slideroneone 08Alonissos has soul. It is not unusual to hear people say that they felt at home here the minute they stepped on to the island; and it is very usual to meet people who, having been here once, just can’t stay away. So what is it that brings people back time and time again? What is it that drives people to go to the trouble – and expense - of getting on planes, boats and buses just to get to this little island when there are so many more accessible and exciting places to go? What is it that convinces so many people that, despite the fact there is not a lot of night life, not a lot of shopping, no cinema or theatre, no five star hotels and no spas, that this is the perfect place to spend a holiday.

The sheer beauty of the place is part of the answer of course; then there are the stunning views, star-laden skies, the character and calm of the Old Village, the lack of traffic, lack of crime, low-key entertainment and laid-back lifestyle. But the best way to find an answer is to come and experience for yourself! And maybe – just maybe – you will join the ranks of those who can’t stay away!

History of the Island

Although the island’s history goes back to 700 AD, the entire population was wiped out in 1538 in a savage attack led by the pirate Barborossa; most of the inhabitants were killed and those who survived were either enslaved or fled the island. It remained uninhabited until the late 16th century when a gradual influx of people from neighbouring islands and the mainland began to settle. The main settlement was in the Palia Chora, a high point at the southern end of the island. At that stage the village was located within the Kastro (fort) parts of which are still standing at the upper point of the Chora. As time went on, the settlement spread further down the hillside as the population began to grow.

Disaster hit the island in two waves in the 1960s, when all the vineyards were killed off by phylloxera and, in 1965, when there was a major earthquake which damaged much of the Old Village. The population lived in tents for a year or so, and many were then re-housed in new homes in Patitiri. Although several did eventually return to the Old Village, many preferred to remain in their new and more convenient homes. The Old Village remained largely deserted until tourism started to take off on the island and foreigners began to visit. It was only a matter of time before they became the new owners of many of the Old Village houses, and began the mammoth task of restoring the properties and renewing the beauty of the Chora; the rest is history. Electricity appeared in 1988 and the road up from Patitiri was tarmaced; and thus, a new community was born.