|Skiathos is a beautiful, wooded island, far greener than one would
expect a Greek island to be, which has between 60 & 70 fine sandy
beaches, many of which have not become overcrowded & some
of which can be virtually empty, even in the height of summer.
It is not a large island & can be circumnavigated in a couple of hours with
a speed-boat, or more leisurely in 4 to 5 hours by local caique or sail. The environment
is incredibly varied & can range from hidden, wooded valleys (like our own in
Zorbathes) to Monasteries set against a backdrop of barren rock, from shallow beaches with
pastures behind to plunging cliffs with beaches nestling below them, only accessible by
There are several offshore islands which are worth visiting and where you will
find beaches with less people on them than the main island ones.
Of course, you will need to visit these by boat so check out our sailing pages.
|At the eastern end of the island is the main (& only) town,
also called Skiathos, surrounding a well sheltered harbour which fills in the summer with
every type of vessel from 3 metre fishing boats to 11 metre yachts to 40 metre motor
yachts. In Skiathos town you can find everything.
It is a thriving, cosmopolitan centre that hums with energy during the summer months
contrasting nicely with the lazy beach days.
You can have a slow ouzo on the waterfront, boogie all night, shop 'til you
drop or fill yourself at one of the many of tavernas & restaurants. Whatever you
fancy, there will be someone catering for it.
The main road follows the south coast until it reaches the west end of the
island & terminates at Koukounaries beach. Buses run at 15 to 20 minute intervals in
the summer, but are usually crowded particularly between 16.00 & 19.00 coming back in
| There are many dirt roads cutting through & across the island & some kind
of transport is almost essential if you want to get the best from Skiathos. Cars &
motorbikes are available for rent everywhere but we would not recommend renting a
motorbike unless you are a very experienced bike driver (we have seen too many people ruin
their holidays by scrapes from falling off bikes or by burning themselves on the exhaust
pipe). Places of interest inside the island are the Monastery of Evangalistra which is very old but
well kept, & lays claim to being the first place to raise the present Greek flag
during the struggle for freedom from the Turks at the beginning of the previous century.
Following on from the monastery is the church of Prophet Illias, with spectacular views
out over town & towards the neighbouring island of Skopelos. Here is also a taverna by
the shade of huge plane tree where one can sit & enjoy the view with a coffee, ouzo or
snack. Following the same road will bring you to the turn off for Kastro
where you will have to leave your transport & walk for 30 to 40 minutes down to the
old town of Kastro. This is a quite fantastic place where the villagers used to huddle on
a large naturally fortified rock peninsula jutting into the sea. This was their retreat
whenever pirates, Turks, Venetians & general rapers & pillagers came by. One gets
a real sense of how physically hard life must have been then, when times were tough &
old bread & olive pips were all there was to eat. As soon as they became free from
Turkish domination & foresaw the possibility of a reasonably peaceful future, they
moved to the site of modern-day Skiathos Town. Kastro is really well worth the effort to
visit, but if you would prefer a guide, get in touch with Lida. On the way down to Kastro,
you will pass the church of St. John The Baptist, where there is running water &
flower beds surrounding the church. A wonderful place to rest for a few minutes, in the
shade of the olive trees & the peace of the churchyard.
There are many other places of interest in the area including Pirgi, an ancient
(pre-Christian) watch-tower, constructed of massive stones; the churches of Aghias
Anastasias, Aghias Sozon & the monasteries of Kechria
Towards the west of the island, the Monastery of Kounistra is well worth a visit. This is
considered the "Patron Church" of Skiathos &, on November 21st, all the
villagers will pass through it to light a candle & be blessed for the year to come.
Many stay the night drinking & singing in front of blazing log fires & often the
new wine will be broached for the occasion. Take the Asselinos road & then the right
fork at Zorbathes.
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