This will be the last post as part of my vacation at Skopelos island, in Greece. There is so much left to show and tell, but I suppose that you can always browse through more than thousands of pics I took there.
In the harbor of Skopelos there are many boats, small and big, offering many different trips to the near beaches and even islands.
This little cruise trip was definitely one of the most enjoyable things during our summer Holidays in Greece and so unforgettable. We chose the " Sporades Queen" boat with the glass bottom offering the trip to Alonissos island and I would highly recommend it. Not that the glass bottom was of any use, but the nice crew on the boat and great stops, made our trip even more pleasant. We left the harbor at 10,30h and returned at 18h. The cost of the trip includes some drinks and a sandwich for launch, but the stops during the trip allows you to get some decent food or even to launch in the restaurant.
Alonnisos island, also transliterated as Alonissos or Alonisos, is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. After Skiathos and Skopelos it is the third member of the Northern Sporades. It is 3 km E of the island of Skopelos. It is an authentic Greek island mostly known for its incredible natural beauty and its amazing beaches. The waters of the Greek island are considered as the cleanest in the Aegean Sea and have been declared a marine park because they are a breeding ground for the rare species of monk seal, the Monachus Monachus.
The National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades was founded in 1992. It was the first of its kind in Greece, and is currently the largest marine protected area in Europe (approximately 2.260 km2). Besides the sea area, the park includes the island of Alonnisos, six smaller islands (Peristera, Kyra Panagia, Gioura, Psathoura, Piperi and Skantzoura), as well as 22 uninhabited islets and rocky outcrops. Species sighted in this area include dolphins and whales like the common dolphin , striped dolphins and the long finned pilot whale. Making their ponderous way towards distant nesting sites are also Loggerhead turtles. The seabed harbours extensive Posidonia sea grass meadows, various species of sponge and also the endangered red coral. Among the numerous bird species finding refuge in the Park is the cliff-nesting Eleonora's falcon and the red- black- and yellow-billed Audouin's gull, one of the rarest gulls in the world. Rare wildflowers, some endemic to these islands, also take advantage of the absence of human footprints.
Our first stop, only after about 20-30 minutes of ride was the main city and port of Alonissos.
This lovely village was the old capital of Alonissos until the earthquake in 1965 destroyed it and all its inhabitants deserted the village and moved near the sea to build the new capital, Patitiri.
It is located 3.5 kilometres west of the port and capital, built on the top of a hill with a fantastic panoramic view of the island, of Skopelos and the Aegean Sea. A lot of the houses in Palio Horio have been destructed or badly damaged but many of them have been restored by some few Greeks to house taverns, cafes or little shops. Most of these old houses have been beautifully restored by Germans and English who brought the properties after the earthquake at knock-down rates.
Old Alonissos is an idyllic and calm place with whitewashed old houses, narrow climbing paved streets and stairs leading to the top of the hill and to a lovely traditional cafe offering excellent traditional Greek sweets and having the most incredible and beautiful view. It is a really breathtaking experience.
Many restored houses have little balconies or verandas decorated with colourful flowers, adding a particularly joyous and aesthetic touch to the village. Some parts of the old Byzantine walls restored by the Venetians to fortify the city have survived the passing of time. The walk inside Palio Horio is a real delight and some of the surviving Byzantine churches like the chapel of Agio Anargyroi are worth visiting.
At the church of Agios Andreas are also housed the headquarters of the International Academy of Homeopathic, giving information and solutions for any kind of health problems. The lovely tiny square opposite the beautiful Christ Church is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a coffee in the charming little cafe with wooden chairs and tables.
This fantastic village can be reached by local bus or through a delightful donkey path walk starting from Patitiri, zigzagging through various trees, and offering a wonderful view.
Next stop for swimming was the beautiful beach Leftos Gialos. We stayed there for about an hour and a half and as the sea was pretty cold that day, the kids took advantage of the pool bar situated on the beach, under the palm and olive trees. It was a nice coffee break too:)
Next stop was Steni Vala, small village that I didn't like too much, but the tavernas in the town offered good food, so many people went to launch, and we finally had some time to fish from the boat and in that way to attract the dolpins on the way back to Skopelos, going through the Marine park. And our plan worked! The dolphins were soon all around and kids(including me and my camera) had such a blast running from one side of the boat to another, waiting for them to jump from the water;)
On the way back, we were enjoying some splendid views to the beaches around, they showed us the Blue Cave passing by and at 6 p.m we were safely disembarking in the Skopelos town.