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Island of the Week

Alonissos

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Greek sea turtle

Greek sea turtle

Katelios Group
The Sporades Islands are special, less jammed than the Cyclades, yet more "beautiful" by usual standards. The international "jet set" discovered these isles in the 60's and 70s, especially Skiathos and Skopelos. Those islands still draw the money-lucky crowd in droves, but Alonissos, less "in" even in the heyday of the Sporades and skipped by major guidebooks, entices the eco-traveler with the adjacent National Marine Park of the Sporades, sometimes called the Alonissos Marine Park. It's home to the endangered monk seal and a host of other spectacular wildlife.

Try Out an "ECO Island"

The European Community has declared Alonissos one of the six "ECO Islands" of Europe, recognizing it as an international treasure. The presence of the protected Marine Park makes the waters around Alonissos incredibly clear and unpolluted.

Islands in the Marine Park

The Marine Park consists of a number of small islands, Kyra Panayia, Gioura (or Youra), Psathoura, Piperi, and Skantzoura. Piperi is kept completely wild and even approaching it by sea is forbidden. Gioura and Psathoura are visitor-friendly, and under certain permits, hunting is permitted on Gioura. Gioura also boasts the "Cave of Kyklopes", the one-eyed monster of Greek mythology. Nearby, a rare species of wild goat lingers. Psathoura may have been the major settlement of this island group in ancient times, and a sunken city remains offshore.

About the Island of Alonissos

A devastating earthquake resulted in the abandonment of the old capital town, though it has been resurrected in recent years as wealthy Greeks restore and reinforce the fine old houses. The fishing and yachting port of Patitiri is the busiest spot on the island by Alonissos standards - be warned that "busy" here is not exactly stomach-churning action. Patitiri does provide a couple of nightclubs and general tourist resources such as a pair of supermarkets (again, these are "super" by Alonissos standards). A half-dozen tavernas provide food and fun for those hungry for either.

Just How Eco-friendly Are You?

Not all rentals available on Alonissos have electricity. At Barbakis, the Sea Horse Cottage, provides a gas-operated stove and fridge, plus oil and gas lamps for lighting. It does bow to technology and comes with a car to get you to the village.

When you Go to Alonissos:

Alonissos can be reached by ferry from Volos on the mainland, and from the port of Kimi on Euboea (Evia). During high season, there are hydrofoils from Skiathos, originating in Thessaloniki, Agia Constantinos, and Volos.
The Skopelos-based Thalpos Travel Agency can assist in making reservations.

Alonissos essentially "closes" for the winter, beginning about mid-October. After that, tourist facilities and most tavernas are closed.

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