Following years of badgering from our regular customers for a flotilla in the Sporades Islands of Greece, we were thrilled to launch this new route during 2012. It was such a success that it was a 'no-brainer' to carry on with it, such is the popularity if it that many dates for 2014 are already close to fully booked!
* Friday start/finish dates (2nd, 16th, and 30th May, 13th and 27th June, 11th and 25th July, 8th and 22nd August, 5th and 19th September, and 3rd October being our 2014 dates)
* Flights from Heathrow to Athens, with coach transfers just over two hours, plus a 45 minute ferry ride across to Orei, on Evia Island
* Suitable for our more experienced sailors, who have tried most of our Ionian Islands or Saronic Islands routes, and who are now looking for a new and exciting destination, offering slightly more advanced sailing conditions
* Beneteau 323, 331, 361 yachts, and one Bavaria 44 yacht (4 cabins, 2 heads) are available on this route
The Sporades Islands lie to the North of Athens, in the Aegean Sea. Amongst other things, they are famous for the regular summer Meltemi winds, the setting for the recent “Mamma Mia” movie, the National Marine Park of Alonnisos (home of the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal at the islands’ eastern extremity), and an amazing history of pirate invasions during the middle ages, which has left a legacy of fortified “old towns” throughout the islands.
We visited the Sporades a couple of times during 2011, and have now completed two full seasons there (2012 and 2013), and we now know why people have been requesting our presence in the area for so long. We have “felt our way” a little for the first couple of seasons, and even though we know the area well now, there are still plenty of bays still to be discovered!
The route starts and finishes from the village of Orei on Evia Island, and usually visits the Gulf of Volos, before heading east, to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnissos, Kira Panayia, Peristeri, and Skantzoura.
Our flights are in and out of Athens, and from there we will transfer you north to Arkitsa in the North Evia Gulf, where you will drive onto the ferry for a 45 minute ride across to Evia Island and on, to Orei Town, where your yacht awaits.
This route has the usual balance between larger villages with their hustle and bustle, and smaller settlements with one or two tavernas. However, having viewed the stunning clarity of the water and the beautifulness of the bays in the more remote islands that lie further East, a feature of this route is often spending a night or two cooking aboard, rather than dining ashore.
These nights are usually spent anchored in uninhabited, sheltered bays, with just the twinkle of star light above you, and only the sound of water gently lapping on the beach (with the occasional tingle of bells from a lost and wandering goat!).
This is the most relaxing way to enjoy these outer islands, and we are sure that those of you who have yet to experience an evening dining in the cockpit by candlelight, swinging softly around the anchor, and waking up to the sound of the fish jumping to the start of a fresh new day, will enjoy every minute of this novel experience!
Another facet we will offer on this route is more flexibility to spend some time ashore soaking up the culture, history, and wonderful views that the hills of these islands have to offer above their coastlines.
We are sure that the Kastro (fortified village on Skiathos Island), the Church of St John of the Small Castle (better known as the church nestled precariously on a rocky outcrop in the Mamma Mia movie, on the north eastern coast of Skopelos Island), and the once abandoned Old Town of Alonnissos, on Alonnissos Island, high up in the hills overlooking the island, will all prove to be very popular attractions to those sailing to these islands for the first time.
The wind in the Sporades Islands during the main part of our sailing season is generally from the north or north east, and is known as the “Meltemi” wind. It can be a fresher wind at times, and so this route is aimed at our more experienced flotilla sailors. The combination of the stronger winds and the flatter seas in the leeward sides of the islands will offer some truly invigorating sailing for everyone.
This flotilla is an ideal next step for those who have perhaps “cut their teeth” on our easier Ionian Islands routes, then stepped up to the delights of the Saronic Islands flotillas, and who are now looking for the next destination, which will offer both new islands to explore, and a little more wind to get you there!
We will again be running a flotilla of our Beneteau 323s, 331s, and 361s yachts, plus one Bavaria 44 in this area.