Family Traveller Magazine Spring/Summer 2022. Order online now for free UK postage.

Sporades Islands: spend summer on the greenest Greek islands

Mary Braddick
8th June 2022

The Sporades Islands float in the Aegean between Thessaloniki and Athens. They’re sweet little gems: beachy, drenched in sunshine and on the sheltered eastern side of the mainland. As well as being lovely they’re all easy to reach and incredibly family-friendly – one even played a major part in the movie, Mamma Mia. Keen to know more? Take a look at the starriest Sporades Islands: Skiathos, Skópelos, Alonissos and Skyros.


Skiathos Town and Bourzi Peninsula, Sporades Islands

1/4 Skiathos: easiest to reach of the Sporades Islands

Direct UK flights to Skiathos take from just over three hours. That could be the reason why the best known of the Sporades scores well as a family holiday island. Though the fact that it’s ringed right round by more than 60 lovely beaches and is a bit of a star when it comes to water sports and outdoor adventuring, might work in its favour too. And then there’s the way it balances the lively party reputation of Skiathos Town with family-friendly resorts and hotels along the sunny south coast, and an almost totally undeveloped north that’s as easy to explore as it is to fall in love with. So yes, Skiathos is quick to get to from the UK, but that’s far from the only reason to go.

Skiathos family holiday highlights

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Skopelos, the gorgeous Greek island star of Mama Mia

2/4 Skópelos: the green and beachy Mama Mia island

More than half of Skópelos is covered in pine forest, making it the greenest of the Sporades Islands and one of the greenest islands in Greece, which would be its greatest claim to fame if it wasn’t also the island where Mamma Mia was filmed – even the tiny, jewel-like chapel on a hill is right here. Apart from its starry connections and gorgeous scenery, Skópelos is blessed with stunning beaches and scores well on historic sites and quaint old town charm. It’s another island that’s easy to reach – 30 minutes by ferry from Skiathos – and has a good selection of places to stay ranging from luxury five-star resorts to family holiday apartments.

Skópelos family holiday highlights

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Protected Marine Park waters surround Alonissos, Sporades Islands, Greece

3/4 Alonissos: least touristy of the Sporades Islands

Alonissos is the longest inhabited of the Sporades Islands. It’s also one of the least touristy, least developed, least crowded and most appreciated by active families, young nature lovers, mini-marine biologists and wannabe archaeologists. It’s set in the largest marine park in Greece, so the waters are utterly pristine – great for snorkelling and spotting everything from seals to dolphins. Islet-hopping is another local speciality and if kids like boats it’s paradise for day-cruising. From just 50 to 90 minutes by catamaran from Skiathos, the island’s easy enough to reach for a day out, but if you want to stay longer, you’ll find a fair selection of apartments, villas and family hotels, mainly in the south and south-east.

Alonissos family holiday highlights

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Traditional fishing boats, Skyros harbour, Greece

4/4 Skyros: the most southerly island and closest to Athens

Skyros is the largest and most southerly of the Sporades Islands, only a 40-minute flight from Athens and still enough of a secret to be considered a find for family holidays. But with some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece around its shores, a fascinating capital drenched in history, and ancient traditions and customs alive and well all over, Skyros wins hands down on authenticity and atmosphere.

Skyros family holiday highlights

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