By Thomas Panagiotopoulos

As the north wind was getting stronger, we were cruising from the port of Skopelos to Patitiri of Alonnisos Island. We covered quite quickly the 7 nm that were separating us and we were entering slowly in the port of the island, located in the south-western end.

It is protected into a very beautiful and closed bay, where the pines come down to the sea. The cement pier that penetrates to several meters into the sea divides the bay into two parts. In the east, where the main harbour is located and in the west, where there is a pebble beach with clear waters. Even during mid-summer, in the port we will easily find a place to anchor while we will also be able to spend the night on the west side of the bay, with pine trees literally hanging over us. After refuelling, we supplied water and ice and went for a short ride. The traditional cobbled streets and beautiful island houses may miss, but the port still remains a beautiful and bustling harbour with many restaurants and cafes alongside.
Steni valaDue to the strong wind, we decided to circumnavigate the eastern coast of the island, which is protected by the islet of Peristera. This islet extends parallel to Allonisos in a very short distance.
Cruising near the coast, we were admiring the lovely shores of Milia and Golden Milia embraced by many pine trees that descend to the sea. A little further, we find the small headland Kokkinokastro, on which we can distinguish the remains of the ancient city of Ikos, as Alonissos was named in the past. Just before Kokkinokastro (which in Greek means the red cape), there is the homonymous beach, one of the most beautiful on the island.
Immediately after, we meet Georgie Gialos and Lefto Gialos, pebbly beaches with turquoise waters in a peaceful and green environment. There are few taverns by the sea, with traditional food and fresh fish.

A half mile northern, approximately in the middle of the eastern side of the island there is the small and sheltered fishing port of Steni Vala. It is one of our favourite destinations for many years now. It is a special corner of the northern Aegean, meeting place for many boats and yachts. At the northern side of the narrow bay, there is a small village with few houses while the taverns in a row by the sea welcome the visitors with local delicacies and fresh seafood. Two small grocery stores ensure the supply for boats and there is ice and water to fill our tanks too.
patitiriThe sailing boats really stuck each other, while the smaller ones are crammed here and there, trying to secure a berth to spend even for a few hours in this beautiful marine neighbourhood.
A few miles after Steni Vala, we encounter the small village Kalamakia with its small fishing port. It is an untapped fishing village with few people and even fewer visitors. The few rooms and some taverns by the sea promise us very tranquil moments.

Further northern, and quite close to Kalamakia there is the famous beach of Agios Dimitrios with beautiful crystal clear waters. It is a triangular strip of land that penetrates for a few meters into the sea, creating at its sides two beautiful pebble beaches. On its top, there is a small wooden bar that offers moments of relaxation.
As we were heading to the northern cape of the island, the landscape was becoming very inhospitable with rocks and steep cliffs. We entered quickly in the narrow entrance of the bay of Gerakas. It is the only protected bay in the northern Alonnisos where we can tie up our rib on a cement pier.
The weather, however, did not allow us to visit the western side of the island and so we returned to the port to overnight.

Chora AlonnissouEarly in the afternoon, we took the bus that starts from Patitiri, in front of the harbour every half an hour, and in about ten minutes we arrived at the main village of the island. It is built high up on a hill, with obvious the signs from the abandonment caused by the earthquake of 1965, which forced residents to abandon their houses and settle in the port. Recently however, it regained its former vitality and attracts many visitors.
A few meters above the bus stop there are the old stone church of Christ and the church of St. Athanasios. Among them, we can admire the small square of Christ, adorned with beautiful flowers and the tables on the pavement like a beautiful neighbourhood, filled with people enjoying an authentic island scene.
Going up to the wide stoned alley, we arrived at the main cement street that passes through the small village. Here beats the heart of the island. Our brief walk among the taverns and shops, next to the colourful two-storied houses with balconies full of bloom, led us to the edge of the pavement, where we sat for a refreshing ice cream. From here the view to the open sea and the nearby island of Skopelos is magical, especially while the sun sets. It is really worth having a drink on the café on the edge of the alley that really looks like hanging over the sea. Without any doubt, the village of Alonnisos is one of the cutest corners of the Aegean, which still maintains its character unspoiled. Our moments passed very beautifully until late at night, and we got a taxi to the harbour, to spend the night on board.

AlonnissosWith the wind having stopped blowing, we enjoyed our morning coffee under the shade of trees in one of the cafes of the harbour.
The rib slipped in the calm sea, and we soon reached Small Mourtias. It is a small cove on the south-western edge of the island, with a very small pier that we visit quite often. We tied up the rib for once more and enjoyed the crystal green waters. We kept on cruising to the western side where the landscape is getting impressive. The first bay to meet is called Gialia where the reconstructed stoned windmill dominates. Next to the windmill there is a very quite beach which we can enjoy when the north wind is not blowing.
A few miles northern there is the cape of Kontos Kavos from where a large bay starts arriving to the islet Manolas which hosts many beautiful beaches among the majestic landscapes with pine trees and olive groves. The steep cliffs continue for about seven miles, till the Gerakas Cape, hiding many surprises for those who are keen on exploring and discovering quiet and isolated beaches.

Notes for navigators
Alonnisos is the least developed island from the whole group of Sporades Islands and is recommended for those seeking quite and tranquil holidays.
Apart from Patitiri and the small coastal settlements, there are many coves on the southeast side of the island for the night on board. For those who prefer quiet coves next to their «private» small pier Little Mourtias and Leftos Gialos are ideal shelters from the north winds.
For fuels you should prefer Patitiri, where a small van will refuel the boats.