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Alonissos




Alonissos is one of the less visited islands of the Northern Sporades but, unlike its noisy neighbour Skiathos, has a tranquil atmosphere with lots of old-world Alonissos holiday charm.
Its warmth hospitality and simplicity as well as its natural beauty attracts more and more quality tourism that was spoiled temporary by the international boost of the nearby islands of Skopelos and Skiathos after a Hollywood blockbuster that was filmed there. In general, Alonisos, with a population of about 4600 inhabitants, is a quiet island where you can enjoy total relaxation. Of course, there are many restaurants, bars and organised excursions, but it is not a commercialised place.


The island measures 65 sq. km and is at its widest 4.5 km from northwest to southeast and at its longest 20 km from southwest to northeast. The island is mostly limestone.

The surrounding waters together with a number of uninhabited larger and smaller islands form the only National Marine Park in Greece(NMPANS). There are boat trips to several of the islets, though visiting is restricted to protect the vulnerable flora and fauna.
 
As a result Alonissos has been awarded with a special ECO Island status and can boast some of the cleanest swimming in the Mediterranean. This makes the island an ideal holiday destination for people interested in spending their vacation in a beautiful, unspoiled natural environment.




It is an island of an incredible natural beauty and amazing beaches. Most of the island’s coasts offer the superb image of marble formation, striking with red and descending into crystalline emerald waters.

Alonissos is a favourite with independent travellers and also for those visitors on all inclusive Greece holidays.

Walkers too have plenty to crow about as Alonissos island is green, fertile and heavily wooded with some jaw-dropping scenery for the footloose. Walking trails run along the island backbone from one end to the other.



Because of the richness of the soil and the mild climate, a wide range of herbs are growing in Alonissos, which is why the island is the centre for the International Academy of Classic homeopathy. This Academy is situated just outside Votsi near Patitiri.



The history of Northern Sporades islands goes back to the Stone Age. According to excavations on Alonisos at Kokkinokastro. where petrified bones from the Middle Stone Age were discovered, the island was inhabited from pre-historic times. Moreover, these excavations show that a number of different cultures developed on this Greek island.




The main port of the island is located in the south-east and is called Patitiri. There is ferry and hydrofoil service from Patitiri to Volos, Agios Konstantinos, and Thessaloniki on the mainland and to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros. The bus route to Old Alonissos (Chora) and Stenivala starts from here as do the taxis and excursions to beaches and the National Marine Park of Alonissos.



Communities and Settlements in Alonissos

Patitiri
Patitiri is the island's main harbour and the first place you see when you arrive on Alonissos. You might be a little disappointed, since the harbour Patitiri is not your typical picturesque Greek village.

After a devastating earthquake in 1965, the local population moved from the Old village (Chora) down to Patitiri so the buildings are new. Growth was rapid and now Patitiri is the biggest village and the capital of the island.

Many guide books write off the Patitiri's drab collection of breeze block buildings, but much has been done by the locals to add charm, and the results are not so bad.

There are many nice shops, cafes and taverns there to offer a fairly pleasant, if short, evening stroll. The little beach at Patitiri is clean and fairly pleasant with steep, wooded hills on three sides. Right above the beach the Alonissos (Pirate) Museum is situated.



















Chora is perched on the hilltop high up above Patitiri. The town was built to withstand attack from pirates, and used to be the island capital until the 1965 earthquake.

Then the people were forced to move down to Patitiri. The old village was left alone for many years, but in the 1970's the old, ruined houses were bought, mainly by Germans, and slowly the village started coming to life again as a a holiday home village.

Now in 2009, Chora is an absolutely picturesque little village with narrow streets, local artists' shops, fortified stone houses and small cafes looking over the Sporades island, 





Rousoum Yialos
Rousoum Yialos is the most popular beach in the area.

Rsoum (now Rousoum), means 'tax' in Turkish. During the long period when the islands were under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, wine was shipped from this beach and all the island's taxes were collected here by the Turks.





Votsi
The small harbour of Votsi is 20 minutes walk from Patitiri. It used to be a separate village from Patitiri, but like Rousoum Yialos, Votsi has grown with the building of new houses so that the three villages have merged to form the municipality of Alonissos. Votsi has no shopping centre so the harbour is the most lively place with its small tavernas. This small village takes its name from Admiral Votsis, who made Alonissos his base for the Greek naval fleet during the Balkan wars.



Stenivala
Stenivala is a small fishing harbour 10km from Patitiri. The village is quite old, older than Patitiri, but has kept its traditional.

Like Kalamakia, Stenivala is famous for fresh fish in the tavernas, all owned by fishermen. The hospital unit for monk seals is in Stenivala and if you are lucky you might see one there.

Stenivala is becoming a popular yachting destination and the small port is usually full of sailing boats, giving a unique atmosphere.






Kalamakia and Agios Dimitrios

Kalamakia is a small fishing harbour, 12km from Patitiri and even quieter than Stenivala. The village is a popular for the fresh fish and lobsters served in the waterside.

Kalamakia and Agios Dimitrios, which is considered as the best beach on Alonnisos, make a good combined trip; you could swim at nearby Agios Dimitrios and have lunch in Kalamakia.