Northern Aegean or Sporades?

Old Dec 17th, 2019, 04:22 PM
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Northern Aegean or Sporades?

I'm hoping the Greek Island experts can help me with this decision. I've done a ton of research and have narrowed down my choice to either the Sporades islands or the Northern Aegean (Lesvos/Chios/Samos). Five years ago I sailed through the Cyclades and loved those islands.
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Old Dec 18th, 2019, 06:32 AM
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I've been to Alonissos, Skopelas, Skiathos, Samos, Chios, Lesbos, Agios Efstrathios, Lemnos, Imros, Tenedos. (and others) and love them all.
All of these islands are very different and somewhat similar at the same time.
Skiathos is the most touristy one.
In Samos,Island most tourists stay at the Eastern end of the Island (Kokkari - Vathy - Psili Ammos - Pythagorio). The South West (Ormos Marathokambos) has some beatiful seldom crowded beaches.
Best hiking trails in the West and around Kokkari.
Chios is never overrun. The mastix villages in the South West are spectacular.. A hike to Nea Mony is fine. Good sandy beaches in the East and romantic pebble beaches in the South.
Lesbos is rather big, with very different areas. Most tourists stay around Mythimna.
Many (rather few visited) nice small sandy coves (like Agios Ermogenis) just a bit South West of Mitilini.

If you want to see how Greek Islands were some 60 years ago, you may stay a few nights at Agios Efstrathios:
No cars. Just 1 village (around the ferry pier) with 2 restaurants and some rooms to rent (often with kitchen). Just 1 sandy beach with a few umbrellas, no chairs. Long hiking trails over the mountains to some isolated (rather rocky than pebbly) beaches.

I suppose you know that the archtecture in the Eastern Aegean Islands is completely different from the Cycladic area:neither cubic white houses with blue window shutters nor whit windmills.

Food is more or less the same all over the Greek Islands, with the difference that Eastern Aegean Island restaurants serve more local fish than places like Mykonos or Santorini where most calamares and other seafood. are imported.
In summer, there are some (not daily) direct flights from Western European airports to Skiathos, Samos and Lesbos.
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Old Dec 18th, 2019, 10:51 AM
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I've been to Lesvos and Chios. Both are wonderful Greek Islands still holding on to their traditions without overly selling out to tourism. Both are large islands with a lot to do, see and experience.

My grandparents immigrated from Lesvos in the early 1900s and I recently went to the village they came from and met relatives I never knew existed! It was a wonderful experience along with the rest of the island. A number of beautiful villages, especially the mountain side village of Agiasos where I stayed for 5 days. Very traditional and full of character. The rest of the island offers a lot to the more savvy tourist.

Chios turned out to be a gem of an island with spectacular scenery, lovely beaches, and the Mastic Villages in the south are fantastic along with several nice archeological/historic sites including the abandoned mountain top village of Anavatos which is a one-of-a-kind experience. The Nea Moni monastery is in a beautiful location in the mountains and it's sad and brutal history along with Anavatos' is very moving.

Lesvos and Chios and not the typical Greek Islands people think about to travel to since they don't have the classic white-washed houses and colorful trim like the Cyclades Islands. Nevertheless they offer a truly Greek Experience.

You can check out my Chios Trip report here along with several videos I made:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...n_Islands.html

Last edited by crazyh; Dec 18th, 2019 at 10:53 AM.
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Old Dec 19th, 2019, 03:50 PM
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Thanks for your feedback, which is appreciated. I do realize that the other islands don't have the same buildings/style as the Cyclades, however I'm hoping that someplace like Lesvos or Chios would have it own type of charm and appeal. Is this true? I would love to experience the less touristy Greece but still want to visit places that are charming!
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Old Dec 20th, 2019, 05:40 AM
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Lesvos and Chios certainly have their own charm and appeal. The are just as "Greek" as any other Greek Island and from my experiences on both islands offer more tradition and options than some other islands.

If you read my trip report and looked at some of the videos of Chios you'll find it worthy of a visit. I was more than happy to visit the island and people and it is one of my favorite Greek Islands.

Lesvos is also a beautiful Greek Island with lots of options.

In the end do what's best for you but also do your research before making a decision.
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