos Mourtias, is close to Patitiri, covered with fine pebbles, crystal waters and small traditional taverns on the beach. Leftos Gialos is my choice of preference, a wonderful seaside, and at your armsâ reach, you will find a lounge cafÃ©, relaxing music and delicious traditional plates (Eleonas) for lunch or dinner in the shade of ancient olive-trees. Chrisi Milia (a sandy beach, ideal for children since there is a sandy bottom for some distance out), Steni Vala, and Votsi will offer you unforgettable moments of peace and serenity. Marpounta is a gorgeous beach covered with sand, to the North of the island.
June - July and September are the preferred months to visit, if you like some privacy and quality of service, choosing among numerous hotels and bungalows at Patitiri, Rousoum-Gialo, Votsi and Steni Vala. It is one of the preferred islands for yachting and sailing boat travellers, offering supply vessel services and many natural bays for mooring.
Alonissos is surrounded by small islands scattered around the archipelagos. Spend a day on a boat trip to explore the uninhabited islet around the National Park speckling the Aegean to the east:
- Yioura has a neolithically inhabited stalactite cave that sheltered Homerâs Cyclops; a rare species of wild goat breeds there. According to findings itâs being inhabited since Mesolithic Era (9th-7th century BC).
- Kyra-Panagia (or Pelagonissi) belongs to Meyistis Lavras Monastery on Mount Athos. It used to be the site of ancient Alonissos. Here there is also a 12th century monastery, one of the biggest natural harbours of the Mediterranean Sea, Planitis bay, a well-preserved flour mill and a restored olive/wine press.
- Piperi forms the core zone of the National Park where the Mediterranean seals and the seabirds nestle. Access by boat is prohibited.
- Ksiro (or Peristera) with pristine sandy beaches.
- Skatzoura with the impressive Evaggelistria Monastery.
- Psathoura, a volcanic island dominated by its lighthouse, the tallest in the Aegean, constructed by Frenchmen in the 19th century and the ruins of an ancient city on its sea bottom.
Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this serene island and mingle with the locals, who preserve with passion their customs and traditions. Throughout the summer, participate in all the festivities on offer, such as the traditional wedding on 15th August, or the re-enactment of thrashing in July. Savour pure, local specialties: cheese pie, grilled figs with honey, kakavia (fish soup) and walnut pie.
And donât forget to buy some "fouskakia" (traditional donuts), "hamalia" (triangle shaped sweets with delicious staffing sprinkled with castor sugar) and mouth watering almond delicatessen, the so-called "amigdalota" to offer to your beloved ones back home.
- By ferry, hydrofoil or high speed ship from the port of Volos.
- By air, Ryanair has established new routes to Volos (from Brussels, Frankfurt, Rome and Bergamo)
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