One of the more popular of the Sporades Islands in the Aegean, Skiathos is a family-orientated, package holiday haven popular with British and German tourists, thanks in no small part to it’s 60 plus beaches.
The main harbour and town centre have a good range of shops set amongst windy back streets, overlooked by the Bourtzi Fortress, guarded by a few stray cats. Restaurants, and tavernas illuminate the quayside, whilst a 15 minute stroll out along the harbour will bring you to the island’s night life strip of clubs and bars.
The main hotels and budget self-catering apartments are found towards the south and east of the island near the big beaches. The season runs from July to September, although October and May are better times to visit, with good temperatures and less crowds.
Getting there/around Skiathos
Many tour operators fly direct from London to Skiathos from May to October, as although small (the island is only 49sq km), it has it’s own airport and is easy to navigate around.
Or take the ferry or hydrofoil from the Greek mainland at Ayios Konstandinos or Volos or Thessaloniki.
For travel between resorts and beaches, there is a good local bus service but this tends to operate just along the east coast – where the vast majority of resorts are. It is also possible to rent cars and bikes.
Beaches in Skiathos
Take a bus from Skiathos to Koukounaries – there are numerous beaches in-between including Megali Ammos, Vromolinos and the family oriented Agia Paraskevi. Koukounaries, with a pine forest surrounding its curved half mile expanse of white sand, has popped up in lists of 10 of the best beaches in Europe. The neighbouring Banana Beach is also a find.
Reach the north of the island and you’ll find Megali Aselinos – being remote means that even in high season it can sometimes be deserted. For the truly adventurous, the beach at Kastro at the northern tip of the island is worth the trip. Other beaches – such as Llaria – again in the north of the island are stunning and secluded, accessible only by boat.
Sightseeing in Skiathos
Hire a bike or take a hike inland and discover one of the monasteries such as Kounistra or the Monastery of Evagelistra, where the Greek flag was apparently first raised towards the end of the period of Turkish occupation in the early 19th century. Close by are the ruins of Kastro Town on a rocky peninsula, commanding great views of the north of the island.
If you take a boat tour from the harbour, you will be able to see some of the more remote yet attractive beaches around the north coast.
In Skiathos town centre visit the House of Papadiamanti, the island’s only museum and once the home of Greek monk and writer Alexandros Papadiamantis, or just wander the back streets.
Family attractions in Skiathos
Agia Paraskevi is a family-friendly beach, with great watersports choices like jet ski and inflatables, and it’s got lots of places to eat.
While the island does not have any specific major attractions for children, it is a friendly place and great for all ages, as opposed to the more concentrated 18-30 crowd found on other Greek islands.
Day trips in Skiathos
Head down to the harbour at about 9.30am and you should be able to board one of the boats heading off on a round the island trip. Prices are usually between 10-20 euros.
Alternatively take a boat trip to neighbouring Skopelos Island. It’s covered in pine trees and is a popular day excursion, ideal for walkers. The capital town is very pretty and full of pricey restaurants, with lots of small churches tucked away around the back streets.
Eating out in Skiathos
Typical Greek food including greek salads and kleftico (lamb), moussaka and stuffed tomatoes jostle for menu space with fantastic seafood including calamari and swordfish in restaurants throughout Skiathos.
Recommended restaurants include Sofia’s Family Restaurant which provides great views of the old town, and the Mouragio (Ouzeri-fish tavern) whose rustic home-cooked dishes are great, knocked back with a glass of ouzo or retsina.
There are lots of places in the resorts and town, which cater for those seeking favourites like burgers and chips, kebabs and pizzas.
Nightlife in Skiathos
Enjoy a stroll along the harbour before hitting the clubs. These are mainly concentrated on the left at the north end of the new harbour and are ideal for partying until dawn, as the thumping euro club beat rules out any notion of sleep.
For something a little more sedate there are various bars and pubs around the back streets of the town centre. The Admiral Benbow Inn is ideal if you fancy a pint and possibly a slice of live rock n roll.
Shopping in Skiathos
The main street of Skiathos town centre, Papadiamantis Street has many arts and crafts shops, clothes shops and art galleries which remain open late into the evening. They are great for strolling around and browsing in at the end of the day.
Navigate your way through various alleys off the main street and discover more craft shops tucked away amongst the distinctive white painted houses around the town centre. Jewellery is also popularly sold here.