The island of Skiathos
Famous for golden sandy beaches, the green nature and the lively atmosphere, Skiathos is the most popular island of the Sporades group (the other islands being Alonissos, Skopelos and Skyros). It is a mountainous, wooded island, which is about 15km long and 6km broad and covered with olive trees and indigenous forests, with many fountains and streams, and crystal-clear azure waters.
Despite the rapid growth in tourism here in recent decades, the island is still picturesque and unspoilt and blessed with more than 60 beautifully clean beaches. The most famous is Koukounariés, which has been declared the third most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean. When you add in its bustling nightlife, it is only natural that the island attracts thousands of young visitors every year!
Skiathos village, with its many tavernas, restaurants and interesting little shops, is a vibrant town which really comes to life at night, when eating out, walking the streets, Greek music, dancing and relaxing in an atmosphere of complete carefreeness seduces one’s spirit.
The pedestrianised street by the Old Harbour is the ultimate hotspot for entertainment, with buzzing bars and clubs. Colourful cultural events, concerts and art exhibitions held throughout summer add a special touch to holidays on the island! A stroll around the town’s paved streets reveals cute white houses with red tiled roofs and colourful gardens. The picturesque harbour surrounded by four small islets is a photographer’s dream.
Visit Boúrtzi, a small peninsula with lush vegetation where the ruins of a Venetian fortress still stand. The fortress was established in 1207 by the Gizi brothers but it was destroyed in 1660 when Admiral Morozini conquered the island. Today it is one of the most romantic spots on Skiathos, thanks to its densely planted pine trees and stunning views of the archipelago.
In total there are five monasteries worth visiting and the island has many small churches, all reachable by foot, car or scooter, which can be rented in the village Skiathos. There is also a regular coach service from one end of the island to the other.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the former house and now museum of the famous author Alexandros Papadiamantis who was born on the island. There is also the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary with its four museums and Kástro (castle), a natural fortress that was used by the inhabitants in the 14th century as a refuge against pirate raids.
The island has 60 superb beaches, among which Koukounariés (or Golden Sand) in the southwestern part of the island stands out. Koukounariés is famous for its lush pine forest whose needles “touch” the water, offering unique natural shade. Strofiliá, a rare wetland nestling amidst the pine forest, has been declared a protected area due to its enormous ecological value. There are also plenty of tavernas and lively cafes and bars. If you like, you can also rent a boat.
Meyáli Ámmos, on the road to Koukounaries and Ahladiés, is a popular beach with crystal clear waters and picture-perfect tavernas by the sea. Banana (or Krassa) bay is a wonderful beach surrounded by pine trees that attracts young people thanks to its water sports facilities and the parties that take place in its cafes and bars all day and all night! Banana’s sister beach, Small Banana, next to it, is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds or if you’re looking for some peace and seclusion. It is famous for its clear blue waters and pine trees.
Those who want to get away from the crowds should also check out the western part of the island: Mandráki, Eliá, Agkistros and Small and Big Asélinos are all ideal choices to escape the crowds.
Lalária, on the northeastern part of the island, is the kind of beach you find once in a lifetime. Impressive white rock formations; small round pebbles (which is what lalaria means in Greek), beautifully clean waters and the “hollow rock” standing imposingly on the beach provide a beautiful natural backdrop that will take your breath away. Note: you can only reach the beach by boat departing, weather permitting, from the port of Skiathos. The same boat also goes to the Medieval Castle of the island.
Nature lovers will be thrilled by the 25 well signposted walking routes and trails – 197km in total – which pass through some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the island. Depending on your stamina, you can go on walks that last from one to six hours. Follow the routes and discover the pristine interior of the island or fabulous secluded spots with amazing views of the Aegean.
Nature enthusiasts should follow a lovely route through the famous Koukounariés forest and around Lake Strofilia (4.2km). Alternatively, take a leisurely walk round Kanapitsa Peninsula (4.9km). Or try a longer, more spiritual journey via historical Evagelistrias Monastery and the churches of St Harálambos, St Apóstolos and St Dimitrios (7km).
There are day cruises to the other nearby islands such as Skopelos and Alonissos, via a variety of small boats or ferries.
Oh, and did you know that the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos were the setting for the 2008 Hollywood film Mamma Mia!, starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Chris Jarvis, Stellan Skarsgård and Dominic Cooper.
Transport to the island from within Greece is either by regular air service on Olympic Airlines from Athens, or via Flying Dolphins (hydrofoils) from Agios Constantinos, a small port approximately two hours drive from Athens and accessible either by coach from Kanigos Square in the centre of Athens or by taxi from the airport.
The airport of Skiathos island is located 3km from the capital town, on the eastern side of the island. It receives regular internal flights from Athens all year round and the flight time is 30 min.
The Flying Cat trip from Agios Constantinos to Skiathos takes +75 minutes.
We have a trusted taxi operator in Athens, Alexandros, who regularly meets our guests at the airport and takes them directly to the ferry. He can be contacted on telephone +30 6977 318811 or email him on [email protected]r.