Lefto Gialos Beach and the Eleonas Estiatorio

 If I had to choose my favorite beach on Alonnisos, I would say without question it is the beach known as Lefto Gialos. Located on a beautiful bay surrounded by rugged, hilly terrain, it’s undoubtedly one of the best beaches for swimming on the island. It’s also a fairly large beach in that there’s usually ample room for people to find a place to sit or lie down without being right on top of somebody else.

Like most beaches on the island, Lefto Gialos is comprised of stones as opposed to sand, but unlike many others, the stones are for the most part consistently whitish in tone and are more round than flat (see photo to your left). That means for optimum comfort you’ll either need to rent a beach chair (around 12 Euros with umbrella), use a heavy-duty beach mat, or have an air mattress (lie-low in the UK) to lie on. To see a brief YouTube video that shows the type of view you’ll get to experience at this lovely beach click here.

Lefto Gialos is located perhaps eight kilometers from the port town of Patitiri, and 11 kilometers from the Old Village. Because of this distance, walking there would be quite challenging for most people, so that means you’ll most likely need to either rent a motorbike or a car to get there, or take a taxi. The drive offers some very nice scenery on the way, including a gorgeous view of another beach called Tzortzi Gialos (see photo to your right), and the road is paved and very smooth for the most part.

When we initially visited this beach back in 1997 it was a lot different than it is today. The road wasn’t paved and in spots was very rough-going. In addition, there was just one restaurant, and its source of electricity was a gas-powered generator because power lines had not yet been extended to that area of the island. Back then it was so rustic there was a goat herder who regularly brought his flock down from the hills to drink water from a trough located right on the upper portion of the beach. I’ll never forget one day when I was lying on the beach almost asleep and I heard the sound of many ringing bells. I opened my eyes and was surrounded by perhaps 50 goats! Don’t worry though, the goats are no longer brought down to that area to drink.

The Eleonas Estiatorio

Currently there are two restaurants at Lefto Gialos, and each of them has its own charm and following. We are particularly fond of the Eleonas Estiatorio because the food and service is always excellent, and, we have personally known the owners, Nikos and Magda, and their family, for nearly 20 years.

 Eleonas is the restaurant on your right when you arrive at Lefto Gialos beach. The original estiatorio there, it’s located in the midst of an olive tree grove and in addition to the shade offered by the trees it offers thatched umbrellas to protect diners from the very hot Mediterranean sun. When we initially met Nikos and Magda in 1997, they treated us with very genuine filoxenia (Greek for hospitality), and each time we return we are treated like family. Nikos has also been very helpful to me in my feeble attempts at learning to speak Greek, often instructing me in the midst of serving our food! (photo to your left is of Nikos and me a few years ago). During the busiest part of the tourist season Eleonas is always filled with customers, but even so we usually are able to get a table fairly quickly. If by chance you do have to wait for a spell, rest assured that your meals will be well worth the wait.

The Menu  

Open for lunch and dinner, Eleonas has a very large assortment of menu items, including numerous hot & cold appetizers and salads that can serve as meals all by themselves. With respect to the entrees, we’ve always found anything they make in the oven to be very delicious. When artichokes are in season they include them along with potatoes in a couple of dishes using a wonderfully tasty sauce, and Eleonas also offers a full range of traditional Greek cuisine. There is usually an excellent selection of both fresh and frozen fish, and shellfish as well.

Desserts are likewise available, as are a selection of aperitifs, coffee and tea as well. While not a daily menu item, one very sweet treat that Eleonas makes occasionally is called “fuskakia,” or “little blisters,” which are little balls of dough deep-fried and then sweetened with honey, and I believe a bit of cinnamon flavor as well. Trust me; it’s impossible to eat just one of them!

Atmosphere

 While not right on the water, the Eleonas Estiatorio offers a view of the beach and is located approximately 50 meters from the sea. The photo to your left of my wife Andrea gives you a perspective of the “look” of the grounds of this wonderful estiatorio. While most of the business is done during the day, Eleonas is also open in the evening. The peaceful location always makes dining there a very enjoyable experience. Please also note that during 2009 Eleonas  added a cafe/bar located nearer the water that offers a wide selection of drinks, as wellas snack-type food entrees. Should you visit Eleonas please do give our regards to Nikos and Magda, and tell them that Jeff & Andrea from Chicago sent you! To learn more about Eleonas, visit their website in English, or in Greek.

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