Skiathos

It’s barely ten miles from the northern tip of Skiathos to the southern tip, but for a small island Skiathos is certainly not short of charm. There are no fewer than 60 beaches across the island (most are sandy), so whether you prefer a hideaway beach in a secluded cove or a one where watersports are available, there’s almost certainly a beach for you. The interior of the Skiathos is lush with pine forests and olive groves, and while it may not have the huge variety of walking trails found on other islands, there are still plenty of old mountain trails to explore, and with a good bus service it’s always possible to plan a hike out to a scenic lunch spot and catch a bus back to base.

Skiathos is the most accessible of the Sporades islands, with barely two miles separating it from the Magnesia Peninsula on the mainland. Thanks to its airport it also serves as a gateway for visitors heading to Skopelos, Alonnisos and the outer Sporades islands. Such is the lack of level terrain on Skiathos, the construction of the island’s airport in the 1960s involved reclaiming land between the main island and the tiny island of Lazareta, a former leper colony. The runway is relatively short and planes pass very low over the coastal road, a phenomenon which has inevitably become something of a tourist attraction.

Life on the island centres around Skiathos Town, located almost at the southern tip of the airport runway. Whitewashed houses stretch up from the pretty harbour, with their red roofs contrasting against the surrounding lush greenery. Visitors and local congregate on the waterfront in the evenings, and there’s a selection of simple tavernas, seafood restaurants and even the odd night club. Sights in the town include Bourtzi, a tiny peninsula connected to the harbour by a pedestrian road. On Bourtzi there’s the ruin of a 13th-century fortress, as well as a theatre which hosts concerts, plays and children’s puppet shows. A monument on Bourtzi celebrates the famous 19th-century writer Alexandros Papadiamantis, and his simple house in the town is now a museum.

Away from the town one of the most fascinating landmarks on Skiathos is the ruined remains of the castle. The stone building on the northern tip of the island was built as a defence post against marauding pirates, while in more recent times it provided shelter and an Allied escape route during the Second World War. As with all islands there are many churches and monasteries to explore, the  most remarkable one on Skiathos being the Evangelistra monastery, tucked away in the northern mountains and with fabulous views around. It remains an active monastery, and as well as a small ethnographic museum it’s also known for its large and typically curious feline population.

See our Skiathos Villas pages for more details about Skiathos and the accommodation available on the island.