A small paradise
The lush island of Sporades is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and is a timeless destination for a cosmopolitan holiday with great beach life and nightlife.
Skiathos - At a Glance
Natural beauties, scenic landscapes, a combination of turquoise sea, religious and historical monuments, appropriate tourist infrastructure and intense nightlife. It is the closest island to the mainland located near the southern coasts of Pelion, Volos and Euboea island. The island is full of dense pine forests and olive groves that reach its shores. Two small lakes, the one of Agios Georgios in Chora and Strofylia in Koukounaries are important wetlands with countless species of endemic and migratory birds.
Those who want to explore the wilderness of the island have the opportunity to follow the 25 hiking trails, 197 km in length. These are cleaned paths, with sufficient markings and varying degrees of difficulty.
Did you know
The name of the island comes from the Greek word “shadow” because of the many trees, or that the island is under the shadow of Athos (mountain of Chalkidiki).
Bourtzi, the Venetian fortress, dominates a small peninsula that separates the commercial from its old harbor. There are many churches, monasteries and chapels Scattered on the island. Many churches are located within the Castle of Skiathos, most notably the Monastery of the Annunciation. In the city of Skiathos, the Metropolitan Church of the Three Hierarchs, the patron saint of Skiathos, keeps the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary of Eikostrias and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, where the icon of Panagia Odigitria is kept. You can also visit the uninhabited island of Tsougria, with beautiful beaches and exotic color and the wetland of Lake Strofilia.
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Explore the narrow cobbled streets and admire its mansions
Despite its large size, the island has only one settlement, the town of Skiathos.
Skiathos town is built amphitheatrically from the beach to the surrounding hills. In the central pedestrian street, you will find dozens of shops with souvenirs, gifts, commercials, small taverns and cafes. The most beautiful part of the settlement is the old town, at the western end and over the old harbor, with the narrow cobbled paths.
Skiathos Town was founded just after the liberation from Turkey in 1829. The town is built around two churches, each of them situated on a natural hill. Today there are 3000 inhabitants in the town. It is also the capital of the Sporades Islands.
In many ways, Skiathos Town is much more modern than many of the towns further south in the Cyclades. For one, here many streets are so broad that cars can use them. But happily, there are also narrow and steep alleys and streets completely without cars. In particular, the parts of town facing toward the ferry harbor have these.
Skiathos Town actually has such a rarity as a quite broad main street safe for driving. Here it is always a jolly mixture of people and motor vehicles. Though the police try to limit the use of motorized traffic in the evenings, all the motorbikes and mopeds still driving here are quite annoying. One really has to watch the children. If you are able to ignore the traffic, the main street has a lot to offer. You will find restaurants, bars, tavernas, souvenir shops, supermarkets, and many other small shops nicely mingled.
Down at the harbour, there are even more to see. Here the outdoor cafes and restaurants lie along the whole harbor in a line. If possible, you may find it is even more loaded with tourists than the main street, as they are strolling up and down and enjoying their holiday. The best way to enjoy is to sit down and order good food and a drink just to relax and look at all that is passing by. Major parts of the harbor are fortunately free from motorized vehicles. Along one part of the harbour, there are rebuilt fishing boats being used to take tourists out to the several beaches and sights around the island. In the morning there is a swarm of people with a fierce struggle among the touting crew of each boat.
Skiathos Town has a very comprehensive offering for those who are after plenty of parties and fun, with a good atmosphere. But the town is also suitable for people who like it more quite. Most of the accommodation facilities are outside the town itself.
There is no beach in the town itself. Actually, there is a small beach just west of the town, but we recommend taking one of the small boats from the harbor to one of the many great beaches around the island. There is practically a boat service to any beach on the island. Another possibility is to take the bus going the main road along the southern part of the island and jump off at one of the many beaches along this route. The buses go all the way to the parking grounds at Koukounaries and Banana Beach. A popular tour is a boat trip all around the island. Then, as a rule, both Lalária and Kastró are included.
The famous Koukounaries beach, with the golden sand, is considered one of the most beautiful in Greece. Koukounaries is the fabulous pine grove after which the region is named.
It fringes a long stretch of golden sand for 1.000 metres, and most of its 30 metre width is shaded by pines and shrubs. There are hotels, restaurants and refreshment stalls. You can get there by bus from the town (12 kms), or by motor launch. Behind the grove there is a lovely lagoon, wheat fields and olive groves. From Koukounaries you can walk to the beach of Agia Eleni. which faces the southern shores of Mt Pelion. It is splendidly isolated and offers good fishing.
Also from Koukounaries, it takes 40 min. on foot to reach a quite unspoilt strip of coast, Mandraki. also known as the port of Beaches and Places of interest.
Kanapitsa is a small peninsula slihtely higher in elevetion than other sea front resorts. Glorions and breathtaking scenes can be viewed over the beach and the neighbouring islands. The beach took its name from the peninsula. It has all the necessites available and disires for a perfect holiday, Tavernas, Ski school, umbrellas and easy access to the beautyful track that circle the peninsula.
Also famous is the Lalaria Beach, pebbled and the special rock with the arch, a natural sculpture, a trademark of the beach. Other beaches are: Xanemos, Megali Ammos, Achladies, Vromolimnos, Agia Paraskevi, Great and Small Aselinos. Also Banana, Mandraki, Xerxes Harbor, Kechria, Castle, Troulos and the beach of Tsougria Island.
The only way to get to this beach is by boat. But there is a wide range of boat trips. It is a great competition between the boat owners from Skiathos Harbour. They all want to carry as many passengers as possible to Lalaria. The beach is almost at the north end of the Island.
Many people have seen photos of this beach without realizing that they are taken at Lalaria. The beach is a very popular motive for photographers. The reason is very simple. The beach has a number of rocks sticking out into the sea at the south end. There is a big hole in the rocks. The hole is partly beneath the surface of the water and is big enough for the boats to pass through. An incredible lot of photos are taken of it every day during the tourist season.
It is also very popular to swim through this hole. Not many people know that there is in fact another hole next to it. But this is beneath the surface of the water, just outside the one you can see. For a reasonably good underwater swimmer, it is no problem to swim through this hole as well.
Lalaria is a pebbled beach and it is not easy to walk without shoes. The stones are slippery and round and in a light grey color with many nice shades. We would not deny that we have a few stones taken from here in our goldfish bowl at home.
Alexander Papadiamantis House
The house where Alexander Papadiamantis grew up and died has now become a museum. It is located in the pedestrian Papadiamantis street. Visitors can see personal objects of the great Greek writer as well as some of his manuscripts.
Kastro castle - Ancient walled town
The remnants of the first settlement of the island are located at the northernmost point of Skiathos. Kastro was the biggest medieval town from the twelfth century till 1830. Today, some churches, a section of the wall with the gate and ruins of buildings are preserved, while efforts are being made to rebuild some houses and churches.
The Kastro or ancient walled town, lies two hours to the north of the town on foot.
Accessible by motor boat as well. In the 16th century, the whole population moved to the impregnable rock which rises to the northeast of the town of Skiathos and built their Kastro.
It stands on a rock projecting into the sea and overlooking a wild and jagged coast.
A drawbridge was its only link with the rest of the island in the old days, but today it can be approached by climbing up some steps.
Its walls once enclosed 300 houses and 22 churches.
None of the houses remain, and of the two churches the Church of Christ is worth a visit for its icons and carved wooden screen.
The view from the peak of the cliff is fantastic. One can look over to the mainland and see the north end of Skopelos. One can also look down at the pebbled beach just down from the town. This is where the boats come in. The boat owners just drive their boats up on the beach and put down a narrow gangway at the beach itself. Here is also a small taverna. The walk up to the town is great even if one gets quite warm and sweaty because the road is rather steep. Bring good shoes. Also, take a look at the little church in town.
A small pine-covered peninsula, transformed into a place of recreation and entertainment. Here is a municipal cafe, while during the summer there are cultural events.
Church of the Three Hierarchs
It is a royal three-aisled church, built in 1846, located in the center of the city and it houses holy relics and the icon of Panagia Kounistra which was found in 1650 and is the protector of the island.
One of the most exciting experiences in Skiathos is the boat trips. You can go to the exotic Lalaria and to the Kastro beach to the north of the island (from where you can walk up to Kastro) or visit the uninhabited Tsougria islands – with three beautiful beaches, a fish tavern and the church of Ag. Floros and Arkos with its unique beach.
Skopelos, however, over its spectacular beaches, is also an ideal place for excursions.
Sporades Marine Park
It is the largest marine park in the Mediterranean. It stretches north of Alonissos and hosts the Monachus monachus (Mediterranean Monk Seal), as well as other rare species of flora and fauna. Several boats do one-day excursions to the park’s accessible areas.
If you like Skopelos, then you will fall in love with its little… neighbor. The beautiful beaches and the picturesque Chora will delight you.
Food and Nightlife
Skiathos does not have its own local specialties, but the visitor has an infinite choice of tastes and restaurants, ranging from classical Greek skewer to restaurants that offer French, English, Spanish and Italian cuisine. Fresh fish and seafood are offered in plenty to all the island’s taverns, most of which are concentrated in the town of Skiathos. If you want to enjoy a meal overlooking the Aegean Sea, you will find many good taverns in Koukounaries, Kanapitsa, Agia Paraskevi, Megali Ammos and Skiathos port. Do not miss out on the delicious spoon sweets made on the island and especially the “white”, sweet of the spoon made with almonds.
Atmospheric bars, beer-shops, live music, fast-paced and bustling clubs are everywhere and waiting for you!
The island is ideal for cycling, exploration, strolls on impressive paths, bird watching, fishing, but also a variety of marine activities that will surely keep your days full.
• Horse Riding: at the “Skiathos Riding Center”, Nikos Drakos, tel .: 24270-49548, 6994 555553. Site: www.skiathos-horse-riding.gr
• Athletic riding: at the Sporades Horse Club, tel .: 6936 517360 (Mr. Michalis Spanodimos).
• Trekking in forest paths: Victoria Sands (guided tours and walks): tel .: 6976 789570. Group of Skiers of Skiathos (Skiathos). Useful information in the book “Discover Skiathos by walking”.
• Diving: Skiathos Diving Center: tel .: 6977 081444, 6979 580041 (Mr. Panagiotis Dioletta). Site: www.skiathosdiving.gr
• Bike: Skiathos Mountain Bikes: tel .: 6989 403985 (Christos). Site: www.skiathosmountainbikes.com and www.skiathosmtb.com
• Tour of the island with the ship “Kalypso”: Lambros Choumas: 6978 094966.
Koukounaries, Koukounaries Magnesia Skiathos, Tel: 24270 49250
Aroniadika, Kithira, Milopotamos, Kastrisianika, Kato Xora Airports: Yes
How to get there
By plane from Athens to Skiathos there are scheduled flights every day.
Also by plane from Thessaloniki to Skiathos there are scheduled flights from March through September.
Skiathos, like the rest of the Northern Sporades, is connected by ferries to Volos and Agios Konstantinos with conventional and high-speed vessels, as well as flying dolphins of ANES, Aegean Flying Dolphins and Hellenic Seaways.
From Volos to Skiathos (distance:36 nautical miles, duration:3,30′) there are scheduled ferries every day.
In the summer there is a ferry connection with Thessaloniki as well as with Kymi in Euboea. Finally, if you arrive in August, try to book your tickets as early as possible.
• by speedboat or conventional ship from the ports of Agios Konstantinos (Mainland Greece) and Volos
• a conventional ship from the port of Thessaloniki during the summer season
For those who live in foreign countries ask for charter flights to Skiathos.
By Bus – Skiathos is well served by public bus.
By Car & Moped –Car rental offices in Skiathos can be found in the port of the island, Chora and Skiathos airport. Parking spaces are available everywhere on the island, although many hotels offer private parking to their occupants. The roads are in good condition, although there are signs that are relatively narrow and require special attention
By Taxi – The taxi stand is at the end of the waterfront.
By Boat – To visit the more isolated beaches, take one of the excursion boats.
Port Authority: 24270-22017, Airport: 24270-22049 Customs: 24270-22510, Flying Dolphins: 24270-22209, Ferry Boat: 24270 22204, Police: 24270-21111, Health Center: 24270-22222, Pharmacies: 24270-29898, 24270 -21230, 24270-22666, 24270-24090. Taxi Station: 24270 24461, Tourist Police: 24270 23172