The Sporades are a group of four beautiful islands in the northern Aegean Sea, each with its own charm and attractions. They are Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros, and they offer stunning beaches, picturesque villages, lush nature and rich culture. If you are looking for a relaxing and diverse holiday destination, the Sporades are a great choice. But how can you travel around them and explore their different facets? Here are some tips and suggestions to help you plan your trip.
How to get to the Sporades
The easiest way to get to the Sporades is by plane or ferry from Athens. Skiathos has an international airport that receives flights from many European countries during the summer season, as well as domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki all year round. You can also take a ferry from Agios Konstantinos or Volos ports on the mainland, which takes about 2-3 hours to reach Skiathos. From there, you can take another ferry or a hydrofoil to Skopelos, Alonissos or Skyros.
Alternatively, you can fly directly to Skyros from Athens or Thessaloniki, or take a ferry from Kymi port on Evia island. Skyros is the most isolated of the Sporades islands, so it has fewer connections with the other three. However, you can still find some boats that run between Skyros and Alonissos or Skopelos during the summer months.
How to travel between the islands
The best way to travel between the Sporades islands is by ferry or hydrofoil. There are frequent services that connect Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos, especially during the high season. The journey time varies from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of boat and the destination. You can check the timetables and book your tickets online at https://www.greeka.com/sporades/ferries.htm.
If you want more flexibility and independence, you can also rent a car or a scooter on each island and drive around. The roads are generally good and well signposted, but be careful of some narrow and winding sections. You can also find some car rental agencies that allow you to take your vehicle on the ferry to another island, but make sure you check the terms and conditions beforehand.
What to see and do on each island
The Sporades islands have something for everyone, whether you are looking for sunbathing, swimming, hiking, sightseeing or nightlife. Here are some of the highlights of each island:
- Skiathos: This is the most cosmopolitan and popular island of the Sporades, famous for its golden sandy beaches and lively bars and clubs. Some of the best beaches are Koukounaries, Banana, Lalaria and Agia Eleni. You can also visit the medieval castle of Bourtzi, the old monasteries of Evangelistria and Kounistra, and the house of the writer Alexandros Papadiamantis.
- Skopelos: This is the greenest island of the Sporades, covered with pine forests and olive groves. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, such as Kastani, Milia, Panormos and Stafylos. You can also explore the traditional villages of Glossa and Chora, where you can see the famous church of Agios Ioannis Kastri that was featured in the movie Mamma Mia.
- Alonissos: This is the most tranquil and unspoiled island of the Sporades, ideal for nature lovers and hikers. It is part of a marine park that protects the endangered Mediterranean monk seal and other rare species. You can enjoy some secluded beaches like Agios Dimitrios, Chrisi Milia and Kokkinokastro. You can also visit the old village of Chora, perched on a hilltop with panoramic views.
- Skyros: This is the most remote and authentic island of the Sporades, with a unique culture and history. It has some lovely beaches like Molos, Magazia and Atsitsa. You can also admire the distinctive architecture of Chora, where you can see the Byzantine castle, the archaeological museum and the grave of the poet Rupert Brooke. You can also witness the traditional carnival of Skyros, with its colorful costumes and dances.
As you can see, the Sporades islands have a lot to offer to their visitors. You can easily travel around them and discover their different charms and attractions. Whether you choose to stay on one island or hop from one to another, you will have a memorable and enjoyable holiday in the Sporades.