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New ferry link for Sporades islands

- by Andy Cornish

Holiday visitors to Skiathos have a new ferry link from the Greek mainland as Golden Star Ferries launches a new service to the Sporades islands.

Gold Star is operating two high-speed ferries to the Sporades islands daily over the summer months.

The ferries both run daily between the mainland ports of Volos and Thessaloniki to the Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.

The routes will give Greek island hoppers in the Sporades a major boost to ferry services between the islands.

The ferry company's Super Cat ferry runs a morning service from Volos to Skiathos and back leaving Volos at 9 am.

Just after noon, the same ferry returns to Skiathos, then sails on the Skopelos and Alonissos before heading to Thessaloniki where it berths around 7 pm.

The company's Super Speed ferry leaves Thessaloniki around 10 am for Skiathos, then sails on to Skopelos and Alonissos, returning to Skopelos and Skiathos before sailing to mainland Volos, arriving there about 5 pm.

A ferry service between Volos and Skiathos will operate every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning using whichever of the ferries in berthed in Volos at the time.

Golden Star Ferries originally planned to use these vessels to run ferry services to the Sporades from Piraeus but they abandoned the plans as too much of a financial risk.

The ferry company then received the approval instead to operate routes connecting Thessaloniki to the Sporades islands.

Both ferries were acquired only last year. The high-speed catamaran Super Cat was previously used in the Baltic.

The Super Speed is the passenger-only high-speed trimaran formerly called Krilo Eclipse.

Most holiday visitors will be more interested in the creation of extra ferry links between the Sporades islands.

The new services should make daily visits from one island to another a much more likely proposition,

At the moment Skiathos takes the giant share of holiday visitors thanks to an international airport and its high number of holiday beaches.

Visits to Skopelos to Alonissos have been hampered by few ferry services and those that do run, operate early in the morning.

Hellenic Seaways operates ferried between Skiathos and Agios Konstantinos three times a week. Ferry company ANES also operated ferry and catamaran services to Agios Konstantinos.

Most holiday visitors usually get to Skopelos and Alonissos by charter flight to Skiathos then a ferry hop to the respective island.

From Skiathos, there are several ferry and hydrofoil crossings every day to Skopelos, a journey of around 45 minutes, and Alonissos which takes about an hour.

Skiathos also gets an extra ferry link this summer as it has been included in a Greek government subsidised high-speed route between Thessaloniki and Crete.

The service runs twice a week between Thessaloniki, Skiathos, Syros and Heraklion on Crete but only for about three months in the summer.