The Skiathos island in Greece, belongs to the island complex called Sporades and surprises visitors with its more than 60 beaches with crystalline waters and turquoise, blue and greenish colours.
That’s what I envisioned when I planned and chose the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos for our summer holiday. After all, I wanted to know that wonderful place where part of the movie “Mamma Mia!” was filmed, which looked amazing.
Not that the island of Skiathos isn’t beautiful, but unfortunately, the weather decided not to cooperate, and what was supposed to be a beach trip soaking in the sun ended up becoming a trip, let’s say, a bit wet, including a storm emergency alert issued by the government.
That meant, I couldn’t take the boat trips I had planned and the few beaches I went to, I couldn’t see the colour of the beautiful water the island has.
Although I can guarantee one thing, the little town of Skiathos is charming, full of pedestrian alleys, several superb restaurants, bars and lots of colourful shops with an emphasis on jewellery and semi-jewellery, as well as a wide choice of high quality souvenirs and clothing.
My tip is to walk along the main street called Papadiamanti and then take the side streets, getting lost in the cute alleys.
Don’t miss going to Pan Jewelery and seeing how beautiful that corner is in traditional Greek with a stone floor and facade in blue and white tones. And then walk to Nikotsara Street, which is also quite beautiful.
Sit in one of the restaurants in front of the old port or one of the bars located on an ascent also in front of the port, which has an even nicer view. Walk around the “islet” where the Municipal Bourtzi Theater is located.
After enjoying a drink, walk about 5 minutes to Ourania’s Mansion, and you will have a beautiful view of the town and a look-like swimming pool in the sea. On the same path, about 3 minutes ahead, go to Paralia Plakes beach, with an incredible view and crystal clear water.
Likewise, go to the Agios Nikolaos church (Άγιος Νικόλαος in Greek) and have an exquisite view of the entire city.
I made a map here for you to locate yourself better: https://goo.gl/maps/rqgrEwdjoVMG5s5MA
As you can see, there are several things to do in Skiathos Town. Eventually, the sun decided to give its grace and warm us up on the last day we were there, and at least we managed to enjoy some beach time before leaving for London in the evening (which, ironically, was hotter than Greece during our holiday).
Apparently, the government of Skiathos are trying to change the island’s scenery so that it ceases being a city of parties and night clubs, to focus on a quieter place where tourists can enjoy the night in bars and restaurants, becoming more of a gastro scene.
Still, the night is full of life and places to enjoy! I recommend three places with sensational live music, and we loved it (but I warn you that, unfortunately, people can smoke inside these places):
Danny & Zoe’s Blind Dog (lots of Brits frequent the place) is more focused on the 80s and 90s music;
Totem Live Music: a tiny bar that plays more rock music;
Tesla Cocktail Bar Skiathos: with live music from the resident band and DJs with electronic sounds.
Where to stay?
It all depends on what you intend to do!
Skiathos town is an excellent choice to stay in – getting to any of the island’s beaches by bus, taxi, or car is straightforward. In addition, Skiathos Town is where excursion boats and ferries depart from, as well as having all the features of a larger town.
Few of the other beaches have one or two restaurants or grocery stores. But if you just want to enjoy a single beach and only rest or prefer all-inclusive hotels, it is worth looking for some accommodation in the south of the island.
We chose to remain in Skiathos because we had already stayed seven days in Skopelos in a hotel further away from the city, so we wanted to enjoy the night and more lively places.
As I mentioned, we stayed three nights in Skiathos, and since the weather wasn’t the best, our luck was the hotel we stayed in had the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. So we took the opportunity to rest and sleep a lot.
Despite never recommending hotels because I think it depends on your budget, preferred location and such, this time, I’m going to register here that Niso Skiathos was perfect, an excellent location, and very clean. The owners are lovely, giving suggestions and leaving us super relaxed and welcome.
Where to eat?
With so much variety of restaurants, it’s hard to choose, but I’ll enlist the places we went to and loved.
BeanTree Coffee & More: it is about 10 minutes from the town centre, and although the surrounding area is not very attractive, the coffee is terrific. It was the best cold coffee I’ve ever had (ask for “Cafe Fredo”).
Ergon Greek Deli: the choice couldn’t be better for breakfast and lunch. They use fresh and high-quality local products for flavorful dishes.
Giardino Segreto: the menu is a creative composition of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine complemented with Greek elements. Very tasty!
The island’s beaches
Most of the beaches are located on the south coast, as they are easily accessible by public bus and with infrastructure including bars, restaurants, water sports centres and chairs and umbrellas for renting.
On the north side, the beaches are more secluded, and many are only accessible by boat. In the old port of Skiathos, you can buy tickets to several boat trips to different locations or rent your boat and decide on the itinerary.
We rented a car because at least we had something to do on rainy days and, I have to be honest, as I like to spend each day on a different beach, I found most beaches challenging to access and/or far away. I don’t think it’s the type of island to do that, rather stay in a hotel and enjoy the local beach and take the boat trips (weather permitting).
Although, as I mentioned earlier, I did not have the opportunity to enjoy most of the beaches, I will describe here some of the most famous and sought-after ones.
Koukounaries: the most famous beach on the island and, therefore, the busiest. It is known for its fine sand, transparent waters, and the surrounding fragrant pine forest. As it seems, from the number of loungers scattered along the entire stretch of sand, the beach must be crowded in the height of summer. I honestly didn’t think it was that pretty, and even if the weather were nice, I wouldn’t stay there.
Maratha: is the “little sister” of Koukounaries, hidden around the corner under the Skiathos Princess Resort hotel.
Vasilias: it was the beach where we stayed on the only sunny day we had. Very calm, with a beautiful view of another island, with crystal clear and clean water.
I found the beaches of Skiathos somewhat similar and even dull compared to those of Skopelos, but others quite popular with tourists are Agia Paraskevi, Kanapitsa, Troulos, Vromolimnos, Ftelia, Big Banana and Little Banana.
Lalaria: accessible only by boat from the port of the capital, it is a place of incredible beauty with massive white cliffs rising from the deep blue and clear sea. It is listed among the most impressive beaches in Greece. Unfortunately, because of the rain and then because of the wind, the boat trips were cancelled.
Skiathos Sea Caves: close to the beach of Lalaria are two beautiful sea caves, Skotini and Galazia.
Kastro: is located on the northern tip of the island, 8.5 km from the town of Skiathos and is accessible by car along a dirt track with a walk to the beach along a steep path with stunning views, or simply by boat. There is a small tavern but no other facilities.
We tried to get there by car, but the roads were pretty bad because of the storm that had happened that morning, so we gave up.
I know the beach is within walking distance of the ruins of the medieval town of Skiathos.
Ligaries: to get to the beach was a bit difficult and through a somewhat bumpy dirt road. Once on the beach, you’ll find a tavern away from the shore. There are also a few rows of sunbeds for rent in the middle of the beach.
Other beaches that are said to be beautiful in the north are Agistros, Mandraki (Elias) and Megalos Aselinos.
How to get to Skiathos?
Skiathos International Airport “Alexandros Papadiamantis” receives flights from Athens International Airport all year round, which takes around 30 minutes. In addition, the airport also welcomes some seasonal flights from different places around Europe.
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 very short runway, and for sure, it was not the best experience! But, if you get a seat in the window on the left side of the plane, you will have an incredible view of the port when arriving for landing, and that way, you will be distracted before the “impact”.
There are videos of people watching the planes landing and even being pushed back by the jet thrust when the planes take off so close to the road. If you have time, go to the end of the runway to see these planes up close (it looks like they will fall on top of you). Tip, when watching a plane take off, do NOT stay directly behind the engines as it is not safe and has caused a number of injuries. Take more of a side view.
There are ferries to Skiathos from: Ag.Konstantinos, Alonissos, Andros, Crete- Heraklio, Evia, Mantoudi, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini (Thira), Skopelos, Glossa, Skopelos – Port, Syros, Thessaloniki, Tinos and Volos.
Find out about the ferries here.
Skopelos: located 1 hour by ferry from Skiathos, it was the island where we spent seven nights, and in my opinion, it is the most beautiful and picturesque. So much so that most of the movie Mamma Mia was shot there. I will write about this wonderful island very soon.
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, with the most beautiful beaches.
As you can see, Skiathos is a beautiful town that deserves to be known, but I think more than three days is too long. So, if you have more time, split your trip between the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
And how about you? Have you been to Skiathos? Do you have any tips to give us?
Or do you have any questions regarding the island? Feel free to ask me anything; I will gladly help you plan your trip.