If you are looking for a sailing holiday that combines the warm sea, hospitable people and beautiful beaches with turquoise water, the Sporades might be the perfect destination for you. The Sporades are a group of islands in the north-eastern part of Greece, slightly overlooked by yachtsmen, but offering many reasons to visit. Here you can find rare and lush vegetation, gleaming houses of white, pink, and blue, with beautiful scenery, and interesting beaches that no seafarer should miss. The Sporades are a true yachtsman’s paradise.
In this blog post, we will give you some tips and advice on how to plan and enjoy your yachting holiday in the Sporades, based on our experience and research. We will cover topics such as when to go, where to start, what to see and do, and what to pack. We hope that this guide will help you make the most of your sailing adventure in this amazing region.
When to go
The best time to go sailing in the Sporades is from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the sea is calm and clear. The peak season is from July to August, when the islands are more crowded and the prices are higher, but also when the nightlife is more lively and the festivals are more frequent. If you prefer a quieter and cheaper holiday, you can opt for the shoulder seasons of May-June or September-October, when the weather is still pleasant and the islands are less busy.
The wind conditions in the Sporades are generally mild, as the Meltemi winds do not blow as strongly here as they do further south. They mostly blow from the north-north-east, but their precise direction is influenced by the small islands and channels between them. The wind speed ranges from 10 to 20 knots, with occasional gusts up to 25 knots. The waves are usually small to moderate, with a maximum height of 2 meters. The currents are weak and not a problem for navigation.
Where to start
The most convenient place to start your yachting holiday in the Sporades is from the island of Skiathos, which has an international airport and a marina with many charter options. You can easily fly to Skiathos from Athens or other European cities, or take a ferry from Volos or Agios Konstantinos on the mainland. Skiathos is also a charming island with many attractions, such as sandy beaches, pine forests, monasteries, museums, and a lively town with bars and restaurants.
Another option is to start from Milina Harbour on the east coast of the Pagasetic Gulf, which is closer to the mainland and has a smaller airport. Milina Harbour is a picturesque fishing village with a few shops and tavernas, and a good base for exploring the gulf and its islands. According to legend, Jason casted off from here in the mythical ship Argo in search of the Golden Fleece.
What to see and do
The Sporades consist of four main islands: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos, and Skyros, plus several smaller ones. Each island has its own character and charm, and offers plenty of things to see and do. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Skiathos: This is the most popular and developed island in the Sporades, famous for its stunning beaches (more than 60!), such as Koukounaries, Lalaria, Banana, and Troulos. You can also visit the medieval castle of Bourtzi, the monasteries of Evangelistria and Panagia Kechria, the Papadiamantis House Museum (dedicated to the famous Greek writer), and the old town of Skiathos with its narrow streets and whitewashed houses.
- Skopelos: This is the greenest island in the Sporades, covered with pine trees and olive groves. It is also known for its traditional architecture, its delicious cheese pies (skopelitiki), and its role as a filming location for the movie Mamma Mia!. You can explore its scenic villages, such as Glossa, Neo Klima, and Chora (the capital), its impressive churches, such as Agios Ioannis Kastri (where Mamma Mia! was filmed), Agios Riginos (the patron saint of the island), and Panagia Eleftherotria (with beautiful frescoes), and its lovely beaches, such as Stafilos, Panormos, and Kastani.
- Alonnisos: This is the most remote and unspoilt island in the Sporades, ideal for nature lovers and tranquility seekers. It is home to the National Marine Park of Alonnisos, which protects the endangered Mediterranean monk seal and other marine life. You can visit the park by boat and admire its pristine islands, such as Peristera, Kyra Panagia, Gioura, and Psathoura. You can also enjoy the traditional village of Chora (also called Old Alonnisos), the fishing port of Patitiri, the folklore museum, and the beaches of Agios Dimitrios, Leftos Gialos, and Chrisi Milia.
- Skyros: This is the largest and most diverse island in the Sporades, with a rich history and culture. It is divided into two parts: the northern part is mountainous and forested, while the southern part is flat and barren. You can visit the ancient acropolis of Skyros, where the legendary hero Achilles was hidden by his mother Thetis, the Byzantine monastery of Agios Georgios, the grave of the English poet Rupert Brooke, who died here during World War I, the archaeological and folklore museums, and the beaches of Magazia, Molos, and Atsitsa. You can also admire the unique Skyrian horses, a rare breed of small horses that live on the island.
What to pack
For your yachting holiday in the Sporades, you will need to pack light and smart. Here are some essential items that you should not forget:
- A valid passport or ID card (if you are an EU citizen)
- A sailing license or certificate (if you are chartering a bareboat yacht)
- A copy of your charter contract and boat documents
- A credit card or cash for paying marina fees, fuel, water, etc.
- A mobile phone with a Greek SIM card or roaming service
- A camera or a GoPro to capture your memories
- A sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm to protect yourself from the sun
- A swimsuit, a towel, a sarong, and flip-flops for enjoying the beach
- A windbreaker, a fleece jacket, and a waterproof jacket for cooler evenings and windy days
- A pair of sailing gloves, shoes, and trousers for handling the boat
- A first aid kit, a flashlight, a knife, and a whistle for emergencies
- A mosquito repellent, a toiletry bag, and your personal medications
- A book, a music player, a deck of cards, and some board games for entertainment
- A reusable water bottle, a coffee mug, and some snacks for hydration and energy
We hope that this blog post has given you some useful tips and advice for your yachting holiday in the Sporades. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. We wish you a wonderful sailing experience in this beautiful region!