Alonissos Island

The last port of call for the boats, this long, narrow island is less developed and quieter than either of the other two. Alonissos has great appeal to people who are wanting a real getaway from it all holiday, especially those who love nature and walking. The seas around Alonissos and the group of wild, uninhabited islands to its North of Alonissos are home to one of the most endangered species in Europe, the Monk seal. In order to protect their breeding grounds, and food supplies, the whole area has been designated as the Aegean’s only marine park, with varying degrees of restrictions over fishing and access. As well as being of benefit to the seals, whose population numbers are now on the rise, this has meant that Alonissos coastline and sea are scrupulously clean; swim on any one of Alonissos’ (mainly shingle) beaches, and you will revel in its cool translucent water. Organised boat trips to the deserted islands of Kyra Panagia, and Psathoura are a must for anyone interested in learning more about the monk seals and other species which inhabit these natural sanctuaries, such as the Eleonora’s falcon.

In addition to a gorgeous and undeveloped coastline, the island is a paradise for walkers, as its terrain is hilly, rather than mountainous, and its network of mule tracks (kaldirimia) and paths, have been accurately mapped and signposted. One of the most well known mule tracks climbs up the hill behind the small port town of Patitiri, and takes you up to the island’s old capital ‘Hora’. This village sustained major damage in the earthquake of 1965 but since then has been slowly and lovingly restored, and it is well worth taking a slow wander around its steep cobbled streets to just imbibe their peaceful charm.

Alonissos also has some of the best eateries in the Sporades, especially if you enjoy seafood; The two tiny fishing villages, Steni Vala and Kalamakia each have a selection of excellent waterfront tavernas, serving the day’s catch, local shellfish, and much more .

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