The islands in the Sporades chain are a particular favourite for both yachting and sailing lovers. The harbours are usually uncrowded and the islands generally unspoiled. For sailing enthusiasts, the frequent Meltemi winds keep the sails billowed and the mast angled at full speeds.
Explore the routes of the pirates from centuries past, where sunken vessels can still be seen today. The islands of Skopelos, Alonissos and Skiathos are rich in history and each has its own tale to tell of days bygone. Tradition abounds on all of the Sporades islands and although tourism has been a strong influence here in more recent years, there are few Greek islands that still hold their customs and folklore so firmly. So, prepare to step back in time and enjoy these ultimate cruises, whether you opt for just a day cruise, a romantic sunset dinner cruise or a week long sailing journey through the islands, you will certainly find a trip that is just right for you. Hear the call of the sirens song tempting you to these unspoiled and idyllic islands of warm sea breezes and long sunny days…..
The Sporades, meaning ‘scattered’ islands, are spread out like small green jewels dotted in a cobalt sea. These islands are well-known for their extreme beauty and the abundance of pine forests where Skopelos claims the unofficial title of ‘Greenest Island’ in the Mediterranean’.
Below is a little bit of information about the islands themselves, surrounding areas and some of the pristine locations that may be visited by boat. Check out our cruise choices which include: a day of sailing aboard the ‘Thassos’; a day cruise aboard the traditional caique ‘Gorgona’ to Alonissos; a sunset dinner cruise aboard the luxury yacht ‘Panther’ or a 7 night sailing cruise aboard the ‘Thassos’ in combination with 7 nights at one of our high standard pool villas.
Skopelos Island - Skopelos Island has numerous bays for swimming and dropping anchor for the night. The azure waters of Panormos bay is an excellent choice for spending an afternoon or evening. Its perfect crescent shape encompasses the small inlet of ‘Blo’ and is a favourite for many sailing boats to moor for the night. With the beach lined with tavernas, a sumptuous seaside meal can be enjoyed as the sun sinks slowly into the sea. There are a few bars in this small village for those in the mood for some low-key nightlife. Continuing along the coastline, the protected bay of Stafilos with its pine trees cascading straight down to the beach is a particularly beautiful bay to drop anchor for the night as well. The swimming and snorkeling are wonderful here and the waters are usually warm and crystal clear. After a swim and some sun, an easy hike (approx 50min) through the olive groves, passing small churches and springs along the track to Skopelos Town makes for a great evening.
Once in Skopelos Town, an evening town walk can be arranged to take you on a stroll through one of the most picturesque villages in the Sporades. Climbing up the cobbled stairs away from the perfect amphitheatrically shaped harbour, the views are stunning and the neighbourhoods, which consist of clean, white washed houses and painted balconies, are Venetian in their architectural style. Once at the top of town, you will find the remains of the Venetian fortress dating from around 1200. From here you will enjoy the breath-taking views across the Agean to Alonissos and down the red tiled and grey slate roofs of town to the splendid harbour. Wandering back down to the seafront, in the midst of the colourful, flower-filled backstreets of town, you will be enchanted by the numerous small churches and chapels around nearly every bend. In all, Skopelos town has more than 120 churches, the island, over 360 churches chapels and monasteries.
Alonissos Island – Alonissos as well has several stunning bays and coves for anchoring for a few hours or the night when on a longer trip. One of the loveliest beaches in all of the Sporades islands, Ag. Dimitrios lies up the leeward side of the coast of Alonissos. Here the white sand forms a huge boomerang-shaped beach which creates a dramatic scenic headland. The picturesque fishing village of Steni Vala is perfect for a fresh seafood meal and a tour of the Monk seal headquarters can be arranged for those interested.
The main town of Alonissos, Patitiri (‘wine press’ in Greek) is named for the wine presses which were once housed at the harbour. A morning or evening can be spent in this small port village to peek in the shops and have a seaside meal. In addition, one must make the short trip up to the village of Chora or ‘Old Alonissos’, which is perched on the hilltop high up above Patitiri. This used to be the island capital until the 1965 earthquake when the houses were destroyed beyond living conditions and the villagers were re-housed in Patitiri below. The old town is filled with narrow streets and fortified stone houses which were built to withstand attack from pirates in the days of old. Now about 50% of the village has been restored to its original beauty and many of the buildings boast some outstanding architectural features. At Choras highest point is a series of small squares with cafe bars and tavernas open for the summer season. From here the views are breathtaking to the neighbouring islands and sea. Those who wish to walk the 50 minutes back to the harbour on the old donkey path are encouraged to do so to take advantage of seeing some of the islands exquisite countryside.
National Marine Park- Another must on any itinerary of the Sporades Islands is to take part on a cruise through the deserted islands of the National Marine Park of Alonissos. The Marine Park is a pristine area of the Agean sea, dotted with white sandy beaches only accessible by boat and is home to many endangered species of plants and birds as well as the Mediterranean Monk seal. Imagine sunning, swimming and snorkeling in secluded bays and beaches that are rarely visited by man. This is the time when you can really enjoy lounging onboard your excursion boat and soaking up the sun in true relaxation. When reaching one of the highlights of the area, Kyra Panagia, you can choose to spend your day quietly soaking up the sun on deck or explore the deserted island by foot. A guided hike is available taking you up to the Byzantine Monastery for an interesting talk about the history of the monastery and the surrounding islands. A pic-nic lunch can be arranged on the way back down the hill to take in the breathtaking views of the area before meeting the ship again. There is also the possibility for an overnight at the bay of Planitis, one of the most protected coves in the park. The tranquility of this bay is unparalleled and its beauty is a place where the calm sea will lull you to faraway places. With plenty of time for an evening swim or maybe some fishing – then a night spent under a star filled sky that won’t be believed.
Join us on one of the many adventures possible with our Thalpos Holidays boat trips – enjoy a unique and casual atmosphere created by the warm hospitality of your Greek captain and crews. Their personal commitment to giving you the best quality service is of the highest priority. The tasty meals served onboard or in selected tavernas on each island will acquaint you with traditional Greek cooking and the freshest seafood possible. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore and relax under the warmth of the Greek sunshine and be enchanted by the extreme beauty of these magical islands called the Sporades.
(One week sailing cruises have the possibility to include visits to Skiathos, Pelion and Skyros islands – please see this link for more information on these islands)