in August and September
Four major islands make up the Sporades in the Aegean Sea: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros. Skiathos is known for its castles; its rocks damaged King Xerxes’ ship in the Persian Wars. It is a forested island, with many inlets and beaches and is the home habitat of the Mediterranean Monk seal. Enjoy the beach at Koukounadies or, for the daring, the famous nudist Banana beach. Sail to the small ports and unspoiled bays on the Gulf of Volos. Venture further north the Mount Athos, home to medieval monasteries, or relax shore side at the modern marina in Porto Carras. Skiathos shot to fame in recent years when it acted as the set for the movie “Mamma Mia.”
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The sailing in the Sporades and Chalkidiki Peninsula is extremely easy, as the Meltemi does not blow as strong as it does further south. The prevailing wind usually blows from the north east, but occasionally in July and August a stronger wind blows from the north west. During the summer months it rarely rains and the temperature sits at a nice 20-30 degrees Celsius.
There are no direct flights from the US, but it is possible to travel via Athens or Thessaloniki. From Athens there are 3 ways of getting to the islands:
1. Domestic flight with Athens Airways to Skiathos (approx. 30 min/65 Euro) www.athensairways.com
2. Bus from Athens Centre to Agios Konstantinos (approx. 2:15 hours/18Euro) and then hydrofoil to Skiathos
3. Private transfer from Athens airport/city centre – Ag. Konstantinos. You may choose between a taxi or mini-bus transfer depending on the size of your party. The pick-up can be from the airport or city centre and takes you directly to the boat departure port of Agios Konstantinos (taxi: approx. 2 hours/210 Euro for 4 people) (mini-bus: approx 2 hours/available for 10-17 persons). Another advantage to these private transfers is that your boat tickets can be pre-reserved to Skiathos (approx.2:15 hours/48 Euro).
The prices above are approximate and per person for adults.
Day 1: Arrive in Marina Skiathos
The main sight in Skiathos town is the museum that used to be the house of the Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis during the 19th century. For theatre lovers, on the small peninsula of Bourtzi, there is an open-air theatre where performances of all kinds are shown there
Day 2: Skopelos Island (20 NM)
For those who love hiking, the view from the rock that stands in the sea located on the northern part of the island, will definitely reward you. Its 104 carved steps will lead you to the top of the rock where the chapel of Ag. Ioannis sto Kastri stands. Don’t leave Skopelos before you try the famous cheese pie available in most taverns.
Day 3: Linaria (Skiros Island) 42 NM
While in Skyros, you can visit the Faltaits Historical and Folklore Museum said to be one of the oldest, most beautiful and richest historical-folklore museums of Greece and it has an international reputation for decades. You should also check the ancient ruins of the Venetian castle built on top of the hill that has a breath-taking view. Under the castle, dominating the whole island is the monastery of Saint George (Ai Giorgis Skirianos, the patron Saint of this island) founded in 962.
Day 4: Paignio (Panagia Island) 40 NM
Day 5: Patitiri (Alonissos Island) 13 NM
Patitiri is the current capital of the island. The old capital, Chora, was destroyed in a 1965 earthquake. Try the local delicacy, roasted figs with honey, before you leave.
Day 6: Koukounaries (Skiathos Island) 25 NM
Day 7: Marina Skiathos 6 NM