Skiathos, The most popular island of the Sporades Island group
Skiathos, the most cosmopolitan island in the Northern Sporades, is truly a paradise on earth, with lush pine forests and crystal-clear azure waters. Despite the rapid growth in tourism here in recent decades, it 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!
Whether you want to hide yourself away from the crowds or dance until you drop – and then wake up and do it all over again –, Skiathos, with its delirious night life, is a real treat for visitors and especially for young people seeking the freedom to ignore conventions and party on to the frenetic beats of their favorite music! The pedestrianized street by the Old Harbour is the ultimate hot-spot for entertainment! Buzzing bars and clubs keep youngsters rocking through the night and until the early morning! The party continues in the area of Ammoudiá (on the road to the airport) where entertainment addicts celebrate in big open air clubs! Colourful cultural events, concerts and art exhibitions held throughout summer add a special touch to holidays on the island!
The capital town of Skiathos, the biggest settlement on the island, is a modern resort with excellent tourist facilities. The town is relatively new. It is generally assumed to have been built around 1829-30 on the same site as an older town. The town’s most important landmark is its natural harbor, which has determined the destiny of the town for centuries. Today it is a popular yacht and sailing boat haven that adds a cosmopolitan flair to 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 sight not to be forgotten. Don’t pass up the chance to 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.
Apart from Bourtzi don’t miss the opportunity to visit the former house and now museum of the famous author Alexandros Papadiamantis (who is commemorated every year with special celebrations on 3-4 January and on the 4th of March) who was born and raised on the island. There is also the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary with its four museums and Kástro (meaning castle), a natural fortress that was used by the inhabitants in the 14th century as a refugee against pirate raids. Today Kástro attracts many visitors thanks to its breathtaking natural beauty. A wide pedestrianised street cutting through the heart of the Old Town, is Papadiamantis is the main commercial street in Skiathos Town. Here you’ll find creperies, gyros, ice-cream, souvenir shops, hats, bars, banks and mini-markets. This street (and the airport too) are named after the island’s most famous son – author Alexandros Papadiamantis who is widely regarded as the father of modern Greek literature. You’ll find his old house just off Papadiamantis Street, it’s now a small museum. Most exhibits are in Greek but if you want to know what a traditional Skiathos house looked like then do look in. Go to Rock n Roll Streps; These steps are a well-known landmark in town. They lead down from the main square to the Old Harbour. The comfortable seating that you see belongs to Rock’n’Roll Bar, which is a popular spot for a happy hour cocktail (as is Jasmine next door).
Between the harbours and the Papadiamantis Street are the most manicured streets of the Old Town – with brightly painted wooden balconies, red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls. Red doors, blue doors, green doors. But the Old Town is quite a maze and the residential area extends much further than that. Google Maps is no use to you here. Put your phone away and get lost. Behind the Old Harbour is Plakes, one of the most historic parts of town where balconied old houses seem to drip off the rocks into the sea. Wrought ironwork and draped bougainvillaea hints at former glories. This is the Skiathos Town of postcards, although it’s a little scruffy in places -especially around the tiny beach (keep going to Megali Ammos if you’re looking for a beach to sunbathe on). The backstreets of Plakes are the most interesting to wander around. Although there are a few guesthouses it’s not touristy in the sense that the harbour is. There are some dilapidated abandoned buildings and stray cats that will stalk you, then you can turn a corner and come across blue woodwork and beautifully tended plants. It’s a fascinating labyrinth and definitely not as manicured as places like Mykonos.
Keep walking around the coast from Plakes and you’ll eventually come to Megali Ammos, the town-beach-suburb bit of Skiathos Town. The beach itself is average (the sand is a bit gritty and a dark gold-grey with some pebbles) and narrow, but it’s a good option for a quick dip and there’s an array of beachside cafes and tavernas, plus some good value accommodation. Megali Ammos is only one or two blocks deep.
Skiathos is truly spoilt when it comes to beaches. It counts over 60 which is amazing for such a small island (it’s just 12km long). And one bonus of being such a small island is that many of the beaches are easy to reach, with a regular bus frequently trundling along the south coast and linking most of Skiathos’ beach resorts. The best sand is found at the south-west end of the island around Koukounaries, as well as in some delightful hidden beaches on the north coast. The island has 60 superb beaches, among which Koukounariés or Golden Sand in the southwestern part of the island stands out. Koukounariés beach is also famous for its lush pine forest- whose needles “touch” the water offering unique natural shade- and Strofiliá, a rare wetland nestling amidst the pine forest, which has been declared a protected area due to its enormous ecological value. Among the accommodation options there is a campsite, popular with young people, at Koukounariés. There are also plenty of tavernas and lively cafes and bars. If you like, you can also rent a boat, play tennis at one of the local hotels’ tennis courts or try out some exhilarating sea activities! 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 frenetic 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 are looking for some peace and seclusion. It is famous for its clear blue waters and its 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.
For trekking lovers
Nature lovers will be thrilled by the 25 197-km long, well signposted walking routes and trails which pass through some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the island. Depending on your stamina, you can go on walks which 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! A suggested route to explore the beauties of the island starts from Asélinos and goes past Kounistra Monastery, Small Asélinos Beach and Alygariés Beach ending at Kehriá Beach. The routes Ayia Eleni to Krifi Ammos and Madraki-Elia-Agkistro for discovering excellent beaches of unique beauty!
• By ferry or high speed ship from the port of Volos or Ayios Konstantinos.
• By ferry from the port of Thessaloniki (only during summertime)
• By air from Athens or Thessaloniki
Book a short break in Skiathos
Click here to see the detailed Skiathos package