By Thomas P.

At the eastern side of Alonnisos there is a group of small islands, the «deserted islands» as they are characteristically called, which together with Alonissos, constitute the National Marine Park of Sporades. It was founded in 1992 in order to protect the seal «Monachus Monachus».

Sporades

They are very beautiful islands with sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and have very safe bays for overnight.

Peristera

It lies along the eastern coast of Alonnisos, from which it is separated by a narrow channel with a length of four miles. It is one of the largest islands of the group of particular interest due to the highly indented coastline, which reaches 17 nautical miles.

Sporades

Beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, leeward bays and safe anchorages giving shelter to many tourist boats are the things that characterize this small island. The large and protected from any weather condition natural ports in the past were used to host whole fleets while during the age of pirates, theses bays were also used as bases of corsairs.
In the middle of the western coast of the island, the great bay of Vasilikos is formed in which there are many beautiful beaches. At the northern side of the bay, there is the homonymous small fishing port, absolutely safe under any weather, ideal for overnight on board. The calm and isolated place of Vasilikos, with no tourist infrastructure, has its own tranquil way of life. Two houses on the coast, one on the top of the hill and three four «hidden» ones beneath the shadow of the old fig and olive trees compose the small and very old village of Vasilikos.

Along the ridge, there is the old path that connects Vasilikos with Peristeri which is the second large bay of the island, located on its south side. Thus, many parts of the path have been afforested so much that hardly anyone will be able to walk to the end of it. Peristeri is a very deep bay, very safe natural harbor and shelter for many boats. Only a few houses are on the coast, hosting occasionally their owners when they come to take care of the olive trees or get their fruit.

Kyra Panagia

The ancient Alonnisos that was named afterwards Pelagonisi, is the largest in area of the islets, with a perimeter of 12 nm, and is located northeast of Alonnisos less than four miles from the cape of Gerakas. It is a property of the Monastery of Great Lavra on Mount Athos in 963 AD and is used till nowadays as a source of supply of the monasteries of Mount Athos in meat, oil and honey.

Sporades

On the eastern coast, at the southern end of an open bay, built on a small hill with beautiful view of Gioura and the sea, there is the monastery of Kyra Panagia, from which this small island was named.
Kyra Panagia is really famous mainly for two very safe natural bays formed in the internal. Planet is the one at north and St. Peter at southwest respectively.
Planet, a large and «closed» bay is the safest natural harbor encountered in the Aegean islands, protected from all weathers. Its entrance faces northeast and, with a length of about 500 meters and width of approximately 50 meters at the narrowest point, leads us into a big «lagoon» with green waters, ideal anchorage for the night on board.
The bay of St. Peter is absolutely safe to north winds and affected only by western and southwestern winds. As entering the wide entrance, the west side of which is protected from the islet of Fagrou, the great bay is extended in front of us. Within it there are four smaller bays that end to beautiful pebbled beaches. However, it is not only the coastline that fascinates us, but the wonderful waters that in many parts, they form amazing natural pools next to the sharp rocks.

Gioura

Only 2nm northeast of Kyra Panagia, the imposing mount of the islet Gioura dominates, which reaches at 570 meters. Its perimeter is about 11nm, and is characterized for very steep and rocky shores. The only beach is located on the northeastern part of the island, west of the cape Pnigmenos, thus the only way to enjoy this beach is to choose a day without any wind blowing. It is covered with sand and white pebbles, where steep slopes end and has amazing waters that will definitely fascinate us. On the middle of the west side of the island, beautiful caves are formed with beautiful waters for swimming and exploring.

Sporades

The unique access points on the island are located in the southeast peninsula, on which it is built the monastery of Panagia. There are two small cement piers, one in the north side of the peninsula and one in the south, from where the well-maintained paths that leads up to the monastery start.
We walked along the steep path that rises almost vertically at the steep rocks, and through a wild landscape, we reached in a few minutes on a large plateau. The view over here at the sea is breathtaking.
We went on to the almost flat path and in a few minutes we arrived at a small settlement. Behind an abandoned house, there is a small fenced area in which the small church of Panagia dominates. Just afterwards there are three small houses that once they hosted the monks who lived here.
East and very near the monastery there is the famous cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops who was blinded by Odysseus according to Homer.

Psathoura

Leaving behind Gioura, our bow was heading the islet of Psathoura, the northernmost of the deserted islands, 4 nm northern. From whatever side anybody approaches this small island, it will hardly be distinguished because its height is too short.

Sporades

It is a very low and flat strip of land that we would easily pass by it without perceiving it, had it not been for the beautiful stone-built lighthouse, which stands at 26 meters high and visible from afar. Many times, and especially when the waves are high, Psathoura is not visible at all and only its tall lighthouse seems to emerge as a major pillar, from the depths of the sea.
It is a volcanic island, with a perimeter of more than two nautical miles, with rocky shores and shallow waters over a large area around it. Its largest part is covered with low but very dense vegetation, which make our access impossible. The only beach is located on the south side, just opposite the northern cape of Giaros, and is one of the most fascinating of the entire Aegean. Looking like a tropical paradise, with shallow turquoise waters and white fine sand is composing a stunning natural pool.

Skantzoura

It is the southernmost island of Sporades Marine Park, with a perimeter of 9 nm. It is 10 nm from Steni-Vala of Alonnisos and at its west side there are scattered small rocky islets. Skantzoura itself is a very interesting destination, but also a wonderful rest and night station, heading towards South Aegean.

Like Kyra Panagia, this island belongs to the Grand Lavra Monastery of Mount Athos. At the island's highest point, there is a beautiful but abandoned monastery.

It has two very beautiful natural harbors on the southwest side, where we can stay and enjoy the wonderful waters.
Liadromitiko, which is the main natural harbor, is located on the north side of the peninsula that ends at Cape Korakas. Inside the bay, there are formed two islets where we can spend the night very safely, because both islets provide very good protection from the north wind.

The second natural harbor, Charoupia, is located on the south side of the peninsula and is one of the most beautiful spots of Sporades. It is an oblong bay, ending to a very small, almost private beach. The majestic turquoise waters and stunning shades of blue are a unique spectacle. It is one of our most favorite places, which we visit every time, enjoying for many hours the amazing waters.
One morning, we decided to visit the old and ruined monastery located on the highest point of the island, at 107 meters altitude.

Sporades

On the west coast, a little bit northern of the islet Paraos, there is the inlet of Tarsanas, where in the old times the monks used to pull their boats out. We tied up the rib on the cubic rocks and with our backpacks on the shoulders we climbed on the forested path that in twenty minutes brought us to the ruined stone buildings of the monastery. It's a great route filled with green. The view at Alonnisos and Skyros is stunning. We wandered in the small church of Agios Athanasios, which is the best preserved, as well as in the interior of ramshackle buildings, that show very strongly the scars of abandonment.

...keep Ribbing!