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The Sporades islands are one of Greece’s most beautiful locations to visit. Although they may not always be of first thought when compared to a selection of the larger Greek islands. The unspoilt authenticity as well as the delightful beaches can capture the hearts of visitors. Perfect for both families, couples and solo travellers alike, set sail and uncover why we love the Sporades Islands. We’re sure you’ll be adding it to your top travel destinations to visit list by the end of this guide!

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What are the Sporades Islands?

The Sporades Islands are a cluster of Greek islands located in the Aegean Sea, around 120 km north of Athens. The archipelago is constructed of 24 islands altogether, however only 4 are inhabited. This island group is actually one of the Mediterranean’s lesser known and visited islands. But this isn’t to say they are not worth visiting, quite the contrary. If you are seeking beautiful beaches, stunning natural scenery, and laidback living, the Sporades islands are for you.

What are the 4 Inhabited Sporades Islands?

The four permanently inhabited Sporades islands are:

  • Skiathos
  • Skopelos
  • Alonnisos
  • Skyros

Skiathos could be classed as the most popular of the islands as it is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. This Sporades island has over 60 beaches, many of which have golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Skiathos Town, the main town on the island, has a charming harbour and a wide range of restaurants, bars, and clubs to enjoy.

Skopelos is known for its picturesque towns and villages, as well as its stunning natural scenery. The island has many traditional stone houses and narrow streets, and it was one of the main filming locations for the movie “Mamma Mia!”. These features make it a popular location for Greek holidays if you’re a fan of the films. The island also has several beautiful beaches, including Panormos Beach and Stafylos Beach.

Alonnisos is the quieter and more laid-back island in the Sporades. The island is known for its unspoiled natural beauty and is home to the National Marine Park of Alonissos. This marine park was the first one to be established in Greece, and is the largest marine protected area in Europe! Visitors to Alonnisos can also enjoy hiking through the island’s rugged hills, visiting charming fishing villages, and swimming in the clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

Skyros is the southernmost island in the Sporades group. Once you step foot upon its shores, you will realise it has a more traditional feel than some of the other islands. This particular Sporades island is known for its distinctive architecture and local traditions, including the Skyrian horse. Which is a rare horse breed found only on the island.

ancient greek ruins under a clear sky at dusk

How Do You Get to the Sporades Islands?

The easiest way to reach the Sporades islands is via ferry, although Skiathos does have direct flights from London.

  • Ferry – The ferry routes to the sporades set sail from the mainland and neighbouring islands. They are operated by several ferry companies and vary depending on the season you travel in. The major ferry ports on the mainland are Volos, Agios Konstantinos, and Mantoudi. During the peak summer season, there are also ferry connections from other popular islands in the Aegean Sea, such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete.
  • Plane – You can fly direct from London to Skiathos Island National (IATA code JSI) in just under 3 and a half hours. For all other Sporades islands you may have to fly into Athens first, then transfer via ferry.

Why Do People Visit the Sporades Islands?

People visit the Sporades islands because they can offer unique and authentic Greek experiences. From exploring the natural beauty of the landscapes, to partaking in fun activities and learning about Greek culture. This archipelago has it all. Our top 5 reasons to visit include:

  • Traditional Greek lifestyle: The Sporades Islands have a more laid-back and traditional lifestyle compared to some of the more touristy and party islands in Greece. Visitors can experience traditional Greek hospitality, taste local cuisine, and learn about the islands’ rich cultural heritage.
  • Beautiful beaches: Known for their stunning beaches, this set of islands have crystal-clear waters and soft sand to walk along. Many of the beaches are surrounded by rugged natural scenery, which makes them even more appealing to visitors who like to explore.
  • Natural beauty: The Sporades islands are home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled natural landscapes in Greece. This includes lush forests, rocky hills, and clear blue waters. When you visit, you can explore the islands on foot or by bike and discover hidden coves, secluded beaches, and traditional villages. Around every corner will be something to amaze you.
  • Island hopping: As the islands are located relatively close to one another, it makes it easy to hop from one island to another. Each island has its own unique charm and character, and visitors can explore multiple islands in a single trip. Perfect if you have a short stay booked and want to make the most of the Greek islands.
  • Outdoor activities: The range of outdoor activities on these islands include hiking, kayaking, snorkelling, and sailing. With so much natural beauty to explore, visitors can easily spend their days outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and stunning scenery, while soaking up the sun.

What Movies Are Set in the Sporades Islands?

Several movies have been filmed on the Sporades Islands. Skopelos and Skiathos are some of the most popular Greek filming locations, which could be due to their larger offerings. Two of the most famous films you may know, which feature the Sporades as backdrops are:

  • Mamma Mia!: The 2008 musical film, starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth, was mostly filmed on the island of Skopelos, with scenes also shot on the neighbouring island of Skiathos.
  • For Your Eyes Only: The 1981 James Bond film features scenes shot on the island of Corfu as well as in the Sporades Islands.

These movies have helped to showcase the beauty of the Sporades Islands to a wider audience and have contributed to the islands’ popularity as a tourist destination.

Inspiring Greek Adventures

The Sporades islands can offer so much to its guests, so we hope to have inspired you to visit for yourself. If Greece wasn’t your next country to visit, why not discover Italy or Portugal? For regular travel inspiration, follow Virtual Wanderlust on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


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