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The Sporades, The Emerald of the Aegean

A unique alternative destination, the Sporades is often called "the emerald of the Aegean" because its islands are blessed with rich vegetation and green blue waters, widely considered to be the cleanest in all of the Aegean and home to one of Europe's largest marine protected areas where the most important remaining population of the Mediterranean Monk Seal resides.

With some of the most beautiful, unspoiled beaches in the entire world, the Sporades are fertile and heavily wooded, with pine-forested mountains sloping down to its breathtaking waters. The local architecture is more characteristic of Northern Greece than of the Aegean islands making the Sporades an authentic destination for travellers who looking for beautiful nature, seclusion and culture.

The Golden Beaches of Skiathos

This island is a perfect marriage of beauty and tourism. Skiathos is blessed with some of the most beautiful golden beaches in the world, the most popular of which are located in the islands's southern side. One of them is the famous bay of Koukounaries, considered to be one of the top three beaches in the world. Lalaria is an exotic beach that is accessible only by boat.

The island's lush vegetation, with olive groves and dense forests, offers some amazing routes for nature enthusiasts. Those keen on religious sightseeing will have the opportunity to visit several rural historical churches and monasteries. Visitors wishing to party and dance will not be disappointed. The town is vibrant with vivid nightlife, which at times resembles Mykonos.

Alonissos Home to the monk seal

Alonissos is home to the Mediterranean Monk Seal (monachus monachus). Worth visiting is the national marine park where volunteers help rescue baby seals. Here, visitors will experience nature untouched by man. Natural beauty and amazing pebbled beaches with crystal waters, surrounded by lush vegetation, make this island a very relaxing destination for couples and families.

On top of the hill, overlooking the Aegean Sea is Chora, the most picturesque village on the island. Nightlife here is especially low-key but travellers will enjoy hiking and admiring the jaw-dropping scenery. Admittedly, Alonissos attracts more nature lovers than night owls!

Peace and Quiet in Skopelos

This beautiful island is located between Skiathos and Alonissos. Peaceful and quiet, with rich pine forests, idyllic pebble bays and transparent waters, Skopelos is also known for its local specialities like the famous cheese-pie.

For those interested in sightseeing, the 'Saint Ioannis Chapel' on the rocks is the place where the wedding ceremony in the film "Mamma Mia" took place.

Visitors may enjoy the great view to the Aegean Sea from the island's two main towns, Town and Giossa, which are built on top of a hill. The island's countryside is spectacular and its series of pretty cove beaches is backed by extensive pine forests as well as olive groves and orchards of plums as well as other fruits.

The hidden charms of Skyros

Skyros is the largest island of the cluster, located in the center of the Aegean Sea. It may be the least famous island of Sporades, but it has a special tradition and character. Its main town, Chora, offers great view to the Aegean and is ideal for a stroll around its narrow streets or a visit to the medieval Castle. The town is a much more cosmopolitan place than you might expect and attracts much international tourism.

The island has many beautiful beaches with few facilities, ideal for visitors who wish to relax. Some of them are difficult to access but worth the challenge. The popular beach of Molos is a long coast with many tourist facilities. Skyros is famous for its little horses and visitors can ride a pony in the heart of a rich pine forest.