The Sporades is home to the first marine park in Greece and the largest marine protected space in Europe. The National Marine Park of Alonissos is like no other. It is comprised of Alonissos Island, 6 smaller islands and 22 uninhibited islands. The flora and fauna in the marine park is expansive from the underwater sea grass bed Posidonia Oceania to rare species like the Mediterranean monk seal, Eleonora’s falcon and the wild goat of Gioura. One of the main reasons the marine park was started was to protect the Mediterranean monk seal. This species of seal is found in less than 5 places in the world and the population is around 450 and declining. Since one of the major threats to the seal are human activity and industrial developments, the park has two zones. Zone A has strict protection and is 1,587 km². The permitted activities are limited to scientific research under licenses and fishing is strictly prohibited. The entire island of Piperi is the core of the park and is strictly protected. Zone B is open to visits and has no specific restrictions except for free camping and lighting of fires. Amateur fishing is allowed. On your sailboat charter in the Sporades, anchor at any of the five islands of Alonissos to enjoy the marine park.
One of the most thrilling parts of your sailboat charter in the Sporades will be exploring the sea caves in Skiathos. Near the foot of Kastro castle you can find the caves Skotini and Galazia. Skotini spillia or Dark Cave is legendary because of its low and narrow entrance where only small boats can pass. Its 20m in length and extremely dark. Galazia spilia or Blue Cave is characterized by its white triangular limestone cave that frames the dazzling blue waters. The colors of the water change as the sun moves across the sky. The caves are near the most photographed beach in the Sporades, Lalaria. This beach is only accessible by boat from the port of Lalaria. The beach is named after the round white pebbles that make up the beach. Anchor here to take a swim in the aquamarine waters. Swim through the famed rock arch Tripia Petra, legends say those who swim through will become younger. Sail to Panormos beach at Skopelos island during your sailboat charter in the Sporades. This beach has perfectly round white pebbles and fantastic blue water. The green surroundings add to the serenity of the beach. This beach is perfect for families because of the shallow waters. Visit Acherounes beach at Skyros Island. This beach lies west of Skyros Town and has a panoramic view of the mountains and the open horizon. The soft golden sand, clean clear water and calm sea here make it a favorite amongst all beachgoers.
Although the beaches and sea navigation will be the highlight of your sailing vacation; the Sporades are equally as wonderful on land as they are at sea. The islands are famous for their traditional feasts and celebrations. On August 15th, the largest festival of the summer takes place on every island in the Sporades. It celebrates the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. On Alonissos, many traditional weddings take place this day. Every year on September 6, the locals of Skiathos celebrate the Kastonia Festival. They throw flower wreaths into the sea to commemorate all those who lost their lives when the submarine Lambros Katsonis was attacked and sank in 1943. On April 23, in Skiathos there is the Agios Georgios feast, which celebrates Saint George. Along with a grand feast, horse races are organized. The feasts of Saint George is not to be missed by anyone who chooses a sailboat charter in the Sporades during summer. In Skopelos, one of the major festivals is the Loizia Festival held in August in Glossa. It honors Greek-Cypriot composer Manos Loizos with concerts, theatrical performances, traditional dances, storytelling nights and a great feast. Food and wine are served for free and the festival lasts until he early hours.
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