THE SPORADES with EVIA

About the Sporades

Lying off the tip of the Pilion peninsular, overlooked by the coast of mighty Evia (which we’ve included), the Sporades (from Spore, scattered like seeds) form a compact group of small wooded islands reasonably close to Athens.

 

Skiathos, its airport taking international flights in the summer, is the most developed of the Sporades islands, with a busy main town, and plenty of facilities. It does have a wooded hinterland away from the beaches, with hidden valleys, springs, chapels and monasteries, plus the old Castro on the north coast.

 

Skopelos has one large town and much less tourism, but still plenty of accommodation and transport. It is extensively farmed and forested and has the distinction of a huge number of churches, country chapels, shrines and monasteries.

 

Alonnisos is much quieter. With its harbour, port and old town clustered at its southern tip and a farming area close by, most of the island is empty forest. The sea around has been given the protection of Marine Park status, for its monk seals, and there are two chains of uninhabited islands stretching north and east for thirty kilometres or so.

 

Skyros is rather out on a limb, two hours by sea from the others, and with a different character. The population is centred on a hill-top Chora and a cluster of coastal villages nearby. Elsewhere there is empty space, wild ponies and rugged hills to explore, along with an intriguing connection with the poet Rupert Brooke, who is buried there and has been adopted into the Skyrian story.

 

Evia is huge, second only to Crete in scale. We’ve included a few walks on its highest mountain, Dirfis, and a couple in the vicinity of Ochi, to the south.

Getting around the Sporades

  • All year round, Skiathos, Skopelos (both ports) and Alonnisos, are interconnected by the same ferries that link them to the mainland , and are served by a very thorough day boat system in the summer, connecting them all, serving popular bays and beaches, and giving opportunities to visit the islets around them.

  • All three have some tarmac roads, taxis and car, motor bike, and cycle hire.

  • Skyros, too has a tarmac and dirt track road system, public transport and vehicle hire, but little in the way of day boats.

  • Evia has a serviceable road network and a number of buses serving the main centres.

 

Getting to the Sporades

  • Alonnisos, Skopelos and Skiathos are all accessible all year round and very easy in the summer.

  • From Athens airport, you take a bus to the Liossion Street bus station, from which you catch a Lamia-bound bus to Ayios Konstantinos, the port for the Sporades. Flying Dolphins and Flying Cats make a least two trips a day to the 3 islands, taking up to 2 hours to Skiathos, 2-3 to Skopelos and 3½ to Alonnisos.

  • The fast ferries also travel from Volos, which is further from Athens.

  • A faster option is the internal flight from Athens to Skiathos, taking about 40 minutes.

  • Car ferries also visit from Volos and there is a service from Thessaloniki, the Cyclades and Crete. In the summer, international charter flights land at Skiathos and the fast ferries link on to Skyros and Kymi.

  • Skyros is less accessible most of the year, and the main departure port, Kymi on Evia takes longer by bus from Athens. In the summer the twice daily sailings (2 hours) of the car ferry Achilleas are joined by hydrofoil trips from Volos, Thessaloniki and the other Sporades.

  • Evia is a bus ride or easy drive from the airport, with a bridge link and a number of ferries along its length.

Walking the Islands is a source of walking routes on Greek islands, from short strolls to longer walks and hikes. We describe footpaths, tracks, trails and the old monopatia or kalderimia, the stone roads which formed the islands' transport network for centuries.

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