WHY IONIAN ISLAND HOLIDAYS?
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The voyage to Alonissos is a spectacular mini cruise in its own right and when you land at the capital and small port of Patitiri, you very soon discover that your arrival and departure on the ferry might well be the busiest event of your holiday.
Patitiri takes its name from the wine presses once located here. The wines of Alonissos were famous throughout the region, until the Phylloxera virus decimated the vineyards in the 1950’s. At that time, the island’s capital and main village was the spectacularly sited Chora or “Palea Alonissos” (Alonissos Old Town), a cluster of traditional Sporadic houses built around the walls of a Venetian hilltop fortress dating back to the 15th century. The site of the fortress gave uninterrupted views of the approaches to the island, a strategic necessity during the turbulent years when pirates such as Barbarossa were the scourges of the Aegean.
There is even a graveyard on the island where many of the pirates are buried. Unfortunately, the village was all but destroyed by an earthquake in 1965 and most of the inhabitants had to resettle in Patitiri, which can now be loosely described as the island’s capital. Over the last few years old Chora has been carefully restored and the village is now popular for its fantastic views, sunsets, traditional tavernas and steep, narrow cobbled streets.
Apart from these two main villages, there are only a few fishing hamlets along the more sheltered eastern coast, the most prominent is the lovely harbour Steni Vala. Even at the height of the summer season the pace of life seems much more in tune with a less hectic age. Perhaps this is the reason why one of the earliest Palaeolithic human settlements in the Aegean (between 10,000 and 300,000 years ago!) has been discovered here. Even in these modern times, when we think nothing of flying to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, hurrying is not encouraged on Alonissos.
Walking on Alonissos is a magical experience, in fact it is positively encouraged by the recent programme of path clearing and maintenance of the “kalderimia”, or old mule trails, that criss-cross the island. These can be followed for a gentle stroll down to one of the many small coves, with its own pebble or sandy beach.Follow a local guide map for longer exploration of the island’s interior. There is an excellent walking and beach guide in English, which can be bought locally.
On the water, there are frequent boat trips from Patitiri by caique to the beaches around the coast or one can travel further afield to the offshore islands which lie at the heart of the Marine Park. This park is the first of its kind in Greece and a sanctuary for the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal as well as many other birds, animals and plants that live in the marine environment.
On the other hand, you might consider that your on and offshore activities should consist of moving from your barbecue under an olive tree to floating serenely in your private pool.
Patitiri: The island’s main harbour and the first place you see when you arrive on Alonissos. After the earthquake of 1965, reconstruction 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 takes its name from the fact that all the winepresses and storage areas for the wine of Alonissos were in this area. The majority of the shops are in Patitiri as is the post office, supermarkets, banks, ATM’s, tourist agencies, police station and health centre. Patitiri’s beach is crystal clear and perfect for swimming.
Chora (Alonissos Old Town): The old village of Alonissos is positioned on the hillside three kilometres above Patitiri. It was the capital of the island until the 1965 earthquake, when the population moved down to Patitiri. Now five local families stay here all the year around. After the earthquakes many foreigners started to buy the old houses, lovers of the traditional style of the island who have kept the character of the village, repairing many of the old buildings. Because of its location the views are incredible with one of the best sunsets in the area, it is becoming one of the best parts of the island to visit. There is a fantastic selection of tavernas and small shops and a completely different atmosphere from the rest of Alonissos. Chora is 3 kilometres from Patitiri, using the old footpath to walk, a journey of approximately thirty minutes.
Steni Vala: Steni Vala is a small fishing harbour about 10 kilometres from Patitiri. The village is older than Patitiri and has kept its traditional character, housing and tavernas. Steni Vala’s tavernas are famous for fresh fish and all owned by fishermen. The hospital unit for Monk Seals is also in Steni Vala and if you are lucky you might see one there. Steni Vala is becoming a popular yachting destination and the small port is usually full of sailing boats, giving a unique atmosphere.
- Take a boat trip to the National Marine Park, home of the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal
- Walk around the pine trees of the Kokkinokastro Peninsula, & the remains of an ancient city said to be ‘Ikos’
- Explore secluded coves around Alonissos in your own motor boat
- Walk up to and around Alonissos Old Town or Palea Chora with its maze of cobbled streets, old churches and magnificent sunsets
- Scuba diving from Steni Vala
- Visit the folklore museum showing the history of the island
- Visit the uninhabited islands around Alonissos on a boat trip
- Bird watching, there are over 80 species of birds on the island including the endangered Audouin’s Gull and Eleonora’s Falcon
- Enjoy the quiet and peaceful beaches on the island including the sandy beach of Chrisi Milia, near Votsi
Direct flights from London Gatwick and Manchester
You will be transferred to Alonissos by hydrofoil or jet ferry. Where applicable hire cars will be waiting for you at the port. Other transfers will be by taxi. Approx transfer time: 1 hour 30 mins
PRE-BOOKING YOUR AIRCRAFT SEAT
To pre book your seat please contact the airline directly quoting Ionian Island Holidays as your tour operator, your booking reference number, flight number, date of departure and specific flight request. Payments for these seats are direct with the airline.
AIRLINE CONTACT DETAILS
Fly Monarch: 01582 556331
20kg for checked baggage, 5kg hand baggage.
Security restrictions may apply, please contact the airline, the airport or ourselves before departure.
We are able to offer a limited number of flights direct to Kefalonia, Preveza and Corfu. Contact out UK office for further details on 020 8459 0777.
Please also fully inform us of any disability or walking difficulty you may have, so we can provide assistance at the airport. This must be made at least 7 days before departure.