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Why Should I Visit Alonnisos?

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Alonissos at a glance

A paradise for nature lovers, hikers, and couples seeking a romantic desert-island vibe, the smallest of the Sporades is a relaxing and revitalising haven in an idyllic landscape.

With its pine forests, olive groves and orchards, untouched exotic beaches, and seas hiding mysterious ancient shipwrecks, Alonissos is a destination full of sights, sounds and scents that is ripe for exploration and adventure.

Unpretentious and authentic, the home of the Mediterranean monk seal is a showcase for the splendour of nature and provides a powerful blend of well-being and emotional uplift to its visitors, who can enjoy it by choosing the ferry to Alonissos.

10 reasons to visit Alonissos
  1. To wander the labyrinthine streets of Palio Horio, the old capital of the island, with its stone houses and colourful balconies full of flowers. Climb up to the medieval castle that looks out over the Aegean Sea and enjoy the most beautiful of sunsets.
  2. To find out about the island’s past and traditions at the excellent Museum of History and Folklore in Patitiri. The collection offers a glimpse into the lives of the pirates that roamed the seas in these parts between the 16th and 18th century, and includes finds from sunken pirate ships. Among the museum’s exhibits are everyday objects that reveal what the traditional way of life was like on Alonissos.
  3. To stroll around the coastal village of Steni Vala, a favourite destination of yacht-owners and experienced sailors, who make the picturesque fjord-like harbour their base for exploring nearby islands and beaches. Visit the Diving Centre and the Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal. Afterwards, enjoy a walk through the dense pine forests and olive groves that surround the village.
  4. To enjoy a refreshing cocktail on a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea.
  5. To explore the Marine Park run by the Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal. This area of unique natural beauty is a habitat for rare forms of wildlife including seals, dolphins and coral. It is an entire aquatic ecosystem covering Alonissos, the unpopulated islands of Peristera, Kyra Panagia, Psathoura, Piperi, Skantzoura and Gioura, and 22 rocky islets.
  6. To walk the tree-lined trail that leads from AlonissosTown to the Byzantine chapels of the Holy Unmercenaries (13th century), perched on a cliff with stunning views of the sea.
  7. To taste Alonissos tuna, one of the finest – and priciest – fish in Greece.
  8. To explore the ruins of the Neolithic settlement of Ikos and the ancient cemetery at Kokkinokastro.
  9. To discover the legacy of ancient Alonnisos on the neighbouring uninhabited island of Kyra Panagia (also known as Pelagonisi). Make a stop at the historic 12th-century monastery and the restored flour mill and oil press, before taking a dip at the exotic beaches of St Peter’s and Planitis.
  10. To take a boat trip to the stunning Blue Cave near the island of Peristera, with its ceiling full of stalactites patterned with turquoise reflections from the water below.
The top 5 beaches

St Demetrius: An exotic paradise of white pebbles and blue waters that often features in lists of the world’s top ten beaches. Only one part of the beach has tourist amenities, and it is so long that there is plenty of room for lovers of quiet and seclusion. There is also a taverna and a canteen for food and drink. The island of Peristera lies directly opposite.

Chrysi Milia: One of the island’s most popular beaches, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere, situated on the east coast of the island. The fine golden sand and shallow crystal-clear waters make it ideal for families with children and for snorkelling. It has umbrellas and tavernas serving excellent food and you can visit it if you choose the ferry to Alonissos.

Leftos Yialos With pale sand and white pebbles, green pine trees, and clear turquoise waters, this beach has a unique exotic beauty. With a view of a pair of small islands known as the “Two Brothers”, its tavernas and beach bars are open from morning to night and it is one of the main stops for tourist boats from Skiathos and Skopelos.

Vithisma: A hidden paradise in the south of Alonissos distinguished by its fine dark sand and black pebbles, crystal-clear emerald waters and a pine forest that reaches all the way down to the sea. Ideal both for lovers of peace and quiet and for windsurfers, access is by boat or via a hard-to-find track from the dirt road to Megalo Mourtia beach.

Kokkinokastro: One of the island’s most impressive beaches, at the foot of a steep red cliff and surrounded by large imposing rocks in similar colours. The wild beauty of the landscape is complemented by dense green pine trees, pink-tinged sand and colourful stones, while the deep turquoise waters are great for snorkelling. The beach is ideal for lovers of quiet and seclusion, as it has umbrellas and sun beds but no beach bar or canteen. Access is via steps.

Don’t leave Alonissos without…
  • Experiencing a unique underwater adventure exploring the legendary shipwrecks on the seabed around Alonissos, which date from the 4th or 5th century to the Byzantine period.
  • Making a stop at the volcanic island of Psathoura to admire the tallest lighthouse in the Aegean, the work of 19th-century French engineers, as well as the remains of an ancient submerged city.
  • Exploring the seas around the island on a guided canoe or kayak tour.
  • Stocking up on some of the local sweets – and jars of Alonissos tuna – at the Women’s Cooperative and local grocers in Patitiri.
  • Following one of the island’s signposted trails, with magical views alternating constantly between the green of the forest and the turquoise of the sea.
  • Attending the Threshing Festival held in July in Palio Horio, where the traditional method of threshing, using horses, is demonstrated. The women of the village prepare a traditional wheat-based dish called trahanas to share with visitors, and the festival culminates with singing and dancing.
Tasty Experiences
  • Try the local tuna, grilled or with black linguini. Alonnisos tuna (the alalunga species) is one of the island’s finest products. There are three types (yellow, white and red) sold in jars.
  • Taste the famous trahanas pie (handmade filo filled with fermented grain, onions, mizithra cheese and eggs).
  • Enjoy the local courgette pie with its characteristic sweet and spicy taste.
  • Try crispy coiled cheese pie and walnut cake.
  • Sample the local bourekia (pies filled with boiled goat meat).
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with hamalia (traditional sweets made from almonds, walnuts, semolina, honey and spices, and dusted with icing sugar), fouskakia (doughnuts in the shape of small balls), soultana (the local version of the custard pie better known in Greece as bougatsa), and the local amygdalota (almond sweets).
  • Drink the island’s “black” wine (so-called for its dark red colour).
  • Stop off at Kalamakia Beach for fresh fish of the day and the finest lobster with orzo.
  • Choosing the ferry to Alonnisos means trying grilled figs with honey.
Trivia

Surrounded by pine trees, Milia is the location of the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy, the only institution in the world for the teaching of homeopathic medicine. Every summer since 1995, hundreds of medical students, doctors and health professionals have come here from all over the world to receive training in the philosophy and methods of homeopathic treatment. The choice of Alonissos is linked to its ancient tradition as a place of alternative medicine, which derives from the beneficial properties of the natural herbs that grow on the island.​

MAP OF ALONISSOS
Useful Information