Navigating the Southern Sporades Islands – A Ferry Explorer’s Handbook

Imagine a string of islands rising from the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, each with its own allure. The Sporades Islands are a dream destination for sailors.

Key marinas and ports in the area provide a wide range of services for island-hopping adventures. Learn more about the region to fully prepare for your sailing voyage.

Ferry Routes

With its stunning sailing routes and picturesque marinas, the Sporades Islands offer sailors an unrivalled experience of Greece. From the National Marine Park of Alonissos to the unique charm of each island, this constellation of heavenly gems has plenty of treasures for sailors to discover.

However, the Aegean Sea can also be capricious, with conditions that may challenge even experienced sailors if they’re not well prepared. This is why it’s essential to understand the region’s specific sailing conditions and prepare accordingly. This includes acquiring basic sailing skills, knowing the local navigation rules and regulations, and carrying out proper packing with functional and weather-appropriate clothing, non-slip boat shoes, personal safety equipment, provisions, leisure items, and a cruising guide or pilot book.

In addition, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the various ferry routes to the Sporades Islands before embarking on your journey. Thessaloniki and Volos are the primary departure points for ferries to Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos, with regular connections all year round offered by the likes of Seajets, Anes Ferries, and Blue Star Ferries.

In terms of other ferries, Triton Ferries operate a small passenger/car ferry Ionis from Lavrio that travels to the nearby islands of Kea (Tzia) and Kythnos, while Porfyrousa offers services to Neapoli in the Peloponnese and Antikythera. Find all the routes and check the latest schedules and prices on NetFerry.

Ports & Anchorages

Since previous rulemakings, additional informal anchorages and holding areas, as well as a non-anchorage area, have been used in Puget Sound to accommodate the wide variety of vessels now calling on ports. Because these anchorages are not formally established, they are not included on nautical charts or referenced in Coast Pilots and are not subject to anchorage regulations. This rulemaking would codify the establishment of several new anchorages, a holding area, and an expansion of one existing general anchorage and their related regulations to improve safety for all vessel traffic in Puget Sound waterways.

Generally, these anchorages are for use by tug and barge combinations, fishing vessels less than 200 feet and other vessels authorized by COTP Puget Sound to use them. Vessels anchoring in these areas should remain clear of the tug and barge combination and fishing vessels.

The data set for this project is continuously extended through the addition of anchorage locations contributed by Global Fishing Watch users and regional port databases. Those contributions take precedence over locations derived from AIS within a given s2 cell. This enables us to build a more complete picture of the state of anchorages in the world. Whether you’re using this map to plan your next voyage or just interested in what is out there, we hope it will be of value.


If you trace your finger on the map of Greece from Athens to north, you’ll come across a wide dog-leg of an island, Evia. It’s flanked by a thumb-like peninsula that shelters Volos town, and then a smattering of green-hued dots washing up onto the northern Aegean Sea. They’re the Sporades Islands, and although only four of them are permanently inhabited, they each have their own USP: gleaming white pebble beaches on Skiathos; hilly Skopelos with its rustic fruit farms and pine woods; far-flung Skyros, spiked with cathedral-buttress peaks and whitewashed villages.

Skopelos and Alonissos are also surrounded by the national marine park of the northern Sporades, which has some of the richest aquatic biodiversity in the whole country. It’s the ideal place for snorkelling and diving, and boat trips are arguably the number one thing to do on these two islands.

For a beach holiday, the best time to visit the Sporades is from June to September, when temperatures peak at 24/25 degC. The winters here are short and mild, making it a fine option for hikers who want to explore the rocky summits of Evia or the wooded interior of inland Skiathos without the summer crowds. It’s also the only time to see the rare Mediterranean monk seals in their natural habitat on the island of Alonissos.

Port Rules

With their gorgeous beaches, crystalline waters and ancient treasures, the Sporades islands are an irresistible destination for both seasoned travellers and first-timers. However, navigating this enchanting archipelago is a challenge that requires both knowledge and skills.

A good grasp of marine navigation is vital to safely navigate the Sporades. This includes the ability to use a variety of navigational tools, from traditional maps and compasses to modern GPS systems. Navigational proficiency also includes the ability to read weather reports and charts, understand local geography, and know how to navigate sheltered passages in varying conditions. Finally, the ability to moor and dock your boat in busy marinas and ports is important, particularly during high season.

Sailing in the Sporades is a rewarding experience for those with the right combination of skill and knowledge. With its indented coastline and secluded bays, the islands are a magnet for yacht flotillas and charters, with each island offering its own unique charm.

The Sporades are a wonderful chain of islands that offer a diverse array of experiences, from the National Marine Park on Alonissos to Skiathos’ glistening pebble beaches and uber-chilled charm. Whether you’re headed for celebrated Skiathos, Skopelos or far-flung Skyros, this ultimate guide to Sporades island hopping will ensure a smooth, hassle-free voyage.