The islands are well known for their picturesque towns, secluded beaches and coves, pine forests, which makes them rather a different sailing experience compared to other Greek islands. The lush landscapes of the Sporades Islands might well give you a familiar feeling – many of the outdoors scenes in the musical movie - Mamma Mia! - were filmed in this area, including Kastani Beach on Skopelos and the Old Port in Skiathos.
Arriving in Skiathos
The easiest way to reach the Sporades is by plane, and the closest airport to our departure point is Skiathos Airport, with regular and charter flights from all over Europe.
Another option to reach Skiathos is by ferry, from Agios Constantinos in Central Greece and the trip takes around 1.5 hours. Another option is from Volos in Thessaly and the trip takes around 2.5 hours. You can check more alternate routes and book a ticket from greeka.com.
Ferry to Skiathos, Greececapetanos.com
Weather in Sporades
The best weather to sail on the Aegean Sea is from May to October. July and August temperatures may vary between 23 °C and 36 °C, however in this part of the year, major part of Greece is hit by meltemi, which can be characterized as one of the few winds that do not necessarily die out at the end of the day and can easily last more than three to six days. Expect strong winds from N-NE, so remember to reef the sails if necessary and take extra caution when arriving or leaving marinas. Ask for help if you need, on shore you will find a lot of fellow seamen who would be more than glad to help you with the lines.
Boats in Alonnisos, Greececapetanos.com
Planning the itinerary
The starting point for this sailing itinerary in Algarve will be the North New Port located in Skiathos, close to the airport. Around the port you can find plenty of restaurants, accommodation and retail stores to provision your yacht.
For this itinerary, you will sail around 80 nautical miles, and you should consider spending more than one week on this itinerary, to have enough time to explore the islands, including Skiros Island, the least known but equally beautiful island of Sporades, with a picturesque capital city, secluded beaches and interesting sightseeing.
You must prepare in advance, consult the weather forecasts and choose your own pace and itinerary. Depending on your yacht type, pace, skills, and other factors, the information below might vary.
- Leg 1 - Skiathos to Alonissos - 22 nautical miles - 4 hours
- Leg 2 - Alonissos to Kira Panagia - 18 nautical miles - 3.5 hours
- Leg 3 - Kira Panagia to Skopelos - 23 nautical miles - 4.5 hours
- Leg 4 - Skopelos to Skiathos - 15 nautical miles - 3 hours
Sporades Islands itineraryPicture copyright: navionics.com
1. Skiathos to Alonissos - Leg 1
Sailing to Alonissos
When you charter a boat in Skiathos, there are multiple options from where you can check-in the yacht, after discussing the details with the yacht owner. Usually, the charter yachts can be found around North New Port on the island. After provisioning the yacht, head S-SE to the South part of Skopelos Island. You should reach Alonissos Island in about 4 hours, after sailing more than 20 nautical miles.
Attention: When leaving the North New Port, keep an eye on the ferries, because during summer months, there is heavy traffic.
From the sea, Port Patitiri is visible by looking for the old village of Alonissos on the hill behind the harbour. You can anchor stern or bow, at the NE pier. The bottom is sandy and muddy, so the anchor holds well.
Sightseeing in Alonissos
Alonissos will simply amaze you with its natural beauty, the secluded coves, hilltop old town of Chora and the incredible marine life. Along with the surrounding islets, it forms the National Marine Park of Alonissos, where you can also find the rare Mediterranean monk seal. This area is also a paradise for divers, one of the latest attractions is the shipwreck of Peristera, dating back to 425 BC.
This island is about discovering the pure beauty of nature, explore the pristine beaches, pottle about in turquoise waters and hike up the old town for outstanding views of the area.
If you are looking to drop the anchor and enjoy the turquoise water, we recommend the following beaches:
Accommodation when sailing to Alonissos
Alonissos Island, Greececapetanos.com
2. Alonissos to Kira Panagia - Leg 2
Sailing to Kira Panagia
Kira Panagia is located NE to Alonnisos and you should reach the destination in about 3 hours. There are two good anchorages where you can drop the anchor, one on the West side and one on the East part of the island. On the East coast there is a small bay with a pier in the middle where mooring is possible, anchoring by the bow and using lines to tie the stern to the concrete pier or the rocks.
Sightseeing in Kira Panagia
If you want to explore the island, above the bay there is a monastery dating back to the 6th century where you can admire ancient relics and a star-shaped mosaic in the courtyard.
The island is better known as home to one of the few remaining Monk Seal colonies and is now designated as a nature reserve. As part of the park rules you must keep well clear of the north west side of the island.
There are lots of places to explore here and you should visit also the surrounding islands. For those enjoying scuba diving or snorkelling, we recommend a stop by the Psathoura island, where according to the legend, the sunken ancient city of Halonnesos lies. The best time to explore the remains of walls and streets on the bottom is in the morning, for better visibility.
Accommodation when sailing to Kira Panagia
There is no accommodation around this location, however, in good weather, sleeping at the anchor is the best option.
On the SE side of Kira Panagia, the Aghios Petros bay, provides a number of anchorages, two at the north end and two to the south east. It’s recommended a line ashore to avoid other yachts and also the gusts coming over the hill.
On Psathoura you can dock comfortably on the South side of the island, where you can also find the amazing Psathoura Beach.
Kira Panagia, Greececapetanos.com
3. Kira Panagia to Skopelos - Leg 3
Sailing to Skopelos
Sailing to Skopelos should take 4 to 5 hours, depending on what side of the island you want to visit. Set the course to SW and follow on your port side the coast of Alonissos.
Sightseeing in Skopelos
People claim Skopelos is the greenest island in the Aegean and they may be right. The island will captivate you with its shores washed by turquoise waters, the slopes covered with pine forests and the orchards full of pears, citrus, plums and olives.
One of the things Skopelos is known for is the setting for the Mamma Mia! movie, and we can confirm that it is as beautiful as it looks in the movie. Even if Sophie’s wedding scene hadn’t been filmed at this church, Agios Iannis would still be a must-see. It’s a church set atop an improbably steep outcrop, buffeted by the wind and waves. From the isthmus below, in front of you there are 198 steps to reach the church, 100 metres above the sea.
The largest and oldest settlement on Skopelos, the Chora (Skopelos town) is a mass of whitewashed houses with terracotta roofs, clinging to stiff hills on a sheltered natural harbour. The centre of the town is free of cars and has a tangle of alleys and stairways flanked by traditional houses draped with bougainvillea. You should not miss visiting the town’s castle, renovated by Venetians in 1200. You should battle up the steps from the waterside because the castle has the best vantage point of the town and Mount Palouki on the other side of the harbour.
If you are looking for a day at the beach, we recommend the following:
Accommodation when sailing to Skopelos
Monastery of the Annunciation – Skopelos, Greececapetanos.com
4. Skopelos to Skiathos - Leg 4
Sailing to Skiathos
Skiathos is relatively close and you should reach the island in about 3 hours. Skiathos Port is easy to be spotted by the lighthouse on Repi Island and the cluster of islets. You can anchor by stern or bow here, and the eastern part of the port is well protected against meltemi.
Sightseeing in Skiathos
On the Northern part of the island you can discover Kastro, the old "capital city" of the island. Today you will find only ruins of the old city, but still remains one of the top destinations of the island for the breath-taking panoramic views over the island.
One of the most famous beaches of the island is Koukounaries, and the gold sand washed by turquoise waters create an idyllic environment to spend a day or two among the pine tree forest and the refreshing waters of the Aegean Sea. Paralia Koukounaries has been voted multiple times as one of the best beaches in the world.
Before reaching the port, you should sail around the North part of the island where you will find the Lalaria beach. Stiff cliffs and pebbly beaches create a magnificent environment at this beach with great places to rock climb or simply take a dive.
Skiathos is also known for water sport activities like: jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving or snorkelling. If the weather is not too hot, you should try also a mountain bike ride to explore the island in a fun and adventurous tour.
Accommodation when sailing to Skiathos
Ruins of Kastro – Skiathos, Greececapetanos.com
Capetanos sailing and general recommendations
For an unforgettable sailing week in Sporades, we recommend to plan in advance, consult the charts, weather conditions and choose the most suitable time and boat, according to your sailing skills.
We hope that information in this sailing guide will contribute to your decision for your next holiday in the Aegean Sea. The Sporades Islands will give you the opportunity for great memories to take back home with you.
Sailing bugdet calculator / rent boat calculator Sporades
These calculations are performed for one-week charter on a 40-foot catamaran in mid-august and crew of 10. The total may differ depending on many factors like boat amenities and construction year, mooring fees, dinner out, etc.
|1-week total||9.020 €|
|4 cabins catamaran||5.900 €|
|Skipper (optional)||1.500 €|
|Food out||870 €|