Skiathos lies on the western edge of the northern Sporadic Islands, and is the most cosmopolitan. It is composed of mountainous inland areas, beautiful pine forests and glorious sandy beaches. Forays inland uncover stunning scenery and many fine untouched examples of the island's history. The island is developed but privacy can be found. It has excellent facilities for young groups and families, and there is good nightlife on offer for those who are looking to dance until dawn. If you are looking for peace and quiet, then it's best to come out of season in the spring or autumn.
In ancient Greece, Skiathos played a part in the Perisan Wars, There are numerous walks for those interested in the history of the island. The Evangelistria Monastery is about one hour’s walk from Skiathos Town. This was founded in the 18th Century and is exceptionally beautiful, situated in grand isolation. The Greek flag was proudly raised here by the heroes of the War of Independence in 1807. Beyond Evanglistria is another lovely monastery, Agios Kharalambos. The old capital of Kastro is a beautiful and spectacular sight, situated on a windswept headland. The village was built in the 16th century as a haven from the ubiquitous marauding Ottoman pirates, but was abandoned in 1830 after independence was achieved and the modern town of Skiathos was built. Only three churches remain intact and the ruins are overgrown but it is a very atmospheric trip.
There are good restaurants in Skiathos town, suitable for all budgets and tastes. The town offers a vibrant nightlife, especially in the peak months, and there are many lively clubs and bars. If you are interested in walking and exploring the quieter beauty of Skiathos it is possible to find a guide to take you on the best routes. A boat trip around the island is a really good way to get your bearings. The Sporades are superb for sailing and chartering a yacht to some of the other islands for a day, or even longer, is very popular.
It is said that Skiathos has the best beaches in the Sporades, if not in the whole of Greece! There are over sixty beaches, and many have water sports facilities, although the best beaches can get quite crowded. Koukounaries is reputed to be the best beach on the island, and for the adventurous there is the trendy naturist beach, Banana Beach. The beaches of Paraskevi and Vromolimnos on the Kalamaki Peninsula are also recommended. There is a dive centre for scuba enthusiasts. The north of the island has the quietest beaches, as none are accessible by car; there is a kaiki service to these beaches. The most spectacular of these is Lalaria Beach which is covered with smooth white stones and backed by steep cliffs. For those in search of the most peaceful beaches, a boat can be hired to take you over to the islet of Tsougria.
Skiathos is easy to reach by charter flight direct from the UK. Alternatively fly to Athens and take an internal flight to the island. Another option is to take the coach from Athens to the port of Agios Konstantinos. There is a scenic trip by hydrofoil or ferry to Skiathos, and this journey takes about 2.5 hours.
© Y. Skoulas