Founded in 1992, the National Marine Park protects monk seals, dolphins, wild goats and rare seabirds in an area encompassing Alónissos plus a dozen islets speckling the Aegean to the east. None of these (save one) has any permanent population, but a few can be visited by excursion boats, weather permitting. Pipéri islet forms the core zone of the park – an off-limits seabird and monk-seal refuge, approachable only by government-authorized scientists. Peristéra, opposite Alónissos, is uninhabited, though some Alonissans cross to tend olive groves in the south; it’s little visited by excursion craft except for a brief swim-stop at the end of a cruise. Well-watered Kyrá Panayiá, the next islet out, has a tenth-century monastery whose old bakery and wine/olive presses, restored in the 1990s, are maintained by one farmer-monk. Nearby Yioúra has a stalactite cave which mythically sheltered Homer’s Cyclops, plus the main wild-goat population, but you won’t see either as kaïkia must keep 400m clear of the shore. Tiny, northernmost Psathoúra is dominated by its powerful lighthouse, the tallest in the Aegean; some excursions stop for a swim at a pristine, white-sand beach.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook