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Alonissos

A long narrow island, the northernmost which is serviced by Skiathos airport, Alonissos offers even more seclusion and peace than Skopelos. It is the perfect island for nature-lovers and those who are seeking the delights of a simple Greek island. The main town, Patitiri, is an essentially sleepy harbour-side settlement with cafes and tavernas which overlook the comings and goings of the ferries and fishing boats. Entering into this naturally protected harbour, ones 1st impression are the steep, stone and clay cliffs which are intermingled with deep green pine trees providing a striking contrast as they cascade down to the clear emerald waters below. The town took its name from the original wine presses (patatiria) that made up the working waterfront in the days when Alonissos was a significant wine producing island. The harbour today is more functional than beautiful with plenty of restaurants, shopping and a limited nightlife.

By far the more attractive and interesting town of Alonissos is the old village or "hora" which was the ancient capital of the island. Situated on the top of the hills just 3 klms above Patatiri, this exquisite little town is oozing with charm. Climbing steeply up its winding stepped streets, one finds a maze of small artist shops, cafes and restaurants with absolutely stunning views to the sea which rival some of the most popular destinations in all of Greece. On a clear day, one can see Mt. Athos, Mount Olympus, Pelion, Evia, Skyros and Skopelos. Following its nearly entire destruction from the earthquake of 1964, the old town has been slowly and faithfully renovated by the many who want to preserve the original architecture of the island. Many fine touches are being renewed today such as the traditional slate roofs which are often accented with intricate, hand-made trimmings.

Increasingly well-known by nature lovers, people come from far and wide to walk on this lush and pristine island. A pet project of the current town hall is to continue the marking and sign posting of the island's interior trails. For example, the 50 minute walk from the old town to the port is now signposted, stone made and lighted. The extreme beauty of Alonisssos' dense pine forests, mingled with majestic oak, mastic and arbutus bushes as well as a huge variety of fruit trees make for a varied and interesting vegetation.

An added benefit of the park was its protection of other endangered species of goats, birds, reptiles and fish which are rich in their abundance and variety. Special tours are organized to the "deserted islands" area of the Marine Park where playful schools of dolphins are a common sight, but only the lucky, just might catch sight of the rare little seal that inhabits the area.

Alonissos beaches give the visitor a wide variety to choose from and its waters are considered to be some of the cleanest in the entire Mediterranean. Spend a day of swimming and sunning , then sit at a seaside taverna for lunch or alternatively, take a picnic lunch to a newly discovered secluded cove. Private motor boat hire is especially good on Alonissos due to the protection from wind and weather that the adjacent island of Peristera gives to the southern coastline, which is dotted with plentiful coves and small beaches.

The newly opened Alonissos Diving School gives a rare opportunity to explore the undersea world of this area which boasts astounding beauty, a sunken city and ancient shipwrecks.Due to the its intricate coastline of small caves and coves as well as the many rocky islets, over time the islands surrounding Alonissos became a last haven for the shy and endangered species of seal, Monachus, Monachus or more commonly known as the Monk seal. In 1992, a National Marine Park was established in Alonissos and the surrounding area known as the "deserted islands".

The accommodation in Alonissos varies greatly in price and quality. The port town is probably the least attractive area to stay even though the convenience certainly has its advantages. The old village above also have accommodation but the distance from local beaches may be a drawback. There are several, very picturesque seaside villages dotted along the south east coast which have a variety of rooms for rent. Thalpos Holidays has a full selection of villas and cottages at each of these villages. Choose a villa with private pool or a charming seaside cottage situated just meters from the crystal clear waters of your own secluded beach. Let your Alonissos holiday begin with an enchanting villa from Thalpos Holidays at an unforgettable location.

Alonissos is especially suited to those looking for a quiet get-away on a truly traditional Greek island. Some of the island women still wear the traditional outfit of headscarf, long full skirt with a white apron and the many fishermen of the island can be seen in their brightly painted caiques, using the same fishing methods as their forefathers. Alonissos is quickly advancing in the field of ecotourism by organizing such events as the annual Alonissos Marathon, which celebrates International Environmental day and by continuing to upgrade the walking trails and paths. One has the distinct impression that the residents of Alonissos take a real pride in the islands natural beauty. For the tourist, peace and exquisite beauty are Alonissos' ultimate allure.