ALONNISOS



redline

Alonnisos - AROUND THE ISLAND - the east Coast

The east Coast

The site of Ancient Ikos is on the point at Kokkinokastro (6km), a long peninsula projecting into the sea in the middle of the lower eastern half of the island, defining two sweeping beaches to either side. At sunset, as the head land takes on a deep orange colour, it merits its name of ‘kokkino kastro’, or ‘red acropolis’. The point of the promontory where the remains of the city are, with its steep seaward cliffs, is attached by a high, razor-thin isthmus of eroding sandstone which effectively denies any access by foot. There are only two means of access—by boat, or by swimming out from the south beach (c. 20 minutes) and climbing ashore at the southeastern point where the headland slopes down to the sea.

The tip of the headland is indented by a deep cove, which served as a protected roadstead. Cutting transversely across the lower slopes is a fine stretch of fortification wall in high Classical 5th century bc masonry, which has recently been cleared and excavated. There is a dense scatter of potsherds and evidence of foundations and walls, still buried, further up the slope to the west. Archaeological exploration has also revealed a far earlier Palaeolithic and Mesolithic human presence on the peninsula, as well as on the offshore island of Kokkinonisi to the south, where evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements has also been found.

Continuing north on the principal road through the wooded interior of the island, a right turn from a junction 7.5km from Patiti­ri leads down to the east coast at Steni Vala (11km), a tranquil creek with a harbour, fronted by excellent tavernas. The principal Monk Seal Rescue Centre is based here. One kilometre further north on the main island road beyond the Steni Vala junction, a track (right) leads 2.2 km down a valley to the site of Garbitses where the circular base, standing to a height of only three courses, of a Late Classical watchtower lies in low scrub, 200m to the east of the track. The track continues a further 1km, before rejoining the asphalt continuation of the Steni Vala road along the coast. Two and a half kilo metres further north along the coast on this road is the flat reedy promontory of Aghios Dimitrios, where there are the (scarcely visible) remains of a three aisled Early Christian basilica which stood here. The basilica was the centre of a small community, with houses and baths. As often with Christian churches built in the Islands before the Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries, it stood in an unprotected position beside the shore. There are particularly attractive beaches at Aghios Dimitrios. Four kilometres to the north—visitable only by small boat—are a number of shore-level caves and grottos, once common refuges for the monk-seals.
   The northern half of the island is a landscape of steep, wooded gorges alternating with areas of low maquis with Phoenician juniper and tree heather: it is mostly uninhabited apart from scattered farmsteads. The main axial road that runs the length of the island terminates in the deep creek of Gerakas Bay (20km), where one of the Biological Research Stations of the Marine Park (see below) is located. On a cliff at the northwestern extremity of the island is the dilapidated monastery church of the Analipsi, founded in the 17th century. The path to it is ruinous, and the church can now only be reached from the sea when the water is calm.


Alonnisos Island is part of the Sporades Island Group, Greece.


access

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

By boat: There is no direct ferry route from Athens to Alonnisos. Services are from Volos or Aghios Konstantinos (closer to Athens): by car ferry (6 hours) daily from Volos, and five times weekly from Aghios Konstantinos. The island is also connected by rapid hydrofoil service (Flying Dolphin) in 2 hrs 30 mins from both of the above ports with varying frequency throughout the year. All serv ices to the island stop in Skiathos and Skopelos en route.
In the summer months, the hydrofoil connection is more frequent and the network extends to include Thessaloniki to the north and Kymi and other destinations on Euboea to the south.
Access to the outlying islands in the Marine Park (with the exception of Pipéri which is closed to ordinary visits) can be arranged with a boat opera tor in Patitíri: there are boats of varying size—the M/V "Gorgona" (Ikos Travel, details above); "Plantiri" (Alonnisos Travel, T. 24240 65188); and the smaller "Stella".

Alonnisos Travel Guide

beaches

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

Tourkoneri
Megali Ammos

Alonnisos Travel Guide

eating

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

A good place to sample the island's traditional, spiral tyropitta called striphtiko is at the taverna To Paradosiako at Steni Vala where they are freshly and delicately made along with a variety of good fish dishes, and where fresh wine from the island is served in the late spring.

Alonnisos Travel Guide

further reading

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

Ὰνω Μαγνὴτον Νησοὶ, Kostas Mavrikis, Alonnisos 1997 (currently only in Greek), is a comprehensive historical study of the island and its waters.
Walking on Alonnisos is a popular pastime. The following knowledgeable and informative guide can be of help: Alonnisos Through the Souls of your Feet, Chris Browne, 2008 (available through www.alonnisoswalks. co.uk). For information on the North Sporades Marine Park, see: www.alonissos park.gr

Alonnisos Travel Guide

lodging

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

Chora is a cooler, quieter and more panoramic place to stay than the port: Fantasia House (T. 24240 65186), to the left as you approach the village, is attractive and simple.
In Patitíri, the Hotel Haravgi (T. 24240 65090, fax 65189) is comfortable and pleasant, and open most of the year. There are many room or studio rental solutions on the island, which can be found at www. alonissos.gr.

Alonnisos Travel Guide

museums

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

Kostas and Angelas Mavriki Museum

Alonnisos Travel Guide

practical info

Alonnisos Island, the Sporades.

370 05 Alonnisos (sometimes written Alónissos), also referred to by its Mediaeval name‘Chelidromi(a)’ (and a current local variant, ‘Liadromia’): area 65sq. km; perimeter 81km; resident population 2399; max. altitude 475 m. Port Authority: T. 24240 65595. Travel information both for Alonnisos and for visits to the outlying islands: Ikos Travel (T. 24240 65320, fax 65321, www.ikostravel.com)

Alonnisos Travel Guide

Book your Trip to Greece

ferry

advertisements