Home Destination Guides Accommodation 24th August 2019





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Greece 

 

SKOPELOS

 
 
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GENERAL
  
Skopelos is the largest island in the Sporades group and nestles between the neighbouring islands of Skiathos and Alonissos.  It is an attractive, unspoilt island, rugged in parts with wooded hillsides covered in a mixture of pine, plane, olive, plum and almond trees.  The highest point on the island is at Mount Delphi in the central northern area, which rises to 680 metres.
  
Agriculture plays a major role in the island’s economy and most of the local people are involved with farming.  Skopelos has retained its traditions, culture and tranquillity largely because there is no airport on the island.  Anyone wishing to visit the island must arrive by boat, deterring the mass-market tourist and creating a haven for those looking for a quiet, authentic Greek island.  The beaches on the island are a mixture of sand, shingle and pebbles and because the island has remained unspoilt it has become popular with people who enjoy walking holidays, particularly those interested in wild flowers, birds and butterflies.  There are many interesting walks on Skopelos, varying in length and duration and these can usually be organised locally. Numerous websites exist, dedicated mainly to walking on Skopelos, so there is plenty of information if you want to go-it-alone and equally there are numerous opportunities to join a group. 
 
In the 1930’s hidden treasure was found on Skopelos when a tomb believed to be that of Staphylos, an island ruler in the Minoan era, was excavated.  The tomb was a rare find and contained beautiful gold jewellery and other artefacts.
  
 
SKOPELOS (TOWN)
  
Located in a deep bay, on the north side of the island, is picturesque Skopelos Town, the island’s capital and main port.  In 1965 Skopelos Town was rocked by an earthquake, which damaged some of the buildings. Despite this, Skopelos (N.B. Skopelos Town is usually referred to simply as ‘Skopelos’), has retained most of its traditional whitewashed houses with their unique wooden balconies that overhang the narrow streets below.  Skopelos is renowned for its ‘old quarter’ where a warren of narrow, cobbled paths and staircases climb up to the hilltop ruins of the Venetian Kastro, winding their way between countless small chapels (rumoured to be over 100!) and the local houses.  Because of the unique character of the town, the authorities have put in place strict preservation and building orders, to protect the architectural features of Skopelos.
 
The focal point of the town is the waterfront that runs the length of the harbour.  It is lined with mulberry trees and crammed with an assortment of tavernas, restaurants, cafés and bars, where locals and tourists alike spend their evenings.  The harbour is the main port for the islands ferry and hydrofoil services, with daily services to both Skiathos and Alonissos islands, although being situated on the exposed northern coast disadvantages it.  Bad weather, particularly strong winds, can cause havoc to the ferries and other boat services, and on windy days the boats are diverted to a small quay at Agnontas on the more sheltered southern side of the island.  Normally, free buses are laid on to transport people back to Skopelos when this occurs.  The harbour also plays host to the local fishing boats and a busy marina. In addition, there are excursion boats and beach boats that ferry visitors along the coast to isolated coves and other beaches around the island.  There is a small grey sand and pebble town beach the other side of the ferry quay and most of the tourist accommodation is located in this more modern part of town.
 
The local bus station is situated by the ferry quay and further along the waterfront road there is a taxi rank.   As Skopelos is the capital of the island the amenities are good.  There is a hospital, post office, doctors, chemists, banks and ATM machine, supermarkets, souvenir shops, jewellers and boutiques as well as a good variety of tavernas, restaurants and café bars, mentioned previously.  However there is only one museum in the town, the small Folk Art Museum, which is tucked away in a back street.
  
 
EXPLORING SKOPELOS ISLAND
 
Exploring the island itself is easy.  There is one made-up road which runs from Skopelos across the eastern coast and up along the south side of the island to Glossa, in the far north-west.  Car hire is available but there is a good local bus service that goes all the way to Glossa and back, stopping at all the small coastal hamlets on the way.  Heading southeast from Skopelos, just 4 kilometres away, is Stafilos Bay, and neighbouring Velonio.  These beaches are a sand and shingle mix and they are very popular in the high season due to their crystal clear, warm water and proximity to Skopelos Town.  The road runs on through the fishing village of Agnondas, recommended for its fish tavernas offering freshly caught produce, and then to Limnonari, reputed to be one of the most scenic coves on the island.  You can walk from Agnondas across the headland to Limnonari, but the less energetic may prefer to take a local caique boat from Agnondas, instead.
 
Further along the southern coastal road is Panormos beach, which attracts windsurfers, whilst the next beach at Milia is normally quiet and peaceful.  A short distance away is the small resort of Milia.
  
 
GLOSSA and LOUTRAKI
  
The local buses that travel on to Glossa, the last town on the northwestern tip of the island, pass through the almost deserted village of Klima.  Unfortunately Klima was badly damaged during the 1965 earthquake, forcing many locals to move away, and the village has never really recovered since that time.  Glossa is a lovely, unspoilt town, second only to Skopelos in size, which sits high on a hilltop 3 kilometres above the small port of Loutraki.  Glossa faces west and there is no better end to the day than watching the sun go down over Skopelos from one of Glossa’s tavernas.  From Loutraki port there is a fast hydrofoil service to the neighbouring island of Skiathos, which takes only 20 minutes.  Some services run from Loutraki round to Skopelos town.
  
 
MONASTERIES
     
Inland there are some interesting monasteries that are well worth visiting.  The monasteries of Prodromos and Evangelismou date from the 18th Century and were originally occupied by monks, but are now the preserve of nuns. Moni Evangelismou is renowned for having an icon of the Virgin Mary, which dates from the 11th Century. As these are working monasteries, visitors are asked to dress suitably (no shorts or plunging necklines), and you can usually purchase embroidery and other local handicrafts from the nuns.  You can also visit the uninhabited monastery of Metamorfosi, which dates from the 16th Century, where the dress code is not so strict.
 
 
ISLAND CONNECTIONS
 
Skopelos island has no airport, so package holiday companies usually fly their customers to Skiathos airport, (a 15 minute drive from Skiathos town), and then transfer them to Skopelos by hydrofoil or fast ferry.  Package holidays are available from Greek specialist tour companies.  Flying time from the U.K. to Skiathos is approximately 3 and a half hours, but you may have to a wait for a ferry connection to Skopelos, depending on your arrival time.  See Skiathos Island Connections for more information on Skiathos flights.
 
Of necessity both Skopelos town and Glossa (Loutraki harbour) have good ferry links, with daily services to Skiathos, Alonissos and Volos on the Greek mainland.  On a less frequent basis Skopelos has ferry connections to Thessalonika and Skyros.  It should be remembered that changing schedules and adverse weather conditions can affect all ferries and everything should always be checked locally. 
   
   
  
           
 
The foregoing information was last reviewed in November 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 updates or information that you think should be included here, please mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.
 
 

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