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Die Sporadeninsel Skopelos, Bild: leoks / shutterstock

The Sporades – an island paradise with over 300 islands

Located in the northern Aegean Sea, the Sporades include over 300 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The name Sporades originated in ancient times and means something like “scattered” islands. Even though most of the islands of the archipelago are uninhabited, the archipelago with its green islands is one of the most beautiful in Greece.

Divided into the northern and southern Sporades, the archipelago attracts visitors with attractive islands, some of which are important for tourism. Among the northern Sporades are the islands of Alonnisos, Skopelos, Skiathos and Skyros. In the southern part of the archipelago, Karpathos, Samos, Kos and Rhodes beckon. Some of the islands are among the most popular destinations in Greece, and not without reason, as each of these islands has its own peculiarities.

Natural paradise Sporades

Today, many of the small Sporades islands are completely uninhabited and many of them are protected. While some islands have never been inhabited, Kyra Panagia is a beautiful example of how nature makes you forget that the island was once inhabited. A good 50 years ago, there were still about 100 inhabitants on Kyra Panagia and in 2000 there were just 10 inhabitants. Many once inhabited islands suffered a similar fate, including Peristera. Today, the islands are a beautiful destination for nature lovers, as numerous species of birds and plants, including rare specimens, are waiting to be discovered. But rare sea creatures also cavort around the uninhabited islands. North of Alonissos is the largest water reserve in Greece, where rare seals, seagulls, dolphins and fish species can be observed, among other things.

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The most popular holiday islands in the Sporades at a glance

Northern Sporades

Lindos, Rhodes, Sporades
The Sporades island of Rhodes is a beautiful island and can be explored in two weeks, Image: Katvic / shutterstock

Consisting of 135 islands and rocky islets, the northern Sporades form. Skyros, Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonnisos are the largest islands and tourist attractions.

The island of Skyros inspires with its steep granite rocks and unique sights such as the Kastro, a castle-like fortification. Historic monasteries, churches worth seeing, archaeological excavation sites, museums, beautiful olive groves characterize the island. The island is known for marble mining, but also for the fact that old customs are maintained here, with a special highlight being the carnival customs of the islanders.

The island of Skopelos is famous for the 2007 filming of the film “Mamma Mia!” Became known. But the scenic beauty and the picturesque villages and settlements as well as the enchanting beaches have ensured that Skopelos inspires as a travel destination much earlier.

Skiathos delights sun worshippers with over 60 beaches and numerous sights. Special highlights are the Evangelistria Monastery and the Bourtzi Peninsula as well as the ruins of the former capital Kástro. A stroll through the main town of Skiathos Town, which is known for its picturesque, historic harbour, is also particularly appealing.

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Popular with nature lovers, the limestone island of Alonnisos presents itself with natural beaches where seals sunbathe and over which wild pigeons roam. The lively harbour town of Patitiri is considered to be extremely worth seeing.

Southern Sporades

Potami Beach, Samos, Sporades
Potami beach on Samos, Image: Pawel Kazmierczak / shutterstock

The Southern Sporades include over 170 islands, including 30 inhabited ones. Among the largest and most famous islands are Samos, Ikaria, Kos and Rhodes.

Samos was an important trading center in ancient times and is now one of the most popular holiday islands in Greece. As the greenest island in the Aegean, Samos is particularly worth seeing with its meadows, forests and fields and numerous watercourses. Ancient sights such as the remains of the Temple of Hera or the city wall of Pythagório are just as inspiring as the Cave of Pytagoras, Ano Vathy (the oldest island settlement) or the beautiful beaches.

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The island of Ikaria is known worldwide through the Icarus legend. Characterized by beautiful beaches, small fishing villages, lively port towns and lots of nature, the island enchants its visitors. Highlights such as the thermal springs, historic monasteries and the remains of the Artimes temple delight travelers from all over the world.

Kos not only boasts unique sights such as the remains of the Asclepieion of Kos or the plane tree of Hippocrates, but also the beaches of the island. But the island with its lively island capital Kos Town is also known for its ghost village of Agios Dimitrios, the abandoned village of Palio Pyli, the enchanting mountain village of Zia and the salt lake Alykes.

Rhodes, one of the most famous Greek islands, is also part of the southern Sporades. The popular holiday island enchants its visitors with fantastic sights such as the Grand Master’s Palace, maritime harbours, historic fortifications and numerous cultural highlights. But the island with its dream beaches also offers lively towns and picturesque villages as well as monastery algae in the interior, where the landscape is rather rough.

Sporades – the ideal destination for an individual and flexible holiday

If you are planning a trip to the Sporades and can’t decide between the numerous islands, you should consider island hopping. For example, forays through the beautiful nature of Aloniso can be enjoyed as well as a stroll through the old town of Skopelos or a walk through the pine slopes of Skiathos. The combination possibilities are diverse and so everyone can plan their own personal dream holiday on the Sporades archipelago.