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Sporades Dolphins & Seals in Greece

Discover some of the largest European sea creatures at the first Greek marine natural preserve

Best time: May–September

Sporades Dolphins & Seals

Sporades archipelago is home to a wide variety of marine wildlife. Seals and dolphins are commonly encountered during boat trips around the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, and Alonissos—the only four inhabited ones from 24. Alonissos Marine Park is one of the best places to watch marine life in Greece. It's also the largest marine protected area in Europe and the first site of its type in Greece. Its fauna includes one of the largest seal species, the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, that inhabits the islands of Gioura or Piperi.

You can visit the Marine Park and then go island hopping by boat. However, keep in mind that not all Sporades residents are open to tourists. It's better to plan your visit for the summertime since the islands can only be accessed by boat and ferries, which run irregular schedules in the winter. You can also swim and sunbathe on the pristine beaches of Sporades islands during this time.

Practical info

When is the best time to see dolphins and seals in Sporades, Greece?

The ideal time to spot dolphins and seals in Sporades is between May and September. During these months, there are more frequent boat and ferry services, and the sea is usually calm. However, it's important to remember that these are wild animals, and there is no guarantee of a sighting. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that any activities are carried out in an eco-friendly manner, protecting the environment and the animals that inhabit it. Show more

Where can I find the largest marine protected area in Europe?

The Alonissos Marine Park in Sporades, Greece, houses the largest marine protected area in Europe. The park spans 2,260 square kilometers (874 square miles) and is home to the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, along with other marine wildlife species. The reserved area is also open to tourists, offering unique views of the beautiful natural habitats of the species inhabiting the park. It plays an important role in preserving this unique environment and ensuring the continued survival of these animals. Show more

What are the most commonly encountered marine animals in Sporades?

In Sporades, dolphins and seals are the two most regularly seen marine animals, with the common and bottlenose dolphin species inhabiting the region. Additionally, the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, known for its playful nature, Loggerhead Turtle, and Paul Johnson shark species are known to live in these waters. Sighting whales and sperm whales is also possible, along with several fish and shellfish species. Preserving this environment by taking part in sustainable tourism activities is vital to their continued survival. Show more

When is the best time to hop islands by boat in Sporades?

The best time to visit and hop islands in Sporades by boat is from May to September. The summer months usually offer the most pleasant seas, with fewer delays caused by rough waters, making traveling by boat easier and smoother. During this time, more boat and ferry services run, making island hopping more convenient and accessible to visitors. While visiting the islands, engaging in environmentally-friendly activities is crucial to preserving the natural beauty of the islands and the surrounding marine environment. Show more

Are there any endangered species of marine animals found in Sporades besides the Mediterranean monk seal?

Yes, several marine animals in Sporades, other than the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, also face vulnerable status. These animals include the Paul Johnson shark, Loggerhead turtle, and multiple fish and shellfish species. It is vital to preserve the natural habitat of these species through environmentally-friendly activities and sustainable tourism practices. Supporting local ecologically friendly businesses when visiting the area is just one way to help ensure the continued existence of these animals and their beautiful natural habitats. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych