North Sporades

The northern Sporades are along the east coast of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. It consists of 24 islands, of which five are inhabited: Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, and Peristera.

Skopelos:

in the island legend, Skopelos was founded by Staphylos (Greek for grape), one of the sons of Dionysos and Princess Ariadne of Crete. Perhaps of the legend of its founding by the son of the god of wine, the island is known throughout Greece for its wine.
The saxophone shape of the island, with the neck pointing northwest, provides a great variety of bays, natural harbors, and fascinating cliffs steeply fall into the sea in the greatest part of the coast. The main port of the island is called Skopelos but there are many other beautiful villages to visit as Chora, Agnondas, Panormos, Glossa, and Elios. Skopelos is one of the greenest islands in the Aegean Sea and of course many extraordinary beaches with a coastline length of 62 km. Staphylos, Velanio (the unofficial nudist beach), Agnondas, Limonari, Panormos, Adrines, Milia, Kastani, Elios, Hovolo, Armenopetra, Kalives, Glyfoneri, Glysteri, Perivoliou, Keramoto, Chondrogiorgos and much more are some of the beaches you can enjoy an experience of a lifetime. Skopelos was the filming location of the 2008 film Mamma Mia. The wedding procession was filmed at the Agios Ioannis Chapel near Glossa village. Find out more about the movie.
The town of Skopelos was honored as Traditional Settlement of Outstanding Beauty (9/10/1978 Presidential Decree 594,13-11/78, signed by President of Greece Konstantinos Tsatsos). This is equivalent to a site of Outstanding Architectural Inheritance. The island has more than 360 churches and chapels. The oldest existing ecclesiastical structure is the Basilica of Agios Athanasios built in the11th century and located in the Kastro (fortress) area.

Skiathos
Skiathos is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of the Aegean. Dense forests cover the mountainous part of the island, while the exotic beaches are known around the world. The famous Lalaria with impressive white cliffs and cosmopolitan Koukounaries is a trademark of the island and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Skiathos is the most cosmopolitan island of the Sporades and the most developed tourist. It is the first island to see east of Pelion, It lies 41 Nm from Volos and 44 nm from Agios Konstantinos.
It is a relatively small island with an area not exceeding 48 sq km but with endless beauties. It has low verdant mountains, endless beaches and many bays and coves that can only be accessed by boat.
It has remarkable historic monasteries to visit. Historical monuments such as the Castle and Bourtzi and the home of the great Greek poet Papadiamantis witch is turned into a museum. Skiathos is an island with unique natural beauty and it has more than 60 beaches! In the southeastern part of the island are the most popular and best-organized beaches of the island full of beach bars, water sports equipment, and games. Starting from the town we meet the Great Sand beach which, as its name suggests is an extensive sandy beach that attracts many visitors. Below are the beaches Vassilias and Achladies. Here, you can do water sports. Especially on the beach, Achladies considered ideal for windsurfing because of sea currents. Nearby are the beaches Kanapitsa, Kalamaki, Vromolimnos, Agia Paraskevi and Troulos all of them are a meeting point for visitors to the island. They are all very busy and well-organized.

Skyros
Skyros is the largest and most southerly island of the Sporades complex and is located northeast of Kimi. The solitary position in the sea makes it look like petrified by boat, which stopped the time for some time and traveled over the waves. A geological theory says that Skyros was composed of three independent islands. This is why there are strong contrasts between the northern side which is green and the south side which is rocky. In the middle of the island, a sea passage is formed with 3 kilometers width. The island has an area of 210km and is surrounded by a large number of islets and rocks. The capital of the island is Skyros or Hora and is located in the northeastern part of the island. The main port of the island is in the middle of the western coast. The town of Skyros is built on a hillside in the shadow of a medieval castle and the Byzantine monastery of Agios Georgios. It has Aegean architecture white cubic houses with dark roofs. Magazia bay is one of the most stunning beaches on the island. At the south part are Molos and Pera Kambos. Between the city and Linaria is the resort Aspous seeing the idyllic cove Achili. Linaria is a picturesque amphitheater community with a large tourist development. Near Linaria, there are beautiful beaches Kalamitsa, Acherounes, and Pefkos. Great interest has a tour in the northern part of the island. The landscape of Olympus and pine tree beaches are worth visiting. More adventurous is a tour in the south of the island where there is the impressive highest mountain of the island Kohylas. Here the landscape is dry and rocky and resembles South Evia. And when you reach in Three Boukes by boat, a large natural port appears, the entrance of which are the islets Plato and Saracino. At Tris Boukes is the tomb of the British poet Rupert Brooke, who died here coming from Gallipoli. Also very interesting is to meet the small Skyros horses, that belong to a rare species. The famous ponies of Skyros, in one of the indigenous breeds of horses in Greece. The breed was developed in ancient times from the mountains and the southeastern coast of Skyros, and other islands and areas of Attica. The Anemoessa Skyros is for sure one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and a perfect sailing destination worldwide.

Allonisos
Due to its location, Alonissos was a sea passage of the Aegean. It differs from the ancient Alonissos which was probably the neighboring island of Kyra Panagia. There was a trading post during the Minoan period and flourished thanks to the wine which is famous until today. Surrounded by a cluster of small islands, the main feature of the landscape are the cliffs and the many sea caves which are a refuge for the monk seal.In 1992 the National Marine Park of Alonissos – Northern Sporades was founded in order to protect the seals (monachus-monachus) one of the rarest mammals in the Mediterranean. The Marine Park is a unique habitat hat also deals with research and treatment of monk seals and other species.
Patitiri is the main port of Alonissos and commercial center of the island. Hora or Alonissos is the capital of the island built on a hilltop with traditional villages of stone houses with colorful windows and doors.
Alonissos is an ideal destination for hikers. Routes with cobblestone paths give the opportunity to enjoy the nature. Alonissos hosts the headquarters of International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. Alonissos islands are not filled yet by tourism. This preserves the natural beauty and attracts thousands of nature lovers who rush to the island every summer to spend their holidays in one of the few left untouched paradises. Some uninhabited small island around Allonisos you can visit by boat are: Gioura, Pelagonisi, Psathoura, Piperi, and Peristera each one of them unique with beautiful sandy or rocky beaches, a great place to fish and enjoy swimming.

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This post was written by Christoforos Karydis