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An Introduction to the Sporades Islands

GUIDE TO THE SPORADES ISLANDS

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Situated about 120km due north of Athens, just off Greece’s east coast, the Sporades archipelago is one of the Mediterranean’s lesser known and least visited island groups. Only four of the 24 islands – Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros - are inhabited, and the further one travels from the mainland, the more one strays off the beaten path.

Luxuriantly verdant, blessed with an array of delightful beaches, and lapped by irresistibly blue waters, the Sporades are a superb destination for nature lovers. Whether you prefer hiking across pine-fragrant hills or lounging by the sea, you will always be surrounded by beauty.

Most travellers arrive at the island of Skiathos, whose international airport is well served with flights from many European cities. Skiathos lies just 4km off the mainland and offers many splendid beaches and some lively resorts. Skiathos Town is the main port of departure for those heading on to Skopelos and Alonissos.

After enjoying 15 minutes of fame as the main location for the film Mamma Mia!, Skopelos, which is just 6.5km east of Skiathos as the crow flies, quickly reacquired its millennial tranquillity. Like its eastern neighbour, Alonissos, Skopelos is imbued with a pulse-slowing and deliciously carefree pace of life. Both islands have a handful of charming, picturesque towns and villages, an enviable range of beaches and views that even centenarian residents have never tired of.

Luxuriantly verdant, blessed with an array of delightful beaches, and lapped by irresistibly blue waters, the Sporades are a superb destination for nature lovers.

The marine reserve of Alonissos, the largest in the Mediterranean, incorporates 2,250km2 of the Aegean Sea and a scattering of uninhabited islands, home to improbably positioned monasteries and a rich variety of flora and fauna and aquatic life (including monk seals and dolphins).

The largest and most remote island of the Sporades archipelago is Skyros, situated some 50km southeast of Alonissos. Its pretty whitewashed main town clings to a hill, at the top of which, perfectly positioned for surveying the eastern Aegean Sea, is a Venetian fortress. Like its siblings in the north, Skyros boasts an elaborately sculpted coastline and an embarrassment of riches when it comes to idyllic beaches.

The authenticity and unspoiled nature of the Sporades is echoed in its cuisine, a delicious expression of the archipelago’s own resources. Most ingredients - seafood, lamb, olives, olive oil, cheese, honey, herbs, fruit and vegetables - are local, and the islands’ chefs know exactly how to transform them into disarmingly simple, flavour-packed dishes.

Villas in the Sporades Islands >> 
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