Alonissos (or Alonnisos), situated to the East of the Sporades islands, is charming, peaceful island dense with pine, olive and fig trees, numerous bays, coves and green hills. Unlike Skiathos and Skopelos, Alonissos has not yet been spoilt by mass tourism and it could be considered as an “off the beaten track” destination.
The island’s old capital is Chora (also called Palia Alonissos) and is located on the top of a hill next to a small fortress. After a devastating earthquake in 1965, the villagers had to abandon Chora and move to Patitiri (the island’s main harbour) where they built new houses. That is why Patitiri is not your typical picturesque Greek village. The old houses in Chora lay derelict for decades, however now they are being restored as holiday homes, art galleries and restaurants.
Patitiri may be the heart of the island full of tavernas, shops, cafes, bars and clubs, however if you are looking for something more traditional, make sure you visit Chora. There, you will find many nice tavernas, cafes, small shops and spectacular views and sunsets! Some more villages also worth visiting are Rousoum Yialos, Votsi, Steni Vala, Kalamakia and Ag. Dimitrios.
Most beaches in Alonissos are pebble ones scattered along the East coast. Some of the beaches are Mourtias, Vithisma, Marpunta, Rousoum, Milia, Chrisi Milia, Tzortzi Yialos, Ag. Dimitrios, Gialia, Vrisitsa, Kokkinokastro, Megali Ammos and Agalou Lakka.
If you are on sailing boat holidays in the Sporades islands/ Aegean Sea, then it is certain that in Alonissos you will find your own little paradise bay!
The climate in Alonissos is similar to the other Sporades islands. It is characterized by mild winters with frequent rainfalls and warm summers with quite high temperatures. A pleasant breeze that blows from the North known as “meltemi” (only it is rarely strong in the Sporades) offers a relief during the hot summer days.
More specifically, summer starts from May in Alonissos with a sharp rise in temperatures, around 20-24 degrees Celsius (68-75 degrees fahrenheit) and reaches 26-31 degrees celsius (79-88 degrees fahrenheit) during July and August. September and October bring shorter days, cooler nights and fewer visitors.
While sailing Alonissos, you will moor your boat in Patitiri main port, in Gerakas and in Steni Vala. For anchoring, you may go to Mourtia bay, Votsi and Tzorti bay.
Keep in mind: Skiathos port in Skiathos island is our charter base for the Northern Sporades islands.
The history of Alonnisos dates back to the Palaeolithic period, when it is believed that all the Sporades islands were one with the mainland (Thessaly). After a devastating earthquake, the mainland was separated forming the Sporades islands. It is also believed that the Minoans, with Staphylos as their leader, colonised the island of Alonissos (which was called Ikos at the time) and began the production of fine wine, olive oil and amphorae. The Minoan settlement, which later became Mycenaean, was found in Kokkinokastro. Ikos must have been a very important destination and layover for shipping lanes as an unusual number of ancient shipwrecks was discovered off its coast.
In 190 B.C the island came under Roman rule and little is known about the years that followed up until 1204 A.C when the Francs dominated Alonissos and the neighbouring islands followed by the Venetians. In 1538, the island was raided by pirate Barbarossa and fell under Ottoman occupation until 1830 when it was finally liberated became part of the new and free Hellenic State with the rest of the Sporades Islands.
What to see in Alonissos:
Although Alonissos has a rich history, it has very little to show you. You will find only the museum of Historical and Popular Culture in Patitiri which exhibits interesting findings and collections from all ages.
While you are on holiday in Alonissos, make sure you visit the National Marine Park. The first nature reserve of Greece, established in 1992, solely devoted to the preservation of Greece’s marine species and more particularly the monk seal Monachus Monachus.
Alonissos is mainly island for relaxing so do not expect too much! However, you can find water sport activities in some of the island’s organised beaches such as Chrisi Milia and Marpunta.
Scuba diving is strictly forbidden in order to protect the many underwater treasures and wrecks of archaeological importance so as fishing.
Another activity, for nature lovers, is the guided walks. One of the walks, from the old town to Patitiri, is actually very impressive!