Volos and the Gulf of Volos
Why Sail from Volos?
In the past few years, Volos has grown steadily from a small base with a few professional charter yachts, to a major sailing hub for the Sporades islands, the gulf of Volos (Pagasitikos) and the northern part of Evia, the second largest island in Greece. The nearby airport at Anchealos now brings in charter flights from many European cities throughout the summer, including flights from Gatwick with Easyjet. An hour after your plane lands you can be boarding your yacht in Volos harbour. From there you can sail to beautiful anchorages in the clear, calm waters of the gulf within a few hours, such as Milina, Horto, Kottes in the south east of the gulf, or the small island of Paleo Trikeri, with two fabulous tavernas, or the idyllic fishing village of Aghia Kyriaki at the mouth of the gulf. Or you could explore the western side of the gulf, visiting Almiros, Anchealos and Amaliapolis.
Only a short sail further as you leave the gulf and head out into the Aegean, you could spend your first night on the northern shores of Evia at a quite lively town called ‘Orei’. From there, whether you are sailing for one week or longer, you can sail east into the Sporades islands, the most famous of which is Skiathos, with her beautiful beaches; Skopelos, covered in churches and pine trees and still one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and then on towards Alonissos and the northern islands of the marine park, a protected area where you may catch a glimpse of dolphins, turtles and the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.
One of the advantages of sailing from Volos is that each boat has its permanent mooring, with electricity and water on the quay, and there is so much to see and do in Volos itself. Being on the mainland, Volos is easy to get to, and it`s only a day-sail away from the islands. The area became especially popular after the release of the film/musical ‘Mamma Mia’ which was filmed around these islands. There`s also plenty of opportunity to get off the beaten track, visiting uninhabited islands or isolated anchorages and spend the night under the stars, sail through a marine nature reserve or visit a remote monastery. Charter a boat here and you’ll soon be telling all your friends about the places you discovered!
The Sporades and beyond!
The city is a major commercial port of mainland Greece in the Aegean sea (after Piraeus and Thessaloniki), with connection by ferry and hydrofoil to the nearby Sporades Islands, which include Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos. The island of Skyros also belongs to the group although it is further south and east, hence the name ‘Sporadic’ islands. Ferries and flying dolphins operate daily connecting Volos to Magnesia islands, Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos). Moreover, many cruise ships use the port of Volos as a destination.
The City of Volos
The city of Volos Volos (Greek: Βoλος) is a coastal port city in Thessaly situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of Athens and 220 kilometres (137 miles) south of Thessaloniki. It is the capital of Magnesia prefecture and has a population of approximately 145,000. The modern city of Volos is built on the area of the ancient cities of Pagasae and Iolkos, which was the homeland of the mythological hero Jason, who sailed the ship “Argo” with his Argonauts in the quest to find the Golden Fleece. A replica of the Argo can today be seen in the main port of Volos and has been used in recreations of the ancient journey. Or if you have a day or more to spare, it’s certainly worth hiring a car and exploring the beautiful villages of Mount Pelion that rise up behind Volos, or some of the beautiful beaches on the other side of the mountain such as Horefto, Agios Giannis, Milopotomos and many more. Even if you only have a few hours or spend your first or last evening in Volos, you would be encouraged to try the fare at one of the numerous, famous ‘tsipouradiko’ restaurants that line the seafront. Here you can sample delicious seafood dishes or ‘meze’ which are served with small bottles of ‘tsipouro’, a local version of ouzo but with a less intense aniseed flavour. The locals order only the bottles and the ‘meze’ are brought as an accompaniment. You never really know what you’ll get next but they never serve the same dish twice.
"SEA CULTURE AND FOOD"
The Guardian newspaper named Volos one of the BEST Coastal Cities in Europe. Read the article here.
Getting to Volos
- International flights to Volos airport from many European cities. http://www.thessalyairport.gr/en/flights-en-menu.html
- By bus from Liosson bus station in central Athens. The trip takes about 4 hours with a 20 minute stop and departs approximately every 2 hours. (Tickets approx €25)
- By train: There are several trains daily to Volos, although you need to change at Larissa (Fare approx 45 Euro)
- By taxi/minivan: We can arrange transfers by taxi or minivan. The trip takes about 3.5 hours from the airport or your hotel directly to Volos port. (Taxi fare / 4 persons approx €280 / Minivan 8 persons €350)
- By bus from Thessaloniki central bus station. The trip takes about 3 hours and departs approximately every 2 hours. (Tickets approx €20)
- By train: There are several trains daily to Volos, although you need to change at Larissa. (Fare approx 30 Euro) · By taxi/minivan: We can arrange transfers by taxi or minivan. The trip takes about 2.5 hours from the airport or your hotel directly to Volos port. (Taxi fare / 4 persons approx €220 / Minivan 8 persons €300) From Skiathos: · Ferries and hydrofoils daily between Volos and Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos.
- There are several international charter flight companies that fly directly to Skiathos during the summer months. From there you can take the regular ferry line to Volos (about 2.5 hours) or take the hydrofoil (1.15 hrs).
Possible sailing itinerary (2 weeks) Volos - Volos
- Day 1 – Saturday: Embark Volos in the afternoon. Provision the yacht. In the evening, dine at one of the many famous ‘tsipouro’ (ouzo/fish) restaurants on the seafront, near the reconstructed ship ‘The Argo’, with which Jason set off from Volos on his quest to find the Golden Fleece.
- Day 2 – Sunday: Depart in the morning for a sail in the Gulf of Volos. Swim-stops along the coast could include the villages of Gazea, Horto or Milina. Overnight at Paleio Trikeri island. Dine at one of the two popular tavernas there.
- Day 3 – Monday: Free sailing in the morning and swimstops in the bays around the south of the gulf. Stop for lunch in one of the bays on the east of the bay or at the traditional fishing village of Agios Kyriaki. (Hike up to the mountaintop village if you’re feeling energetic). In the afternoon sail to the popular holiday resort on the north of Evia island ‘Orei’ and dine at one of the many tavernas there.
- Day 4 – Tuesday: Sail towards Skiathos island and have a swim-stop or beach cocktail at the famous ‘Koukounaries’ golden sandy beach on Skiathos. In the afternoon head for ‘Panormos’, the famous lagoon like bay, surrounded by pine trees on the west of Skopelos island. Anchor in the bay and have dinner on board or take the dinghy to shore to eat at one of the tavernas on the beach.
- Day 5 – Wednesday: Sail along the southern coast of Skopelos. Visit the small fishing village of ‘Agnondas’ to stop up on supplies or to eat the famous ‘lobster spaghetti’ served at one of the tavernas here. Swim-stop in the afternoon at Stafylos bay or continue on to Patitiri, the capital of ‘Alonissos’ island. Stock up on fuel, provisions, and buy souvenirs from the gift shops.
- Day 6 – Thursday: Sailing south eastwards towards the deserted island of Skantzoura, perhaps stopping for a swim off the back off the boat in the even smaller islets of Adelfi. There’s nothing on Skantzoura but a few goats and a crystal clear sea, idyllic for an onboard evening meal, star gazing and a plunge into the blue the next morning before you set off back towards Alonissos.
- Day 7 – Friday: Sailing northwards along the eastern coast of Alonissos and stopping for a swim in one of the small bays on the islet of Peristera. Overnight at the popular sailors’ village of ‘Steni Valla’ for a tranquil evening, good food, perhaps some live bouzouki if one of the locals wants to play.
- Day 8 – Saturday: Sailing northwards towards the islets of Kyra Panagia, Gioura and Piperi in the National Marine Park. Here we begin to leave civilisation behind and enter the world of tranquillity. Here you will see some fantastic deserted beaches and bays and experience the solitude of nature. This area is near the protected Sea park, home to Monachus Monachus, the Mediterranean Monk Seal and one of the most endangered mammals in Europe. You are not allowed to fish here or drop anchor near their breeding grounds, but you may be lucky enough to see one, or at least some dolphins. Anchor for the night in the Sporades bay on the northern tip of Peristera or Gerakas Harbour on the northern tip of Alonissos.
- Day 9 – Sunday: Sail down the west side of Alonissos towards Skopelos. Arrive Skopelos Town (capital ‘Chora’) in the late afternoon and spend the evening in the town, which is full of little churches and chapels, gift shops, tavernas, etc.
- Day 10 – Monday: Sail along the northern side of the island and turn southwards towards the villages of Glossa / Loutraki (for lunch) and Klima (for dinner) on the west of the island.
- Day 11 – Tuesday: Short sail across to Skiathos. Swimstop at one of the little islets opposite. Arrive mid afternoon to berth and spend the evening in this famous tourist hotspot.
- Day 12 – Wednesday: This is the obligatory bad weather or land-stop day. It can be inserted anywhere in the itinerary as required! You’ll probably spend the day on a beach, exploring a town, hiring mopeds or a car to explore, reading a book, catching up on postcards, eating or just sleeping!
- Day 13 – Thursday: Leave Skiathos after breakfast and set off for the quiet bay of ‘Chondri Ammos’ on the mainland, where you can have a swim-stop and/or stop for the night. Alternatively sail on to Agios Kiriaki and spend the night in the small fishing village.
- Day 14 – Friday: Chondri Ammos or Agios Kiriaki to Volos (free sailing in the gulf of Volos and swimstops). Lunch again perhaps at Trikeri island. Arrive Volos late afternoon.
- Day 15 – Saturday: disembark in the morning after breakfast. Give your skipper a huge tip (if you have one) and take away the best memories!!