Sporades is a complex of islands situated in the north Aegean Sea, close to mainland Greece. It is comprised mainly of three islands, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos and many other isles and rocks, with common characteristics the crystal, deep blue waters and the rich flora; the pine trees reach down to the sea level, giving a turquoise color to the sea. The shape of the islands (and small scattered isles around them) creates a big number of small gulfs, where the yacht anchors and guests can relax and enjoy swimming. Alonissos with its unique flora and fauna comprises the first Greek National Marine Park, also the biggest one in Europe. Sporades islands are gifted with a soft wind, as they are protected from northern wind (meltemi) that overwhelms the Aegean Sea during summer months. Thus, Sporades offer a relaxed sailing trip, suitable for families and groups that want to enjoy relaxed holidays on a sailing yacht.
We suggest a sailing route of two weeks, although distances are short and easy to sail. Take the opportunity and the time to enjoy the calmness of the wonderful landscape of Sporades and sail around all islands to explore virgin destinations.
Day 1: Skiathos island
The route starts from the main port of Skiathos, the island that is closest to mainland Greece. It is a cosmopolitan island, with a growing number of tourists and busy nightlife. Bars and nightclubs are usually full, especially from mid July to August. There are nice restaurants close to the old fish port. Skiathos port is a sailing centre, so we will deliver the yacht in Skiathos port, waiting for your embarkation.
Day 2: Beach of Koukounaries
For the first day of sailing pick a close destination, the famous beach of Koukounaries on Skiathos island. It is located at the SW side of the island, 6 nautical miles (nm, equals 1854 meters) west of Skiathos port. Considering the north wind, it is a beam reach sailing with low waves, if any. Koukounaries is a famous and busy beach, accessible by road, as well as one of the best protected bays, safe to anchor and spend a relaxed night...
Day 3: Skopelos island, Agnontas bay
Next day set sails for Skopelos. Sail near the shore of Skiathos and after you pass continue east. Soon you will come close to the coast of Skopelos. Above the southwest cape of the island lies the bay of Agnontas, covered by pine trees. It's one of the most unspoiled places we have visited, although there is a small dock where you can safely berth. The distance from Koukounaries is only 15 nm, so there is time for sailing after a morning swim in Koukounaries.
Please note that if there is strong wind (above 5 beauforts) the ferry boat cannot berth in main port of Skopelos, and berths in the dock of Agnontas. Although the boat reaches the outer part of the dock, we suggest you avoid anchorage at the west side, to avoid ripple coming from the ferry boat. As it is rather rare for the boat to actually come, we suggest Agnontas because it is a calm and charming place, ideal for a visit.Note: The three following nights we suggest you stay on anchor in some very beautiful bays of Alonissos. Therefore, before leaving Agnontas make sure that the yacht has all required supplies, food, water etc. to continue sailing care free. Among supplies, it is strongly suggested to get some anti-wasp sprays or candles or scents since the islands are full with bees and wasps that can be annoying during day time. What we did to avoid them is burning Greek coffee on a plate (cautious not to cause and damage on the boat's surface where the plate was put), it really worked out as long as the coffee was burning.
Day 4: Alonissos, west side
Next day sail to Alonissos island. Sail the yacht close to Saint George, the rock between the two islands, and then to the north, probably upwind, a trip of 12 nm. However, the trip in not a big challenge, as the islands prevent waves from getting big or annoying. Enjoy the picturesque bays of Alonissos, in the west side, which is considerably quieter and less busy than the east side. We suggest you anchor in the bay of Agalou Laka, safe berth to north winds and hardly accessible by land. If you wish a more popular bay, you may visit Megali Ammos, within the same gulf.
Day 5: Hrisi Milia
The National Marine
Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades
Alonnisos island together with six smaller islands (Peristera, Kyra Panagia, Gioura, Psathura, Piperi and Skantzoura), as well as 22 uninhabited islets forms The National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades. The park is a unique combination of terrestrial and aquatic Mediterranean habitats. Hundreds of flora species as well as numerous animal and plant species are of significant scientific interest. It is home to the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus, nowadays considered as the number one endangered species of the European fauna. You will have a great opportunity to visit these unique places with the sailing yacht. There are specific restrictions on amateur fishing and fire lighting is not permitted. Also, be careful with waste disposal and don’t use shampoo and soap during your stay in the Marine Park.
Click here to learn more about the protection zones in the park.
More info at http://www.alonissos-park.gr
Continue your trip around the south cape of Alonissos to enjoy sailing around this wonderful island, filled with pine trees. Any bay at her east side is ideal for anchorage; we suggest Hrisi Milia bay. It offers a typical safe berth. The bay has rich landscape, big pine trees reaching the level of the sea. Hrisi Milia is about 8 nm far from the bay of Agalou Laka. Be careful when you approach the NW rocky coast of the bay, as there are few rocks inside the sea reaching 3 meters depth. However, we had an ideal anchorage there, using a line toward north to keep us near the shore.
Hrisi Milia is an ideal place to spend the evening, and then a relaxed night, under the starlight that trembles on the dark sea..This is one of the most beautiful bays within the National Marine Park of Alonissos and North Sporades.
Day 6: Peristera, south bay
Spend the next day in a relaxed manner, with a lot of swimming, snorkeling, or just observing the rich nature. Make a short sailing trip to the opposite isle of Peristera, just 4 nm away. Peristera is an uninhabited rock along eastern Alonissos, similarly green, like the other islands. You can anchor at the south side of Peristera.
Day 7: Patitiri
After you enjoyed swimming in turquoise waters under the shadow of the trees, sail toward the port of Alonissos, Patitiri (just 5 nm from Peristera isle or 2 nm from the bay of Hrisi Milia). Although it is a small port, its north-NW side offers basic yachting facilities (electricity and water) and there are a few stores for food supplies. You better arrive there no much later than noon, to find a free spot for the yacht. Otherwise, you may berth at its south dock, in which case mind the shallow waters when putting down the anchor. In any case, Patitiri offers perfect protection from winds.
This small port of Alonissos is another place too beautiful to describe by words (or photos). There are trees all around, a small beach nearby where children swim (waters are very clean, and yachts have to respect it!), a small sidewalk by the dock, all compose an ideal destination.
If you like Patitiri, you will love the traditional town of Alonissos, up on the top of the small mountain, which you can reach by bus (only 3-4 km away from Patitiri). There are old houses and traditional cafe's, and it offers a two-side view to the sea, impressive as you can watch the endless blue both at the east and west side of island. Don't miss the sunset too. The energy stemming out of Alonissos is something you can feel but not describe.
Please note that buses are available only till midnight, after that you can take a taxi to return to Patitiri.
Next day, before leaving the port, make sure that the yacht is well equipped with all basic supplies, since we suggest spending the following three nights on the anchor, in some of the most beautiful places in the marine park!
Day 8: Peristera island
Continue the relaxed sailing trip inside the channel between Alonissos and Peristera. If the wind is northern (fishermen name it 'Tramoudana'), there is the opportunity to a close haul, with some tack changes, till you enter the wide bay in Peristera. You can anchor at virtually any place and enjoy swimming, close to Peristera or Alonissos. However, you may head north to watch the shipwreck, in a wonderful spot of Peristera.
Relaxing holidays on a sailing yacht cannot be better anywhere else than in Sporades... You may spend the night in a bay of Peristera, east coast of Alonissos, or back in Patitiri port. The choice is yours
Day 9, 10: Kyra Panagia island
Next day continue the trip upwind to the north, to the island of Kyra Panagia. The name of the island is Holly Mary, in Greek language. The distance from Peristera's shipwreck to the south gulf of the little island is 9 nm, but it can be more if you go upwind beating. The calmness and beauty of this place is exceptional. It is very popular to anchor near Agios Petros' rock, but any other spot is as beautiful.
We suggest staying in Kyra Panagia for two days. Depending on your sailing appetite, you can make sailing trips to nearby rocks, or even the north gulf of the island, with its impressive narrow entry. The rich nature, above or under sea level, will fill your free time, your memories, and above all, your soul.
Note: Sailing, swimming, snorkeling and making pictures is allowed in all areas in Northern Sporades Marine Park except for the western coast of Kyra Panagia, isle Yioura (northeast of Kyra Panagia), and isle Piperi, east of Kyra Panagia. Isle Piperi hosts the biggest population of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus Monachus).
Photos from the National Marine Park
Day 11: Port of Skopelos
By now it's time to start the return to Skiathos but there are still wonderful destinations to visit. Skopelos port is one of them, 20 nm to the south of Kyra Panagia. Sail along the west side of Alonissos to reach the port of Skopelos. Avoid the shallow waters close to the port, as well as the ones near the south dock of the port. Get a spot preferably on the north side of the dock, and enjoy the beautiful town. Walk in the little alleys, observe the island's tradition, unspoiled by massive tourism, and have dinner in one of the restaurants at the port.
Day 12: Round of Skopelos
Next day leave the port and sail northeast, along the northern coast of Skopelos. After approximately 6 nm you will reach the beach of Ai-Giannis. Because of the famous Hollywood movie that was shot there a few years ago, the beach is now known also by the name 'Mamma Mia'. Unless there is a strong north wind, the sailboat anchors easily there and you can enjoy the picturesque landscape with the combination of amazing colors. A few hours later, continue your trip over the north cape of Skopelos and turn to the west coast of the island. Further to the southeast Skiathos island appears.
Few miles further you will reach the port of Neo Klima. Distance from beach of Ai-Giannis is 10 nm. It is a small port at the wonderful village and offers safe berth to most wind directions. It is traditional, easy going and relaxing place to spend a night.
Day 13: Bay of Panormos
Next day continue the route to the south for two miles, in order to reach the bay of Panormos. Again, this amazing place is hidden within forest of pine trees. The spot to anchor lies at the south of the bay, a recessed formulation of the coastline, offering protection within an unprecedented landscape.
Day 14: Return in the port of Skiathos
Enjoy the bay of Panormos and at noon set your sails for the destination port of Skiathos, it's 9 nm away. If the crew prefers a swim just before Skiathos, sail earlier to Tsougkria, a little isle outside Skiathos port. Then arrive for the final berth and a walk in the busy town.
Day 15: Disembarkation
Note: Above data (distances, berthing information, etc.) are included merely for informational purposes and are not accurate. Please assess a nautical chart before your trip, to ensure a safe and pleasant trip.
Disembarkation takes place in the morning. The sailing trip is completed after two weeks of harmony and relaxation in Sporades islands, one of the most beautiful sailing destinations of Greek Waters.