Alonissos, also known as “Landromia” is one of the most eastern islands of North Sporades. The total area of the island is 65 km²; the length of the coastline is 67 km. You can reach Alonissos by ferries from Skiathos and Skopelos, as well as by ferries departing from the mainland Greece.
Check the ferries timetable.
The green Alonissos with beautiful beaches, an old village and a picturesque port is archipelago’s the most unspoiled island. It is perfect for diving, fishing and water activities. The National Marine Park is arranged in the coastal waters of Alonissos. It is the largest protected marine area in Europe with hundreds of species of plants and animals. This area is home for Mediterranean monk seal — the symbol of the island. Dolphins are also the permanent inhabitants of this place. Marine Park includes another six small islands: Peristeri, Kira Panagia, Psafura, Piperi, Skadzura and Jura and two dozen rocky islets.
Alonissos is not a kind of tourist place, therefore the atmosphere here is calm and relaxed. During the high tourist season, all the activities are concentrated in the town — Patitiri, where the central port of Alonissos is located.
The name of the island refers to the early years of Greek State. It is curious that in ancient the island was called Ikos. According to myths, Cretans inhabited Alonissos in the 16th century BC. Thanks to the culture of wine making and olive trees cultivation, the islands developed rapidly. Thus, the Minoan colony transformed by time to Mycenaean society, centered near the Kokinokastro beach in the eastern part of the island. Legends say that Peleus, the father of the hero Achilles, spent the last days of his glorious life here.
Archaeological finds in the area of Kokinokastro became the basis of the assumption that Alonissos was one of the first inhabited islands in the Aegean Sea. The island was well known among the seafarers: it is located on the route of Jason and the Argonauts to Colchis, as well as it is mentioned in their Trojan route.
Just like the other islands of the Northern Sporades, the history of Alonissos has a long period of piracy, when frequent attacks by pirates took place here. In 476 BC, Alonissos joined the First Athenian Alliance after the victory of the Athenian fleet over the pirates.
During its heyday, Ikos (Alonissos) consisted of two cities. The ruins preserved in areas of Kokinokastro and Old Village. Back in that time, the island was famous by an excellent local wine, which was exported in amphorae. The handles of those amphorae were inscribed with “Ikion” word. It was a kind of quality mark.
Alonissos was an island of great geostrategic importance. Many sunken ships in coastal waters confirm that island have had an important military role. It is worth mentioning that the island has been also chosen as the base of the Athenian fleet in the war against Philip II of Macedon. However, Alonissos remained attractive not only to Greeks. In 190 BC, the island was conquered by the Roman fleet and later survived in a series of conquests of Franks, Venetians & Ottoman Empire. During the Liberation War in 1921, Alonissos attracted independence fighters from all over Greece.
In other words, Alonissos is an island of mythical heroes, shipwrecks, ancient cities and a true celebration of nature.
Local customs and traditions are especially revered on Alonissos. Every year a culinary, historical, church events and activities are held here. For example, mid-July in Palo Horia (Alonia) you can witness the process of threshing wheat. The crushed wheat is boiled in milk and then dried. This is a tradition revived by locals.
In late July, you can join a “fish night”. It is hard to miss an all-night-long-barbecue with seafood and local wine.
Moreover, if you would like to travel back in time you must visit the “House of Traditions”, where you can learn more about the past of the island. The place is all about crafts, folklore & life of the island.
HOLIDAYS ON ALONISSOS
In addition to the national holidays, the celebration of some other holiday dates is inherent for Alonissos.
APRIL 23 — St. George’s Day
After the morning service in the church, locals go for a barbecue and fun celebrations.
MAY 21 — St. Constantin & Helena Day
The festival begins by a service in the chapel of St. Constantin in Psili Rachi. The locals gather to cook a young goat and pasta. A local dessert based on milk and rice goes for a dessert.
JULY 25 — St. Helena Day (the patroness of Alonissos)
In the evening, a procession carries the icon of St. Paraskeva around the Patitiri, the island’s capital.
This day is traditionally considered the wedding day on Alonnisos. Currently, a revival of the traditional wedding ceremony is seen. The ritual begins as the best man, accompanied by traditional musicians visits groom’s house. The groom’s family is preparing something to go with to the bride’s house. Usually, it is some delicacies, sweets, wine & tsipouro. According to tradition, the doors of bride’s house do not open until the groom promises a gift to his mother in law. After this, the bride’s family & friends join the wedding procession in the church. The bride wears a traditional wedding dress called “Mork”. A junket follows up the wedding ceremony and the fest lasts all night long.
In 1995, Professor George Vithoulkas founded the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy on Alonissos. Every summer doctors from all around the world come here for training. Since 1980, Academy has trained more than 9,000 doctors and practitioners from 32 countries. Despite the fact that the practice of the Academy does not provide the reception of patients and prescriptions, doctors often come accompanied by patients, whose medical cases are studied in a professional environment.
WHAT TO DO IN ALONISSOS
Alonissos can be visited as a one-day visit as part of the tour from Skiathos, or you can spend a few days here.
You are likely to visit the island if:
You love nature:
— Watch a beautiful sunset from the Kalovoulos hill;
— Climb Kuvuli — the highest point of the island (475 m above sea level);
— Go to one of the hiking trails around the island.
You love diving:
The National Park, which preserves the ecosystem and historic heritage of the island, is very attractive for divers. A special archeological expedition is regularly organized to the shipwreck.
Recommended places for diving: the coastline in the north of the Steni Vala village from Cape Apifmenos and beach of Agios Dimitrios; Spartina Bay; Klima Bay (Peristera island); Megalos Aderfos coast.
You prefer active rest:
— Canoes and kayaks
You want to spend a romantic holiday:
Alonissos is perfect for a honeymoon if you are looking for a quiet & beautiful romantic place.