Our second base in Greece - the northern Aegean islands of the Sporades and the nearby Pelion Peninsula - has been a great hit with our sailors, and we're very happy to continue expanding our cruising grounds here.
Known as the 'Emerald of the Aegean' because of their rich vegetation, and stunning green and blue bays, they boast some of the clearest waters and most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean.
Unspoiled and authentic, with it's mixture of bustling waterfront towns, sleepy fishing villages and remote anchorages, the Sporades provides a wonderful cruising area. We still have the winds of the Meltemi blowing up here, but with the islands providing shelter from the swells, we can enjoy some exciting flat water sailing in their lee.
This is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The waters around Alonniso have also been designated as a National Marine Park, and are home to the Mediterranean monk seal as well as a number of other species of wildlife, including plenty of dolphins.
Our adventures also take us over to the mainland, and behind the wonderfully unspoiled Pelion Peninsula, where we find quiet villages and very little tourism, allowing us to explore the real Greece far from the well-trodden track.
"This year we returned to the Anna Maria and sailed the Sporades. Again, a fantastic experience. Seeing the different islands, meeting the locals and enjoying great sailing was more than we could have hoped!"LaNora & George
The Sporades lie about 90 miles north of Athens in the Aegean, and extend off the eastern coast of mainland Greece. There are 11 islands in all, of which only 4 are inhabited: Skiathos, Skiros, Skopelos, and Alonissos.
Despite the 'musical' movie "Mama Mia" drawing the attention of the world to the Sporades, these islands still enjoy relative anonimity compared to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, etc. As such there are few crowds, and a laid-back go-slow feeling pervades the archipelago, even in high summer.
This is an example of a typical itinerary on one of our 1 week sailing trips around the Sporades and Pelion Peninsula. Please bear in mind that no two trips are ever exactly the same.
Day 1 - We’ll be waiting for you in Skiathos town harbor, just 5 minutes taxi ride from the airport, and about 2 minutes walk from where the ferries come in. Weʼll have drinks, a quick boat chat, and then head out across the channel towards the island of Skopelos. It’s only an hour and half or so of gentle find-your-sea-legs sailing before we reach a gorgeous little bay for a leisurely lunch and a swim. There’s some great snorkeling here too, and the chance to spot an octopus hidden in the bright white rocks along the shoreline.
It’s only a 15 minute motor around the corner to our destination for the night - Nea Klima - a wonderfully calm village set among the pines with several tavernas. Enjoy the great swimming in clear, calm waters at the sandy beaches either side our little harbor, or for the more energetic, we can arrange a stand-up-paddle-boarding session with local instructor Shane. In the evening, we’ll mix up some punch and watch the sun set over the island of Skiathos, before heading up to see the ever-smiling George in his family-run taverna.
Day 2 - After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll slip our lines and head south around the bottom of the island. There’s a good chance we’ll catch the gentle late morning breeze, which provides the perfect introduction to upwind sailing and tacking, on our way to Stafilos - a lovely anchorage to stop in for a couple of hours. The water around here is so clear you can see the anchor in the sand 45 feet below! After lunch, we get to put that tacking lesson into practice in the stronger afternoon winds on our way to Skopelos Town.
It’s hard to imagine anywhere more Greek than this place as we sail in to the amphitheatrical harbour town. White houses with red tiled roofs sit on the hillsides above the water, and the winding alleyways are a wonder to explore for the afternoon. The narrow cobbled streets lead to ouzeries, small boutique-y shops, and bougainvillea covered courtyards. Closer to the water you’ll find many cafes, bars and restaurants - perfect spots to sit in the shade watching the boats come and go in the harbour.
If you fancy getting out of town and exploring the island a bit more, you’ll find plenty of places to hire various forms of transport. There are taxis and regular buses too, so it’s very easy to wander off and explore the other bays and villages on Skopelos. The densley wooded areas of Mediterranean pine run from coast to coast, but Skopelos is also well known for it’s plum orchards (and naturally, many of the favorite local dishes include the fruit - like stuffed chicken breast, or pork and plum sauce....)
And dare we say it, but Skopelos is also where Mamma Mia was set and much of it filmed. Some of the more recognizable landmarks from the movie are worth checking out - notably the cliff top chapel of Agios Ioannis on the north coast - but you can probably skip the display of Pierce Brosnan’s flip-flops!
Day 3 - It’s only a short hop to our next destination, so we have plenty of time to finish exploring town. Today we’re heading over to Alonissos, and the island’s capital - Patitiri - an interesting little harbor, totally land-locked and only visible once we pass through the narrow entrance. Perched above us on the cliffs are a mixture of houses and small hotels, and there’s even a little museum with artifacts from the several centuries when pirates roamed the area.
But without doubt, the highlight of visiting Patitiri is hopping in a taxi and heading up to the old mountain top village of Hora. The village was originally built as a refuge from those pesky pirates, but was deserted in the 1960s after a massive earthquake destroyed it. In recent years, the buildings have been renovated and restored to their former state, and inhabited again. The views up there are just breathtaking, as we look out over the Aegean and her islands far below us. And we’ve found a great little spot for dinner - with an incredible view of the sunset, right from our table!
Day 4 - One of the greatest features of sailing around the islands of the Sporades is it’s many beautiful and remote anchorages. Several islands, particularly the ones in the marine national park, are completely uninhabited. Finding our very own bay for the night on Kyra Panagia or Skantzoura and cooking or barbecuing on board makes for a very memorable experience. We’ve got plenty of deck space up top, so grab your bedding and fall asleep under the clearest skies watching the shooting stars.
Day 5 - We head west again today, and from Kyra Panagia it’s a fantastic sail across the wind back towards Steni Vala. The eastern part of the Sporades is host to a large number of rare species of wildlife, both flora and fauna. Perhaps the most famous underwater residents are the Mediterranean monk seals, and the area has been designated as a marine national park with the aim of protecting them. It’s also an important habitat for fish, dolphins and even whales. In Steni Vala there is a seal rescue centre, albeit just a small Portakabin with a tank in it - but is well worth a visit if you want to learn more about the local wildlife.
Steni Vala itself is a gorgeous inlet, with several fabulous restaurants perched at the waters edge. Our friend Costa and his family run a fabulous little mini-market-cum-cafe - a perfect spot to sit in the shade and watch the boats pull in. A five minute walk through the village takes you to a pebbly beach with pristine waters and great swimming.
Day 6 - We have the wind at our backs this morning, which means a cracking downwind sail back to Skiathos. We have a couple of options for a lunch stop and final swim before heading back across to Skiathos town in the late afternoon. There’s plenty of time to explore the bustling town and it’s labyrinth of alley ways. For our final night, we’ve got a great dinner spot hidden away from the main touristic part of town, set in a quiet bougainvillea covered courtyard.
Day 7 - Disembarkation is at 9am. Ask us if you need help in orientating yourself, ferry info, etc.
Of course the above is just a sample for a one week trip, and there are plenty of other spots we can spend the night if you wanted to do a 2 week itinerary. Drop us a line if you want to hear about our extended itineraries.
These can be done as either one or two week trips, but for ease we've listed the start of each week. Our two week trips have a different itinerary to avoid repeating our overnight stops, but the start and finish coincides with our one week adventures.
If you would like more details, pls drop us a line. If there's any particular type of trip, group or dates you're especially interested in - do let us know, so we can send you the most relevant info.
Prices are per person, and in euros
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SeaScape does not book airfares directly. Getting the best airfares these days needs full-time attention to the airline industry, and as a small company, our focus needs to be on what we do best - running sailing adventures! Youʼll get the best deals from travel agents who specialize in airfares, or online.
If you are hoping to use frequent flier miles – definitely book early! This is a very popular route and “miles” seats go fast.
Today there are many websites that will run comparisons for international tickets, and even alert you when prices change. Look at Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity for starters.
A word to the wise though - these are really only useful in getting to a major city like Athens, or Frankfurt or London, or wherever. In our experience, using them to find fares from your hometown to smaller spots like Skiathos can sometimes result in through-the-roof jaw-dropping prices and tortuous lay-overs.
If you are coming into Greece through Athens, perhaps the quickest and easiest way to get to us will be on the daily Olympic Air flight to Skiathos.
Another option is to travel overland to one of the ports on mainland Greece or Evia, and take the ferry out to us from there. You’ll need to aim for Agios Konstantinos (2hrs from Athens) or Volos (4.5hrs from Athens, but with more frequent ferry services). For our private groups traveling together, consider hiring a small bus or car with driver, as this can work out quite economical.
For individuals or couples on a budget, Greece has a surprisingly efficient and comfortable coach network called KTEL. They’re modern, air-conditioned, inexpensive and run about every hour out of Athens to the ports for the Sporades. The buses leave from Terminal B, which is on the red metro line or about 6 euros in a cab from Syntagma. If you're already staying in Athens, this is a super-simple option - and a great way to see some of interior Greece and get into holiday mode.
Absolutely not! Flying to Athens is perhaps the most obvious route, but unless you really want to see the ancient sights of the city or are constrained by your airline, there are other ways of getting to us in the islands. Often, a little lateral thinking is needed to find the best fares and shortest journey times.
Although much smaller than Athens, both Skiathos and Volos airports handle international flights from within Europe, and are popular routes for the charter airlines from the UK, Germany, Italy, Austria, etc...
European cities that fly to these airports include Oslo, Milan, Vienna, London, Prague and Rome, among others. Do check with us, as we may have heard of other options more recently.
From mainland Greece, you’ll need to depart from either the port of Agios Konstantinos or Volos - there are multiple sailings daily from both ports to Skiathos, and the fast service takes just over an hour to reach us.
You can reach Lora in our office in the States (Arizona timezone) on
+1 623 546 5853 or US Tollfree 1 877 273 2722
Get in touch with any questions you have, and we'll get right back to you.