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Sporades Islands

The Sporades Islands, located in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece, are a beautiful and unique destination for travelers. With lush vegetation, turquoise waters, and charming villages, these islands offer a peaceful and relaxing escape. Have you ever wondered what makes the Sporades Islands so special? Let’s explore together.

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What are the Sporades Islands?

The Sporades Islands refer to the Greek archipelago located northwest of the island of Euboea (Evoia) in Greece. There are four main islands in the group: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros. Each island offers unique landscapes from beautiful sandy beaches and dense forests to rocky coastlines and rolling hills. They are known as popular tourist destinations, offering visitors a chance to experience traditional Greek culture combined with modern amenities such as luxury resorts and fine dining options. Skiathos Island has gained particular attention due to its vibrant nightlife scene, while Skopelos Island serves as the idyllic setting for the 2008 movie “Mamma Mia!

Where to stay in the Sporades Islands

Accommodation options in the Sporades range from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury villas. Skiathos is the most developed island in terms of tourism, with plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from. Skopelos and Alonnisos offer a more laid-back atmosphere, with charming guesthouses and family-run hotels. For a truly unique experience, you can also rent a traditional Greek villa, complete with stunning sea views and a private swimming pool.

When to Visit the Sporades Islands?

The climate in the Sporades Islands is just about perfect. Short-lived winters go from late November to around March time. That’s perhaps the only time of the year that isn’t downright irresistible, although it can still be good for hikers looking to explore the peaks of nearby Evia and the wooded valleys of inland Skiathos without the crowds.
Spring kicks in earnest in April and, by May, you can be soaking up the rays with temperature averages of 21+ and less than half of the rainfall of just a month before.
Summer gets flowing shortly after that, with averages increasing to the high 20s. Things don’t cool down again until at least October, by which time the crowds have all but deserted even the most popular parts of the chain (AKA Skiathos Town).
We recommend visiting the Sporades Islands in the summer (June-August) when Skiathos Town is positively pumping with plenty of marina-side bars. Yes, the beaches are busy, but they are also bathed in virtually endless sun.
Alternatively, visit in autumn (September-October) when the crowds have dispersed, and you can hike through the bays of Alonissos and get some peace and quiet on the famous Big Banana Beach.

Things to do in the Sporades Islands

Explore the Charming Villages – Each island in the Sporades has its own unique character, and the villages are no exception. Wander through the narrow streets of Skopelos Town, where whitewashed houses and bougainvillea flowers line the way. Or head to Alonnisos, where traditional stone houses are a testament to the island’s rich history.

Hike Through the Stunning Landscapes – The Sporades Islands are a hiker’s paradise, with trails winding through forests, hills, and rocky coastlines. One of the most popular hikes is the Old Town Trail on Alonnisos, which takes you through olive groves and past Byzantine ruins. Alternatively, head to Mount Palouki on Skiathos for panoramic views of the Aegean Sea.

Relax on the Beaches  – With over 60 beaches spread across the islands, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to sun, sea, and sand. For a more secluded option, head to Kastani Beach in Skopelos, which was made famous by the movie “Mamma Mia!” Or, if you prefer a livelier scene, head to Koukounaries Beach on Skiathos, which is known for its lively beach bars. 

Explore Ancient Monasteries – The Sporades Islands boast a rich spiritual heritage that is evidenced by the ancient monasteries that dot the landscape. Visit the famous Monastery of St. John the Baptist on Patitiri Island, which dates back to the 17th century, or the Monastery of Evangelistria on Skiathos, which houses an ecclesiastical artifact museum.

Cultural Events: The Sporades Islands are steeped in history and culture, with traditional festivals and events held throughout the year. The most famous event is Mamma Mia! Film Festival, which takes place on Skopelos Island every summer.

Sailing Tours: Sailing around the Sporades Islands is an unforgettable experience, with secluded coves, hidden bays, and deserted beaches waiting to be discovered.

Island Hopping in the Sporades

It is not difficult to come up with a couple of island-hopping itineraries when visiting the Sporades Islands. You can easily combine Skiathos and Skopelos, and even Alonnisos, to almost any route. However, keep in mind that Skyros, the biggest island in the Sporades, is quite a bit farther from the other three, and it is also quite big, so it’s often left out of these hopping itineraries.

Getting to the Sporades Islands

To get to the Sporades Islands, you typically have two options: by plane or by ferry. Since there aren’t direct international flights to Sporades, you’ll likely need to start by taking a flight to Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” (ATH). After arriving in Athens, you can continue your journey using one of the following methods:

Flights to Skiathos Island – From Athens Elefthrios Venizelos airport, there are daily domestic flights to Skiathos airport, ‘Alexandros Papadiamantis’. Round trips ticket costs usually ranges from 80€ to 130€. The shortest flight takes only 30 minutes to cover the distance. Keep in mind that during winter time air traffic gets reduced significantly so double check timetables and plan accordingly.

By Ferry from Volos Port – An additional approach, less frequent among tourists and requires a bit longer duration, yet interesting, is to head to Volos port. After approximately 3 hours drive from downtown Athens you’ll find yourself close to Magnesia prefecture capital. Regular buses depart quite frequently and at relatively low fares. The route offers nice views as it follows the shore line and upon arrival, you pass underneath the large bridge connecting Pelion peninsula to the mainland. In Volos, besides finding a good place to rest or grab a coffee while waiting, you can walk alongside the port and enjoy some sea food delicacies on top of stunning view of Pagasetic gulf.

Getting around the Sporades Islands

There are several ways to get around the Sporades Islands. Here are some options:

Ferry services – This is one of the most popular methods for traveling between islands. There are regular ferries that connect Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, Glossa (Skopelos), and Agnontas (Skiathos) throughout the day. Tickets cost anywhere from €20 to €65 per person depending on your destination.

Flights – You can also take domestic flights to reach the islands. Both Skiathos and Skyros have their own airports, so visitors can easily fly directly into the area without having to go through Athens first. However, prices for these flights tend to be more expensive than taking a ferry.

Rental cars/scooters – Once you arrive at your island destination, renting a car or scooter can be a great way to explore. Roads are generally well maintained, but driving rules may differ slightly from mainland Greece. Be sure to check local regulations beforehand if planning this method of transportation.

Boat tours – Another option is to book a boat tour either for sightseeing purposes or to visit multiple locations within a shorter time frame. Many companies offer these types of excursions during peak season.

Alonnisos Island

One of the heavenly green islands in the Sporades group is Alonnisos. It has a laid-back vibe, and it’s one of the first Sporades Island that comes to mind when looking for a relaxing holiday to spend peaceful days, even in the middle of summer. Alonnisos has a family atmosphere more than being a place for young travelers. However, don’t expect crazy clubbing like you would on more popular party islands. The most remarkable thing you can do in Alonissos is to jump on a boat at the island’s port, Patitiri, and head to the Marine Park of Northern Aegean.

Skopelos Islands

If you are looking for eye-catching landscapes and crystal-clear waters next to golden coasts, look no further than Skopelos. With its traditional Pelion architecture, rugged natural landscapes, and pure island atmosphere, Skopelos is a breathtaking island that will cast a spell over you. The island’s land is mostly covered by a pine forest, giving it a unique green color that adds to its charm. Skopelos’ strongest card is its jaw-dropping beaches with pine trees touching its turquoise waters, as well as its fascinating local cuisine.

Skiathos Island

Skiathos, the most cosmopolitan island in the Northern Sporades, is a paradise on earth with lush pine forests and crystal-clear azure waters. The island is picturesque, unspoiled, and blessed with over 60 stunning beaches, including the famous Koukounaries, considered the third most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean. Skiathos also boasts bustling nightlife, making it a real treat for visitors, especially young people seeking the freedom to party and listen to their favorite music!

Skyros Islands

Just three and a half hours away from Athens lies the southernmost island of Sporades, Skyros. Several myths of Greek Mythology referring to legendary heroes such as Lykomedes, Theseus, Achilles, and Neoptolemus are connected with the island of Skyros. The island’s traditions, customs, and architecture are a testament to the plethora of conquerors who left their traces over the centuries. Whether you are an action lover or desperate for carefree moments under the sun, Skyros has a unique experience to offer each one of you.

Local Cuisine

Prepare your taste buds for a mouth-watering journey through the Sporades Islands’ gastronomic delights. The cuisine here boasts a fresh, locally-sourced selection of seafood and produce, with traditional Greek flavors woven throughout. Some dishes you simply can’t miss:

Prawn Saganaki: Experience a tantalizing blend of flavors with this dish featuring juicy prawns cooked in a zesty tomato and feta cheese sauce.
Cheese Pie: Indulge in the savory goodness of this pie made from a combination of locally-sourced cheese, fresh spinach, and flavorful herbs.
Grilled Octopus: Delight in the juicy tenderness of freshly caught octopus, grilled to perfection and finished with a zesty lemon and olive oil drizzle.
Fava: Savor the rich, authentic flavors of this traditional Greek dish made from wholesome yellow split peas, complemented by the perfect blend of olive oil and onions.

Wine Tasting

At the heart of the Sporades winemaking tradition lies the family-owned wineries scattered across the islands. Here are ten distinct wineries in the Sporades Islands:

Hatzimouratis Winery – Skopelos Island
Kyklopas Vineyards & Winery – Alonnisos Island
Boutique Viticulture at Varibobi Organic Farm & Winery – Skopelos
Sigalis Winery (Syros Island)
Strofilia Winery & Guesthouse (Alonnisos Island)
Eco-conscious Connoisseurs at La Gitana Verde Winery – Skiathos Island
Chatzigeorgiou Vineyards – Hora, Syros island
Domaine Triantafyllopoulos – Syros island
Skiathos Organic Farm – located in Koukounaries, Skiathos
Domaine Triantafyllopoulos – Syros island

Best Beaches in Sporades

Best Beaches in Skopelos – Panormos Beach – An exquisite retreat nestled among towering cliffs with crystal clear waters ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts. Agnondas Beach – For nature lovers craving quietude and seclusion, Agnondas Beach presents serenity in abundance. Milia Beach – Ideal for families, this captivating shoreline entices visitors with translucent blue hues, cozy restaurants, and shops. Stafilos Beach – Staflos enraptures tourists searching for a laid-back scene. Glossa Beach – Seeking luxury? Glossa’s lush surroundings provide upscale facilities within walking distance of your chosen beachfront villa or luxurious holiday homes.

Best Beaches in Skyros – Magazia Beach – A crescent-shaped beach located northwest of Chora (the main town) surrounded by emerald green water and pristine white sand. It’s easy to get here via local buses or taxi transfer since it’s just about ten minutes from the port. Kalogria Beach – This extensive sandy beach that offers a fantastic mix of aquatic delights. Located approximately six kilometers south of the capital, accessing it by private car is straightforward after turning off the main road at Achilli village. Apokrili Beach – Close to Kalogria but positioned farther east by merely walking along the coastal path, this almost deserted gem invites those cherishing tranquility.

Best Beaches in Skiathos – Kolios Beach – A pebbled beach ideal for families, featuring tavernas, a mini market, and watersports facilities including paragliding and jet skis. Banana Beach – Well connected thanks to frequent buses traveling up and down the northern peninsula, this strip welcomes visitors seeking party atmosphere and loud music. Troulos Beach – At the heart of Kolios Peninsula, this long stretch features golden sand and a mix of sunbeds with umbrellas. Megali Ammos Beach – Considered Skiathos Island’s primary “town beach,” this location caters mainly towards accommodation for guests staying closeby in Skiathos Town.

Best Beaches in Alonnisos – Alonissos is a perfect island for those who seek a different landscape from the rest of the Greek Islands. Green, lush and home to incredibly tall pine trees, the beaches in Alonissos offer a quiet and picturesque atmosphere. Agios Dimitrios Beach: This partly organized pebbled beach, ideal for families, is located only 14 km from Patitiri. Agios Dimitrios has gorgeous crystal water, while dozens of tall trees provide refreshing shade during the hottest hours of the day. Milia Beach – This is a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear waters, located in a secluded cove surrounded by lush vegetation.

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Based on the latest data from, here are the top Twenty hotels in Sporades Islands, Greece, based on user reviews and overall ratings:

It should be noted that the ranking could change with more recent reviews being added. This list represents the most up-to-date ranking based on available reviews.

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The Sporades Islands are located in the Aegean Sea, off the eastern coast of Greece. There are 24 islands in the Sporades archipelago, but only four of them are permanently inhabited: Alonnisos, Skiathos, Skopelos, and Skyros.

The easiest way to get to the Sporades Islands is by ferry. There are several ferry companies that operate routes to the islands from the mainland ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos, and Mantoudi. You can also fly to Skiathos Island National Airport and then take a ferry to the other islands.

To explore all that the Sporades Islands have to offer, there are several modes of transportation available. Here’s some guidance on how to move around each island individually or to hop between them.

Skiathos Island – This is where cars aren’t essential because everything can be reached by bus or boat services, but hiring a scooter makes getting around easier. Taxis are usually readily available at major spots like Koukounaries Beach and Skiathos Town (Chora). You could also charter your own yacht or boat for excursions. The town center is compact enough for walking tours if exploring on foot suits your interests better.
Skopelos Island – Most of this place relies on local vehicles, and buses go back and forth along the central road linking Glossa and Elios. Rental car agencies operate out of hotels. Scooters and bicycles can also be rented via shops near the town square. For the most part, just walk on foot since most villages sit close together anyway.
Alonissos Island – Transportation means renting motorbikes or ATVs (4x4s), taking boats to various destinations, or utilizing local bus routes that only reach certain areas within Chora itself. Hiking opportunities and water taxis connect other villages too. As usual, trekking around on foot can lead to satisfying experiences if well-planned for the distances involved.
Skyros Island – Buses run from Linaria into the interior; however, it’s more common to stick to ferry connections between ports, or take taxis or buses locally. Horseback riding excursions exist, yet they might be infrequent based on seasonal demand. Strolling through villages or venturing deeper on horseback would make for fun activities on one of the least visited islands in these groups.
Inter-Island Travel – Links between these islands are served by regular ferries year-round. Various companies like Agoudimos Lines and Anes Ferries operate multiple daily departures to each destination, depending on passenger volume during different seasons.

The best time to visit the Sporades Islands is during the summer months, from June to September. The weather is warm and sunny, and the sea is perfect for swimming and other water sports. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect large crowds and higher prices. If you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly trip, you may want to visit in the shoulder seasons of May or October.

The Sporades Islands offer plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. You can go hiking in the lush forests of Alonnisos and Skopelos, take a boat tour to explore the hidden coves and sea caves, go scuba diving to discover the rich marine life, or simply relax on the many beaches and enjoy the stunning scenery.

If you’re a citizen of the European Union (EU) or the Schengen Area, you don’t need a visa to visit the Sporades Islands. Citizens of some other countries may need a visa, so it’s best to check with the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country before you travel.

The Sporades Islands are known for their fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine. Some local specialties include grilled octopus, sardines, and squid, as well as moussaka, feta cheese, and tzatziki. You can also try the local wine and ouzo, a traditional Greek spirit.

Skiathos Island:

Magazia Beach – A gorgeous, blue flag certified, long sandy beach ideal for youngsters who love playing games, building sandcastles, and engaging in water sports. Enjoy comfortable sunbathing, great food, and sweet drinks. Buses & taxis run frequently from the Chora.

Apollonia Beach – Facing north towards Mount Olympos, this semi-organized sandy and shingly beach is perfect for families. Enjoy the views of Skyros Castle. Benefit from multiple accommodation options, local tavernas serving fresh fish and lobsters, and various sports facilities.

Troulos Beach – Troulos is an extensive stretch of soft yellow sand backed by tall grass. Water sports enthusiasts can find plenty of activities here including pedal boats, jet skis, banana boats, and even scuba diving. There are several beach bars offering refreshments and light meals. One of the nearest points to enjoy sea turtle sightings during June.

Atsitsa Beach – A well organized beach with white sands, warm clear waters, and a picturesque little harbor filled with colorful fishing boats. Rock formations provide sheltered areas, making it safe for children to play near the water’s edge. There are many trees providing welcome shade and relaxation, along with some good beachside music and nice tavernas for refreshing drinks and local cuisine.

Skopelos Island

Stafilos Beach – A beautiful, crescent-shaped beach with fine sand and sparkling blue water. Perfect spot for swimming and lounging under the sun. (30 minutes from Skopelos Town)

Panormos Beach – An impressive bay with a large sandy beach and shallow water. Offers facilities such as sunbeds, umbrellas, and tavernas. Great for families with kids. (15 minutes from Skopelos Town)

Velanio Beach – A charming small cove perfect for peace seekers. Quiet, remote, but still easily accessible via car/boat. Sunbathe, read books or just listen to the sound of waves crashing onto the shore.

Alonnisos Island

Chrisi Milia Beach – A magical place with white powdery sand, turquoise water, and lush scenery. Ideal for couples wanting to enjoy private moments. Relax, have fun with aquatic activities, and eat delicious fish at nearby taverns. Reachable by boat from Patitiri Port.

Votsi Beach – Fine-grained sand and crystal-clear water make Votsi Beach popular among local residents & tourists alike. Perfect spot for swimmers, snorkellers, and kayakers. Numerous traditional seafood taverns are available. Easy to reach by bus or car from Patitiri.

Marpounta Beach – A quiet family-friendly pebble beach close to Patitiri port with facilities like parking, cafe bars, and rental services. Enjoy serenity while admiring the view across the Gulf of Alonnisos. Accessible by foot from Patitiri Old Town.

Skyros Island

Magazia Beach – A gorgeous, blue flag certified, long sandy beach ideal for youngsters who love playing games, building sandcastles, and engaging in water sports. Enjoy comfortable sunbathing, great food, and sweet drinks. Buses & taxis run frequently from the Chora.

Apollonia Beach – Facing north towards Mount Olympos, this semi-organized sandy and shingly beach is perfect for families. Enjoy the views of Skyros Castle. Benefit from multiple accommodation options, local tavernas serving fresh fish and lobsters, and various sports facilities.

Pelaio Mountains National Park – Explore a unique natural environment featuring endemic species, rare birds, and incredible landscapes. Hiking trails lead to breathtaking vistas and ancient ruins. Discover nature at its finest!

Valide Sultani Mosque – Admire one of Greece’s last remaining Ottoman mosques. Learn about Islamic culture and history in the region while appreciating its architectural beauty. Don’t miss the peaceful courtyard gardens.

Monasteries of Meteora – Marvel at centuries-old monasteries perched high above the ground. These UNESCO World Heritage sites offer inspiring views, religious significance, and historical insights into medieval monastic life. Unforgettable experiences await, whether exploring interiors or marveling at exterior architecture.

Nautical Museum of Skopelos – Delve into the rich seafaring heritage of the Sporades islands. Original artifacts, ship models, and paintings tell the story of fishing practices and nautical trade over time. Interactive exhibits captivate visitors of all ages.

Castello Rosso – Immerse yourself in Alonissos’ past as you wander among the remains of this impressive Venetian castle, built in the early 14th century. Breathe in panoramic views of the Sea of Malagari and surrounding countryside, then explore ruins like the fortification walls, prison cells, and storage rooms. A fascinating journey through history.

Agios Ioannis Beach (Skiathos) – This scenic cove appeals to families thanks to shallow, crystal-clear waters warmed by Greek sunshine. Golden sand, umbrellas, sundecks, shower amenities, parking, and nearby taverns enhance the experience. Fun water sports also entertain older kids.

Agios Georgios (Alonnisos) – A charming spot blending green and blue hues, perfect for small children. Tranquil waters, gently shelving sands, tree shading, and playgrounds add family-welcoming touches. Numerous dining options and sunbed/umbrella rentals complete a delightful excursion.

Kolovesi Beach (Skopelos) – A tranquil retreat with calm waves and pristine blue-green seawater. Pine forests provide natural shading, and a few beach bars serve up snacks and cold drinks. Children love playing along the shorefront or venturing out on boat trips. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals available nearby.

The Sporades Islands generally maintain conservative standards when it comes to dress codes and behaviors around clothing choices, making them suitable locations for those who prefer more traditional attitudes towards nudism. However, here are some options:

Elia Beach (Mykonos): Located near Paradise Beach and Paraga Beach, Elia Beach has become known for attracting LGBTQ+ individuals and offers a welcoming environment to spend time together in their preferred swimwear styles. While mixed groups may feel comfortable here, be aware that nearby beaches could be busier and less appropriate depending on personal preferences.

Livadaki Beach (Serifos): On the southwest side of Serifos Island, Livadaki Beach hosts a private section for nude sunbathing and swimming. This serene spot provides ample room to disrobe and appreciate the gentle waters and surroundings without concerns about unwanted attention. Please note, however, that other sections remain clothed and respect cultural norms.