Alonissos is one of the Sporades, a quartet of islands that lie off the east coast of Greece comprised of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros.
Alonissos is the third furthest from the mainland and, as it has no airport, is usually reached by ferry from Skiathos which takes charter flights throughout the summer.
Flight and ferry times do not always coincide so many holiday visitors will factor in an overnight stay in Skiathos Town.
Ferries call in at Skopelos on the way to Alonissos and the journey time usually takes about 90 minutes
Alonissos is long and thin, and there is only one road along the west coast. A regular bus service runs to the main beaches, or there is car hire in the main port.
Walkers will find good trails through dense woods and exceptional views, although there are no facilities on any of the paths and walkers should take provisions.
There was once a somewhat optimistic plan to build an airport on Alonissos island and a project got underway in the mid-1980s.
The plans proved over-ambitious and the scheme eventually abandoned.
Package flight visitors to Alonissos land at nearby Skiathos Airport (JSI), officially called Alexandros Papadiamantis International), and passengers hop on one of the regular hydrofoils or ferries that run from Skiathos to ports at Skopelos and then on to Alonissos.
The port at Skiathos is only about three kilometres from the airport, recently extended, which takes charter flights throughout the summer including many direct flights from the UK each summer.
Daily domestic flights arrive from Athens (journey time about 20 minutes) with Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines.
With no airport, daily ferries and hydrofoils from mainland Volos and Agios Konstantinos via the islands of Skopelos and Skiathos link Alonissos to the outside world.
The trip from Agios Konstantinos takes about four hours and from Volos another 30 minutes.
Most ferry services are operated by Hellenic Seaways and there are usually three sailings daily to Skopelos and Skiathos and Agios Konstantinos and 13 sailings weekly to Volos.
It takes three and a half hours to sail to Agios Konstantinos or Volos, about 60 minutes to Skopelos and 90 minutes to Skiathos.
Faster passenger-only sailings from both Agios Konstantinos and Volos are operated by Aegean Flying Dolphins via Skiathos and Skopelos with a journey time of two and a half hours.
Anes Ferries also operates the Proteus car ferry from Volos to Alonissos daily, calling in at Skiathos and Skopelos.
Ferries also sail from Kymi on Evia a couple of times a week and hydrofoils head for Thessaloniki around four times a week.
On Alonissos, taxi-boats sail from Patitiri to island beaches along the eastern seashore and, given the state of some of the roads, this can be a better bet than a hired car.
Taxi-boats tend not to circulate until June when they leave from the port every day between 10.30 am and 11 am, returning at around 5 pm. Get tickets from the kiosk on the harbour front. There are daily boats to Agios Dimitrios, Chrisi Milia, Kalamaki, Milia and Steni Vala.
Four larger excursion boats – Gorgona, Odyssey, Planitis and Stella offer trips to islets in the local marine park. Boats leave Patitiri 10.30 – 11 am heading for Peristera and the east coast beaches on Alonissos. Other boats head out for islets at Skantzoura, Kyra Panagia and Psathoura.
There are now about 45 kilometres of paved roads on Alonissos providing a decent access to most of the island's beaches.
The road threads through the middle of the island linking Patitiri, Votsi and Gerakas. A crossroads at Tsolia Lakka, in the middle of the island, connects Agios Petros, Steni Vala, Kalamakia and Agios Dimitrios.
There are tracks off both these roads leading to more beaches. In the north, there is a forest dirt track at Kourti Lakka (just north of Votsi) that passes through several hamlets and ends at Agallou Lakka.
Car hire firms are the port at Patitiri, but none are cheap.
There is a bus service up to Chora from the port that runs mid-June to September. From Chora, a less regular service heads north-east to the fishing village at Steni Vala. Tickets are sold on the bus and it's a good idea to have the correct fare ready.
Four taxi drivers operate on Alonissos. The taxi rank is in the port opposite the Alykon Hotel, next to the bus stop. Note that fares may double for early morning trips or on public holidays.
Walking on Alonissos
Alonissos has some excellent walks most branching off from the hilly backbone which offers extensive views of both sides of the island. Walking maps are on sale in Patitiri and on nearby Skiathos.
There is a useful walk guide by Chris Browne 'Alonissos through the souls (sic) of your feet' from Travelleur.
More walks are in 'Alonissos on Foot', sold in local shops, but some are quite outdated now. Online details of walking trails on Alonissos are on the Ivicourt website.
If you miss the bus up to Chora, there is a 30-minute walk on the tarmac road or a 20-minute trek on a well-marked and paved path – quicker if you are heading downhill to Patitiri.
Alonissos is a small island and accommodation is limited, especially in the high season so better to not to turn up without a booking. Room owners do meet the ferry offering rooms to let and there is help at the island room-owners association office on the waterfront.
There are several small and medium size hotels in the port, most of them located on the hill overlooking the harbour but rooms here are usually booked well in advance. There are more apartments and rooms to let in Chora and also at Rousoum, Votsi, Steni-Vala and Kalamakia.
Almost all visitors base themselves in Patitiri or Rousoum where there are the best facilities. Steni Vala is the leading choice for visitors staying away from the port. There are now plenty of rooms in the resort, some shopping and several excellent tavernas. New accommodation has been built near Geladias, but there is virtually nothing north of there except a few rooms at the fishing hamlet of Kalamakia.
For those on a tight budget, there are camping sites at Plakes, near Patitiri harbour (2424 065639) and also at Steni Vala (2424 065639).
Alonissos is a long, thin island about 20 kilometres by 4 kilometres and it's a green, fertile island, mostly limestone, with four main villages, several tiny hamlets and a population of around 3,000.
Apart from tourism, the leading industries are fishing and olives, almonds, grapes and figs. Once noted for its wines, Alonissos was hit by an epidemic destroyed all the vines. The beaches are mainly pebble and stone.
Climate on Alonissos
Alonissos enjoys a typical east-Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. While April can be unsettled, it is a recognised month for walking holidays. May signals a sharp jump in temperatures that can rise to 21-25°C in summer and regularly hit 28°C and more in August.
September and October bring shorter days, cooler nights and fewer visitors but again offers ideal conditions for walkers. The sea is at it warmest for swimming in late October.
The island can get windy in the summer season when the northerly 'Meltemi' can blow pretty briskly but winds usually die off in the afternoon to leave evenings warm and pleasant.
|Size||80 sq km|
|Season||May – Oct|
|Time (GMT)||+2 hrs|
|Coast Guard||Dial 191|