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Why Should I Visit Skiathos?

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Skiathos at a glance

The most cosmopolitan of the Sporades offers a spectacular setting of dense pine forests that come down to the seashore, picture-postcard beaches with golden sand and calm turquoise waters, unique cultural monuments dating from Byzantine and medieval times, and architecture that marries an island aesthetic with mainland influences.

Situated not far from the coast of Mount Pelion, the birthplace of the major Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis is not only a location of unparalleled natural beauty but is also a travel destination with a high standard of facilities and services, for which it has come to be known as the Mykonos of the Sporades.

A favourite retreat of international celebrities who prefer to fly under the radar on their vacations, Skiathos is full of unique experiences both for nature lovers and for anyone who loves discreet luxury and refined entertainment. The whole island is an irresistible sensory experience, and a perfect base from which to explore the other jewels of the Sporades, including some exotic pieces of paradise that are relatively undiscovered.

10 reasons to visit Skiathos
  1. To visit the outstanding Papadiamantis Museum, housed in the modest residence of the great local writer and Greek scholar. A collection of rare items, including his books, clothes and personal belongings, sheds light on little-known aspects of his life and 19th-century Skiathos.
  2. To explore Strofilia Lagoon, a beautiful wetland surrounded by a dense pine forest, which is a refuge for rare migratory birds.
  3. To enjoy a romantic stroll around Bourtzi, a small pine-covered peninsula with a Venetian fortress dating from 1207, which affords wonderful views of the Aegean.
  4. To visit the historic Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation (1794-1806) and admire its impressive stone architecture and priceless relics.
  5. To gaze out over the Aegean Sea from the ramparts of the imposing Kastro, the fortified medieval town of Skiathos. Built in the 14th century on a small peninsula, its charming ruins evoke the island’s glorious past. Don’t miss the small church of Christ’s Nativity, with its exceptional frescoes and a carved wooden icon screen dating from 1695.
  6. To wander the picturesque cobbled streets of the vibrant Skiathos Town, built in the 19th century around the harbour. Admire its small stone houses with tiled roofs and discover its elegant shops and superb restaurants.
  7. To experience the celebrated cosmopolitan atmosphere of Skiathos by night along the pedestrianised coastal road in the old port, with endless partying in the fashionable cocktail bars and clubs frequented by famous patrons from all over the world.
  8. To visit the fantastic Museum of Musical Instruments of the World, a unique journey into the sounds and musical culture of Europe, the East and Africa through a rare collection of 500 exhibits.
  9. To discover the church of the Virgin Mary Eikonistria, a tiny work of art with marvellous 17th-century frescoes.
  10. To go to the excellent Aegean Festival of Skiathos, a unique cultural experience held in a delightful open-air theatre on the Bourtzi peninsula beneath a starry summer sky.
The top 5 beaches

Koukounaries: Skiathos’ most famous beach, and one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean (according to its many awards) is a paradise of fine golden sand surrounded by a dense pine forest with trees coming right down to the edge of the blue-green sea. From the beach, a natural channel leads to the enchanting Strofilia Lagoon, which is located in the heart of the forest. It has exceptional amenities and is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. The beach is equally suitable for relaxation, fun and activities, and the views at sunset are magnificent.

Banana Beach: The twin beaches of Big and Small Banana form an expanse of pine trees, golden sand and emerald waters around Krassa Bay. Big Banana is favoured by young people, as every summer it transforms into a venue for endless beach parties pulsating with life and energy, while all kinds of water sports are also available here. Small Banana is a haven of tranquillity that attracts nature lovers and nudists.

Lalaria: One of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, with its dazzling scenery of towering steep cliffs, crystal-clear waters in shades of aquamarine, and round white pebbles smoothed by the north wind. The wild beauty of the landscape is enhanced by the stunning Rock Arch of Trypia Petra at one end of the beach. Lalaria is accessible only by sea – and only when calm – by a boat that operates a regular service from Skiathos port.

Vromolimnos: A beautiful beach with golden sand and clear tranquil waters on Cape Kalamaki, named after the small shallow lake that once existed here and is now a dry marsh. It is surrounded by pine trees and has water sport facilities, restaurants and cafés, as well as a beach volleyball court. It attracts many young people, who give the place a special liveliness and energy.

Kanapitsa: One of the island’s most popular beaches, on its southern coast. The fine golden sand and the calm blue-green waters of the bay create an idyllic landscape while the coniferous trees that surround it come all the way down to the water’s edge. It is an official tourist beach, with facilities for all kinds of water sports. The location has stunning views of the sea and Cape Kalamaki, particularly on moonlit nights.

Don’t leave Skiathos without…
  • Exploring the deserted idylls that surround it. The pine-covered island of Tsougria, with its three exotic beaches and the pretty church of St Floros, is a favourite mooring spot for yachts sailing in the Sporades. The verdant and unpopulated Arkos, just one nautical mile from Skiathos port, has a single beach for swimming, and a canteen with a view of the sunset where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail.
  • Discovering the joys of hiking through its enchanting greenery. There are 25 marked trails crossing the island’s pristine interior, leading to cultural monuments, scenic picnic spots, and panoramic views, as well as hidden beaches. The routes between Aselinos and Kechria, Agia Eleni and Kryfi Ammos, and Mandraki, Elia and Agistro take in some of its most beautiful stretches of coastline.
  • Visiting Xanemos Beach for the spectacular sight of planes coming in to land directly over the heads of the bathers.
  • Enjoying an unparalleled view of the Aegean from the phryctoria in Pyrgi, an imposing circular tower that rises up from a stunning landscape full of oak trees.
Tasty experiences

The local cuisine is notable for its marrying of seafood and vegetables. In the ouzo bars and restaurants of Skiathos you can enjoy delicious traditional recipes, such as:

  • Fish stifado (a stew with swordfish, grouper or sea bream), boiled octopus with split pea mash, langoustines with cabbage, cuttlefish with wild greens and spring onions, and baked potato (stuffed with cheese).
  • Don’t miss the delicious Skiathos pies, such as the local spiral-shaped tiropita (cheese pie) and kalapodia (with wild greens).
  • The favourite local confections are amygdalota (almond sweets) and a ‘spoon sweet’ preserve, also made with almonds.
  • Skiathos also produces good wine and tsipouro that are well worth trying.

According to tradition, the first Greek flag with a white cross on a blue background was raised in 1807 at the Holy Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation on Skiathos.​

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