Category Archives: Alonnisos – Beaches

Milia Bay/Beach and the Milia Bay Hotel-Apartments

Milia Bay and beach is nestled among hills and pine trees and is a wonderful place to take a swim and spend the day. As the photo to your right shows, the beach at Milia is spacious enough to accommodate a number of visitors, but is still small enough to limit crowds of people from showing up on any given day.

Like most beaches in Alonnisos, Milia Bay is comprised of stones as opposed to sand (see photo below left), so for optimum comfort you’ll either need to rent a beach chair, 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 a view of this beautiful beach from the sea, click here.

Milia Bay is located perhaps five kilometers from the port town of Patitiri, and eight kilometers from the Old Village of Alonnisos. 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. Years ago the road down to this beach was made of dirt and was very rough, but now it is paved and very smooth. If you do drive a rental car there, please note that parking is quite limited at Milia Bay, and that there is a private driveway just before the beach that should not be blocked.

Milia Bay Hotel and Apartments

To my knowledge, there is no restaurant or taverna located on the beach, but that may have changed as of the date I’m updating this post (January 2016). Located above the bay (i.e., on the way down to the beach), however, there is a gorgeous property called the Milia Bay Hotel and Apartments (see photo to your right) that Fodor’s identifies as one of the best places to stay in all of Greece. In addition to excellent accommodations, they also serve delicious food. During each of trips since 2009 we’ve always made it a point to have lunch there, and each time we found the food to be excellent and the service was great as well.

The Milia Bay Hotel/Apartments are owned and operated by a very friendly woman named Vivian, along with her very hospitable son Andreas and daughter Liza (pictured to the left). If you are reading this post and haven’t yet selected accommodations on the island, you might want to consider staying at this hotel, as it truly is a beautiful place. For full details about this property, click here.

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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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Megalos Mourtias Beach and the Megalo Mourtia Taverna

Megalos Mourtias is the closest beach to the Old Village of Alonninsos that offers full services (i.e., food and drink, restrooms, beach chair and umbrella rental). There are actually two tavernas at Megalos Mourtias, and each has it own charm and following. Since this beach is just a couple of kilometers away from the home we typically use during our stays, we tend to spend most of our swimming and beach time there. In fact, it’s only a very rare day that we don’t spend some time lounging around the beach at Megalos Mourtias.

Over the years more often than not we tend to walk down to this beach since it only takes 20 – 25 minutes from the house we use. But, that’s the easy part of course, as based on your fitness level and the number of beers or cocktails you may have consumed at the taverna, the walk back up to the village can be quite challenging! The photo to your left gives you a clear idea of just how steep that walk back to the Old Village actually is, though it does overstate it a bit since both the road and the path provide a more gradual ascent.

Megalos Mourtias, like most beaches on Alonnisos, is a stone beach as opposed to sand. So when visiting this type of beach we strongly advise that you purchase some “water socks” since walking on the stones can be quite uncomfortable. If you don’t want to leave them on while swimming once you’re in the water You can always toss them back toward your beach chair or towel. Speaking of the stones, while using a beach towel on top of them is an option that many take, it is very difficult to remain comfortable lying on them for long periods of time. In our case we bring air mattresses (or a lie-low if you’re from the UK) and put our towels on top of them. The added advantage of the lie-low obviously is that you can take it out into the water and enjoy the feeling of floating on the sea as the current moves you back and forth. This is perhaps my favorite activity in Alonnisos! On the other hand, if you’re not up for blowing up the lie-low then you can always rent a couple of lounge chairs and an umbrella.

One word of caution when you begin to carve out your place on the beach is that you must be aware that when a large ferry passes by, even one a couple kilometers or more out into the sea, eventually some very large waves that were generated by the ship’s wake make their way to shore. When that happens, if you have set your towel, chair or lie-low too close to the water’s edge you are definitely going to get wet! It’s actually quite comical to watch this happen to unsuspecting newcomers, as it always results in a scramble to higher ground. To see a brief YouTube video that shows the view you’ll get to experience at this lovely beach click here.

The Megalo Mourtia Taverna

The Megalo Mourtia Taverna (entrance from the beach is shown to your left) is our favorite taverna on the beach. It is owned and operated by a wonderful couple, Yiannis & Ria, who are assisted by their children Kelly and Dimitris, as well as various other family members.

Picture of Ria and familyWe first met Yiannis & Ria (pictured to your right along with Kelly and Dimitris) back in 2006 after being invited to a private party at the taverna one evening. We had never visited their place prior to that night, but once we had an opportunity to get to know them and sample their great food, we were hooked. From that evening on, whenever we head down to Megalos Mourtias we always find a spot on the beach near their taverna and often eat lunch or a snack there as well. Ria is not of Greek descent but she has lived in Greece for so long that she is exceptionally fluent in the Greek language, and even teaches Greek to foreigners during the off-season. Both Yiannis and Ria have always been very hospitable to us, and truly do treat us like friends.

Besides us, there is also a core group of foreigners who own homes on the island that frequent this taverna, so it’s very common to see the same smiling faces milling about on a daily basis. In addition to the great food and service, there’s two other benefits to eating at the Megalo Mourtia Taverna. First, it qualifies you to use (for no charge) one of their lounge chairs (subject to availability) that are located on the same level as the restaurant and some that are on the beach in front of the restaurant property as well. If you can land on the level of the restaurant chair you have the choice of being directly in the sun,or lying underneath one of the lovely olive trees on the property (see picture to your left). The second benefit is the ability to park a rental car on the property when space permits (get there early!).

The Menu

Open for lunch and dinner meals, the Megalo Mourtia Taverna has broad menu that includes both hot and cold appetizers and a full range of fresh salads as well. Their Beet Salad (with garlic) appetizer is by far our favorite, and we also enjoy their appetizer sampler, which includes a number of the cold appetizers on a single platter for a very nice price. As for entrees, I recommend you try their Swordfish Souvlaki, Dizzy Chicken, or the Stuffed Mushrooms, but the fact is everything else they offer is very tasty as well. Finally, Yiannis & Ria usually have a excellent selection of fresh fish and shellfish as well.

Atmosphere

The view of the sea from the Megalo Mourtia Taverna is, for the most part, unobstructed when seated at most of the tables. During the day it can get quite busy, but Yiannis & Ria always do their best to make sure customers are served as promptly as possible. If you ever do experience a problem, Ria, as the primary server, will be certain to take care of it with a smile. While most of the business is done during the day, the taverna is open for business at night, and the sound of the waves coming up on the shore combined with the sweet scent of the sea make having dinner there a very enjoyable experience. We celebrated my birthday here with a dinner during the summer of 2009 and it was a wonderful experience in every respect. From our experience, eating (or drinking ) at this establishment is like sitting down with good friends. The combination of excellent food and solid service makes this taverna one that you will want to return to whenever you visit the beach at Megalos Mourtias. When you do visit, please do give our regards to Yiannis & Ria, and tell them Jeff and Andrea sent you!

As for the atmosphere of the beach itself, Megalos Mourtias has always been one of my favorites on the island. There’s just something about the view toward the neighboring island of Skopelos as the sun is fading that really touches my heart. In fact, I was so moved by it, that in 2003 I asked the artist who was working on the artwork for my first book (Spirituality Simplified) to use a series of digital photos taken from this beach as the foundation for the cover graphic (see picture to your right).

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Tzortzi Gialos Beach

Like Chrissi Milia and Kokkino Kastro, Tzorti Gialos beach is quite popular with tourists, and particularly so during the high season in late July and August. Andrea and I have been to this beach several times over the years, and each time we found it to be an enjoyable experience. What is really novel about Tzortzi Gialos is that the sea is quite shallow for perhaps the first 30 – 40 meters. In fact, you have to go out quite far before you’re in a position where you’re standing up and your head is not above the water level.

 Like most Alonnisos beaches, Tzorti Gialos is comprised of stones as opposed to sand. That means for optimum comfort you’ll need to use a heavy-duty beach mat, or have an air mattress (lie-low in the UK) to lie on. There may be chair and umbrella rental there, but I’m not certain. To see a brief YouTube video that shows the view of this beautiful beach from the sea, click here.

Tzortzi Gialos is perhaps nine kilometers from Patitiri and about 12 kilometers from the Old Village. Because of this distance, walking there would be impractical for the vast majority of people, so you’ll 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, and the last part of road down there winds through a beautiful pine forest with a heavenly fragance.

This beach has services (i.e., food, drink & restrooms at the taverna). The last time we were there we found the food to be quite good, so I assume that would still be the case. As you can see from the photo on your right, the taverna is conveniently located very close to the sea.

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Kokkino Kastro Beach

Kokkino Kastro beach is a very popular beach, but in all my visits to Alonnisos I must admit I’ve only been there twice because it’s much more convenient for us to spend time at beaches closer to the Old Village (e.g., Megalos Mourtias). Like most beaches in Alonnisos, Kokkino Kastro is comprised of stones as opposed to sand. That means for optimum comfort you’ll either need to rent a beach chair, 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 a view of this lovely beach from the sea, click here.

Kokkino Kastro is perhaps 8 kilometers from Patitiri and about 11 kilometers from the Old Village. Because of this distance, walking there would be quite challenging for the vast majority of people, so that means you’ll probably 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, and the good news is that the road is now paved all the way down to the parking area near the beach.

There is a snack bar on Kokkino Kastro beach but no full-service tavernas as far as I know. Also, if you are driving a rental car please be sure not to park in a place that would block entrance to a gated private driveway that borders the small road/path down to the beach.

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Chrissi Milia Beach

 Chrissi Milia beach is perhaps the only sandy beach on the island. Because of that distinction, it is a very popular destination for visitors. In all my visits to Alonnisos I must admit that I’ve only been to Chrissi Milia one time because it’s just so convenient for us to spend time at beaches closer to the Old Village (e.g., Megalos Mourtias).

This beach is perhaps 7 kilometers from Patitiri and about eight 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, and the road is paved and very smooth.

Chrissi Milia beach offers full services (i.e., food and drink, restrooms, beach chair and umbrella rental). While we’ve visited the taverna located there, the fact is it’s been years since we have so I am unable to comment on the quality of its food or service. My guess is that the food is most likely more than acceptable, and the taverna’s proximity to the beach makes it a very convenient place to visit. To see a YouTube video of what Chrissi Milia looks like from the sea, click here.

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The Port and Beach at Steni Vala

 The charming port of Steni Vala is located perhaps 15 kilometers from the main port of Patitiri, and about 18 kilometers from the Old Village of Alonnisos. Steni Vala is a lovely place to go and have lunch or dinner as there are some very good restaurants there. There is also a beach available there (see photo below left) that close friends tell me is lovely and rarely crowded, with clean white smooth pebbles and very clear water. Please note though that the water can be choppy if the wind happens to be coming down the channel. Please also note that Steni Vala has a small space available for campers and backpackers who prefer to “rough it” with their accommodations.

 It’s my understanding that Steni Vala used to be the more prominent of the two ports, but Patitiri eventually overtook it most likely because of its size and the fact that it’s closer to the neighboring islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. Because of its distance from Patitiri and the Old Village, unless you are a very serious walker you will obviously need to use some form of transportation. In this regard, your choices are to rent a car or a motorbike, to take a taxi, or to take the city bus that makes three trips per day between Patitiri and Steni Vala. For information about renting a car click here, for a motorbike click here, and for details regarding the bus (schedule & price) click here.

Restaurants

With respect to a recommended restaurant, because we don’t visit Steni Vala all that often we don’t necessarily have a favorite estiatorio or taverna. In 2007 I ate at the first (and largest) restaurant you encounter, which I believe is called “Tessia’s,” and I found the food and service to be of good quality.

Another restaurant/café we’ve been to on more than one occasion we know as “Katina’s” and it, too, offers good food and service as well (the photo to your right is one taken at this restaurant, and gives you a good idea of the view). If you like Italian food, in past years the owner Katina has had a very gifted Italian chef named Olivio cooking at the restaurant during some weeks in the summer. The dishes he prepares are authentic and spectacular. As a matter of background, Katina is the daughter of a very renowned Alonnisos seaman, Kostas Mavrikis, who was mentioned frequently in a book about sailing in the Sporades islands called “Gates of the Wind” by British author Michael Carroll. Katina’s son, Kostas, is involved in various businesses on the island, and is actually the person who founded the Museum of Alonnisos in Patitiri. Katina’s daughter, Iraklia, assists in managing the family’s businesses and also has her own scuba diving business that I’m told offers great diving opportunities.

 A third restaurant we’ve been to on several occasions is perhaps 25 meters beyond Katina’s, further toward the sea. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the place, but the photo to your left will give you an idea of the view it offers. We have always found the family that operates this restaurant to be very friendly and the food to be excellent in every respect. We usually show up there with a big group, and we always have a great meal and a wonderful time as well.

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Micros Mourtias Beach

Micros Mourtias is a small beach that is accessible from the Old Village of Alonnisos via a walking path. This path was originally used for donkey traffic down to a port that was adjacent to the beach. This beach is also accessible by car, motorbike, and by foot via a dirt road that originates near the Old Village. There is a small parking area that is near the last portion of the path down to the beach. There are no services (i.e., restaurants, rest rooms/water closets) at this beach so it generally attracts a smaller amount of visitors, except during the month of August when it can become quite crowded. The photo to your right was taken at Micros Mourtias and the mountain out in the distance is on the island of Evia.It’s my understanding that the port of Micros Mourtias was a hub of activity many years ago when it served as the primary arrival point for ships bringing both passengers and goods for the Old Village. While there is still a small cement pier located there, there is no longer any commercial shipping activity. Occasionally a speed boat arrives and moors at the pier, but generally it’s not used at all. Sail boats also show up now and then and anchor out in the small bay.Like most beaches in Alonnisos, Micros Mourtias is comprised of stones as opposed to sand, with a good number of them being of the flat variety. That makes them great for skipping on the ocean, providing of course no one is out there swimming! For optimum comfort water socks are recommended, as is a beach mat and/or an air mattress (lie-low in the UK). Since there are no services, be prepared to bring your own food and beverages.

Getting to Micros Mourtias

 The path to this beach from the Old Village is quite steep in parts, and over the years has served as my favorite place to hike on the island. The picture to your left shows the view of Micros Mourtias bay/beach from the point at which the walking path begins. Naturally, going down is quite easy; it’s the going up part that presents the challenge! Generally, if you’re in fairly good physical shape it should take you perhaps 20 minutes to walk down to Micros Mourtias from the Old Village; the return trip can take as little as 20 minutes (if you’re climbing aggressively) to as much as 30 minutes or more if you take more of a leisurely approach. In both directions the views are simply beautiful, and typically you rarely encounter anyone else during your walk. To see a very brief YouTube video that includes the types of views you’ll experience on the walking path and while visiting this beach, click here.

When I initially discovered and began hiking this path in 2000, it was very a very rough trail, but in 2007 it was widened and paved with stones in most places. Please note you also have the option of walking the road down to Micros Mourtias, but I don’t recommend it because it makes the trip much longer, and you run the risk of having to dodge a car or motorbike now and then. If you rent a motorbike or a car and want to visit this beach, follow the main tarmac road past the Old Village and just past the cemetery (on your right) make a left turn. From there just follow the road about a half a kilometer or less and then turn left again, then look for the first road you can turn left on and after several twists and turns you’ll end up at the parking area I referenced above. From there you need to walk down a small segment of the path to arrive at the beach.

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