The Sporades islands are a beautiful mix and remarkably varied, each possessing a distinct culture and character. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I was sent to explore the islands of Alonissos, Skiathos and Skopelos on a three-centre trip with my colleagues. Granted we were travelling in early October, towards the end of the season, so I wouldn’t experience all that these islands have to offer, but even if I could see a little bit, that was good enough for me.
The island of Alonissos would be our first destination. A lush green retreat, with many of our clients visiting at this time of the year to swim, walk and gently explore without the crowds. Around its shores are many coves and beaches, lapped by the clearest of seas and backed by green hills. Inland, there is a network of walking trails to be enjoyed. Let’s not forgot the National Marine Park which is virtually empty at this time of year.
Our first stop was Villa Paparouna in Kato Chorafi. Upon arriving at the villa, the first thing I noticed was the quiet and privacy that surrounds… the second was the view. Once we parked up and opened the little wooden gate to the property, I was immediately impressed. The vistas are mesmerising. From almost every angle I was greeted with a panorama of Patitiri harbour and neighbouring islands of Ta Dio Adelfia – most spectacular at sunset or at sunrise.
Once we were able to tear ourselves away from the view and put the cameras away, we took a walk around the property to inspect all that it has to offer. What we found was a villa that provided plenty of space to relax; with quiet corners perfect for sundown drinks and even a wood-burning oven - great for al fresco dining! The property’s infinity pool beckoned me to jump in.
The shops and cafés of Patitiri and Alonissos Old Town are five minutes’ drive. However, much of the Old Town was beginning to close. Having never travelled to Greece towards the end of the season, I didn’t really know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised by the buzz of the tavernas down by the waterfront. There were plenty of places to eat and people watch - with a traditionally Greek feel about the area.
After our two-night stop on Alonissos, we boarded the ferry to Skopelos. An island well known for its part in the hit film Mamma Mia.
The journey was quick (albeit a bit windy), and we were greeted off the boat by our lovely representative, Maddie. Maddie escorted us to our next accommodation - the Maistros Apartments. Situated 800m from Skopelos Town’s waterfront - a pleasant 10-minute walk above the sea - these apartments are beautifully appointed and have the benefit of fine views. From the balcony you are greeted with lovely vistas over rooftops to the sea, harbour, town and mountains behind.
Skopelos is the largest of our featured islands in the Sporades group. Limited development means that the island remains beautifully green and wooded, with pine, oak and plane trees hiding some fine beaches along the sheltered west coast.
We had the pleasure of visiting a lesser-known spot – The Three Trees Amarantos Rock - featured in the Mamma Mia film. The small rocky gulfs make it ideal for bathing and for fishing. It is also not a bad spot to pose for some pictures too! A short walk or drive from here is Agnontas beach where there are a few tavernas in a prime position for a lovely lazy lunch. Of course, we had to try the seafood pasta, saganaki, tzatziki and Greek salad - which certainly did not disappoint.
Skopelos is a lovely, much underrated island, and a rewarding one to discover. Still very much a working island, it has a more ‘Greek’ flavour than its neighbour Skiathos (our next stop), and a slower pace of life. Strong traditions and considerable beauty, combined with its delightful town and relaxed atmosphere, make Skopelos an island to savour.
Skiathos was the final leg of our Sporades tour, and it couldn’t have been more different from the other two islands. With more of a bustle about the place - and many more shops, tavernas and bars - it is the livelier one out of the three. There are, however, quiet spots away from any crowds when you know where to look.
We had some free time on Skiathos and wanted to make the most of it. With the season coming to an end and the weather still pleasantly warm, we decided to seize the opportunity and take a short walk - to the usually busy - Megali Ammos beach. With just a few people scattered on sunbeds it was a peaceful and perfect spot to relax.
A taverna, just a few steps from where we were sitting, looked surprisingly busy (mainly because the rest were closed), so we opted to eat here. The food was delicious, the views even better and the free ice cream at the end just topped it all off!
During our last day on Skiathos we enjoyed a delicious brunch by the port, meandering the streets, shopping the end of season sales, and braving the steps to Agios Nikolaos Church. This was the perfect end to our Sporades adventure.
Fast, efficient catamarans and ferryboats link Skiathos with Skopelos and Alonissos making two-centre or even three centre holidays simple (weather permitting). For more information – and to book your Sporades trip - contact us on 020 8758 4758.
Written by Nicole Walker, Marketing Executive of Sunvil holidays and GIC The Villa Collection.