Tourist holiday reviews of the Greek island of Alonissos. Holiday reviews of Alonissos resorts, beaches, apartments, tavernas and all aspects of Alonissos holidays from people who have visited the island. I welcome all opinions on holidays in Alonissos.
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Good: For the moment Alonissos is an island for wandering the fertile hills, taking little boats to little beaches and sitting around the waterfront.
Bad: Not a lot.
Good: What charm may be lacking in the built environment on the coast is made up for by the hospitality of the islanders.
Bad: Alonissos has some of the cleanest water in the Aegean, but it's lacking in sand beaches. There's only one really sand beach on the island . . . the rest varying from rough to fine pebbles.
Good: Long, skinny Alonissos is the queen of her own little archipelago on nine islets . . . the donkey tracks of old that crossed the island have been paved and package holidaymakers and flotilla yacht fleets have arrived, discreetly; tourism on Alonissos is about as close to ecotourism as you can get on the Greek islands.
Bad: Not a lot.
Alonissos is a spectacular island! I used to live on the island when I was younger and I can't stay away. The views are amazing, the people are friendly, the food is delicious. It is an unspoiled island of Greece. I have visited many islands and this is my favourite by a long shot. If anyone is looking for a quiet island, with brilliant views, real people and a great atmosphere I would recommend Alonissos.
If you seek peaceful, tranquil and majestic place with the feeling of original Greek life, “Greece from yesterday” then Alonissos is hardly to beat . . . for me maybe a most precious jewel from Greek islands.
Whoever wrote the piece on Alonissos must have arrived with a whole raft of misconceptions as to what qualifies as traditional Greek island and a host of preconceptions as to what they expected to find. To begin the review with a sentence like 'There is precious little to enjoy on Alonissos apart from delightful, if arduous, walks and stunning scenery' suggests to me that the author would feel more at home on Mykonos.
A note to add to your web page on Alonissos. One of its charms is its peace and tranquillity, even at the peak of the summer season. In mid-August when the island is a place flocked to by Greeks, as well as the normal mix of northern Europeans and a fair contingent of Italians, it remains possible to go to small beaches and coves where you can enjoy the sea and sun without being too disturbed by others doing the same.
If you hire a car or a motorbike the freedom that comes with those allows you to get to the beach of your choice before the daily caiques bring in their passengers from Patitiri. You can also stay longer as these return their customers in mid-to-late afternoon.
Use your car to go to Leftos Yialos a small bay north of Kokkinokastro and at about ten in the morning and four in the afternoon you will be treated to the sight of up to a hundred goats coming down on the beach to drink at the well . . . well worth seeing, though don't be tempted to offer food to the goats as they may take too much interest in you and your belongings. One final point, worthy of note, is that the Chora or Old Alonissos village is car-free and so good to wander around after a meal at one of the tavernas.
On Alonissos, I agree with you that it's not a wildly interesting or even very attractive island. I disagree with you about the tavernas; the ones we tried in Chora all seemed to us better than average, with at least one excellent dish per menu, which frankly is more than sometimes happens - fortunately I love Greek salad. By the end of the week we were contemplating returning at a later date, so it had some charm.
Given things like a cat dying in our courtyard (we can report that a fully extended Greek cat with rigor mortis does not fit into a Greek plastic sack) I was ready to come home on the third day. This is a triumph of sorts! The other thing I would say is that Chora is a lovely place to stay and we were in an absolutely smashing house, much photographed in other brochures, courtesy of Simply Greece. The house was on the outskirts of the village and it was so peaceful and the view was magnificent.
This year went to Alonissos. Beautiful, relaxed and non-touristy. It has excellent walking and great beaches. We had accommodation in the lovely old town, fantastic views, great tavernas. I'll be back!
The National Marine Park of Alonissos and the Northern Sporades (NMPANS) is a 2200 square kilometre area around Alonissos set aside in 1992 by the Greek Government for the protection of the ecosystem and the Mediterranean monk seal. It has two main zones:
Zone A includes seven islands and some islets and the sea around them and is open to tourism and small scale fishing. Islands in this zone include Kira Panagia, Gioura, Piperi, Psathoura and Skantzoura. Inside Zone A is an area known as the Core Zone around the island of Piperi where no activity is allowed except permitted scientific research.
Zone B includes Alonissos and several smaller islands and seas around them. Apart from regulations on trawler fishing, most other activities are allowed. Protection has been patchy with almost no funds made available for many years and typified by Greek lassitude and general indifference. A couple of patrol boats donated by a wealthy individual were holed up on Alonissos as the Greek government refused to give any cash to pay for fuel. They later disappeared. Bravo!
Did you know? In 1995 and 1996, the Greek army mounted live-fire exercises against the island of Skantzoura in Zone A, setting scrubland on fire and damaging a stretch of protected coastline. The Minister of Defence subsequently apologised to Parliament for the blunder, but in mitigation pleaded ignorance of the Marine Park's existence!
Critics point out that any management authority worthy of the name, even if it had been unable to bring about a cease-fire in the first attack, would at least have prevented a repeat of the bombardment the following year. As the park continues its directionless drift, local businesses are beginning to view it as a dead-end rather than an avenue for advancement, as a place strangled by regulation and offering few benefits.
We booked just an airfare-ticket from Norway to Skiathos, and used the Internet for hotel booking. I contacted quite a few hotels listed on the Alonissos home page, and got nice replies from all of them. The all-time low on price was the Cavos Hotel for a single room with bathroom. It turned out to be quite a good value for our money - basic, but clean, and situated a few minutes walk from the harbour.
We visited in the low season. I could imagine it to be noisy if the hotel was filled to it's capacity (thin walls!). Anyway, Alonissos was a delightful experience for us. We met so many lovely people, Greek and visitors, and our week was filled with only good experiences. Friendly all over, and when we whined over, for example, no skordalia, the waitress arranged it for us with no fuss.
I have never in my travels to the smaller islands of Greece had a nicer experience. My friends and I were treated like honored guests wherever we went, and I can't wait to go back. Skiathos was a shock to us. Because of windy weather we went to Skiathos a day before our plane was due to take us home, so we spent a day and a night there. Don't want to put anyone off but, compared to Alonissos, it was a madhouse. We are not frumpy old maids, but fun-loving women. We loved Alonissos and its inhabitants, and yes! we would like to keep it a secret. But no, we can't keep our mouths shut. Happy journeys, everyone.
Strange how different people have different views. We visited Alonissos several years ago, in an ever-hungry quest to find smaller, more remote and definitely more traditional islands. Once having spend a couple of weeks in Alonissos we were gripped by the friendliness of the locals (with their amazing ability to remember you several years later even when they only saw you for an instant!) and by an undeniable charm inherent within the Chora and Steni Vala.
Admittedly Patitiri is not the most beautiful of first glimpses of Alonissos, and an extra concrete jetty being built for the Flying Dolphins on the harbour front may not enhance it any further, but there is an undeniable attraction of the place, particularly at night, and especially after a few retsinas!
Apart from the Italians, who seem intent on bundling themselves away in their own little complex (but has anyone tried telling them that they aren't allowed to have private beach fronts in Greece?).
Alonissos only becomes really busy for the first two weeks in August, leading up to the festival of Panagea on 15th August. At this time, the island is inundated with Italians and Athenians on their holidays. Wonderfully spurious and ad hoc, the eating, drinking and dancing starts a few days before Panagea, and continues well into the night, with everyone welcome and everybody intent on enjoying themselves.
Add to that any spurious festivals which may be decided upon at the drop of a hat, and it's a wonderfully innovative atmosphere. We will be back in the following years, and eventually hope to settle there, preferably in the Chora, or one of the few small villages down the coast from Patitiri. It has enough charm as an island to be attractive for two weeks, or a haven from modern life in later years. I can't see us ever tiring of the place!
I've stayed at the Paradise Hotel in Patitiri a couple of times now. There is the main hotel and an apartment block next door. The rooms are not particularly spacious, basic amenities and they don't face the sea so not much of a view from the balconies but this is a 2 star hotel so you get what you pay for.
Breakfast is outside under an awning near the pool which is very pleasant - the usual stuff - bread rolls, cheese, jam, boiled eggs and yoghurt. The pool is on the small side but has steps down into it though there are not enough sunbeds for the numbers in the hotel.
The hotel is set on a cliff and tables are set out on terraces below the pool bar - very pleasant for an evening drink and you can walk along the cliffs into Patitiri - it takes about 15 minutes and its a steep climb back up. There are a couple of hotel tavernas that you pass on the way that are well worth a visit.
We just got back from Alonissos. We stayed at the Elena Studios where the rooms have air conditioning, the rooms are quite spacious. The accommodation is split with a road to nowhere in between so you don't get too much traffic, though as usual the mopeds and of course the dustman are noisy as they pass.
The rooms are cleaned every two days and the cleaner does a really good job. Also the swimming pool - smallish - is now open which has made the swallows particularly happy. The harbour is a five minute walk down a steep concrete road. Plenty of tavernas.
Car hire probably only worthwhile for a couple of days. We just did three days of it so we could do some circular walks further up the island from obscure places. There are loads of paths and all are waymarked. Loads of people do snorkeling, it is very good and the sea is crystal clear.
Terribly sad to come home. Transfers are the usual, i.e. waiting around, and Skiathos was something of a nightmare coming home. Also be prepared to get stuck at Volos for the refuel; we were sat there for nearly two hours.
To be honest I didn't find Steni Vala any great shakes when I stayed there a couple of years ago. There is a small harbour with a couple of tavernas, minimarket and views across to Peristera otherwise not much else. Nice if you want seclusion except that its on the bus route - so day trippers - and a favourite with boats - so crowded tavernas.
The surroundings are very beautiful though. I stayed at Limani Cottage on the hillside overlooking the harbour and set in olive groves. Its not luxury but it's not Greek basic either. There are not any good beaches here, a small pebble affair at Glyfada, another at Tzortzi. You can get a boat in high season to Agios Dimitros and, as I say, a daily bus to Patitiri.
I found Steni Vala a delightful away from it all place. True, there's not a lot there but that suits me. It is on the 'tourist trail', if Alonissos can be said to have one, but there are advantages in there being some very good tavernas to cater for them. Try the tiny taverna at the end of the harbour. It's up some stone steps and I don't recall its name (if it ever had one). Only half a dozen tables on the roof but delightful. Steni Vala is a good base too for exploring the island.
There are beaches to be found in Steni Vala if you look for them. At the northern end of the village is a track that takes you in a few minutes to a wonderful beach called Glifes. There's another called Agios Petri in the next bay but this is not so good, though still worth a visit. And it's only a short drive to Agios Dimitrios with its wonderful white pebbles and superb swimming and snorkeling. It is so quiet and beautiful there with the islands offshore. I thought I was in heaven.
We stayed here at the Glyfa Beach studios last year. Its a modern studio built in typical island style and surrounded by olive trees. The beach is only a few minutes away. It is small but very pleasant. A small track leads along the coast to Steni Vala which is less than a mile away with a small supermarket for the daily needs and you can get taxis from here to get to other parts of the island, though really a car is recommended.
The studio is very comfortable with double beds. kitchen and small breakfast area. The terrace looks out over the olive groves to the sea. Above the studio is the main house with well equipped kitchen and large living room and lovely fireplace. Wooden stairs lead to more bedrooms and a large terrace stunning views. The main house and the studio are rented separately. It's an ideal location for families or large groups and the sea so near.