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Skopelos: The Island of Mamma Mia movie, Greece

With around 70km of coastline, Skopelos is a natural paradise with crystal-clear turquoise waters, lush pine forests, and a rich history dating back to ancient times.

It’s no surprise that Skopelos was chosen as the backdrop for the movie Mamma Mia!, which features Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.

How to get to Skopelos Island?

I was so blown away by the stunning scenery in that movie that I just had to see it for myself! Also, Skopelos Island is less developed compared to popular Greek destinations like Santorini or Mykonos, maintaining its traditional charm and natural beauty. So, I decided to take a trip to Skopelos and experience it firsthand.

It was June, and we arrived in Skopelos with high hopes for a week of sun-soaked beach days, followed by a relaxing three days in Skiathos (read more here). However, Mother Nature had other plans. Instead of clear skies and gentle breezes, we were met with persistent clouds and a few windy days, throwing a curveball into our plans.

Despite the unexpected weather, we adapted our itinerary, immersing ourselves in the island’s rich culture, exploring charming villages, and savouring delicious local cuisine. 

Skopelos Town (Chora) serves as the main hub with tourist amenities, while coastal villages offer a quieter, more authentic experience, hence why we decided to stayed at the Adrina Hotel in Panormos on the west coast, known for its beautiful beaches and fantastic sunset. 

This choice gave us a comfortable base for our adventures, offering easy access to these beaches and the island’s attractions. With a rented car, exploring the island was straightforward and convenient.

Skopelos Town
Skopelos Town

What is the traditional Skopelos cuisine?

Some high-quality products of Skopelos include virgin olive oil, excellent wine that has been famous since ancient times, golden honey, and juicy or dried plums.

The island’s specialities are the local cheese pie and the tasteful blackfish casserole with onions (stifado). While fish is not the cuisine’s focus, seafood such as octopus and shellfish are featured prominently.

Here are some of the local dishes:

  • Astakos Giouvetsi: lobster baked with orzo pasta
  • Gemistoi Achinoi: stuffed sea urchins
  • Damaskina-Domata: codfish with potatoes, plums and tomatoes
  • Kavouria me Manestra: crab with orzo pasta casserole

The traditional deserts of Skopelos are the famous avgato (a sweet made with eggs), the hamalia (sweet with nuts) and a combination of almonds, nuts and rose water called rozedes.

Tip: A good option for those wanting to sample the traditional foods of Greece is to order Mezedes, the Greek equivalent of Spanish tapas, which consists of a selection of bite-sized fish, meat, and vegetable dishes.

THE VILLAGES

The villages in Skopelos are magnificent due to the abundance of pine trees that create an enchanting landscape. Most of the villages are nestled on a hillside with superb views.

This quaint town, also known as Chora, is the island’s capital. It boasts traditional architecture, narrow streets, and a lively nightlife. I adored its charm and character!

Against the backdrop of the town’s picturesque streets and scenic waterfront, several scenes in the movie were filmed here, including the “Dancing Queen” number.

The town comes alive in the evening with shops offering clothing, jewellery, and souvenirs. Take your time to browse the boutiques, where you’ll find various items, including handmade crafts, local products, and traditional Greek gifts to bring back home with you.

Skopelos Town Alleys

It is also lovely to relax on the picturesque waterfront promenade, stroll along the harbour, drink at a waterfront tavern, and soak in the charming atmosphere.

Here’s a great tip: go to Panagitsa Tower (Church of the Virgin Mary) and walk from behind it to the old town centre. It’s lovely to walk between the houses and through the narrow, cobblestone streets. You’ll find whitewashed houses with colourful shutters, charming squares, and traditional Greek architecture.

Church of the Virgin Mary, Skopelos

Visit the Venetian Castle (Kastro) of Skopelos for panoramic views of Skopelos Town and the sea. To reach the Castle, walk up the steps next to Panayitsa of Pyrgos Church, located on the edge of the old port of Skopelos.

Explore Skopelos Town’s beautiful churches and monasteries, such as the impressive Agios Athanasios Church and the Monastery of Evangelistria. These religious sites feature stunning architecture and artwork. Take some time to admire their beauty.

Visit the Folklore Museum: learn about Skopelos’ rich cultural heritage at the Folklore Museum, which showcases traditional costumes, household items, and artefacts from the island’s past.

Skopelos Town Promenade
Skopelos Town Promenade

While Skopelos Town doesn’t have beaches, several beautiful beaches are within easy reach. Take a short drive or hike to Stafilos Beach and Velanio Beach, 4-5 kilometres away, and Agnondas Beach, 8-9 kilometres away, to enjoy crystal-clear waters and golden sands.

Where to eat in Skopelos Town?

Azan: our favourite spot in town. It is a tiny café in a charming alley surrounded by excellent shops. It is known for its delicious cakes and friendly owners, who offer fantastic food.

The Muses: Located by the sea, it specialises in seafood and offers Mediterranean and Greek cuisine.

Anatolis: Offers good food with amazing views, accessible via 200-step staircases or by car from the back for a more accessible approach.

Finikas Restaurant: Highly recommended by locals, although it was closed during our visit and known for serving Mediterranean, Greek, and European cuisine.

Located on the northern part of the island, the town boasts breathtaking sea vistas. One of the best things to do there is to relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this charming village.

It was lovely to stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, admire the whitewashed houses adorned with colourful flowers, and visit the local shops selling handmade crafts, souvenirs, and regional products. Or explore the folklore museums to delve into the island’s traditions.

Glossa, Skopelos Island

While Glossa is not located directly on the coast (it is at the top of a hill), several beautiful beaches are within a short drive or boat ride. Some popular options include Milia Beach, Kastani Beach (also featured in “Mamma Mia!”), and Panormos Beach.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for adventure, with hiking and biking trails winding through Glossa’s scenic landscapes of olive groves and pine forests.

Although the Loutraki Harbour is not in Glossa, it is situated near it, which is why people usually call the stops Glossa. Just remember that reaching Glossa from the harbour is about 15-20 minutes by car or around 1.5 to 2 hours walking, depending on your pace.

Views of Glossa, Skopelos
Views of Glossa

Where to eat in Glossa?

Agnati is highly recommended in the area, but it is advisable to make a reservation in advance. Unfortunately, when we visited Glossa in the morning, it was closed. They specialise in seafood, Mediterranean, and Greek cuisine and offer options suitable for vegetarians.

Koupa Cafe Bistrot: a great place to enjoy your coffee and dessert on a no-cars pedestrian stone road.

Neo Klima or Elios,  is a tourist-developed village with an excellent port for fishing boats and yachts. Visitors can explore the narrow streets, visit the local church, and interact with friendly locals to learn more about the village’s history and traditions. But there is nothing special about it, in my opinion.

Neo Klima, Skopelos Island

Neo Klima boasts a selection of tavernas, cafes, and restaurants serving Greek cuisine and fresh seafood dishes. Visitors can dine al fresco while enjoying panoramic sea and sunset views.

What I love about this place is the beach of Hovolo. Due to its somewhat hidden location and the absence of large crowds, visitors can enjoy a sense of privacy and serenity while lounging on the beach.

How to arrive on Skopelos Island?

By Fly
Skopelos does not have its own airport, but you can fly to the nearby island of Skiathos – Skiathos International Airport “Alexandros Papadiamantis” – and then take a ferry to Skopelos Town.

Here, I leave something curious: the Skiathos track is concise, and the pilot keeps warning that he will have to brake sharply due to the short runway. It was definitely not the best experience! But if you sit on the plane’s left side, at least you’ll get a great view of the port.

By Ferry
If you’re looking to reach Skopelos Island, ferries are the most popular mode of transportation. Regular ferry services depart from Volos, Agios Konstantinos, and Skiathos ports.

The frequency of ferries can vary depending on the season. More services are available during the peak tourist season, typically from May to September. You can see the timetable and prices here.

The journey time by ferry can range from around 1.5 hours if you depart from Skiathos to 4-5 hours if you depart from Volos or Agios Konstantinos.

Your port of arrival on Skopelos will either be the eponymous town on the north coast or Loutraki Harbour – Glossa, on the northwest coast.

I decided to take the ferry to Skiathos Town to have more car rental options. The town is known for having numerous rental agencies, so it seemed like a good idea.

Tip: Consider avoiding the Dolphin Erato boat when travelling to Skopelos! It smells strongly of diesel, which can make you feel nauseous. Additionally, the boat is older, uncomfortably hot inside, and lacks seating outside, only offering standing room. It was so uncomfortable! Thank God that on our way back, we took the other ferry.

By car
You can take your car, or rent it and take te ferry.
We decided to hire a car for the flexibility, and we used Discover Cars because they offer a very good comparison platform, with rental options from different providers here in Europe. The platform is one of the largest for comparisons, and we always rent cars through them. Click here to check prices and options.

By Private Yacht or Boat
Skopelos Island can be reached by private yacht or boat, with several marinas and harbours available to accommodate boats of different sizes.

Skopelos Churches

Nearby Places

Skiathos: located 1 hour by ferry from Skopelos, it was the island where we spent three nights after our week in Skopelos. Learn more about my recommendations for this lovely town by clicking here.

Alonissos: unfortunately, because of the weather, I couldn’t go there, but the locals told me that it is the most traditional and remote of the three islands, yet it has the most beautiful beaches.

Check out my article about the west the beaches of Skopelos Island here, so you can discover its best coastal spots for sunbathing, swimming, or simply admiring its natural beauty. Click here to explore these scenic beaches and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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