Overview

Introduction

Skiathos has a veneer of elegance and sophistication unusual for a small Greek island. Very compact (only eight miles long) it is thickly forested and almost unrealistically pretty.

Along its undulating coastline hide over fifty beaches, almost all sandy. (A pebble beach on Skiathos is so rare that they offer boat excursions to the one at lalaria!). Those along the southern coast are
linked with the town by a frequent, if crowded, bus service. Whichever beach you choose, the swimming is first rate and the sea crystal-clear.

Skiathos town is very attractive. A jumble of red-roofed houses and climbing stone-paved streets cover the rocky arms of the small harbour. During the day the town can appear rather sleepy, but in the evenings the waterfront hums with life and a daunting array of restaurants confronts one.Nightlife could mean a quiet café, a lively bar or an up-tothe minute music club – whatever your taste, Skiathos can accommodate it.

Fast, efficient catamarans and ferryboats link Skiathos with Skopelos and Alonissos making two-centre holidays simple. Excursions available include a good selection of boat trips.

Were we to design the perfect ‘holiday’ island, we would be surprised if the finished product did not look suspiciously like Skiathos. This small isle really does seem to have everything – beaches, lush
scenery, a pretty port, good (but unobtrusive) nightlife, and plenty to do should you so wish.

Understandably, Skiathos is very popular, and gets particularly busy in the high season.

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Getting there

Friday flight from Gatwick or Manchester to Skiathos (note: inbound flight to London Gatwick operates via Volos and the inbound flight to Manchester operates via Kavala). Then 10 - 30 minutes by taxi to your accommodation.

Multi-Centre

Why not combine Skiathos with Skopelos and / or Alonissos.

Car Hire

We can arrange car hire for you on Skiathos.

Representative

Our resident representative is based in Skiathos Town.

Skiathos Town

 Skiathos Town

There’s a welcome absence of high-rise development in Skiathos Town – new buildings are restricted to a maximum of three storeys, which means sea views are omnipresent.   There’s the usual mix of building styles, from traditional stone and white-washed concrete and plaster  constructions to a new so-called ‘Strip’ alongside the harbour, with restaurants a-plenty with outside seating on pontoons over the water, and décor of wood and sail cloth artistically arranged plus attractive lighting, particularly pretty as dusk falls.  Skiathos Town boasts a so-called ring road – this is definitely not like anything we’d recognise as such in the UK, but more a winding country lane once beyond the harbour front, with olive groves, grazing ponies and steep slopes taking you from one side of the town to the other.

The streets of the town are an attractive maze of shops and eateries/bars/cafés with outdoor seating, some areas having a slightly alternative or almost hippy feel to them. Spot tomato plants and herbs in recycled tins and pots tied to wooden awning posts outside cafés, a range of massage and spa shop fronts plus art galleries amidst the general hubbub and shops of all kinds, including those selling the usual hats, flip-flops and beach accroutements.  There are many cats and dogs sprawled in quiet corners, dozing and soaking up the sun, not to mention the ubiquitous scooters and small motorbikes pootling around the narrow, largely pedestrianised streets.

Skiathos Town’s main street is named Papadiamantis Street after the famous Greek writer, Alexandros Papadiamantis, who was a resident, born there in 1851.  He wrote many of his works from a modest house in the town, now preserved as a museum (two minutes’ walk from the harbour - called the Paralia in Greek - up the main street, and well signposted).

There is a stone monument to him on Bourtzi, an islet connected to the harbour via a walkway.  The islet once housed the local school; now there is a small theatre there and a pleasant café from which you can relax and watch the yachts and ferries come and go.

A walk up into the old town, overlooking Bourtzi, is worthwhile (preferably not in the heat of the midday sun!) – the higgledy-piggledy alleyways and stone steps offer vistas of bougainvillea-clad buildings and narrow sea views, and there’s a plethora of restaurants and bars keen for your business in return for a beautiful view over the Aegean Sea, the islet and the town itself.

All accommodation outside Skiathos Town relies on bore holes for water – there is no mains water supply elsewhere.   The water is safe to drink, but contains different minerals from that in the UK, so tastes slightly different; many visitors thus prefer to buy bottled water for drinking, for making ice cubes and cups of tea/coffee, but are fine with using the tap water for brushing their teeth.

Things to do on Skiathos

A choice of five excursions by boat, providing a variety of interesting options during your holiday, are organised by Sunvil’s local agent.  Our representative will be glad to provide more information on each of them and to book tickets for you.  These excursions include:

  • Island hopping to Alonissos and Skopelos
  • Snorkelling trip (with short theory lesson and equipment included)
  • Visit by boat to Kastani Beach on Skopelos, where part of Mamma Mia was filmed
  • Evening cruise to an uninhabited island (Arkos) where dinner is served at a beach taverna and local musicians play traditional Greek music (bouzouki and mandolin)
  • boat trip around Skiathos island itself, stopping at the ruined old coastal town of Kastro, a fishing village and a beach on the north of the island for lunch


While no promises are made, dolphins may well be spotted on boat trips.  

Skiathos and its beaches
Skiathos boasts more than 60 beaches in total, and sandy beaches abound, from the occasional serried ranks of beach umbrellas and loungers indicative of four and five star hotels to relaxed narrow strips of sand adjacent to friendly and attractive tavernas.  Sitting under the shade of a straw-thatchedverandah within a few feet of the water’s edge, listening to the lapping waves, is the perfect way to relax over a late lunch, with plenty of people-watching to savour alongside the tastiest tomato and feta salads and best of the local fisherman’s catch of the day on the table.

Beaches range from those accessible by bus, usually with tavernas and other facilities such as beach umbrella hire and watersports to hand, to those really off the beaten track, which are glorious but which require either a hike, a boat trip (water taxis from the harbour are perfect for these), or a car trip.


An excursion on land – a visit to Evangelistria Monastery

But a short drive from Skiathos Town, this monastery isnewly restored (courtesy of EU funds) and is well worth seeing.  It will take you only an hour or so to explore – more if you like cats and arrive in July or August, when kittens galore will be stretched out in the sun, feeding from their mothers and already tame and well-used to enjoying a bit of a fuss from visitors!

Dating back to the 1700s, and with its own sea view down a steep gorge, the monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The old buildings are arranged around a courtyard, with the church in the centre of four stone walkways which lead visitors around what was formerly the monks’ accommodation – a handful of the monastic cells are still occupied.  The entrance door is a massive wooden affair, with brass studs, and just inside are hooks with black, light-weight cloaks designed to preserve one’s modesty while within the monastery buildings.

Tip:  ideally, take a shawl to drape around your shoulders, and wear trousers or a below-the-knee skirt

The monastery shop has a surprising amount of useful and desirable items to buy.  Choose from Greek-made carpets (recycled cotton that’s washable), patterned one side and plain the other, and very covetable and useful as both wall hangings and floor coverings; liqueurs made of local fruits and locally-produced olive oil that would make excellent gifts for family and friends; jewellery, CDs of monastic chanting – surprisingly soothing! – and local guide books in English amongst other languages.  The shop features the original olive press workings, with massive beams and the old harness used by the donkey that walked around in circles to operate the machinery.

The old town of Kastro – the castle


If you prefer to drive rather than to visit Kastro by boat, it’s signposted from the ring road that circles around Skiathos Town – up a simple dirt road, occasionally cemented, to the northernmost point of the island.  While it’s not possible to drive all the way to the old town, it’s only a short walk from where you park the car.  Beware – the steps up to the citadel are steep.

This is where the inhabitants of Skiathos lived from circa 1300 to 1829, at the end of the War of Independence, when the Greek State was established.  The only access to the town was via a drawbridge, with sheer rock faces on the other three sides of this seemingly impregnable and strategically-located town, designed to resist pirate attacks.  The views are stunning, and there are churches and the ruins of former homes to explore; originally the castle town was built with 300 houses and 30 churches – that’s a church per every 10 inhabitants.  Kastro was abandoned and the people returned to Skiathos (the old town district, also on a hill above the sea), which again became the capital of the island after independence from the Turks was achieved.

If you are not hiring a car and would prefer a coach transfer to/from each of the excursions, this can be arranged from a pick-up point near your accommodation at a cost of 3€ per person.  Prices for excursions range from 24€ pp to €55 pp, some of which include a snack lunch or a meal.

Useful information

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Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT + 2 hours

Currency

Euro

Language

Greek

Average flight times

3 hours 30 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Greece expert

Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas

Those of our clients who have, over the last 20 or so years, visited Tolon in the Peloponnese will know Jackie; our very knowledgeable and passionate representative. Having decided to return to the UK, she has joined our reservations team and, needless to say, knows Tolon, a resort we have featured since 1973, inside out. It will come as no surprise to know that the Peloponnese is her favourite region in Greece.

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Skiathos

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

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