SAILING IN SPORADES ISLANDS

Located in the northwest Aegean between the island of Evia and Mount Pelion on the mainland, lies the beautiful Sporades Island group. The group consists of 24 islands and islets, of which only four - Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros - are permanently inhabited.

 

It is one of Mediterranean’s lesser known and least visited island groups, although it is blessed with superb natural beauty. Pine fragrant hills stretch down to the sea, where beautiful sandy and pebbled beaches and irresistibly blue waters invite to relax and swim. It is also home to Mediterranean’s largest marine reserve, which stretches over 2,250 square km (870 square miles) in the Aegean Sea and features an unparalleled variety of flora, fauna and aquatic life, including monk seals and dolphins. Alonissos island lies right in the middle of it. 

 

Sailing conditions are ideal and safe even for first time charterers, as the Sporades Islands are protected from the strong ‘Meltemi’ wind that blows in the rest of the Aegean Sea during summer months. Instead, the group is gifted with soft wind that provides a predictable strong breeze with an average force of 3-6 BFT. In the summer, the wind usually blows from a NE direction, although the direction can be altered as it channels through the islands. On the lee side of the islands, the sea is flat, which creates the perfect condition for an exhilarating sail when wind blows.

Map Sporades.jpg

POPULAR ISLANDS

Although quite a small island, Skiathos is the most popular island in the Sporades group, and it was the first one to be commercially developed in the 1960s. It is unbelievably beautiful with lush greenery and over 60 stunning beaches. The most famous ones being Koukounaries and Lalaria beaches. Skiathos town features a romantic waterfront with many seaside taverns that overlook the island’s marina. At night, the town transforms into a vibrant area with lots of bars and clubs that attract visitors of all ages.

SKIATHOS

Skopelos is one of the greenest islands in Greece, with a beautiful dense and luxuriant forest that covers 80% of its area. Trees and sea merge into one on the majority of its beaches, such as the famous Milias and Panormos beach, where pine trees embrace the Aegean Sea and provide the most refreshing natural shade. Its’s picturesque old town features many tiny chapels, neoclassic building and a cluster of cobblestone streets that invite for romantic strolls.

If you are a movie fan, you can trace the paths of the film “Mamma Mia!”, which was filmed on the island in 2007 and made its romantic ‘Saint Ioannis’ Chapel world-famous.

SKOPELOS

Alonissos is quite a tiny island (just 14 km long and 4 wide) that nevertheless boasts an incredible number of breathtaking beaches and places to explore. Sailing into Alonissos port, you can instantly feel the non-pretentious elegance and relaxing appeal of the island. Alonissos town is perched in an impressive hill-top position, from where you have a stunning 360 degree panoramic sea view. The town was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1965, making many residents move to more modern housing close to the port. However, the town was soon restored and is now one of the most charming villages you can find, being home to people who enjoy tranquility and a relaxed lifestyle.

ALONISSOS

 Skyros is the biggest and most remote island in the Northern Sporades Island group, situated 50 km southeast of Alonissos. It features a unique landscape that offers a rich interchange of sceneries reaching from a dramatic rocky and wild coulisse to a verdant vegetation. Beaches are the same diverse with sandy seashores and rugged coastlines. Skyros’ pretty whitewashed main town clings to a hill, at the top of which you can find a Venetian fortress, perfectly situated for surveying the Eastern Aegean Sea. A labyrinth of small streets with charming cafes and small shops and boutiques invite to wander around and relax.

SKYROS

ITINERARIES

The Sporades Island group is an ideal sailing destination all year around, due to its mild climate and soft winds. It can be best accessed via Marina Skiathos or Marina Volos. Skiathos has a big international airport with frequent connections to other European airports daily, especially during summer months. Volos is on the mainland, right between Athens and Thessaloniki. It can be easily reached by taxi, train or bus from Athens or Thessaloniki International Airport.

 

For your itinerary you have many different options, depending on the distances and the amount of hours you would like to spend at sea.

A one-week route for a quite relaxed trip with short distances could for instance include stops on Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos, and the small islets around Alonnisos. In fact, there are eight beautiful small uninhabited islets around Alonnisos. Piperi, to the northeast is refuge for the Mediterranean Monk seal. It is forbidden to set foot on the island, but the nature you can observe from the boat is priceless. Kyra Panagia, is the largest of the islets and has very nice beaches and an abandoned 16th century monastery. Psathoura Island is a dream for divers as it has the submerged remains of an ancient city. Peristera Island has several sandy beaches and the remains of a castle. The other smaller islets around are named Pappous, Skantzoura, Psathouropoud, Gioura, and Adephi.

If you would like to spend more hours at sea or are planning a trip for two weeks, you could also sail to Skyros Island or explore the Pagasetic Gulf (also called Gulf of Volos) and add stops on Evia Island and the Greek mainland. 

Although quite a small island, Skiathos is the most popular island in the Sporades group, and it was the first one to be commercially developed in the 1960s. It is unbelievably beautiful with lush greenery and over 60 stunning beaches. The most famous ones being Koukounaries and Lalaria beaches. Skiathos town features a romantic waterfront with many seaside taverns that overlook the island’s marina. At night, the town transforms into a vibrant area with lots of bars and clubs that attract visitors of all ages.

Skyros is the biggest and most remote island in the Northern Sporades Island group, situated 50 km southeast of Alonissos. It features a unique landscape that offers a rich interchange of sceneries reaching from a dramatic rocky and wild coulisse to a verdant vegetation. Beaches are the same diverse with sandy seashores and rugged coastlines. Skyros’ pretty whitewashed main town clings to a hill, at the top of which you can find a Venetian fortress, perfectly situated for surveying the Eastern Aegean Sea. A labyrinth of small streets with charming cafes and small shops and boutiques invite to wander around and relax.

Skopelos is one of the greenest islands in Greece, with a beautiful dense and luxuriant forest that covers 80% of its area. Trees and sea merge into one on the majority of its beaches, such as the famous Milias and Panormos beach, where pine trees embrace the Aegean Sea and provide the most refreshing natural shade. Its’s picturesque old town features many tiny chapels, neoclassic building and a cluster of cobblestone streets that invite for romantic strolls.

If you are a movie fan, you can trace the paths of the film “Mamma Mia!”, which was filmed on the island in 2007 and made its romantic ‘Saint Ioannis’ Chapel world-famous.

Alonnisos is quite a tiny island (just 14 km long and 4 wide) that nevertheless boasts an incredible number of breathtaking beaches and places to explore. Sailing into Alonnisos port, you can instantly feel the non-pretentious elegance and relaxing appeal of the island. Alonnisos town is perched in an impressive hill-top position, from where you have a stunning 360 degree panoramic sea view. The town was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1965, making many residents move to more modern housing close to the port. However, the town was soon restored and is now one of the most charming villages you can find, beihom to people who enjoy tranquility and a relaxed lifestyle.