The Perfect Greek island
Skopelos is one of the most beautiful islands of the Sporades, but also of the entire Aegean sea. It is the second largest island (after Skiathos) in the Northern Sporades and administratively belongs to the Prefecture of Magnesia. Most of the island’s inhabitants live in Skopelos Town.
Skopelos - At a Glance
Skopelos does not belong to the islands of mass tourism and the suffocating crowd, still maintaining its tranquility in its little paradise. Characteristic of the island is the rich vegetation, being characterized as the greenest island of the Aegean Sea.
The island offers a vibrant nightlife with a wide range of choices. Taverns and small bars stretch their tables under the mulberry trees. A central road runs through the island from the south to the northwest. South of the capital, the road leads to Stafylos beach and the picturesque resort of Agnondas. Following the main road you will reach the charming town of Glossa in a hilly landscape with many traditional elements. A little further down is the port of Loutraki, the second port of the island, which is used for ships coming from the neighboring islands.
The intense elements of nature, combined with the blue waters, the excellent food and the lively nightlife, create the ideal holiday destination.
Visit: Skopelos Town (traditional settlement), the traditional village of Palio Klima, the Venetian Castle, the old Episkopi, the Folklore Museum, the Ancient Asklepion, the house of the writer Pavlos Nirvana.
(CHORA OF SKOPELOS)
Explore the narrow cobbled streets and admire its mansions
From the deck of the ship you will be able to see the picturesque white houses of Chora amphitheater that grow on the hill above the harbor.
The town of Skopelos (Chora) is also the capital of the island, built in a bay in the northern part of it. Its accommodation infrastructure is remarkable and meets all requirements. In its taverns, you will taste fresh fish and seafood and many other fine recipes. You should definitely try the famous Skopelian cheese pie, which we will definitely try. There are plenty of opportunities for activities such as Cycling, sea kayaks, diving, trips to the enchanting scenery of the island.
The town (capital) of Skopelos is called Skopelos but to the locals is also known as Chora and it is situated on the edge of a bay on the South-Eastern coast of the island, beneath two hills. It is the capital of Skopelos, its main port, and home to 3,500 of the approximately 5,000 residents living on the island.
The two and three story homes have a panoramic view of the harbor and beautiful balconies showered in colorful bougainvillea and all kinds of blooms decorating small balconies and walls with visible, decorative, wooden frames. Because of the remarkable architecture of these traditional houses, the town of Chora has been declared a preserved settlement by presidential decree.
The writer Paul Nirvana spent his childhood in one of these homes, which is now a museum. Chora is full of churches both big and small and in the neighborhood of “Fragkomahalas”, there are still houses over 500 years old dating from the Byzantine period. The capital of Skopelos is beyond any doubt, one of the most beautiful villages in Greece.
The second largest settlement on the island, as evidenced by archaeological findings, was inhabited by Cretans of the Mycenaean period. Glossa is built on a hill in amphitheatrical fashion and the houses are two-story structures, a style influenced by the “Makedonitiki” (Greek-Macedonian) architecture. Glossa is surrounded by a lush pine forest, plane trees, and almond trees.
It is located 18 km from the town and has 500 residents. Built in 1981, when the inhabitants left the village Klima because of strong earthquakes which had caused landslides. This village is also surrounded by pine trees and the beach of the village is superb.
This is the second largest port of Skopelos which also has a substantial tourist development and a wide variety of entertainment spots.
Today little has changed in spite of all the interfering into its traditional character. It is situated near Glossa, that means on the southwest side of the island that looks towards Skiathos and Evia.
The traditional architecture of Skopelos preserved to this day dates from the second of the 18th century and primarily from the 19th and 20th century. On the basis of its morphological and structural characteristics is distinguished into two basic categories, with the liberation of the island from the Turks as its principal point: The popular and the neoclassical architecture.
The differentiation of the architecture of the Northern Sporades from that of the Southern Aegean Island is due mainly to the climatic conditions of the area, namely the colder climate of the North Aegean and also its vicinity with Pilion and the strong influence which it exercised upon them.
The Macedonian Type
Many buildings of this category have been preserved at Hora (the capital) of Skopelos and a few in the other settlements of the island. They are usually either two-story or even three-story, roofed with wooden four-aisle roofs covered with schist roof slates.
The ground plans of the houses vary and this is due mainly to the relief of the terrain, the existing town plan and the attempt to benefit from the natural recourses such as the sun, the air, etc. They are usually of small dimensions, because of the narrowness of the available constructive space and therefore are built in a vertical axis. On the first level, which is usually semi-basement was the kitchen for cooking and the cellar for the storage of the year’s product. On the first floor were the living spaces, the everyday room used to be, such as the dining room and the bedrooms, was on the last floor, which was usually a unified open space “averto”, was the reception room.
The Neoclassical Architecture
With the liberation of the island and its incorporation to the Greek State in 1829, its architecture follows the course and the evolution of the architecture of the newly established Greek state. Otho’s coronation in 1832 will bring great changes in this sector too, with the adoption of the neoclassicism as the format architectural style of the state. The influence exercised by the capital of a state on the periphery did not take long to become apparent even in Skopelos and neoclassicism to be established on the island following chronologically the tendencies and styles of the time.
In the first years, there appeared some pompous buildings with evident the neoclassical characteristics as well as the elements of the preexisting popular architecture. These buildings belonged to rich merchants and captains, who have traveled a lot were the first to bring the new architectural style on the island. These buildings consist of the transitional stage from the popular to the neoclassical architecture. With the passing of time, the pure neoclassical style will be established in all constructions with all the characteristic morphological elements of this style.
The houses of this period are two-story or even three-story, stone-built and roofed as the ones of the previous period. They have a symmetrical organization both in their ground plan and on the formation of their facades, which are richly adorned with drawn decorative elements such as pilasters with antae capitals epistyles (architraves), friezes, eaves etc. Their entrances are usually framed by marble door frames whereas above them is always the balcony, which rests on a marble stone-relief “furusia” (wooden-beams) and is protected by forged rails.
Neoclassicism and its various relative movements will be maintained on the island until the first decades of the 20th century and will be succeeded by the contemporary architecture or as it was established to be said the “Architecture between the Two Great World Wars”.
The beaches of the island are “drowned” in the green! The coexistence of crystal clear waters and rich vegetation has given Skopelos the title of the “green and blue” island. On its verdant coastline, there are a variety of landscapes. Large rocks, sheltered small bays, sandy and pebble beaches, some with white and others with colorful pebbles.
The most amazing beaches are: Velanio, Stafylos, Agnontas, Limnonari, Panormos, Panormos Linares, Andrines and Milia. Kastani, Hovolos, Klima, Armenopetra of Perivoli, Agentelet of Pethameni, Hondrogioris, Glisteri, Agios Ioannis in Spilia, Agios Konstantinos Vathias, Loutraki.
The most impressive historical monuments on Skopelos are the carved graves in Sentoukia. These are ancient carved graves at the top of Mount Karya. Access is difficult, as it requires walking for at least 20-30 minutes. The view, however, is magical, since you can see Alonissos, Euboea, Skiathos and Pelion.
The Temple of Asklepios
On the south-eastern side of the island in the area of Ambeliki, there are preserved parts of a church dating from the 4th century, buildings, statues and inscriptions are items to be seen there.
The Acropolis and ruins of a Venetian fortress
In the area of the castle, you will see ruins of a Venetian fortress, sections of the walls and parts of ancient Peparethos are preserved to this day. In the area, you will also see surviving remnants of ancient temples of the goddess Athena, the patron protectress of the island and the god Dionysus.
The Archaeological site of Stafylos
At this site, a tomb dating from the Mycenaean period and a sword with a gold handle were unearthed. The archaeological findings of the region show that the island was first inhabited in Mycenaean times.
Folklore Museum in Chora
Museum of the author Paul Nirvana
This was the house he lived in at the time and it still survives today as a museum.
Sendoukia (which means Chests)
Rock-hewn tombs of the Late Roman period situated at the mountain Karya.
The island’s churches and monasteries are too numerous to mention.
We do however suggest you visit the church of the “Zoodohou Pigis” (which means Life-Giving Spring), where the miracle-working icon of Archangel Michael is housed.
Do not miss the “Moni Evangelistrias” (the Monastery of Annunciation), built at a difficult to get to location in the canyon because of the fear of pirates of the time, the “Moni Metamorfoseos tou Sotiros” (Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour) whose founding seems to be placed somewhere between 16th and 17th centuries and the “Moni Timiou Prodromou” (Monastery of St. John the Baptist) which dates from the 17th century.
Holy Monastery of Evangelistria
It is the most important post-Byzantine monuments on the island located on the mountainside of Palouki. Built on the inaccessible side of a gorge, it resembles a fortress. The monastery has a great view of the city.
Folklore Museum of Skopelos
It is the home of the elder Gianni Nikolaidis, built in 1795 and donated to the municipality by his descendants. It is located in the center of Chora and gives you the opportunity to admire the collections of embroidery, handicrafts, local traditional costumes and wood carvings, forged according to the style and tradition of the Skopelians.
Diocese of Skopelos
Two kilometers south of the town of Skopelos lie what remained of the seat of the bishop of the island. The episcopal complex is based on Venetian architecture. At its center there is a small temple from the 16th-17th century, enclosed by an imposing stone-built enclosure. This wall is a part of an old, large-scale building that began to be built during the Venetian occupation, but remained incomplete.
Agios Ioannis church
Built on a cliff rising 100 meters above sea level, the chapel of Agios Ioannis in Kastri is one of the most important sights of the island. To climb up to its top and enjoy its magnificent view, you have to climb its 105 carved steps. Made world-famous by the musical “Mamma Mia”.
The Bay of Panos (named after the ancient god Pan) is located 15 kilometers southwest of Chora, in a landscape dense with pine trees. The area is home to the walls of the ancient acropolis of the island which has been preserved in very good condition. From the Acropolis a path leading to the cave of Panos (Pan), where in ancient times rites were performed to worship the god.
The beach of Panormos is amongst the most beautiful on the island of Skopelos. To get there to see the trees reach the shore, one has to cross a beautiful little fjord. At the entrance of the bay, we find two islands. The largest of the two, Dassia is a small exotic paradise, with golden sand, crystal blue waters and pine trees that reach out to touch the sea.
At Panormos, there are nice accommodations with great views of the bay, and taverns, where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
The Monuments of Skopelos
Skopelos island, Peparithos or Peparithus called in antiquity, was perhaps the most important of the “pre-Magnesia islands”, as Strabo calls the Northern Sporades. [Strabo the “geography” of (IX, 5 6)]. The oldest remains of habitation are dating to the early and middle stage of the Mycenaean period (16th-14th century BC). These buildings and a pit grave in “Stafylos” of Skopelos, containing rich gold offerings, suggesting that belonged to a king or ruler of the time.
Significant visible remains of the island’s three ancient cities survive up today. The brief excavation conducted in 1936 by archaeologist N. Platona showed that most of the tomb was destroyed. The Minoan characteristics of these findings are obvious, while the name of the region “Stafylos” (grape) unchanged for millennia is a strong indication that the ancient tomb belongs to the mythical hero. According to the ancient sources, the Minoan Stafylos, son of Dionysus and Ariadne, colonized Peparithos (Skopelos) at the times of Minoan naval supremacy.
The ancient Peparithos town, was a colony of Halkideon (Halkis or Chalkis of Euboia island), during the Second Greek Colonization (8th century BC). Peparithos was located in the present town of Skopelos, continuously inhabited from ancient times until today.
In classical times the Peparithos acropolis was fortified with a strong wall, a small part of which is preserved in the “Castle”, the highest point in Skopelos Town. Thucydides (History, III, LXXXIX, 4) states that during an earthquake (426 BC) created tidal waves and destroyed part of the city wall, the Prytaneum, and a few houses.
Among the important temples of the Peparithos town is the “Asklepion”, on the south side of the bay of Skopelos town in “Livadi – Ambeliki” which was identified thanks to the discovery of an inscribed on votive offering, dedicated to God Asclepius.
The excavations herein have revealed a gallery of the classic year with extremely elaborate masonry surrounding the shrine of three or maybe four sides. Found several marble votive offerings, such as a statue of a boy’s torso, a statue head of a girl and a column with an embossed representation of human figures.
The Imeros of Asclepius were probably also worshiped Apollo and Artemis, would certainly be favored a place of worship, and recreational therapy for patients, sailors, and travelers.
Skopelos is also called the “Mamma Mia” island as it inspired the Hollywood producers to shoot most of this famous film. The “Agios Ioannis at Kastri” little chapel hosted the reputable Wedding scene. The impressive rock is linked to the island through a narrow path with 110 steps carved into the stone.
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.
The passage to the most cosmopolitan island of the Sporades takes less than an hour. Choose a dolphin or a catamaran, on one of the many routes that take place daily to get to know Alexandros Papadiamantis’ birthplace.
If you like Skopelos, then you will fall in love with its little… neighbor. The beautiful beaches and the picturesque Chora will delight you.
Atmospheric bars, beer-shops, live music, fast-paced and bustling clubs are everywhere and waiting for you!
Local Products & Gastronomy of Skopelos
Something that will not disappoint you on the island, is the food. The town of Skopelos hides in itself many nice taverns that serve fresh fish and the famous Skopelian pie, which you will find in many variations and with different kinds of filling. But if you want to combine your food with a walk across Chora, the ideal place is the picturesque harbor of Agnontas, where you will find amazing fish and impressive lobsters that will surely remain unforgettable.
Prunus is the scientific name of the plum. Plum was cultivated for the first time in Western Asia. Alexander the Great brought plums in the Mediterranean and Gaius Pompeius introduced them into Rome’s gardens. Skopelos plums come in at least three varieties: avgato, a dessert plum, sour (used in cooking and for marmalade), and Agen, the famously healthy French variety which was smuggled on Skopelos inside a potato. You will find them in island meat dishes, in desserts, dried like prunes and, if you are really lucky, a liqueur.
After 1910 most islanders turned to agriculture, crafts, and tourism in recent years. For residents, except for work, fishing is a pleasant pastime. It should, however, be noted that the area of Northern Sporades is an excellent fishing area and many locals even visitors enjoy amateur fishing. Big saddled sea breams, annular sea bream, mullets, salemas are some of the fish types you can fish in the waters of Skopelos.
Olives and olive oil
Islanders are similarly proud of their olives and olive oil. Housewives on Skopelos invented many recipes in order to preserve them (“green olives with fennel”, “pickled olives”, “olives preserved in vinegar”) and enjoy them with every meal since they are a basic element of the skopelitian nutrition. The islanders use olive oil in most of their recipes and they fry in olive oil the famous skopelitian cheese pie. In the past, there were about five or six traditional olive factories in Skopelos town and most of them were shut down twenty years ago. Nowadays, one could visit the last two olive factories still working, one in Skopelos town and the other in Glossa.
Bread and jam
Although the wheat has never been basic cultivation on the island, and the last mill at Palio Klima closed a few years ago, in Skopelos many traditional pieces of bread are kneaded that can only be compared to those of Lefkada. In Skopelos town only, there are six bakeries which produce bread leavened with yeast, baked in traditional furnaces, pies with cheese, pies with vegetables and sweets, such as rozedes and chamalia (traditional wedding sweets, based on almond ) and more.
Skopelitian housewives and cooperatives have turned the maintenance of fruits and the preparing of jams from local fruits into art. The hallmark of the island, the Plum, after procession gives wonderful jams. The same delightful are the jams from various fruits and nuts (lemon, orange, fig, almond, walnut, etc.)
Skopelos from antiquity was famous for its exceptional wines. In Stafilos, Agnondas, Panormos there are identified extensive lab facilities for the construction of local amphorae for wine trade of the famous peparithos wine during Classical and Hellenistic times. Despite the destruction of vineyards from the epidemic of phylloxera in the 1940s, viticulture and wine production shows signs of recovery, as more and more locals grow their own vines and make their own wine.
The local goat cheese, the well-known feta, is the basic ingredient of Skopelos cheese pie, the dish that is the hallmark of the island. The cheeses of Skopelos are prepared with goat milk from the famous Skopelos goat whose origin probably resulted from the intersection with the wild goat that lives on the island of Yioura, near Alonnisos.
Beekeeping is in great development on Skopelos, despite the decline in the bee population. The colonies came to the island along with the early settlers and since then the honey is a key ingredient of the cuisine but also the economy of the place.
The local beekeepers produce their own honey of exceptional quality and taste.
Beekeepers put their hives at various points of the pine forest, or near specific kinds of vegetation. The Chalepios pine and the biodiversity of the island clean environment and other factors create all the necessary conditions for the honey production. Honey is ideal for breakfast with local plums and goat yogurt.
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.
The Island is a small paradise, where the mountains and the sea, embrace in harmony to create a riot of colors. It is therefore suggested to:
Explore the stunning Skopelos island coastline by sea kayak.
Visit the National Marine Park of the Sporades hosting the Mediterranean Seal Monachus Monachus and many other rare species of flora and fauna.
-go fishing and snorkeling.
-visit inaccessible beaches and small islands by boat.
-take day trips to Skiathos and Alonissos.
-take long nature walks.
-go bird watching.
-go mountain biking, with equipment that can be supplied by the island’s clubs.
If you are on the island in the last ten days of August definitely watch the cultural events that culminate in the celebration of the plum.
Fishing for supper
The keen early morning bargaining around the kaikia along the guays proves that the fishing fleets of Skopelos are still a going concern. Restaurants and even individual households buy direct from the boat, as do some visitors.
Biking, bird watching, exploring, walking
An increasing number of visitors are exploring the wonders of Skopelos beyond its beaches and harbor cafes. The expanding network of vehicle-free kalderimi stone paths is taking them deep into its primeval forests, and up into its spectacular mountain fastnesses, to hike or just picnic, bird watching, plant-spotting or simply marveling at the views (the cooling natural – and drinkable – spring at Ayia Anna is just one of the island’s many poorly kept secrets). While it is not recommended in the heart of midday or high summer, the best way to explore the island is off-road, by foot, bike or mountain bike, at the speed nature intended.
How to travel to Skopelos
Skopelos, 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. Skopelos has two main ports, the main port of Skopelos and the Glossa used in bad weather. In addition, Skopelos is linked to Kymi, Skiathos, Alonissos and Skyros.
There are regular ferry services all year round from Volos and Agios Konstantinos.
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.
For those who live in foreign countries ask for charter flights to Skiathos. Then it’s just a short hop (approximately 30 minutes) via ferry to Skopelos.
Once you are in Athens you can fly direct to Skiathos and then take a ferry to Skopelos (approximately 50 – 60 minutes). You will need to take a taxi from the airport to the Port in Skiathos town. The ferry ticket office is opposite the Port and easy to find.
Otherwise, you can go by bus from Athens to Agios Konstantinos and then take a ferry to Skopelos via Skiathos (around 5 hours for the combined bus and ferry).
There are also ferries from Volos to Skopelos. If you are in Athens you will need to take a bus or train to Volos. KTEL buses (express ) leave on a regular basis from Liossion bus station in Athens and will drop you relatively near the port in Volos. Although Volos is slightly further from Athens than Agios Konstantinos the ferry service operates outside the high season so you may need to look at this port if you are coming in May or September.
If you are already in Europe you can fly into Athens or you can fly directly to Skiathos on a charter flight from many European locations (UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden etc.) and then take the ferry boat or flying cat from Skiathos to Skopelos.
Fly to the nearby Skiathos island (JSI).
The port of Skiathos lies 7 miles from Skopelos’s northern port of Loutraki (Glossa on the Ferry Time tables). Travel time 30 min. by Conventional Boat and 15 min. by Speed Boat.
Also, the port of Skiathos lies 20 miles from the port of Skopelos Town (also called Chora). Travel time 95 min. by Conventional Boat and 50 min. by Speed Boat. Ferry Boats and Speed Boats connect the two islands all day long.
Additionally, there are Water Taxies connecting the 2 islands until midnight.
By plane to Anchialos airport of Volos Town
Fly to Anchialos airport of Volos Town airport (VOL).
The town of Volos lies 60nmi from Skopelos. There are Speed Boats and Conventional Ferry Boats connecting the two points.
By car or Bus to Ferry Boat or Speed Boat points
Athens to Agios Konstantinos port (St. Constantine), 167 km.
Athens to Volos port, 325 km
Athens to Kymi port, 158 km
Thessaloniki to Volos port, 208 km.
By Ferry Boat or Speed Boat (Hydrofoils or Catamarans)
The boat travel to Skopelos Island is some kind of a small cruise. The largest part of the journey is along the coasts of continental Greece, Euboea and the Northern Sporades islands. Magnificent coastlines and unique sceneries are unfolding before your eyes.
Volos to Skopelos 60 miles. Duration of the trip from 2.30 to 4.15 hours, depending on the type of boat.
Agios Konstantinos (St. Constantine) to Skopelos 61 miles. Duration of the trip from 2.15 to 4.05 hours, depending on the type of boat.
Kymi to Skopelos 40 miles. Duration of trip 2.45 hours. Only conventional boats.
Skyros island to Skopelos.
Skyros has an international airport (SKU)
Thessaloniki to Skopelos 120 miles. Duration of trip 5.30 hours. Only conventional boats.
By Helicopter to Skopelos
Skopelos hosts a heliport at a distance of 4,5 km from the Chora Skopelos, operating round the clock. Our reservations department is capable of making all kind of helicopter chartering and arrangements.
The island has a reliable bus service that runs on a regular basis along the coast road between Skopelos town and Glossa/ Loutraki at the other end of the island. The bus stops at most of the serviced beaches however we would highly recommend that you consider renting a car or motor bike so you can explore the dramatic interior of the island at your leisure.
By Bus – Skopelos is well served by public bus. Buses run the four main routes every half-hour in the high season beginning in Skopelos and making stops at Stafilos, Agnondas, Panormos, the Adrina Beach Hotel, Milia, Elios, Klima, Glossa, and Loutraki. A Trip from Skopelos to Glossa costs 3€.
By Car & Moped — Rent a car or moped at one of the many shops on the port. A car should cost around 50-60€, including insurance. A moped should cost about 20-25€ per day.
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. Excursion boats to Gliphoneri, Glisteri, and Sares beaches operate only in peak season (about 20€).
Police (Skopelos Police Station): 24240-22235, Port Authority: 24240-22180, Skopelos Health Center: 24240-2222, Neo Kifisia Regional Office: 24240-33000, Pharmacies: Country: 24240-37003, Peripheral: 24240-37003