The Sporades Feature
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The Sporades's Best Beaches
You'll hit a Beach Blanket Bingo at any of the famous blonde beaches of the Sporades. With their crystal clear waters, they make an excellent retreat for those seeking super-relaxing holidays under the sun thanks to their big plus: unlike the Cyclades, most are not affected by strong meltemia winds.
The variety of scenic landscapes in the Sporades can satisfy even the most demanding visitor, as its beautiful beaches suit all tastes: golden sandy beaches, verdurous sceneries, or pebbled beaches surrounded by rocky coves. Happily, each offers perfect settings if you want to get into a real sunny daze, and if you prefer to avoid the glare, there are usually umbrellas and sun beds for rent. Apart from enjoying the sea, nature lovers will want to visit the unique pine forest that borders Skiathos's famous Koukounaries beach, behind which sits the Strofilia Lake, a biotope that is home to rare bird species. History buffs will enjoy Skopelos's Panormos, which still retains remnants of ancient settlements in the area.
Most beaches offer a wide range of facilities and services, from rental sun beds and umbrellas to windsurfing, snorkeling, and canoeing equipment for hire or organized water sports.
Restaurants, tavernas, and coffee shops are usually on the beach or nearby.
For those wishing for something more secluded and idyllic, a journey by boat to small nearby islets is an unforgettable experience.
Though Koukounaries (12 km [8 mi] west of Skiathos town) has been much touted as Greece's best beach, photos displaying it must either have been taken a long time ago or on a brilliant, deserted spring day. All summer it is so packed with umbrellas, beach chairs, and blistering tourists that you can hardly see the sand. The multitudes can be part of the fun, however: think of this as an international Greek island beach party. Water activities abound, with waterskiing, sailing, paddleboats, and banana-boat rides all available. Have your Nikon ready to snap the beach's beautiful pine forest and adjacent Strofilia Lake bird preserve. Light lunches and refreshments are served at the beach bar.
If you want to be far away from the crowds, Kalamitsa is an ideal spot. The beach is situated at the northern coast of the island, 9 km (6 mi) from the capital. A large pebbled beach with crystal waters, this is an ideal place to enjoy sea, sun, and swimming, as it is not very busy even in August. Chill out here and you'll realize that the Sporades can be a state of mind.
Skyros: Aghios Petros
Located in Atsitsa town (around 18 km [11 mi] north of Chora) is Aghios Petros, a beautiful bay characterized by its white sand dunes lying concealed amid lush tree-covered hills.
Tall rock formations line most of the bay and cedar trees growing over the rocks add to an ambience of calm.
Part sand, part pebble beach, Aghios Petros—named after the chapel of Saint Peter standing above it—retains a peacefulness that draws sun-loving nature lovers and kayak fans alike.
If you are chilling out for the entire day, bring water and a snack along.
Skopelos: Panormos Beach
The cove of Panormos (situated 15 km [9 mi] southwest of Chora) is one of the most beautiful in Skopelos.
Panormos's beach has pebbles but there are also parts covered with sand.
Very popular, it boasts a wide range of facilities such as sun beds, umbrellas, and sea sports. Visitors who wish for an idyllic, secluded spot to relax in privacy should try the bigger of the two islands inside the protected cove of Panormos.
Dassia has dense vegetation and a beautiful beach, pines that reach up to the sea, and deep blue-colored water but can only be approached with small boats from the cove of Panormos.Updated: 01-2014
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