Home Destination Guides Accommodation 24th April 2019





General
Greece 

SKIATHOS
  
  
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GENERAL

 
 
Set in the northern Aegean, Skiathos lies to the east of mainland Greece close to the Pelion coastline and belongs to a group of islands known collectively as the Sporades Islands.  Skiathos is a small, attractive island approximately 8 miles in length and, according to legend, was formed when the Gods threw a pebble, left over from the creation of Mount Olympus, into the sea. In fact Skiathos is renowned for its beautiful, fine, sandy beaches stretching out into crystal clear seas and despite its size, there are reputed to be over 60 beaches strung like a necklace around its coastline.    Inland, aromatic pine trees and the indomitable olive trees cloak the hillsides with natural beauty and the highest peak rises to 438metres.  However, this combination of great beaches and unspoilt scenery has made Skiathos increasingly popular as a tourist destination and during high season it can become very busy, particularly in Skiathos town.
    

SKIATHOS TOWN 

     Like many of the smaller Greek islands, Skiathos has one major town located on a bay and centred on the island’s harbour.  The rest of the island has small resorts clustered along the coastline with a few hamlets further inland.  Skiathos town, built in 1830, has a marked Italian feel with picturesque narrow streets and a mix of whitewashed houses all with distinctive terracotta red roof-tiles.   There is a relaxed cosmopolitan air to this lively town and the amenities are excellent.  In addition to the usual facilities offered in a main town, including banks, supermarket, ATM machine, post office, doctors and chemists you can choose from stylish restaurants and laid back tavernas serving both international cuisine and traditional Greek food or pick up a snack in one of the many cafes or bars. The ‘Seven Steps’ bar is quite unique and laid-back, with cushion seats on the steps leading to the harbour. There is a choice of shopping from chic boutiques, designer jewellery, local handicrafts, ceramics and leather goods.

 
     The focal point of the town is the picturesque harbour that spreads around both sides of the Bourtzi islet.  To one side is the old harbour, where the many tourist excursion boats and ‘beach boats’ depart from and on the other side of the islet are the ferry quay, the hydrofoil berth and the marina. The beach boats deliver ardent sun worshippers to some of the best beaches on the island and there are daily tour boats to the other Sporades islands of Skopelos and Alonissos.  In addition the beach boats visit the neighbouring islet of Tsougria.   Lining the waterfront are shops, bars and cafes where you can sip a drink whilst watching the luxury yachts glide in and out of the marina.  Bourtzi islet itself houses the remains of a Venetian Kastro, which the locals have converted into a summer theatre.
 
    Skiathos town is the birthplace of a famous Greek author called Alexandros Papadiamantis and the main street is named Papadiamantis Street in his honour.  (I read one of his novels, ‘The Murderer’ as part of my Greek language A level exam.  It was beautifully written and gave an insight into the poverty and hardships faced by villagers in the 1900’s, in particular the constraints that the dowry system placed on women.)
 
     The nightlife in Skiathos town is good; the waterfront and ‘club strip’ leading away from the marina comes alive at night with a good choice of venues and there are an assortment of bars and clubs around Papadiamantis Street, attracting young couples and families looking for fun.
 

SOUTH COAST 

      Most of the package holiday hotels are located along the southern coastal road, which is flanked by wooded hillsides and sandy coves. This sandy stretch of coastline has good links with Skiathos town.  There is a regular local bus service and bus stops are frequent. Beach boats run from Skiathos town to most of the resorts and taxis are also available.
 
     The nearest beach to Skiathos town is just over a mile away (1.5 km) at Megali Ammos, which is a good sandy beach, plenty of Scandanavians and good for watersports. A short distance further south is Vassilias, a sandy beach, good for families, with water sports facilities.  South of Vassilias and 4 kilometres from Skiathos town is the small beach resort of Achladias. This is a peaceful place on a sandy bay, with a number of tavernas and a selection of water sports.  If you want a lively night out there is the local bus or boat service into Skiathos town.  Behind Achladias is the small mountain village of Katsarou, which has lovely views over the coastline.  Travelling further along the southern coastal route are the resorts of Tzaneri – watersports plus diving school and tennis, Kolios – good taverna plus ‘trendy’ beach cafe, Vromolimnos – watersports, taverna, ‘young’ clubbers beach bar with appropriate music, Agia Paraskevi and Platanias – watersports and snack bar, Troulos (see below) – best family beach, well frequented by the British, plus the well known Koukounaries (see below) with its long sandy beach, pine trees and watersports. All of these resorts offer a warm, friendly welcome and most are ideal for families and couples looking for peace and relaxation. Don’t forget the bug spray in the evenings! 
                           
     Troulos is probably the busiest resort of them all, after Skiathos town, and even has its own Chinese restaurant!  But it is still laid back and relaxing, with a gently shelving beach and boats that run round the coast to Koukounaries.  For those who enjoy walking, hiking uphill through the olive groves will bring you to a hidden monastery, which is well worth visiting.  
 
     Koukounaries, which takes its name from its pine tree setting, is on the south west coast of Skiathos Island some 13 kilometres from Skiathos town and lays claim to being the best beach in Greece.  Whether that is true or not, is a matter of opinion, but it certainly is an imposing swathe of golden sands that stretch for around 1 kilometre around the Bay of Koukounaries.  The backdrop is equally impressive, with a lagoon - Lake Strofilias, located behind the beach and pine trees and olives scattered between the two.  Such is its reputation that many visitors staying in other resorts will hop onto a beach boat to spend a day in Koukounaries to make up their own minds!  Water sports and sun bathing are the order of the day and for those open to something a bit more risqué, Banana Beach, the unofficial nudist beach of Skiathos, can be found just around the headland from Koukounaries.  You can walk to Banana Beach from Koukounaries, which will take about 20 minutes, or beach boats are available to take you around the headland.
 

THE NORTH AND WEST

    The north, northeast and northwestern coastlines of Skiathos are undeveloped with no tourist resorts.  This is partly because the northern coastlines are windier than the southern areas and also because of their inaccessibility. Beaches on this part of the island are all difficult to access, but include Ag. Eleni – snack bar only, Aselinos – taverna and frequently large waves, Mandraki – long sandy beach, taverna and nudity, Kechria – quiet and secluded with two beaches and snack bars. On the north eastern tip of the island lie the old Kastro fortifications, built in medieval times to protect the island against pirates and once the capital of Skiathos.  Also well worth a visit are the monasteries of Evangelistra, located in the hills behind Skiathos town and renowned for being the first place the Greek flag was flown in the early 1800’s and the Kounistra Monastery, which has fabulous views across the island.

 
     Boat excursions run to the Blue Cave and Lalaria beach in the northeast, a small, pleasant village noted for having the only pebble beach on the island, but also noted for its crystal clear water.
 
    
With beaches to die for, fantastic scenery, peace and relaxation, coupled with a lively nightlife in Skiathos town, it is not hard to understand why this island is such a popular choice for all age groups.
 
 

ISLAND CONNECTIONS 

Skiathos airport is a 15-minute drive (no buses) to the North of Skiathos town.  Package holidays are available from both the major and Greek specialist tour companies.  Charter airlines fly direct from the U.K. to Skiathos during the summer months, usually from April to October, but many companies combine their Skiathos charter flight with another destination such as Lemnos or Thessalonika.  Flying time from the U.K. is approximately 3 and a half hours, longer if there is a stopover at another island, or the mainland. Olympic Airways offer scheduled flights from the U.K. to Skiathos via Athens.  Timings vary depending on how long you need to wait for the connecting flight to Skiathos.  Olympic Airways domestic flights from Athens to Skiathos run all year round, although the flight schedule will be less frequent in the winter months and the flight time is approximately 40 mins. 
 
Skiathos has good frequent ferry links with Volos on the Greek mainland and the neighbouring island of Skopelos with onward connections to Alonissos.  Also, daily ferries to Ag.Constantinos, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Pefki and Trikeri (Pelion). On a less frequent basis Skiathos has ferry connections to Skyros, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Iraklion Crete, but it should be noted that the latter is a circuitous route that can be subject to delays and adverse weather conditions.
 

Things to do on Skiathos:

Not an exhaustive list, but the following are examples of what is available:
 
Culture – Bourtzi, between the old and new harbours of Skiathos town. Cultural centre with theatrical and musical shows during the summer.
 
Motorboat hire and watersports, including sailing dinghies, plus sea taxi service from old port Skiathos town. At Kanapitsa Bay Tel: 24270 21298 email mou@hotmail.com
 
Riding Centre at Koukounaries – beginners and experienced. Tel: 24270 49548    
  
Romantic meal – try Infinity Blue at Kolios near Ag. Paraskevi. Lovely views, friendly staff, good menu and choose your fresh fish of the day. Not cheap, but considered good value overall. Tel: 24270 49750 Email: rigas81@hotmail.com 
 
 
Pedal bike, Scooter, Car and Boat hire, plus Kart racing, Diving and Excursions are all available around Skiathos town.
    
Festival; 26th July, Feast of Agia Paraskevi, with folk dancing & other celebrations
 
 
The foregoing information was last reviewed in July 2006. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have any updates or information that you think should be included here, please do mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.
 
   

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