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Island Hopping: discover the Greek islands

Dodecanese ● Saronic islands ● Sporades ● 15 December 2017
 

Sporades

Along the North Aegean Sea, Sporades Islands are off the coast of Evia and Thessaly. Sporades Islands are located 120 km north of Athens, just off the Greece’s east coast. The Sporades Islands are some of the lesser visited islands of the Mediterranean’s islands because only four out of the twenty-four island are habitable. The habitable Sporades Islands include Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros. These islands are beautifully gouged with bays, sheltered with coves, and hemmed in turquoise waters. The Sporades Islands are known for their beaches, lush pine vegetation, sublime mountainous hills, and coastal diving, and snorkeling.  The delicious, cuisine demonstrates the authenticity of these remote islands. The local chef knows how to transform simple ingredients of seafood, olives, lamb, cheese, herbs, oil, fruit, and vegetables into lip-smackingly delicious Mediterranean tang. If you love eating simple aromatic dishes, hiking across pine-fragrant hills or lounging by the sea, the Sporades islands are for you. 

Discover more about what the Sporades Islands have to explore, and enjoy:

Skiathos
Skiathos is a Greek island in the northwest of Aegean Sea. Most travelers arrive by bus or taxi from Agios Konstantinos, and then take a ferry from there, or fly into Alexandros Papadiamantis, the international airport of Skiathos. The town of Skiathos is the main port of departure for those who wish to hop to Skopelos and Alonissos. All the action of Skiathos centers around the municipality, where you can find fun bars and restaurants that spill onto the sidewalks of the old harbor and pedestrian streets.  Aside from plenty of nightlife, you will discover some of the most magnificent beaches in Greece, as well as pine forests, wildlife, and panoramic sea views.



Skopelos
Scopelos is Located between Skiathos, and Alonissos and known as nature lover’s paradise, for some claim this island to be the greenest of the Sporades Islands, and home to an extensive forest, and wildlife, as well as a beautiful coastline. Skopelos is an attractive island that attracts mostly families, and romantic couples. This island became more well known after the filming of Mama Mia! Yes, Skopelos is more breathtaking in person. Haven't you seen the movie? All the more cause to come, and explore the island, and its crystal clear waters. The island was once a Cretan colony and has many archaeological sites, and a couple hundred churches, monasteries and convents to explore. The two main towns are located on top of a hill, making for an expansive Aegean Sea views. 



Alonissos
Alonissos, is the most remote of the Northern Sporades Islands, making it the perfect island to unwind.  Most people get here by ferry from Ag Konstantinos or Volos. Visitors spend their time exploring rugged landscapes rich in history, and ancient Byzantine ruins, viticulture and enjoying leisure walks along pine forests, olive groves, and orchards. Alonissos, is one of the largest marine reserves, in the Mediterranean Aegean Sea, and the home of the National Marine Park, a refuge for rare seabirds, dolphins, and Mediterranean Monk Seals. 



Skyros
Skyros is in the center of the Aegean Sea and is the least famous of the Sporades Islands. The town of Chora is located along a slop, offering charmed views of Aegean Sea. Around the island are narrow streets, a medieval castle, beautiful beaches, and the Skyros Institute of Holistic Studies, which offers programs in alternative therapies, yoga, and windsurfing. Skyros is famous for their carnival celebrations, and the goat dancer who may date back to the ancient cult of Dionysios. The Carnival celebration begins at lent; forty days before Orthodox Easter takes place. Other times of the years, the island holds a relaxing atmosphere to explore, with few tourist facilities and hotels, but all the beauty of pine filled greenery, spectacular beaches, magnificent views, and traditional villages, and customs.




Dodecanese


Discover the Greek Island hopping this vacation by exploring the Dodecanese Islands. The Dodecanese is a group of Greek islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The Dodecanese are known for their sandy and pebbly beaches, medieval monuments, Byzantine churches, and essential ancient archaeological discoveries. Need some help identifying what islands to explore, what islands are worth your time, and where you should start?  Here is a list of Dodecanese Islands to hop, discover, and enjoy. 

Karpathos- Best for activities
Takes a 70min flight, or 16-hour ferry from Athens

The beautiful island of Karpathos is the second largest Dodecanese islands. Karpathos is on the southern side of Aegean Sea, between Rhodes, and Crete. The result of its location, it has often been overlooked as a vacation destination, up until the last decade. The southern side of the island is for tourism with many accommodation possibilities; however, the center and northern-side has been left untouched and authentic.  You can expect to explore picturesque villages away from mass tourism here, and enjoy world-class surfing beaches, hills ideal for cycling, and glass-blue waters for swimming and snorkeling. Karpathos is the perfect destination for families, or vacationers who love privacy, hiking along olive groves, forested mountains, jagged cliffs, and hidden coves, and enjoying golden beaches, and crystal waters. 



Rhodes – Best for history
35-minute flight, or 5-hour ferry from Karpathos

Rhodes is known for its labyrinth of walled Old Town beach resorts, Turkish baths, turreted palaces and its remnants of the Knights of St. John during the crusades. The museums are excellent, but the history can be seen and felt all throughout the city’s buildings, streets, and squares. 



Symi- Best harbor
1-hour ferry from Rhodes

Symi is known for its beaches, annual music festival, and the beautifully multicolored neoclassical mansions build along the slopes that surround the harbor. On the southwest coast, you will find an 18th-century Monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis. Symi is a fabulously romantic spot, offering small beaches, breathtaking views, and the perfect compromise of seclusion, while still only a day trip away from famous Rhodes.  



Kalymnos- Best for life by the sea
3-hour speedboat ride from Rhodes

Kalymnos is on the northern side of the Dodecanese islands, close the coast of Turkey. Kalymnos’ has developed its beautiful rocky mountains into a rock climbing destination. In fact, Kalymnos host the international rock climbing festival every year in September. Kalymnos was once known for its sponge fishing, although sponge fishing is not as widely practiced, you will still discover sponge seller on the beach.  Kalymnos is the perfect destination for travelers who are seeking a relaxing seaside vacation. You don’t necessarily need to be a vigorous climber, to enjoy beautiful skeletal peaks above the azure waters. 



Leros- Best for relaxing 
50 minute by ferry from Kalymnos

Leros is a small island of the Dodecanese in the Southern Aegean Sea. According to the mythology, Leros Island was where goddess Artemis would hunt deer. This history is in many island sights around the island, and medieval castles, and museums. Leors is the perfect destination to relax, and enjoy the crystal beaches, or to explore the ancient shipwrecks under the sea. 



Patmos –Best for culture
45-minute speedboat from Leros

Patmos is on the northern side of Dodecanese Island. Patmos is a Christian pilgrimage, its Cave of the Apocalypse is where St. John is said to have written the Book of Revelation. Patmos is the home of an 11th -century monastery dedicated to St. John, the fortress-like abbey overlooks the whitewashed houses of the capital city. Patmos offers an off-the-beaten-path experience, rich with culture, and beautiful multicolored pebbled beaches. 



In short: 
•    During the summer months, it is easy to fly direct to Rhodes. 
•    Speed boat or excursion boasts reach Kalymnos. 
•    Symi is reachable by scheduled ferries from Rhodes. 
•    Leros is reachable by scheduled ferry but also has flights from Athens, and some of the larger islands

Saronic islands


If you only have an afternoon or a few days to spare, the Saronic islands are for you. They are just an hour away from Athens, and you can find day cruises that stop at three of the islands and usually include lunch. The Saronic Island is off the mainland and the Peloponnese peninsula in the Aegean Sea. The Saronic Islands very close ferry ride from Athens, and therefore are popular, and an ideal location for day-trips, and weekend destinations. The Saronic Islands include Aegina, Agistri, Hydra, Poros, Spetses, and, are known for their beaches, and ancient ruins, crystal waters, relaxing atmosphere while also offering their individual charms and characteristics. The Saronic Gulf is close to Athens, making it an ideal destination for Athenians, and tourist who wish to hop on to an island holiday quickly. 

Aegina
Aegina, only an hour ferry ride from Athens, makes this island is a popular destination for the Athenians. In 1828, the Aegina Island was a substantial naval power. The towns are a lovely place to stroll along the narrow streets and elegant neoclassical buildings. You can expect to eat local pistachios, relax on beautiful beaches, and explore the 6th-century BC Ancient Temple of Aphaia, ghost village of Paleochora, and tranquil seaside communities. 



Agistri
Agistri is a tiny island in proximity to Athens. Agistri Island is a favorite summer weekend location, for it has small cozy villages, lovely resorts, organized beaches and many tourist facilities. You can expect to hop on the local bus or road train to tour the island and explore the excellent beaches of Aponissons and Dragonera, and the naturist beach of Halokiada. 



Hydra
Hydra Island’s appearance is impressive for the town is constructed on the slopes of the hill around a remarkable port, peppered with stone mansions. The only form of transportation available on the island is by foot, boat, or donkey. You can expect to enjoy the slow pace of transportation, and the small cove beaches, surrounded by crystal waters, and greenery. 



Poros
Poros Island’s center is around the beautiful slopes of the hill, and beautiful sandy beaches with plenty of tourist amenities. You can expect to explore the most picturesque spot in Poros, is Love Bay,  for the  Pine forests shelter the bay most beautifully. Most recently, the island has become the departure spot for sailing trips to Sardonic Golf. 



Spetses
In medieval times, the island of Spetses thrived with trade and locals constructed elegant mansions, which still survived today. During the Greek Revolution that commercial trade ships were transformed into military ships, and contributed to freeing their country. Spetses is a large island, and you can expect long walks, beautiful beaches accessible by foot or boats.


Where to Stay

Hotel in Piraeus, Greece Hotel Faros I
Hotel Faros I
140, Notara Str., 18536 Piraeus, Greece

Centrally located in Piraeus, Hotel Faros I offers accommodation just 10 minutes walk from the port and from a metro station. The center of Athens can be reached within 15 minutes from the nearest railway/metro station (Piraeus). Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is at 40 km and a bus stop for the X96 bus connecting Piraeus and the airport is a 3-minute walk away.

Studio & Appartment in Ikaria, Greece Studio Froso
8.4 10
Studio Froso
Chrisostomos, 83300 Ikaria, Greece

Studio Froso is located in Chrisostomos, an 18-minute drive from Agios Kirykos Port. Evdilos Port is 20 km away.

Hotel in Athens, Greece Olympion
8.6 10
Olympion
10, Lorentzou Mavili str., 13671 Athens, Greece

Located 100 m from the suburban station of Kato Acharnes, connecting to Athens city centre.#El. Venizelos International Airport is 35 km away from the hotel.


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