|Alternate Spellings||Alonnisos, Alonissos|
|Transportation||Ferry, water taxi, and bus|
|Main Attractions||Monk Seals, fishing, hiking|
|Accommodations||Basic but good|
Long and narrow and almost as verdantly green as Skopleos, Skiathos and Skiros, Alonissos is the least visited of the Sporades Greek Island Group. It is part of a small archipelago of nine islets. Naturally, the main mode of transportaion is by boat.
Alonissos' land mass is 64 sq. km, with 64 km of coastline. Alonissos lies 35 nautical miles from Evia and 68 from Volos. The population is around 3,000.
A fleet of water taxis serves the main beaches, with larger boats sailing around Alonissos and further north to the deserted islands of the Marine Park.
There are pine forests and beautiful sandy beaches. Visitors in search of peace and quiet, plenty of freedom to hike, fish and swim will love Alonissos.
In 1965 a violent earthquake destroyed the main hilltop town, called old Alonissos or Chora (pronounced hora). The quake produced the separated islets that now form the surrounding archipelago.
The waters and small islets around Alonissos are the marine preserve of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Europe's rarest animal. No sewage is allowed into the sea, resulting in the cleanest waters in Greece. The rare Eleonora Falcon is also to be seen occasionally flying overhead.
Monk seals live in sea-caves. They are shy and afraid of humans. Should you be lucky enough to see one, make as little noise as possible and please leave the animals alone. Greek fisherman used to kill them on sight as competitors for fish, but they are protected now by Greek and international law. Only abut 500 remain. About 30 live on the islet of Piperi where visitors are forbidden unless on special eco-tour. Visit the offices of the Hellenic Society for the Preservation of the Monk Seal (HSSPMS) in Patitri near the quay for more info. The main research center for the HSSPMS is at the far northern tip of the island near Gerakas.
Alonissos is the main location for eco-tourism in Greece, and its slow development means that it's eco-tourism done right.