The most remote of the Sporades group of islands, Alonissos is much quieter than it's neighbours, Skiathos and Skopelos. As there is no airport on Alonissos, the easiest way to get here is by flying into Skiathos and from there taking a ferry to the island.
The port village of Patitiri with its sprinkling of bars and tavernas is home for the majority of the islanders, and also where most of the tourists stay.The village was created after an earthquake badly damaged the islands then main town of Palaia Alonissos which sits on a cliff above Patitiri. In the harbour, boats can be found that will take you for day trips to neighbouring islands, and to some of the coves and beaches around the island.
Palaia Alonissos, seen here from Patitiri, was abandoned when its inhabitants were forced to leave after the earthquake in 1965. There still remains the ruins of a fifteenth century Venetian kastro, and a small chapel with an unusual fish-scale style roof. Today, many of the houses have been restored, and are used as holiday homes, so preserving many of the towns original features.
Votsi, is the second most popular area for tourist accommodation on the island, it has a reasonable pebble beach backed by cliffs, and a few of the usual bars and tavernas. Hotels on the waterfront can be a little more expensive than the average, those on top of the cliff are a little cheaper and have some very good views of the bay below. Pine resin is still collected on Alonissos and is used to give the Greek Retsina wine it's unique flavour. It is also said to make quite a reasonable furniture polish.
A long narrow island, the northernmost which is serviced by Skiathos airport, Alonissos offers even more seclusion and peace than Skopelos. It is the perfect island for nature-lovers and those who are seeking the delights of a simple Greek island. The main town, Patitiri, is an essentially sleepy harbour-side settlement with cafes and tavernas which overlook the comings and goings of the ferries and fishing boats.
Entering into this naturally protected harbour, ones 1st impression are the steep, stone and clay cliffs which are intermingled with deep green pine trees providing a striking contrast as they cascade down to the clear emerald waters below. The town took its name from the original wine presses (patatiria) that made up the working waterfront in the days when Alonissos was a significant wine producing island. The harbour today is more functional than beautiful with plenty of restaurants, shopping and a limited nightlife.
Alonissos beaches give the visitor a wide variety to choose from and its waters are considered to be some of the cleanest in the entire Mediterranean. Spend a day of swimming and sunning , then sit at a seaside taverna for lunch or alternatively, take a picnic lunch to a newly discovered secluded cove.
Private motor boat hire is especially good on Alonissos due to the protection from wind and weather that the adjacent island of Peristera gives to the southern coastline, which is dotted with plentiful coves and small beaches. The newly opened Alonissos Diving School gives a rare opportunity to explore the undersea world of this area which boasts astounding beauty, a sunken city and ancient shipwrecks.
Due to the its intricate coastline of small caves and coves as well as the many rocky islets, over time the islands surrounding Alonissos became a last haven for the shy and endangered species of seal, Monachus, Monachus or more commonly known as the Monk seal. In 1992, a National Marine Park was established in Alonissos and the surrounding area known as the "deserted islands".
An added benefit of the park was its protection of other endangered species of goats, birds, reptiles and fish which are rich in their abundance and variety. Special tours are organized to the "deserted islands" area of the Marine Park where playful schools of dolphins are a common sight, but only the lucky, just might catch sight of the rare little seal that inhabits the area.