How to do Greek Island Hopping in the Sporades
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How to do Greek Island Hopping in the Sporades

Alonissos ● Skiathos ● Skopelos ● Skyros ● Sporades ● 28 May 2018
 
Sporades is the island complex, which is located in the Pagasetic Gulf, in a close distance to Volos and Thessaly. Their characteristics are the lush greenery, the beautiful coastal towns, which are well-preserved and neoclassical, as well as the exciting combination of exotic beaches with golden sand and turquoise waters with surrounding verdant nature. if you want to make an off-the-beaten-path Greek Island Hopping, then pack your suitcase for the Sporades. Island Hopping in the Sporades has everything: partying in Skiathos, relaxing in Skyros, swimming in secluded beaches in Skopelos, discover Greece's wildlife and specifically the protected seal species Monachus-Monachus in Alonissos. 4 islands offer you the chance of unique holidays. Start from Skiathos and end up in the remotest island of the Sporades, Skyros in the middle of the Aegean Sea. 

Combine more than one island during your summer vacation and spend unforgettable moments!

Skiathos

Skiathos is the closest island to the beautiful coastal town of Volos. Skiathos is the Mykonos of northern Greece because it is a party island and has stunning beaches. The first thing you see as the boat approaches is the capital of the island, which is built amphitheatrically around a calm bay. It is characterised by traditional architecture and cosmopolitan character, which is everywhere on the island. Numerous restaurants and taverns, shops, cafés, bars and clubs with all kinds of music for young people are located in the town of Skiathos as well as on its beaches. Much of the entertainment is gathered at the seafront and the main Papadiamanti Street.

At the entrance of the port, there is a tiny peninsula full of pine and cedar trees with a Venetian fortress that was built in the 13th century to protect the island from its enemies. This small peninsula is called Bourtzi. There, you can make a day excursion, enjoy the lush greenery, relax and recreate yourself. If you want peaceful vacation in Skiathos, this is the place to be! Another worth visiting sight is the House of Papadiamantis, the museum which was the home to Alexandros Papadiamantis, one of the most important Greek writers of the 19th century. This museum showcases personal items of the writer and many folklore pieces. Don't miss the Medieval Castle, which is located on the northern side of Skiathos and is accessible only by boat or through a hiking path. It was a former Medieval Town, and nowadays, you can see remains of old structures, such as baths, churches and walls.

Skiathos has astonishing beaches, where the Aegean Sea with its azure waters meets the verdant nature and creates a magnificent scenery. Koukounaries is a typical beach of the Sporades, with long, sandy coastline and a forest of pine trees behind it, while Lalaria is an impressive landscape with sea caves and imposing rocks, which reminds of th Cyclades. Banana and Kanapitsa are also lovely beaches, with many tourist facilities, crystal clear waters, beach bars and young people, who have fun there until the night. Generally, the beaches of Skiathos are organised in order to feel conveniently, relax as well as spend there great time!

Don't forget to explore the island's natural treasures: its meadows and forests, its caves and gorges, which can be discovered on foot. One of the best excursions is to Monastery of Panagia Ikonistria, which was built in the 17th century where the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, the island's patron saint, was discovered. Just a short walk from the monastery, there is a shelter for stray animals that invites visitors to take the dogs out for walks in the countryside. Combine your vacation with volunteerism and feel truly happy!


Skopelos

Next stop is Skopelos, the island where the American film "Mamma Mia" was filmed. If you were impressed by the astonishing landscape and the beaches shown in this film, then Skopelos is your place! In this, you were probably impressed also by the small chapel at the top of the cliff in the last scenes of the film, where the wedding took place. This wonderful church, which is called Church of Agios Ioannis in Kastri (its English name: Saint John on the Castle,\), is located on the northern side of the island offering a romantic scenery and a magnificent sea view. Don't miss it!

Skopelos town is also a great spot. It is a picturesque settlement with well-preserved neoclassical houses, built amphitheatrically around a lovely bay. Balconies with flowers, fountains, narrow cobblestone paths, paved alleys, old churches and local shops constitute the atmosphere of the town, which has all the touristic facilities you may need. On the top of the cliff, you can see ruins of the Medieval Castle, which dates back in the 13th century.

Skopelos has also many significant medieval Greek orthodox monasteries, which are located in a beautiful scenery and are definitely worth visiting in order to get familiar with the tradition of the island. These monasteries are accessible by car or on foot through wonderful hiking paths inside the forests of Skopelos. There, you can admire important paintings, icons and frescoes as well as take photos with the breathtaking view of the sea.

Skopelos is renowned for its astonishing beaches with the azure waters and the white sand surrounded by pine trees.  Most of the beaches, like Panormos, Milia, Stafilos and Hovolo are partly organised with sunbeds, umbrellas and taverns. If you like privacy, there are secluded bays, such as Agnontas, Agios Ioannis, Armenopetra and Glyfoneri that are also nudism-friendly. There, you can find the exact contact with nature and feel like being in a heaven on earth.


Alonissos

Alonissos is the third island of the Sporades, a small destination, which is more authentic than the other two. Verdant nature and fantastic landscape make Alonissos ideal for peaceful vacation. The most touristic village in Alonissos is Patitiri, the port and the capital of the island, from where you can take the boat to the Marine Park. More traditional is the Chora, built on the top of the cliff. Chora was the capital of Alonissos until 1965, when it was destroyed by an earthquake. Today, it has been restored and impresses the visitor with its well-preserved beauty, the elegant shops, cafes and ouzeris on the paved streets. Votsi is also a beautiful settlement around a famous beach of Alonissos. It is a calm bay with a few taverns, fishing boats and yachts that create the ultimate picture of Greek summer.

One of the greatest assets of Alonissos is the day trip by boat in order to see monachus monachus, the protected species of monk seal, which lives in the sea and the tiny islands around Alonissos and is one of the rarest species in Europe. The Marine Park is also a must-see for those, who are passionate about dolphins and generally marine life. While going by boat there, it is very likely to see dolphins swimming around the boat, welcoming you to their home. The visit to the Marine Mark can be also combined with an excursion to the Blue Cave, an impressive cave on the northern side of Alonissos, near the Marine Park. Some boats, which depart from Patitiri, take you also to the nearby uninhabited islets, which are renowned for their physical beauty.

Alonissos has one of the best beaches in Greece, Agios Dimitrios. The beach is an impressive cave you should not miss! White sand, turquoise waters and the strange shape of the beach, which looks like a boat ready to start its journey, make this bay one of the most unique in whole Greece.Other astonishing beaches, with gorgeous sea waters and charming landscape are Glyfa, Votsi and Milia.


Skyros

Skyros is the remotest island of the Sporades, the only that is located in the Aegean Sea and not inside the Pagasetic Gulf. This is why it looks like belonging in the Cyclades. It has not the characteristics of the other islands. Lush greenery and colourful neoclassical harbours do not represent Skyros. Skyros has wild beauty with dry landscape and white-washed houses that captivate the visitor. Linaria is the port of Skyros, a picturesque small town with elegant shops, traditional taverns and charming sunset. The Town of Skyros is built on the top of a cliff, overlooking the Aegean Sea, under a Byzantine castle. White, Cycladic-style houses, cobblestone paths, lovely squares with bars, cafés and restaurants with Greek mezedes make Skyros Town the place to be and relax. 

Interesting sites in Skyros are the Archaeological Museum as well as the Folklore Museum in the Town. Above Skyros Town, you can admire the Byzantine Castle, which is a well-kept stone structure that was built to protect the island from its enemies. Inside the castle, is located the Monastery of Saint George, which dates back to the 10th century A.D. The Monastery has significant icons, paintings, books, frescoes and other exhibits, and it is also a top spot to enjoy the magnificent view of the Town.

Don't miss to see the ponies of Skyros. These ponies are renowned all over Greece. They are shorter than normal horses with long hair. They grow in Skyros since antiquity and are the trademark of the island. In the Skyrian Pony Centre, you can admire these beautiful animals and learn about their history, which dates back in the 8th century B.C., when the Athenians brought them in Skyros.

The beaches of Skyros are famous for their crystal waters as well as the surrounding impressive environment. The best-known, organised beaches, which are in a close distance to the town, are Molos and Magazia, but there are also many wonderful untouched beaches, where you can find total privacy, peace and relaxation, such as Agios Fokas, Atsitsa and Pefkos.


How to get there

The Sporades are perfect for Greek Island Hopping as they are situated in a short distance to each other. Because they are located in the Pagasetic Gulf, in the middle of Greece, they are easily accessible from every corner of Greece. They are ideal for island hopping from large Greek cities, such as Athens, Larissa, Volos and Thessaloniki. Especially from Larissa and Volos, are very good options, and they are also popular choices for the residents of Thessaloniki.

There is direct connection to all the islands of the Sporades from the coastal towns of Volos and Thessaloniki. From Volos, you can go to Skiathos, the closest island, in 2 hours by boat and less than 1,5 hour by ferry. Then, you can go to Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros with this sequence. Because the islands are located very close to each other, you can travel between the islands in less than one hour and see during one week or 10 days all these 4 islands. There are several ferry lines that connect all these islands to each other.

Another option is to take the boat to Sporades from Thessaloniki and go to the south. Remember that from Thessaloniki, you need at least 3-4 hours to get to Skiathos and the other islands.

From Piraeus, the port of Athens, do not depart boats to the Sporades. The closest port to Athens is Agios Konstantinos (120 km), from where you can take the boat to Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros. You can go there from Athens by public road transport (less than 2 hours), and from Agios Konstantinos, you need less than 2 hours to get to the closest island, Skiathos.

The islands of the Sporades that have airport are Skiathos and Skyros. They are connected by direct flights with Athens and by charter flights with many countries all over the world. From Athens, the flight lasts 45 minutes to both islands, and it is the most convenient way to reach the Sporades.

From these airports, there are also other domestic flights, such as to Rhodes, Mykonos and Corfu. Thus, theoretically, you can combine Island Hopping in the Sporades with island hopping to other island complexes of Greece, such as the Cyclades, the Dodecanese or the Ionian islands. However, we recommend you to stay in the Sporades, explore their natural and urban beauty and not to miss hours travelling from one side of Greece to the other. Island hopping to other islands can be another chapter of your vacation in Greece.

Where to Stay

Pansion in Alonissos, Greece Pension Galazios Kolpos
Pension Galazios Kolpos
Patitiri, 37005 Alonissos, Greece

Pension Galazios Kolpos is located in Patitiri, just a 3-minute walk from the Port of Alonissos. Patitiri beach is only a 4-minute walk away.

Studio & Appartment in Skopelos, Greece Yellow Stella Studios
Yellow Stella Studios
Skopelos Town, 37003 Skopelos, Greece

Yellow Stella Studios are located just 10 minutes walk from the main port in Skopelos town. The nearest beach in Skopelos town is 750 m away from the studios. Skopelos town has a good bus connection to other popular beaches of the island. The distance from the island's second main port, Glossa, is 23 km.

Studio & Appartment in Skopelos, Greece Smile Stella Studios
Smile Stella Studios
Skopelos Town, 37003 Skopelos, Greece

Smile Stella Studios are located just 10 minutes walk from the main port in Skopelos town. The nearest beach in Skopelos town is 750 m away from the studios. Skopelos town has a good bus connection to other popular beaches of the island. The distance from the island's second main port, Glossa, is 23 km. ##


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