Alonissos: A Greek Island Paradise Awaits

Underrated Alonissos, a pine-clad island in the Northern Sporades, may not be as well-known as its neighbors Skiathos and Skopelos, but it offers a unique kind of spectacular. It is a tranquil island surrounded by gorgeous, clear waters, lush greenery, and traditional settlements.

An aerial view captures the breathtaking beauty of Agios Dimitrios beach on Alonissos Island.
Agios Dimitrios Beach

I love all Greek islands but I have to admit that I prefer the ones that are much less touristically advanced and remind me of authentic Greece with its slow-paced villages and friendly tavernas that I still remember when I was a child (a long time ago 😀 ).

Alonissos is one of these places in Greece that has a magical atmosphere.

Peristera, Vasilis Drosakis

Is Alonissos for everyone? Yes, it is but especially for those who love sea activities as Alonissos is a snorkeling and diving paradise!

What are the best things to do in Alonissos? Explore the renowned National Marine Park, snorkel to the underwater museum, discover pirate caves, and shipwrecks, hike amazing trails, visit charming villages, and taste one of the best cuisines in the Sporades! So, grab your sunscreen and sense of adventure, because we’re about to dive into everything you need to know about Alonissos Island!

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Best Things to Do in Alonissos

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Alonissos Quick Facts

The traditinal stone built village of CHorio in ALonissos at dusk with people enjoying their dinners.
Chorio Alonissos
  • It belongs to the Sporades group located across from the mainland Pelion.
  • Population: 3.153 (2021 census).
  • Economy: Tourism, agriculture, farming, fishing.
  • It hosts the largest Marine Park in Europe.
  • The beaches in Alonissos are mostly pebbly except for sandy Chrisi Milia.
  • Alonissos became part of Greece in 1830.
  • Its ancient name was Ikos and it presents the longest history of human presence in the Aegean.

Explore the Settlements

Patitiri the Port

An aerial perspective of Patitiri port on Alonissos Island, surrounded by lush greenery and hillsides.

As I stepped off the ferry, I found myself in Patitiri, the bustling capital and port of Alonissos. Its name, meaning “Grape Press” in Greek, hints at the island’s long history of winemaking. The architecture may be modern (the 1965 earthquake destroyed the town), but Patitiri’s charm lies elsewhere – the beautiful harbor, the surrounding nature, and the welcoming spirit of the locals.

A scenic view of Patitiri port in Alonissos, Greece, showcasing colorful fishing boats moored along the quay against a backdrop of traditional white-washed buildings.

There are several cafés and taverns to choose from while watching the fishing boats and the two neighboring islands called Dio Aderfia (Two Brothers). While drinking a coffee or a chilled glass of wine you can also make new friends: locals or expats who have settled on the island and believe that Alonissos is the real paradise on earth.

In Patitiri, I booked a boat tour to explore both Alonissos and the Marine Park (but I didn’t dive as I prefer to enjoy the sea sitting comfortably on the boat). Don’t miss the chance to visit the MoM, the Center for the Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, and learn more about this fascinating endangered creature.

Palio Chorio, the Medieval Capital

A charming glimpse of the quaint hillside village of Alonissos, with its labyrinthine alleys and traditional architecture.

In stark contrast to the lively Patitiri, Chorio, as the locals call it, is tranquil, with a laid-back charm. It was built high on a picturesque hilltop for protection against pirates and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Imagine strolling through narrow streets lined with stone houses, each with its unique character – from the traditional slate stone from Pelion to colorful doors and windows and picture-perfect courtyards overflowing with flowers.

An enchanting view of the old traditional village perched atop a hill on Alonissos Island, Greece. Narrow cobblestone streets wind through whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillea.

Important info about Chora:

  • You have to leave your car outside the village, cars are not allowed.
  • It has many steep steps, not great if you have any mobility issues.
  • It has many beautiful churches to visit.
  • It is only 2.5 km from Patitiri.
  • Althea Traditional Hotel (mid-range, children over 7 are welcome) has (absolutely) stunning views out to sea.

Roussoum Yalos

 quaint coastal village nestled along the shoreline of Alonissos Island, surrounded by verdant hills and overlooking the shimmering blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

The small bay is a 10-minute walk (800 m) from Patitiri surrounded by piny cliffs with a wide pebbly beach with crystal clear waters. The beach is organized and there are taverns, supermarkets, and rooms you can rent here. There is also a small harbor where it can be used as an anchorage for small boats.


An idyllic seafront hamlet on Alonissos Island, characterized by its picturesque harbor dotted with fishing vessels and sailboats.
Votsi settlement

The next bay you will find very close to Roussoum Yalos is beautiful and tranquil Votsi, built amphitheatrically at a small cove and surrounded by abundant greenery. It is a natural cove with very calm waters and a peaceful place to stay. There are rental apartments, some guesthouses, the four-star Yalis Hotel, taverns, and cafes.

Steni Vala

Colorful fishing boats docked along the pier and traditional white-washed buildings lining the waterfront in Greece.

Steni Vala is a lovely fishing village built around a tiny bay 11 km northeast of Patitiri. Its bay always has a few fishing boats, small yachts, and some great taverns where you can enjoy freshly caught fish.

Tassia’s Cooking is a famous tavern on the island. All the vegetables are from the garden ripening their deliciousness with a taste of sea saltiness. We ordered penne with local tuna, spaghetti with shrimp, and saganaki (fried cheese) with local orange jam and they were delicious.

Credit: Vasilis Drosakis

At Steni Vala, you’ll also find the Care Center of the Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (MoM), and its research vessel, the “Odyssey,” crewed by biologists who continuously record the marine environment of the broader area. Right across from Steni Vala sits the famous Peristera island with the shipwrecks.


The waterfront promenade is lined with bustling cafes and seafood restaurants, offering panoramic views of the tranquil bay and distant islands on the horizon.

Kalamakia village is located right in the middle of the eastern side of Alonnisos, making it the ultimate destination for locals and visitors who love fresh fish and seafood. On one side are the moored fishing boats, and on the other are the taverns owned by their captains, with tables and chairs on the pier. Korali Tavern is a fantastic place for fresh food while enjoying a magical sunset.

Alonissos Beach Bliss

Alonissos has around 27 awesome beaches to check out. You’ll find everything from hidden gems to lively hotspots along the coastline, giving you plenty of options to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.

Agios Dimitrios

With its shallow, calm waters and a backdrop of lush greenery, it's an ideal spot for families and sunbathers alike to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun.

It is perhaps the most recognizable and one of the most beautiful beaches of Alonnisos, with its characteristic headland penetrating the sea, forming two beautiful bays with pebbles, bushy vegetation, and pine trees. Umbrellas and sunbeds are available for those who desire comfort, but there is also ample space for others. At a short distance, you can see Peristera, the closest islet of the Marine Park to Alonnisos.

A great property to stay near Agios Dimitrios is Amaltheia.


An aerial view captures the breathtaking beauty of a hidden gem beach on Alonissos Island, nestled between rugged cliffs and surrounded by untouched nature

Kokkinokastro is another beautiful and impressive beach of Alonnisos, 5.8 km northeast of Patitiri, near the ruins of a Neolithic settlement. It is surrounded by red-colored cliffs, with pebbles mixed with golden sand, and turquoise water.

Half of the beach is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and the rest is free to place your towel or to secure the best spot under the natural shade provided by the pine trees! You also have the option to rent a kayak and visit the ancient wall at the cape or the small islet opposite where ruins were found.

Chrisi Milia

A secluded sandy cove on Alonissos Island in the Sporades, framed by rugged cliffs and crystal-clear turquoise waters
Credit: Vasilis Drosakis

Chrisi Milia is a lovely sandy beach with a backdrop of pine trees, a smooth entry into the sea, and clear, turquoise water, perfect for small children. The beach is moderately organized with a beach bar (try their mojito strawberries), umbrellas and sunbeds, and a very good tavern nearby.

It is located 6 km northeast of Patitiri and is the next bay to Kokkinokastro beach. You can easily park your car and so is the access to the beach: either through the Milia Bay Hotel Apartments (mid-range, family-friendly) or through a path that will lead you to the beach in the southern part.

Remote Gyalia

A secluded cove on Alonissos Island in the Sporades, framed by rugged cliffs and crystal-clear turquoise waters with a windmill.

Gyalia is my favorite beach in Alonissos! Small, picturesque, and remote, with small pebbles and sand, nestled just below Chorio. If you’re lucky, you might enjoy that “you and me alone on earth” moment with your significant other as it attracts few people. It has a small canteen for water and snacks and a beautiful stone windmill. Access is easy by a dirt road.

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National Marine Park

A mother and a bay seal monk in Greece.
Credit: MOm

For an unforgettable experience, I highly recommend joining a boat trip to the National Marine Park of Alonissos. The Marine Park is the first in Greece and, the largest protected marine area in Europe. Its waters shelter the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal, plus dolphins, whales, and rare seabirds.

Gioura is a deserted island off the coast of Alonissos, characterized by its rocky terrain.

The Park includes the islands of Alonissos, Peristera (or Ksiro), and many more smaller islands. A few of the islands (along with 22 islets) you can visit in the Park are:

  • Gioura is an extremely steep island, with its highest point reaching 570 meters. The island hosts the notable Cave of Cyclops (from Homer’s Odyssey) where the Ceramic Plaque was discovered with engravings dating between 5500 and 5000 BCE.
The stone built old Monastery of Kyra Panagia with icons on the walls and a monk walking.
Monastery of Kyra Panagia and Father Charitos. Credit: Giorgos Detsis
  • 8 miles away is Kyra-Panagia (or Pelagonissi) which belongs to Mount Athos. On the island on a low hill stands the 17th-century monastery surrounded by vineyards. You can easily reach the monastery through a paved uphill path and there you will meet the two hospitable monks who live permanently there. The Monastery remains closed between 3 and 6 pm.
  • Piperi forms the core zone of the National Park where the Mediterranean seals and the seabirds nestle. Access by boat is prohibited.
  • Ta Dyo Aderfia are uninhabited islets where only goats live.
The deserted island of Psathoura's lighthouse.
Psathoura’s lighthouse
  • Psathoura is the northernmost island of the Alonissos Marine Park. It is a volcanic island dominated by the 25-meter lighthouse, the tallest in the Aegean, constructed by Frenchmen in the 19th century, and the ruins of an ancient city on its sea bottom.

Witnessing the endangered monk seal in its natural habitat is not easy as the seals avoid humans but if you happen to see one, the experience will truly move you! Discover more about the Park here: Alonissos National Marine Park.

Visit the Pirate Museum

The pirate museum with glass exhibits and a tourist looking at the pirate swords.
Credit: Giorgos Detsis

Patitiri port houses the only Pirate Museum in Greece. Alonissos’ terrain with its many small islands, caves, and closed bays, was an ideal base for the pirates. Kostas Maurikis, a passionate diver discovered many items in his dives and housed them all in a three-story privately owned building. Chests, cannons, old maps, a range of items, and impressive informational material take us back 400 years, allowing us to explore not only the pirate history of Alonnisos and the Aegean.

A very exciting place to visit! It is open daily between 11:00 – 19:00.

Hiking the Trails

A remote and rugged area with very high mountains in Alonissos, Greece, surrounded by pristine turquoise waters.
The north of Alonissos, Papi area

There are around 27 marked hiking trails on the island, which take you through some amazing places, and usually end up at a beach where you can have a relaxing swim. The terrain of Alonnisos is mountainous, especially in its northern part, with higher peaks such as Kouvoli (475 meters) and Geladias (456 meters). The shoreline is steep, rocky, and exposed to the northern winds, with many sea caves where Mediterranean monk seals occasionally find shelter.

A remote and rugged area with very high mountains in Alonissos, with a small church surrounded by pristine turquoise waters.
Agioi Anargyroi chapels

Some of my favorite trails in Alonissos are:

  • The hike to the Agios Georgios Monastery perched atop a hill, rewards you with panoramic views and a glimpse into the island’s spiritual side.
  • Explore the wild north and hike the beautiful trail that will take you to dramatic cliff vistas in the area of Gerakas and Papi location (there are road signs).
  • The Agioi Anargyroi hike (yellow sign trail 5) will take you through a dense pine forest to the double chapels of Agoi Anargyoi (the older and the newer one). The view from this point towards the sea is very beautiful.

Underwater Museum in Peristera

Modern Shipwreck in Peristera island in Sporades.
Modern Shipwreck in Peristera

Stuck right in the middle of major shipping lanes, Alonissos has a rich nautical history. It’s the very spot where Jason and his Argonauts hopped aboard the Argo to snag the Golden Fleece, and even the Achaeans launched their ships from here to fight the Trojan War. Talk about epic journeys!

If that’s not enough, the seafloor around the island is like an underwater museum, littered with shipwrecks from ancient and Byzantine to modern times proving Alonissos a long-standing naval power.

A diver swimming around ancient vessels in Sporades.

If you’re a recreational diver, get ready for an unforgettable adventure! On the seabed of Peristera island, certified divers will guide you through Greece’s first-ever underwater museum. Explore a perfectly preserved shipwreck from 425 to 420 BCE. The huge merchant ship caught fire or couldn’t withstand the bad weather, sinking while loaded with 3,000 amphorae filled with the famous wines of Mendis (an ancient city in Chalkidiki) and Peparethos (modern-day Skopelos).

Non-divers (like me 😀 ) can explore the shipwreck with virtual reality technology via the museum website in Chorio Alonissos.

Where to Eat in Alonissos

A table full of Greek delicacies: Alonissos cheesepie, local goat cheese, dolmadakia and Greek salad.
Alonissos cheesepie, local goat cheese, dolmadakia and Greek salad.

Alonissos is a food destination in Sporades, as you’ll eat magically everywhere on the island. The exclusively family-run businesses will cook you homemade, authentic food with fish and seafood as a base: lobsters, shellfish, and freshly caught fish won’t cost a fortune, olive oil is everywhere organically produced.

An aerial views of a shop selling sweets in Old town in Alonissos.

The island’s food specialties are Alonissos-type cheese pie, grilled figs with honey, kakavia (fish soup), and walnut pie. As for its sweets, you should taste “fouskakia” (traditional donuts), “hamalia” (phyllo crust with a mixture of ground almonds, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and their rose ice cream.
The best places to eat in Chorio (Old Village) are:

  • the stylish menu of Thea and vine-draped Astrofegia, and the sweet house Hayati, with its endless view of the island and the sea. Hayati makes wonderful Greek coffee in the briki – with Angeliki’s homemade sweets, who makes magical apple pie, homemade ice cream, sultana, milk pie, cheesecake but also traditional cheese pie to die for!

FAQs for Alonissos

Where to Stay in Alonissos

Althea Traditional Hotel room.
Althea Traditional Hotel

I stayed in a traditional guesthouse in Old Town Chorio (Althea Traditional Hotel) because I am fond of quiet villages and balconies with stunning views. If you are seeking a more luxurious stay in Chorio then Aletri new swim-up Hotel with a stunning swimming pool will satisfy all your needs.

If you would like to stay somewhere central, a convenient base for exploring the island, with a lively nightlife, and easy access to amenities then you should stay in Patitiri.

Kavos Hotel (budget, family-friendly) has a great location offering stunning sea views with super modern renovated rooms.

Levantes hotel room in ALonissos.
Levantes Hotel Room

Levantes Hotel (mid-range, family-friendly) offers a beautiful port view with finely decorated rooms.

For the Beach Bums:

Aerial view of Alonissos Beach Bungalows and Suites Hotel in Sporades.

Alonissos Beach Bungalows and Suites Hotel is in a stunning location in sandy Chrisi Milia beach. It is a family-friendly hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, and a rich breakfast buffet.

How to Get to Alonissos

From Volos

Volos port by Fred Belton on board to Alonissos

Ferries between Volos and Alonissos in the Sporades operate all year long with up to 3 daily crossings during summer. The average duration of the trip is 4 hours and 10 minutes.

From Athens

There are various ways to get you to Alonissos from Athens:

  1. You can fly to Volos or Skiathos Island and take the ferry to Alonissos. There are 2 daily ferry crossings from Skiathos to Alonissos and the trip is between 1.5 and 2 hours depending on the vessel you will get.
  2. You can rent a car and drive 331 km to Volos (and explore the in-between destinations such as Delphi or Thermopylae) and take the ferry from Volos.
  3. In the summer months, you can travel from the port of Agios Konstantinos (167 km north of Athens) to the island of Alonissos. There is 1 daily ferry crossing and the duration of the trip is around 4 hours.
  4. You can take a ferry from Mantoudi (133 km from Athens) on the island of Evia to Alonissos and be there in 2.30 hours. If you take the fast Seajet from Mantoudi you can reach Alonissos in 40 minutes.

From Thessaloniki

The ferry route from Thessaloniki to Alonissos is seasonal, operating from June to mid-September. There are around 3-4 weekly connections, served by Seajets. Alternatively, you can drive (or fly) from Thessaloniki to Volos (206 km) and explore the coastline, Olympus, Litochoro, ancient Dion, and Pelion before you get to Volos and catch the ferry to Alonissos.

How to Get Around

Exploring the island by car or scooter is the best and fastest way. The roads to the beaches are surprisingly good.

Can I Visit the Neighboring Islands from Alonissos?

Yes, you can. Alonissos is a great base for exploring nearby islands like Skopelos, Skiathos, and Skyros. You can easily hop on a ferry and be there in no time.

When is the Best Time to Visit Alonissos Island?

The best time to visit Alonissos for the beaches is between June and October when the weather is warm and sunny. However, spring and fall are also great times to visit if you prefer fewer crowds.

Is Alonissos suitable for families?

Vasilis Drosakis

Absolutely! Alonissos is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities for kids of all ages, from building sand castles on the beach, canoeing, and hiking to exploring the marine life.

In Conclusion

Alonissos Island may be small, but it packs a big punch when it comes to natural beauty, culture, and charm. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Alonissos today and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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About the author
Evgenia Mataragka
Hi! I am an Athens-based Greek obsessed with exploring Greece and bringing you the best travel experience ever!

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