Chartering a yacht in Sporades and Chalkidiki – The Sporades don’t  just include the islands of the Northern Sporades, but stretch from the Gulf of Volos in the west,

and from Chalkidiki in the north over the coast of Evia in the south. The Eastern Sporades include the islands of Limnos, Lesvos, Chios, Psara, Samos and Ikaria. The Eastern Sporades lie northeast of the Cyclades and the North Sporades.

The islands are situated around Delos, the cultural centre of the ancient world. Therefore, they’re known as the ‘scattered islands’, which in Greek translates to Sporades.

Since ancient times there have been changes in the classification of the various groups of islands in the Aegean. Northeastern Sporades has its own particular style of architecture. The white, blue and pink houses, with their slate roofs, can be seen for miles and are very characteristic of the region. In summer, water is scarce in this archipelago.

Hiring or Renting a yacht in Greece

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  5. Yacht charter Sporades and Chalkidiki

Northern Sporades is a protected area that’s perfect for sailing beginners and families. The region is great for gaining experience and allows yachting newcomers to acquaint themselves with sailing.

Only 40 nm north west of Alonissos is the Chalkidiki peninsula. The peninsula with its characteristic ‘three fingers’ has long been a holiday paradise, and is made up of Cassandra, Sithonia and Agion Oros, together with Mount Athos in the northern Aegean.

On the east side, the peninsula is flat, whereas elsewhere it’s rather mountainous. The whole peninsula is full of olive groves, hazelnut trees and pine forests. At the southernmost point of Agios Oros is the holy mountain of Athos, which rises 2000 metres above sea level.

Wind & Weather: Although much weaker here, the Sporades are still affected by the Meltemi in summer. In June, it blows from the northeast, reaching its full strength in July and August (up to 4-6 Bft), and then subsiding in late September. Due to the funnel effect of the wind in the Trikeri Channel, it can be very rough in the afternoon. In the Bay of Volos, more winds come from the northwest with forces between  2-5 Bft in summer.

In spring and autumn the prevailing weaker winds tend to come from the north or south.  During the Meltemi season, gusts of wind can come from the surrounding mountains. In the summer the temperature rises up to 27 °c in Volos. In the spring, rain showers and thunderstorms may occur, accompanied by squalls, which usually last around two hours.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Navigation: Although most charts for Greece have now been revised, you need to exercise caution when navigating on land. We recommend using GPS where necessary. The entire cruising area is well marked. When sailing through the protected area around Alonissos, Kyra Panagia and Skantzoura, Yioura and Psathoura, there are a number of nature conservation requirements that need to be adhered to.

Sailing and motor yachts are banned from Piperi and Psathoura. Hydrofoils enter and exit quickly from small ports, sometimes causing a lot of swell, so it’s wise to keep your distance.

Ports and anchorages:

North of the Diavlos Trikeri Passage lies the Gulf of Volos. To the east it is surrounded by the mountainous, wooded peninsula Trikeri, and to the west, flat marshland. At the northwestern end of the Gulf lies the port town of Volos. Throughout the Gulf you find a lot of very pleasant, well-protected anchorages.

Milina [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – Milina provides a large number of berths in the well protected bay of Ormos Vathoudi, to the southeast of the Gulf of Volos. Well protected anchorages on the west coast of the Gulf of Volos include Amaliapolis, Loutraki, Ormos Agios Ioannis and Agios Georgios.

Skiathos [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – The green island of the Sporades offers more than 70 small and larger bays and three secure harbours. Surrounded by a further 9 small islands, the island of Skiathos is remarkable for its sheer beauty alone. One of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean is Ormos Koukounaries in the southwest of the island, which also offers perhaps the best known anchorage in Greece. Due to its location the bay offers excellent protection from the Meltemi.

Skopelos [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – The wonderfully verdant island of Skopelos is a little quieter than Skiathos. Its bays, churches and monasteries – and tiny villages surrounded by olive groves and almond trees – lend Skopelos a special charm. Loutraki, in the northwest of Skopelos, is well protected from the Meltemi but, as it’s open to the south, it’s best avoided in southerly winds.

Further south lies the picturesque bay of Ormos Panormou, which can get rather crowded during the summer months. The bay is deep, so you should ensure you have sufficient chain when anchoring. The wide Ormos Staphylos, on the south side of the island, is open to the south but offers very good protection from the Meltemi. In the beautiful city port of Skopelos it’s best to head for the berths in the northeast corner of the breakwater.

Alonissos [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – Alonissos is an elongated, densely forested island with many secluded coves. Together with its small offshore islands it forms a National Marine Park, which provides protection to rare seals. For information about the nature reserve, contact the Information Centre directly from Patitiri harbour. Patitiri – apart from a slight swell – offers good protection from the Meltemi. Steni Vela in the northeast is another beautiful fishing port, lined by pine and bamboo trees. Note that larger yachts should anchor at a safe distance to the quay.

Peristera [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – Southerly winds can cause a swell in the bay of Steni Vela, in which case it’s worth heading to the bays of the eastern island of Alonissos. Ormos Peristeri and Ormos Xero are two well protected bays to the south. In Ormos Vasiliko you’ll be well protected in almost any weather. Be careful when anchoring, there is a large, old chain on the seabed.

Kyra Panagia (Pelagonisi) [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – Pelagonisi is an ideal starting point to head north, for example, to Chalkidiki. For all-round protection, check out the spacious and almost completely enclosed bay of Ormos Planitis, north of the island.

Monastery Bay in Monastiri offers good fair-weather anchorage on the eastern part of the island. In the southwest is Ormos Kyra Panagia where the only inhabitants on the island are monks.

About 15 nm southeast of Skopelos is Skantzoura, surrounded by many smaller islands. The anchorages at Paurassa and Skantzoura offer limited protection from the Meltemi. The island of Skantzoura and its surrounding islands are fairly unknown. Anyone who appreciates peace and quiet will relish time spent here.

Skyros [archipelago: Sporades and Chalkidiki | Greece] – The island lies in the east of this yacht charter area and is the largest island in the Northern Sporades, as well as the furthest east. In the Middle Ages, Skyros was known as Pirates’ Prey, which explains why the main town on the islands is built facing the core part of the rock so you couldn’t see the sea from the village. The island is quite hilly. The Chora is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean Sea. The site with its narrow, steep streets and winding flights of steps is reminiscent of a Cycladic village.

Skyros consists of two halves, the southern part is very rugged and has forested slopes. The Castro, with its castle-like fortress originally built in the Byzantine period, has impressively thick, almost vertically sloping walls which offered good protection against pirates.

Skyros is famous for its craftsmanship. Particularly noteworthy are the intricate embroidery and wood carvings. The protected anchorages of the island, Ormos Pevko and Ormiskos Linarias, are both located on the southwest coast. If you want to visit the Chora, you should start in Linaria. The bay is open to the northwest and provides good protection from the Meltemi.

Regulations and authorities: To enter you will need a valid ID card. The skipper must be in possession of an official yachting license with coastal navigation. Another crew member should have sailing experience and – if possible – the documentation to prove it.

Getting there: There are some direct charter flights to either Skiathos or Volos throughout the summer season. Or go via Athens.

Not to be missed: The short hike up to Loutraki Glossa on Skopelos offers a wonderful view to Skiathos and Evia. A trip with scooters on Skopelos is also very nice when you are sailing in the area. Another highlight – in the Northern Sporades – is a visit to the National Park Centre in Patitiri on Alonissos. The information centre is located right on the harbour. A stroll along the shore of the island of Skyros is also highly recommended.