The Sporades is a group of islands of the east coast of mainland Greece, there are 24 islands but only 4 are permanently inhabited, Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros.
Skiathos is the most visited island and has an airport, it is a small island only around 7 miles long by 4 miles wide. Skiathos town is very lively and particularly busy in July and August, outside this time it is a lovely place to visit and the beaches along the coast from Skiathos Town are beautiful.
The airport is famous for being a very short, narrow, runway and it’s proximity to public roads and the port. Visitors gather to watch the planes as they do in St Martin in the Caribbean. You can do this from the waterfront cafes, Friday is a busy day for flights.
There are charter flights, internal ones from Athens and ferries from various port on the mainland that you can also use to visit other islands in the group. There is a good public bus service to various parts of the island including one which runs every 20 minutes and stops at 26 numbered beaches along the coast.
Skopelos is a larger island than Skiathos but is less visited mainly because there is no airport, it is easily reached by ferry. Given that this is where Mama Mia was filmed it is surprising that it is so unspoilt. It is a very green island and very hilly.
Check out the usual booking sites such as www.booking.com or www.venere.com. We stayed at the Design Hotel Architectonika www.hotelarchitectonika.gr a stylish, modern hotel in a great location near the waterfront but very quiet.
The owners of Finikas restaurant, Lambros annd Mando, own two holiday apartments in Skopelos Village, they look lovely and they have a web site www.finikas-apartments.com .
There is a huge choice in restaurants in Skiathos town and we enjoyed some excellent meals.
Marmita, Evangelistrias 30, had been highly rated on various sites and in articles and on our first night we were lucky enough to get a table without booking. The food was excellent, the service lovely and we were very impressed. Having tried a couple of other places we booked for our last night and again had a top notch meal. The prices are very reasonable for a place of that quality.
Ergon, Papadiamenti 24, is on the main street and is a restaurant, café and food shop. There are also branches in Athens and Thessaloniki. They offer a two course menu with a glass of wine as well as an a la carte menu at dinner and we enjoyed the food and the service.
Kabourelias, Old Port, I had read that this was an old school taverna and at lunchtime visitors were definitely in the minority, it was packed with locals. We had an good lunch there and enjoyed watching the activity in the port and people watching.
Molos, Old Port, this was very busy so we decided to try this on our first evening and had a good meal and there was traditional live music, we could see why it was so popular.
Nostos, Waterfront next to En Plo was a good find for lunch on a couple of occasions, they have a large menu of traditional food, well cooked and reasonably priced.
Finikas may be difficult to find as it moved location some time ago. It is at the top of the street running up from the waterfront between En Plo and Aktaion. Husband Lambros and his wife Mando who is front of house own the restaurant and are lovely. The food is simple but well cooked and incredible value, it is very popular so try and book. They own two lovely holiday apartments listed above under hotels.
Pervoli, Kanari, near Souvlaki Square, is a beautiful place. They have a huge garden where they grow their vegetables and herbs and the outdoor space is lovely. Top notch service and great food this was a great choice.
Olivo at the Old Oil Factory, we booked this in advance having read reports but were disappointed in the food and the service compared with other places we visited.
Michaelis’s Pie Shop, this is a must to try, ask for directions then go and try his cheese pies, or pop in early evening for a drink.
Agnati, Glossa, is apparently the best restaurant on the island. Glossa, is the second largest town on the island and Agnati is a beautiful restaurant with a stunning terrace overlooking the port of Loutraki. The menu looked amazing and I really regret we didn’t eat there.
The Waterfront is lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. The bars opposite the old port are perfect for a pre dinner drink and all do great value happy hours usually between 6pm & 8pm, we chose by popularity and seating and favoured the Old Port bar!
Porto Fino, on the new port waterfront the Paralia, was our other favourite bar in the town, a great location to watch the ferries arriving and also the planes approaching.
There are a number of cool bars in Skopelos town, not all easy to find, we visited Screwdriver, Blue Bar and Hidden Door. Hidden door had some great wines but was quiet when we visited, Blue Bar was busy but had some odd music choices.
The coolest bar without doubt was Mercurios which has a stunning terrace overlooking the port.
The waterfront bars were livelier and we enjoyed En Plo, during the day and in the evening.
Ouzo is of course probably the best known Greek drink and while still seen being drunk with meze it has apparently lost popularity presumably as people change their drinking habits and more cocktail type bars open up.
Cocktails are popular both in the cities and on the islands, and many of the island waterfront bars are great for happy hour drinks.
Lager type beer such as Mythos is very commonly drunk but there is increasingly bars focusing on small craft breweries with more ale type beers such as IPA’s.
Lastly wine, and in more informal eating places house wine by the litre is both cheap and drinkable, white, rose and red are usually available. If you are going to try more upmarket wine then it is worth doing some homework before you go to learn about grape types. Greek wines are gaining more and more admirers so check out some of the wine bars that have opened in recent years.
We were only on Skiathos for three days and after exploring the town we made a point of visiting some of the beaches. We used the bus that runs every twenty minutes and stops at 26 numbered beaches, some easily accessible some not. We went to the last beach Koukounaries, considered the most unspoilt beach in the Mediterranean. It is stunning and has a number of small beach bars and loungers & umbrellas for hire.
On the way back we stopped at beach 16 Agios Paraskevis, another lovely beach, smaller than No 26 and there are a number of tavernas on the main road. We went to the one on the beach side of the road, Kohyli and the food was really good.
There is a regular bus service from Skopelos town to Glossa, the island’s second town. The scenery is fabulous and you should visit Agnanti restaurant preferable for a meal but of not then for a wine on the terrace. The port of Loutraki is down a 3km path and there are a couple of places to eat, we tried Fliski Taverna. The food was fine, the setting is the thing. You can catch the bus back from the port.
Alonissos Island is only 30 minutes away from Skopelos and is perfect for a day out. It is famous for it’s National Marine Park which you can also visit from Skiathos and Skopelos. We explored the small town and had a really excellent meal at Ostria at the port, the cooking was top notch.