With year-round green hills and Greece’s first protected marine park, there’s plenty to convince visitors to make the journey to peaceful Alonissos, says Pippa Jacks
Last stop, Alonissos!” shouts the captain gruffly over the PA system as the hydrofoil approaches Patitiri harbour.
Having boarded the vessel in Skiathos and seen it almost empty of other passengers at Skopelos and then Glossa, it‘s with a certain sense of achievement that I scramble onto the pier – along with only a dozen other travellers.
On one side, Patitiri bay is lined with small fishing boats and yachts; on the other, soaring limestone cliffs topped with pine trees and a pebble beach, with children paddling in the turquoise shallows.
Alonissos is one of 24 islands in the Northern Sporades off the north-east coast of mainland Greece, and the most remote of the inhabited four, reached only by sea. With far fewer tourists, it’s noted for its sleepy, unaffected way of life and natural attractions.
Patitiri is brimming with hotels, tavernas and shops, but I am bound for a villa inland. Julia, the rep for sister operators Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection on Alonissos, meets us to show us the way.
Villa Manolia lies five minutes northwards, tucked away down a quiet winding road, surrounded by a garden of fruit and olive trees, magnolia and roses. The two-storey house has three bedrooms and so many balconies and terraces it’s hard to know where to sit and watch our first Sporadean sunset from, with nothing but rolling green hills between us and the picturesque Old Town in the distance.