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Inveterate island-hoppers might spend one night on each island, although your trip might be more comfortable if you plant yourself on one. There are regular cruises that travel around the Sporades in three to four days, but as each of the three are so very varied, it's worth spending at least two days on each. That noted, you can get around Skiathos and Skopelos in a total of two days, since there are daily ferry connections between them and they are relatively near each other. Traveling between these islands and Skyros, however, requires advance planning, since ferries and flights to Skyros are much less frequent. Also, make sure that you are arriving and leaving from the correct harbor; some islands, such as Skopelos, have more than one from which to depart. Five days can be just enough for touching each island in summer; off-season you need more days to accommodate the ferry schedule.
How to choose if you’re only visiting one of the Sporades? If you're the can't-sit-still type and think crowds add to the fun, Skiathos is your island. By day you can take in the beautiful, thronged beaches and Evangelistria Monastery or the fortress-turned-cultural-center, and at night stroll the port to find the most hopping nightclub. Day people with a historical bent should explore Skopelos's many monasteries and churches and its 18th-century Folk Art Museum. Skyros should be at the top of your list if you're a handicraft collector, as the island's furniture and pottery is admired throughout the country and can be bought and sent abroad at several shops.