ff the beaten track, it is a naturally sparkling emerald gem, tucked away into the farthest corner of the Sporades islands. Renowned not only for its bountiful beaches and botanically rich landscapes but also for being the least developed and most environmentally friendly of the Sporades and beyond, it is also part of Europe’s largest Marine Park, the most extensive and important protected area in the Mediterranean, that spans 2,260 km2. Patitiri, the main harbour and where most of the island’s population resides, buzzes welcomingly and with typical Greek chaos with the arrival of every new passenger ferry, quickly falling back into an idyllic lull as soon as visitors have orientated themselves. A narrow strip of low-rise houses, whitewashed streets, simple accommodation and small stores are surrounded by the sailing boat-studded sea on one side and dense pine forest on the other.
Just 3km away, the Old Town, once Alonissos’ main settlement, is ringed around the top part of two verdant hills, while from the steep little roads within it one can stop anywhere to take in sweeping views across the town and the sea.
The rest of the island is made up of petite tiny villages and hamlets exuding a laidback, stress-free and quaintly traditional aura; fishing is very much a way of life there, and the fishermen’s boats can regularly be seen and heard putting their way over the clear blue waters.
A naturally sparkling emerald gem