My name is Elli and welcome to my travel guide on the amazing Alonissos island in the Northern Sporades of Greece. I was born and raised in Athens and am a qualified piano teacher. The arts have always been an important part of my life – with photography standing out in the past 15 years.
I have attended many photography seminars, participated in dozens of group exhibitions and in 2019 I presented my first solo exhibition titled “AQUA”. This was a big step for me and I was glad to receive a warm and positive acceptance from the Greek audience and public media.
I’m also the co-founder of an active Greek photography community called: “Greek Instagrammers Events” (@gr_events). Through the activities of our community, I actively participate in the organising and curating of group photo exhibitions and special photography experiences.
These experiences include photo-walks, photo-shootings, photography seminars and travel photography projects. Our projects received a Bronze Award at the Greek Tourism Awards of 2019 for successfully showcasing Greek travel destinations through photography and social media.
Photography is one of the reasons that I love to travel. I always look forward to planning my next trip, traveling around the world, discovering new destinations and capturing my adventures through my camera lens.
What Inspired me to Visit Alonissos
Last summer I decided to travel to one of the most beautiful islands of Greece, Alonissos. It’s a green island of the Sporades and is an ideal place for relaxing holidays close to nature by the sea. Having seen many photos, I was impressed and wanted to discover this wonderful place myself.
From the very first moment I arrived on the island, I realised that Alonissos is a green paradise – with beautiful beaches and coves, and dense vegetation that spreads over the entire land and touches the Aegean Sea. A true place of recreation where the senses become one with nature.
The traditional settlement of the old town, the peaceful environment, the lazy beaches, the turquoise waters and the pine-covered paths – all create a unique combination that captivates your mind and makes you fall in love.
A Wonderful 7-Day Trip to Alonissos
I visited Alonissos for one week in August. The island has countless beaches and beautiful places to explore and take photos. The golden sands, colourful stones and red cliffs make for an enchanting scenery. Most beaches are hidden in bays surrounded by pine forests and olive groves.
My days were spent visiting a different beach every day. I always felt impressed by the variety of landscapes, wonderful colours and crystal clear waters. It’s no coincidence that the largest natural marine park of the Mediterranean Sea is found in Alonissos – National Marine Park of Alonissos.
This is a unique habitat for many species of plants and animals such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles and the famous Mediterranean Monk Seal which you can meet by chance while swimming. They are very friendly with people and it’s a once in a lifetime experience to encounter them.
One of the best beaches I visited in Alonissos was Agios Demetrius which has turquoise waters, fine pebbles and a unique exotic beauty. Another gem was Kokkinokastro – an impressive beach with turquoise waters, red sand and pines. I also visited Chrisi Milia which has golden sand and pines.
Other beaches with crystal clear waters that I swam in were the wonderful places of Gerogie Yalos, Milia, Megalos Mourtias, Leftos Yalos beach and the beach of Votsi settlement. Alonissos, in addition to the beautiful beaches, has one of the oldest traditional villages of the Greek Islands.
“Old Alonissos” (some call it “Old Town”) is ideal for walking and exploring the countless alleyways, witnessing one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Aegean Sea, shopping at the traditional shops and tasting the amazing local cuisine at the traditional Greek restaurants and taverns.
One of the most interesting things I did in Alonissos was to visit the underwater museum of the island. It’s the first of its kind in Greece and opened its gates to the public just recently on the 3rd of August 2020.
At the underwater museum I had a unique experience of a virtual 30 metre deep dive at the Peristera Shipwreck – one of the oldest shipwrecks in the world that sank towards the end of the fifth century B.C. It was an amazing experience and I recommend everyone check out this museum.
Top 10 Things To Do in Alonissos
Alonissos is blessed with rugged landscapes, hidden beaches and lush pine forests and olive groves. Even better, the island is still relatively unknown by tourists which means you can enjoy magical experiences without big crowds. Here is my list of the top 10 things you can do:
1. Swim in the Crystal Clear Water Beaches
Swimming in the crystal clear water beaches is a must-do. According to a famous travel show host, daily visits to different beaches never end in Alonissos – even if one stays there for two months! You never get tired of exploring and enjoying the endless beaches of Alonissos in summer.
2. Walk around the Old Town of Alonissos
The Old Town of Alonissos is located in a privileged part of the island with a breathtaking view. Visitors can take in the view of the island’s landscape and the surrounding Aegean sea from taverns and cafes that are open all day long in summer. Walk around and enjoy the atmosphere!
3. Trek in Nature and Enjoy the Beautiful Landscape
Enjoy forest walks, visit the old chapels and discover hidden bays. Walk along beautiful ravines such as Vathi Rema which rises from Megalo Chorafi and flows into Megali Ammos. Another fascinating ravine is Kastanorema which runs through the northeastern part of the island.
4. Dive in the Largest Natural Marine Park of the Med
Dive into the largest marine park in the Mediterranean and meet rare wildlife species forming the precious ecosystem of the Northern Sporades. See seals and visit the Peristera Shipwreck. Diving guides provide all the support and gear for a magical scuba diving experience.
5. Visit the Underwater Museum of Alonissos
This is a must-do on every trip to Alonissos! In the underwater museum you will have the opportunity to experience a virtual dive in the shipwreck of Peristera. This shipwreck has a wealth of archaeological treasures and many incredible sea life creatures who call this place home.
6. Watch a Beautiful Sunset Every Night
Enjoy a breathtaking sunset view at Alonissos evernight. You can head down to the beaches to enjoy the show or visit the SunSet Cafe Bar which is easily the best place on the island to watch the sunset. The bar is located just outside the Old Town. Order a couple of drinks and sit back and relax.
7. Taste the Local Greek Cuisine of Alonissos
Taste the Alonissos local cuisine that is based on traditional recipes. Fresh fish and seafood, fish soups, lobster pasta, traditional cheese pies and desserts can certainly be an unforgettable gastronomic experience on this island. Keep reading below for some of my favourite restaurants!
8. Take a Boat Trip around the Island
Alonissos offers many well-organised sea excursions mainly to the “Marine Park of Alonissos” but also to other destinations around the island. Boats leave from Patitiri Port where you will find more information and tickets. Nothing beats being out on the ocean on a beautiful summer day.
9. Road Trip out to Gerakas Beach
If you have your own car and you are in the mood for a road trip, try visiting Gerakas Beach which is located in the northern part of Alonissos. The road from Chora to Gerakas takes 35 minutes. The route is comfortable and what makes it special is the view of a wild and unspoiled landscape.
10. Wander around the Port of Patitiri Village
Walk around the port of Patitiri and visit the Folklore Museum of Alonissos. Among the exhibits of the museum are the pirate exhibits and artifacts from pirate ships of the 16th to 18th century. Υou shouldn’t miss visiting the nearby settlements of Rousoum Gialos, Steni Vala, Kalamaki and Votsi too.
Warm Hospitality of Alonissos
Hospitality is certainly not missing from the people of Alonissos. During my trip I met many locals who were kind and willing to talk and make me feel welcome. They gave me information about the island’s history, culture and everyday life, and even let me take some nice photos of them.
In order to learn more about the culture I decided to visit the Folklore Museum located in a traditional house in the Old Town. Through the exhibits you get to see traditional needlework, well-preserved furniture, antiques, old photos, rare utensils and other tools used in the past.
I took a short trip back in time and it was touching to discover the way the people of Alonissos lived in the old days. Traditional aesthetics exist on every corner of the Old Town – even nowadays in the local shops, old architecture, beautiful alleyways and local celebrations and festivals.
Traditional customs are revived in annual celebrations and festivals on the island. These cultural events combine gastronomic, historical and religious aspects with the natural environment and the spirit of the locals.
Amazing Local Food of Alonissos
In Alonissos you can enjoy a delicious meal everywhere you go. Taverns and restaurants serve fresh fish, local tuna, organic vegetables and fruits, and homemade food all cooked in virgin olive oil from the olives of the island.
I remember enjoying delicious local dishes at a tavern called Tassia’s Cooking in Steni Vala. Dishes such as homemade cheese pie, fresh fish and other seafood meals were all phenomenal. Another favourite spot of mine was Eleonas in Leftos Gialos where I had a tasty meal of pasta with seafood.
At the Old Town there are many fantastic restaurants such as Thea. This place offers gourmet dishes in an idyllic environment with views over the Aegean Sea. For dessert, visit Hayiati in Chora. Here you can order homemade ice cream. The gastronomy options are truly endless!
Best Places to Stay in Alonissos
Alonissos has plenty of great hotels, rooms to let and studios which offer fantastic accommodation services. Most of them are located in Patitiri Port, Old Town, Rousoum Gialos, Votsis, Steni Vala and Kalamakia.
I booked my stay at the 4 Epoches Hotel. It was a beautiful place located in Steni Vala – 10 km from the main port of Alonissos. Hotel facilities included a pool bar, roof garden, lounge bar, restaurant, gym, parking lot, playground for kids and, of course, elegant and comfortable rooms.
For those who want to stay closer to the center, I highly recommend the Atrium Hotel which is located 900 meters from the port. It has stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the Marine Park of Alonissos. The hotel provides a high quality of standard in a comfortable and relaxing setting.
Favourite Memory of Alonissos
My most unforgettable moment in Alonissos happened while I was swimming on the beach of Agios Demetrius. I was so excited when I suddenly realised that a Monk Seal was swimming next to me. When people came closer to see her, she started playing with everyone!
After a while the seal went to the shore to have a rest and sunbathe. It was a special event and a once in a lifetime experience for those at the beach on that day. In Alonissos, it’s common to see seals when you’re swimming.
Need to Know Before you Go
Alonissos is one of the few natural paradises of the world that is still largely intact. It’s an ideal choice for both relaxation and adventurous activities. Nature explorers and photographers will be thrilled by the variety of plant and animal species located on the land and in the sea.
Summers in Greece are warm with high temperatures. However, in Alonissos, the weather feels cooler because of the north winds and dense pine forests that lower the temperature, especially from August.
The island can be reached by a ferry boat from the ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos and Mantoudi or by a taxi-boat from the nearby islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Skiros. The nearest airports are located at Nea Aghialos of Volos, Skiathos island and Skyros Island.
The total trip from Athens to Alonissos takes about four and a half hours (two and a half hours by car from Athens to Mantoudi and then another two hours by boat). Once you arrive it’s best to hire a car so you can discover all the hidden treasures of the island at your own pace.
No matter if you’re travelling solo or with friends, or looking for adventure or relaxation – your holiday in Alonissos will be a beautiful one!