The peaceful beauty of Northern Sporades islands.
The most peaceful island of Northern Sporades, Alonissos, may be considered by many as an island for couples only due to its magical and romantic sunsets, but the truth is it has something for all. Wonderful emerald beaches, picturesque villages, well-marked hiking trails for the fans of hiking and a local cuisine full of tasteful and traditional recipes made of unique local products, like the Alalunga tuna. Last but not least, Alonissos has the first marine park established in Greece and the largest marine protected area in Europe, the National Marine Park. You will arrive to this island heaven in approximately 5 hours with ANES Ferries either from the port of Volos or of Agios Konstantinos.
Introducing the villages of Alonissos.
The biggest settlement, the capital and port of the island is called Patitiri (means wine press in Greek). Patitiri is a vivid and colorful settlement built amphitheatrically around a bay, though it is less picturesque than the old capital of the island (Chora). Here you will find the Information Centre for the Marine Park and its lovely inhabitants, the Monachus monachus seals. Here you will also walk around the picturesque dock and from here you will take the boats for an excursion to the National Marine Park or to one of the numerous beaches of the island accessible only by sea.
The old capital of the island, Chora or Alonissos town, may have nowadays only few inhabitants but is surely the most picturesque village of the whole island. Its narrow paved streets are crossing through whitewashed houses with colorful doors and windows adding a joyful and aesthetic touch to its verdant scenery. However, the most intriguing part of Chora is the astonishing views to the Aegean from every corner of the village due to the fact that the Old Village (as Chora is called by the locals) is built like a balcony hanging from the mountain slopes.
All the rest small villages of the island are built over its coastline. The picturesque fish villages of Limanaki and Steni Vala, the village of Votsi with its labyrinth alleys which end up to its semicircular port and Roussoum Yalos, the village so close to Patitiri that looks like it is its natural extension.
Top-3 things to do in Alonissos.
The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades: the first marine park established in Greece and the largest marine protected area in Europe, is the natural habitat of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) as well as of a series of terrestrial and marine species. A lot of boats leave daily from Patitiri port for a Circumnavigation of the Marine Park which except Alonissos itself includes also 6 other uninhabited islands and 22 islets with great ecological significance, archaeological interest and unrivaled beauty.
The Historical and Folklore Museum: the inhabitants of Alonissos were not always fishermen. Those who were not farmers were basically pirates-their sea was after all great for piracy with so many small islands and islets working as hideouts. Piracy was flourished in Alonissos from 16th to 18th century. This exact story tells the museum of Alonissos, basically the one and only Pirate Museum in the Aegean Sea, with exhibits such as anchors, pirate weapons, handcuffs for prisoners and slaves and other objects which you see only in movies. Although, the pirate section of the museum concentrates the entire spotlight, this interesting museum has also one of the biggest collections of underwater antiquities in Greece and lastly, a Folklore section with traditional costumes, tools and utensils of everyday life.
Hiking trails: A network of well-marked hiking trails connects the villages and beaches of Alonissos with each other, climbs its mountaintops (Kouvouli is the highest with a height of 475m.) and crosses through creeks and forests offering hiking routes ideal for all, experienced hikers and amateur ones. The shortest is a pleasant half an hour walk and the longest is a challenging seven-hour hike. One of the most beautiful route starts from the village of Patitiri towards the forest below the village of Chora. Along the way you will witness stunning views of the Aegean and the islands of the Marine Park. Another route is a 45 minute walk from the Old Village (Chora) towards the Mount of Kalovoulos, a wonderful spot to enjoy the sunset
Best beaches in Alonissos.
Agios Dimitrios: By far the most impressive beach of the island, Agios Dimitrios is a horseshoe shaped beach distinguished for its dramatic wild beauty. Its white pebbles create a beautiful contrast with its azure crystal-clear waters. It is partially organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and easily accessible by car.
Milia: Pine trees reaching the waves, green waters so crystal-clear that seem fake, white pebbles outside the water and fine sand inside. Milia beach is partially organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and easily accessible by car.
Kokkinokastro: A giant red cliff dive to its waters forming a small cape and making the beach one of the most impressive beaches on the island. Kokkinokastro beach is organized, easily accessible (a few steps separate the beach from the road), with sand and white pebbles and of course emerald waters. Opposite the beach, on the islet called Kokkinonisi (Red Island), tools from the Palaeolithic area were found. They are the earliest evidence of human life in the Aegean.
Lefto Gialos: It is a white sandy and pebbled beach with amazing emerald waters, organized and easily accessible. It is ideal for those who love exploring the seabed (bring diving mask with you) but not for families with small children. They may hurt themselves in the rocks inside the water.
Chrissi Milia: Chrissi Milia lies very close to Kokkinokastro beach. It is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, it has shallow transparent waters ideal for families with small children and gold sand from which it took its name (chrissi means gold in Greek).
Spartines: The favorite beach of nudists is accessible only by a steep path or by boat. This white pebbled and sandy beach with the amazing crystal-clear waters is surrounded by impressive vertical rocks covered with thick vegetation. It has no facilities, which creates a unique feel of tranquility and isolation.
Mikros and Megalos Mourtias: Two southern beaches, next to each other and protected from the Aegean Sea’s winds. Mikros Mourtias is a sandy and pebbled beach with crystal clear waters, ideal for those looking for peace and tranquility as it has no amenities and a relatively hard access via a dirt road. On the other hand, Megalos Mourtias is easily accessible, with pebbles outside the waters and sand inside and is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. There is an almost secret path starting from the dirt road at the edge of Megalos Mourtias which leads to the wonderful, secluded beach of Vythisma.