Two summers ago, I had the chance to visit Alonissos, Greece after a friend invited me, my boyfriend, and another friend to his family’s vacation home there (by “invited” I mean we dropped hints that we wanted to come for several months until said friend invited us).
I had never heard of Alonissos prior to going, but I jumped at the chance, as Greece has always been high on the list of places I’d like to visit. This post will tell you how to get to Alonissos, and how to get around while we you’re there.
How to get to Alonissos, Greece (and how to get around while you’re there!)
Fly into Skiathos
We flew into the largest island in the group known as the Sporades, which is called Skiathos. Upon arrival we learned that Mamma Mia had been filmed on Skopelos, a few islands over, which has increased tourist traffic greatly since the movie was released.
It’s shown regularly at the island’s small movie theater, and when I saw the poster I couldn’t help but cringe at the memory of Pierce Brosnan singing. Oh GOD NOW I’M THINKING OF IT AGAIN.
We flew on Volotea, but there are lots of airlines that fly there.
Get a taxi outside of the airport
Our friend had told us to take a taxi from the airport to the port, which we did. There were taxis lined up outside of the airport, and the ride cost us 8 euros.
Buy your ferry tickets at the port
Once we had arrived at the port, we went into one of the agencies along the street that sells tickets to the other islands, and secured our places on the next ferry to Alonissos.
Find the ferry schedule here.
The ride was spectacularly beautiful. Everything looked exactly like the Greece I had always imagined in my head. Dark green trees rose high on hilly islands that were dotted with white beaches and houses. I leapt around the boat taking pictures and telling my sweetheart to look at everything until I noticed that he had turned a waxy shade of yellow/green, like a poisonous potato chip. I spent the rest of the ride with his head in my lap, trying to help him avoid barfing into the sparkling turquoise water (he didn’t, phew).
Arrive in Patitiri
About an hour and a half later, we arrived in Patitiri, which is the main town on Alonissos. We met our friends, had a beer (as you do after getting seasick) and settled into our ten days in paradise.
Getting around Alonissos
We mostly got around by taxi while on the island, with the exception of a few lifts very kindly provided by our hosts.
Stavros (not his real name – I must protect the guilty) is one of the taxi drivers on the island. Our hosts know him, so we were able to call and negotiate times to be picked up and dropped off during our stay. His sense of punctuality wasn’t really aligned with the actual time, so he usually arrived anywhere from one to three hours late.
The roads there are incredibly narrow, and with the exception of about 50 feet on a particularly hair-raising turn, there is no guard rail or barrier to keep vehicles from plummeting down steep cliffs and into the sea. Stavros drives as if he’s had ten Red Bulls, several lines of cocaine, and has just realized there’s a venomous spider sitting on his genitals. He informed us one day that he had slept for 45 minutes the night before. Comforting! Thank you, but may I suggest keeping such information under your hat, or at least sharing it only with the spider?
One day, as we whizzed down a hill after Stavros beeped his horn with great enthusiasm, ostensibly to warn people that we were coming, but also possibly to indicate that he has no qualms about committing vehicular manslaughter if other drivers don’t get out of his way, I started to notice some interesting miniature buildings dotted along the roadside. After closer observation, I realized that they all appeared to be churches. “Mailboxes?” I thought at first. “Models of buildings that used to be there?” I thought second. “Indications that there’s a place of worship nearby?” I thought third. Wrong on all counts! They are memorials to people who have been killed in road accidents. Alarming, to say the least. I clung tightly to the seat in front of me, wishing that my seat belt was functional and on me, rather than gently but firmly trying to work its way into my butt crack.
Rent a car or a four-wheeler
If you aren’t able to befriend a taxi driver at the stand in Patitiri, you can rent a vehicle of some sort if you want to avoid constant brushes with death. Book in advance – we didn’t plan ahead, and when we arrived, we found out that every vehicle on the island had already been rented.
There’s also a city bus that goes from the port to the old town, as well as to Steni Vala, one of the island’s villages. Tickets are available at supermarkets and convenience stores.
Rest assured that the driving around the twists and turns of the island is worth it. If you need proof, check out the pictures below from our time there.
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