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GREECE SAILING REGIONS: SPORADES

For those who prefer peaceful sailing vacations surrounded by unspoiled nature, Sporades is a perfect choice. The Sporades, which literally translates as „scattered“ is the most northern group of islands in Greece, covered in green Aleppo Pine groves. The largest and most significant islands of this group are Alonnisos, Skopelos, Skyros, and Skiathos with an international airport and a charter base.

Old castles and fortresses, lively villages, crystal water, and fabulous beaches characterize this region the most and also attract a large number of tourists. Nevertheless, the nature of the Sporades is still relatively intact. In fact, a great part of the island of Alonnisos, with surrounding smaller islands, is protected as a marine park, which creates shelter for highly endangered species of Mediterranean monk seal. Many beaches and bays are reachable only from the sea, so the best way to experience the harmony of turquoise water, sandy beaches, and green surrounding vegetation is sailing from one island to another. Moreover, strong Meltemi creates great sailing conditions during the summer months.

While the Sporades consist of 24 islands, only four of them are inhabited, which opens an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to organizing itineraries if you are in search of hidden, isolated bays. To explore this region thoroughly, a two-weeks charter is recommended.

 

SKYROS

The largest, but most 'sporadic' island of the group. Because of the distance between Skyros and other islands of the group, few tourists visit it, so this is the least famous island. Nevertheless, the island is attractive because of its unique charm. The capital Skyros, also known as Chora, with its narrow streets and white houses reminds of a typical town in the Cyclades. It is located on the hill, overlooking at the sea and the Medieval castle built on the slopes of the hill. The most popular tourist resort is the main beach of Molos, but there are also other beautiful beaches, less popular but also less crowded.

 

SKOPELOS

Maybe one of the most beautiful islands of Sporades, densely vegetated, with pine forests and wonderful exotic beaches. According to the legend, the island was founded by the Staphylos, son of Dyonysos, and Staphylos are, in fact, a Greek word for wine. It is interesting that the island was known for its wine throughout history. The island is also famous for the church of Agios Ioannis Kastri, one of the filming locations of the popular movie Mamma Mia.

 

SKIATHOS

Maybe the most popular island of the Sporades group. Because of its beautiful nature, lush greenery with impressive sandy and pebble beaches, many families with children find this island interesting, but it is also popular among younger generations. There is only one village on the island, but its vivid atmosphere and lively nightlife offer many possibilities for young people. The most popular beach is Koukounaries, but there is also exotic beach of Lalaria, accessible by boat only. The island has a lot of beautiful diving spots and there are also well-organized trekking trails for those who prefer an active holiday.

 

ALONNISOS

Famous for its amazing natural beauty and also for its incredible, cozy beaches. Beautiful green scenery and small beaches with crystal clear water offer you a nice, serene atmosphere even in high season. The island is a part of a nature park, which consists of a couple of islets, so the best way to explore it is by boat. This marine park in the natural habitat of Mediterranian monk seal, but also many other species. While you're there, you can visit a small picturesque village of Chora, with white small houses and narrow streets, located on top of the hill with a great view of Aegen sea.

 

CHARTER BASES

Skiathos marina: Marina in Skiathos is located north of the Skiathos main port and practically in the city center, which means you won't have any problems finding shops, restaurants, bars etc. It is only minutes drive from the international airport of Skiathos. Power of 220 V and water are available in the marina. Fuel is usually delivered on the quay by a car-tanker.

Volos marina: Marina in Volos is situated in the city of Volos, on the north part of the Gulf of Volos. The base offers all necessary facilities like power and water supplies, supermarket, cafes and bars with free wi-fi, parking, restaurants, WC, showers, gas station, laundry service etc.

If you want to explore the Sporades, Volos is one of the two starting points where charter bases are located, although the gulf itself can offer you many nice places as well.

 

WIND AND SAILING CONDITIONS

During the summer season, a strong wind Meltemi blows from the north and northeast. The wind is stronger on the north side, but the group of Sporades is out of the main path of Meltemi and the wind is not as strong as in the Cyclades, for example. This creates great sailing conditions for experienced sailors, but also for beginners. The waves are always moderate and generally calm, even when the wind is stronger, however, if you don't have much experience, it is recommended that you stick to the southern routes.

During the early and late season, the temperatures are still high and the southern wind Scirocco can get up at times, so the sailing is pleasant during the spring and autumn months as well.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

By plane: Skhiatos, where the main charter base is located, is well-connected with Greece's mainland by plane. International charter flights operate regularly and there are also domestic flights run from Athens. Marina in Skiathos is only 15 minutes by car away from the airport. If you choose Volos as your starting point, you can search flights for Nea Anchialos International Airport that serves a city of Volos. There are also regular domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki. The airport of Nea Anchialos is about 40 minutes drive from a marina in Volos.

By boat: Another way to reach Skhiatos is by ferry from Agios Konstantinos and Volos, both on Greece's mainland. Ferries and hydrofoils (fast catamarans, also called flying dolphins) operate regularly from Athens and Volos and during summer months there is also hydrofoils that connect Skiathos with Thessaloniki. It operates a couple of times per week.

By car: You can reach Skiathos by car if you drive to Volos or Thessaloniki and then take the ferry to Skiathos. Volos is easily accessible thanks to the highways that are modern and comfortable. It is about 212 km away from Thessaloniki, which is approximately 2 hours of driving, while it takes about 3 hours to reach Volos if you start in Athens (330 km).

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Skopelos

  • Ai Yiannis at Kastri (church on the top of the hill; shooting spot for a wedding scene in 'Mamma Mia')
  • Stafilos beach
  • Limnonari beach

Skyros

  • Capital of Skyros
  • Pefkos beach
  • Atsitsa bay

 

Alonissos

  • Chora (old capital)
  • Mourtia beach

Skiathos

  • Koukounaries beach
  • Lalaria beach

 

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