"Alonissos is a beautiful, green island situated in the northernwest of the Aegean Sea, about 40 kilometers from Pelion on the Greek mainland. It belongs to the Northern Sporades group of islands. Alonissos is a roughly oblong island, about 20 Km long and between 3 km to 4 km wide. The island has a magnificent and varied natural history which has made a deep impression on generations of visitors."
Patitiri is the island's main harbour and the first place you see when you arrive on Alonissos.
After a devastating earthquake in 1965, the local population moved from the Old village (Chora) down to Patitiri. Re-construction and growth was rapid and now Patitiri is the biggest village and the capital of the island.
"Patitiri" means winepress in Greek and the village got its name from the fact that all the winepresses and storage areas for the wine of Alonissos used to be in this area. Unfortunately, the island's vineyards were devastated by Phylloxera (a North America bug that eats vine roots) in the late 60's, so there is now no local wine for visitors to try. Although many local people have replanted the old rootstocks that did survive Phylloxera and again make their own wine, the quantities are too small to last until summer - we drink it all ourselves during the winter ;-)
The majority of hotels and shops are in Patitiri as are the post office, supermarkets, banks (Agrotiki and National Bank of Greece with a 24h cash machine), tourist agencies, police station, health centre etc. Patitiri also provides most of the island's nightlife, with several bars and clubs.
The bus route to Old Alonissos (Chora) and Stenivala starts from here as do the taxis and excursions to beaches and the National Marine Park of Alonissos (NMPANS).
Despite Patitiri being the main harbour of the island, the water at the village's popular beach is crystal clear and perfect for swimming.
The Old Village of Alonissos is situated up in the hill 3km away from Patitiri. It was the capital of the island until 1965, when an earthquake happened and the people moved down to Patitiri.
Now 5-6 local families stay there all the year around. After the earthquakes many foreigners start to buy the old houses, lovers of the traditional style of the island, who kept the character of the village, repairing many of the old buildings.
Because of its location, the views are really fantastic, with one of the best sunsets all around Greece, and now the Old Village is becoming one of the best parts of the island to visit.
The visitors will find traditional rooms to let, many nice tavernas and small shops, feeling a completely different atmosphere from the rest of Alonissos.
It's 3km away from Patitiri, and you can take the bus with its frequent timetable, to go there, you can use the taxis or the old footpath, walking approximately 30' to go up and 20' to come down.
Rousoum Yialos is the most popular beach in the area; 7 minutes walk from the centre of Patitiri and only 5 from Patitiri. There are tavernas and rooms to let.
Rsoum (now Rousoum), means 'tax' in Turkish. During the long period when the islands were under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, wine was shipped from this beach and all the island's taxes were collected here by the Turks.
The small harbour of Votsi is 20 minutes walk from Patitiri. It has many nice tavernas overlooking turquoise-green water surrounded by steep ochre-yellow cliffs. There is also a small quiet beach where you can swim. You can also swim at the nearby beach of Spartines.
It used to be a separate village from Patitiri, but with Rousoum Yialos, Votsi has grown with the building of new houses so that the three villages have merged to form the municipality of Alonissos.
Votsi has no shopping centre so the harbour is the most lively place with its small tavernas.
This small village takes its name from Admiral Votsis, who made Alonissos his base for the Greek naval fleet during the Balkan wars.
Stenivala is a small fishing harbour 10km from Patitiri. The village is quite old, older than Patitiri, but has kept its traditional character, with not many rooms to let or tavernas.
Like Kalamakia, Stenivala is famous for fresh fish in the tavernas, all owned by fishermen.
There is a twice-daily bus from Patitiri, or you can go by taxi, hire car or bike.
The hospital unit for monk seals is in Stenivala and if you are lucky you might see one there.
Stenivala is becoming a popular yachting destination and the small port is usually full of sailing boats, giving a unique atmosphere.
Kalamakia is a small fishing harbour, 12km from Patitiri and even quieter than Stenivala. The village is quite new, with not much in the way of rooms to let and only a few tavernas.
The village is a popular for the fresh fish and lobsters served in the waterside tavernas - all owned by fishermen.
Unfortunately there is no bus to Kalamakia from Patitiri, so to get there you must either take a taxi or use your own hire car or bike.
Kalamakia and Agios Dimitrios make a good combined trip. Kalamakia's beach is small, but you could swim at nearby Agios Dimitrios and have lunch in Kalamakia.
CLIMATE: The climate of the island is cool and dry in comparison to other regions during the summer, because of the forests, the sea and the local wind named "meltemia". Meltemia is the Aegean Sea local winds coming from the north during the summer. The power of these winds is usually 5 but sometimes gets as strong as 7 units of the Beaufort scale. These winds reach their highest peak after 10.00 am, becoming weak in the afternoon.
Constant Sunshine On The Island
There are around 300 days of sunshine on the island of Alonissos. Summer temperatures have been known to reach above 30°C, with the hottest month being July, closely followed by August. You will see around 13 hours of sunshine a day at peak times, with the temperatures remaining at a comfortable level thanks to the coastal breeze. December and January are colder, however temperatures are still at around 12-15°C. Rain only occurs in the winter months from November onwards. The summers in Alonissos are long, hot and dry, with September and October still seeing temperatures of around 25°C. The sea temperatures are quite warm in the summer but will cool down at night.
GREEK SUN: The sun in Greece is much hotter and stronger than at home so please be careful initially. Use a high factor sun cream and don't spend long periods in the sun - taking things easy will ensure an even longer lasting tan without the pain and inconvenience of burning. !!! If you do start shivering, feeling dizzy or sick, stay in the shade, drink plenty of water (not alcohol!!!) or fruit juices and try to eat something salty to replace lost salt and potassium.
SOME IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
MUNICIPALITY: 24240 65555
FIRE STATION: 24240 65199
POLICE: 24240 65 205
PORT POLICE/ COAST GUARD: 24240 65595
HOSPITAL: 24240 65208
PHARMACY: a) 24240 66096 or b) 24240 65540
NATIONAL BANK: 24240 65777
POST: 24240 65560
Shoping on Alonissos
If you are staying at the house you will need to know where you can get food and provisions for your stay. The main place to shop is in Patitiri and most of the shops are open in the morning until 2pm and then in the evening from 5pm onwards. For small scale shopping there are three supermarkets in the Old Town. These are known rather irreverently as "Thin Maria's", "Maria's" and "Fat Maria's". The former and latter are in the Old Town near to Church of Agios Nicholaos. "Fat Maria's" is very close to the Church and "Thin Maria's" is further down the steps. "Maria's" is the new supermarket at the bus stop in the Old Town near to Taverna Panselinos. All have stocks of water, drinks, tinned foods, cat and dog foods along with general household products in various amounts of supply.
For a wider choice of goods and for frozen foods, meat, fish, fresh fruit, vegetables and bread you need to head for Patitiri. There are two main streets in Patitiri both which head inland; Pelasgon is the beach end of the harbour and Ikion Dolopon is the Alkyon Hotel end of the harbour. The other main street is the harbour front. The location of shops is as follows:
3 Greengrocer's Shops
1 Small Supermarket
1 Baker's Shop
3 Large Supermarkets
1 Fishmonger's Shop
2 Butcher's Shops
1 Confectioner's Shop
1 Bulk Buy Shop
1 Women's Cooperative Shop
2 Pharmacy Shops
1 Cigarette Shop
1 Fisherman's Cooperative Shop
1 Large Supermarket
1 Baker's Shop
2 Small Supermarkets
1 Bulk Buy Shop
1 Newsagents Shop
1 Honey and Preserves Shop
Shopping on Alonissos
There are 3 green grocers shops and a number of supermarkets up Ikion Dolopon (passed the Hotel Alkyon) as well as supermarkets up Pelasgon (passed Albedo Travel) and one next door to Albedo Travel on the harbour front. All sell a good range of standard produce and some of the supermarkets sell some fruit and vegetables. There is no significant variation in the prices but you may find that it pays to have a look around because all the items you want may not be available from any one shop and some shops have wider ranges of certain items than others so you may get a better choice.
We have provided a rough idea of the cost of a shopping basket of items to provide an idea of what you would be likely to pay for a starter pack of basic items if you were self catering. The prices will vary between shops depending on supply and demand and we provide this information as indicative, rather than definitive.
At the present time it is not necessary for visitors entering Greece to have vaccinations although as a matter of course you should ensure that your tetanus boosters are up to date. There are suggestions that if you are going to spend any length of time in a forested area that you should consider having a vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Rabies is present in Greece and pre-travel vaccination should be considered for anyone at high risk. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
When in Greece it is perfectly safe to drink the water, eat food washed in water and have ice in your drinks. Bottled mineral water is very cheap by English standards and you may prefer this to the local water if this is not to your taste. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe to eat as are local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
For most visitors to Greece the major health issues revolve around:
- Diarrhoea due to changes in diet
- Sunburn and heatstroke - caused by over-exposure to the sun
- Trips and falls - often caused by over-exposure to alcohol
- Stings and bites
- allergic reactions to stings and bites
Health services are generally good but for all visitors or residents in Greece it is ESSENTIAL you have good travel insurance or medical cover. Residents of EU countries are entitled to receive free healthcare with form E111 which is available from your local post office. In Greece you can generally find an English-speaking doctor and local pharmacists can diagnose and supply a wide selection of drugs. Alonissos has a medical centre which is equipped as an Accident and Emergency centre with an ambulance. For hospital treatment and medical emergencies there is a helicopter air ambulance service via the helipad at Votsi or in bad weather the coastguard bost.
Stings and bits can be caused by a wide variety of creatures. Fortunately mosquito's in Greece don't carry Malaria but their bites can be painful and some people can show serious allergic reactions to mosquito bites. Beware also of wasps and hornets although these are somewhat more noticeable than mozzy's. On the ground you may come across scorpions and beware of adders which, like the UK, are the only native poisonous snake and will attack if provoked or threatened. Snake and scorpion bites are rarely fatal but allergic reactions, and in the most severe case anaphylactic shock, can be very serious or life threatening.
There are a few dodgy sea creatures you need to be aware of. The biggest problem is people standing on sea urchins and getting their feet stuffed full of thorns. Weever fish lay buried in the sand and are found even on popular beaches. They have poison in their dorsal fins which will inflict burning pain if trodden on. On a larger scale there are sea snakes, Moray eels, stingrays and huge sea turtles that are best avoided in the interests of good health.
All in all there is nothing over serious but enough that is sufficiently nasty to ruin your holiday should you fall foul of one of these creatures.