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The Cosmopolitan Island of Sporades

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Discover Skiathos

Skiathos is the largest and most cosmopolitan of the Sporades. According to tradition, its name comes from the fact that it is located in the shadow (skia) of Mount Athos.

A favourite island of celebrities from all over the world, the birthplace of the major Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis combines rare natural beauty with unique cultural monuments. Covered by dense pine forests that come down to the sea, with golden beaches and turquoise waters, there are more than fifty Byzantine churches and monasteries here, testifying to its timeless spirituality and long history.

As a travel destination, Skiathos is famous for the high level of services it offers in terms of infrastructure, and for the quality of its nighttime entertainment. It is reputed to have the best beach life in Greece, with impeccable service at the bars and restaurants dotted around its coast, giving it the nickname the “Mykonos of the Sporades”. In addition, thanks to its proximity to the mainland and the other islands of the Sporades, it makes a great base for excursions to a host of idyllic destinations.

Choose one of the ferry tickets to Skiathos for a cosmopolitan experience.

3 memorable experiences on Skiathos
  1. Discovering the exotic idylls that surround it: Tsougrias, with its tropical appearance, and the verdant islets of Arkos, Maragos, Tripiti, and Aspronisi, which are all unpopulated.
  2. If you choose one of the itineraries to Skiathos, don’t miss the opportunity to explore its stunning trails. There are twenty-five marked routes criss-crossing the island’s pristine interior, often taking in traditional settlements overlooking the Aegean. There are some lovely stretches of coastline to be found on the routes between Aselinos and Kechria, Agia Eleni and Kryfi Ammos, and Mandraki, Elia and Agistro.
  3. The Aegean Festival of Skiathos at the open-air theatre on the Bourtzi peninsula for an atmospheric cultural experience beneath the stars.
Beaches of Skiathos

All the island’s beaches, whether easy to reach, with a wide range of amenities and water sports facilities, or off the beaten track, for those seeking peace and seclusion, delight visitors with their breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear waters. Don’t miss:

  • The famous and award-winning Koukounaries, a sandy tourist beach overlooked by a dense pine forest, where the trees come right down to the water’s edge. The enchanting Strofilia lagoon is a stone’s throw away and is easy to reach from here.
  • Big and Small Banana in Krassa Bay. Big Banana has tourist amenities and a number of water sports options, while Small Banana is a haven of tranquillity for nature lovers and nudists. They both have magnificent views at sunset.
  • The fabulous Lalaria, with crystalline turquoise waters and round white pebbles, which is only accessible by boat (when the weather is good). It is a uniquely beautiful setting dominated by the stunning Rock Arch of Trypia Petra.
  • The youth-oriented Vromolimnos, with its tranquil sea and excellent facilities, including water sports, restaurants and cafés, as well as a beach volleyball court.
  • Popular Kanapitsa, with its soft sand and calm sea, ideal for families. It has tourist amenities and water sports facilities.
Postcards from Skiathos: 9 things not to miss

The Papadiamantis Museum
Devoted to the “Saint of Greek Letters”, this museum is housed in the two-storey mid-19th-century mansion where Alexandros Papadiamantis lived until the end of his life. Through personal artefacts, visitors discover unfamiliar aspects of the great writer’s life and the Skiathos of a previous century.

Strofilia Lagoon
This enchanting lake is located in the heart of Koukounaria Forest and communicates with the sea through a natural channel. It is a protected area of great ecological importance as it is a refuge for migrating birds. 

The Bourtzi Peninsula
The fortress constructed by the Venetian Gizi brothers on the pine-covered peninsula in the main port was intended to protect Skiathos from pirates. Today, the Bourtzi is a idealistic place to go for a walk and a popular recreation area with spectacular views of the Aegean. 

The Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation 
This historic 18th-century monastery situated in verdant surroundings was a stronghold of the Greek War of Independence. According to tradition, this is where the first Greek flag was made in 1807. Restoration work has highlighted its exceptional fortress architecture of hewn stone. Valuable relics and religious icons are kept here. 

The medieval town of Skiathos, built in the 14th century on the top of a rock, was connected to the mainland by a wooden drawbridge. Its remains include parts of the walls, four churches, a mosque, two cisterns, the gate, and a cannon. Make a stop at the small Church of Christ’s Nativity with its superb 17th-century murals, before enjoying the otherworldly beauty of the place and its splendid views of the Aegean. 

Skiathos Town
The island’s capital, constructed around the harbour, has cobbled streets full of stone houses with red-tiled roofs, as well as elegant shops and fine restaurants. Here, between the old harbour with its fishing boats and the new port with its fashionable clubs, is where the cosmopolitan heart of Skiathos beats. 

The Museum of Musical Instruments of the World
This excellent museum, which occupies part of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation, contains a rare private collection of 500 or more musical instruments from Europe, Africa and Asia. 

The Monastery of the Virgin Mary Eikonistria
One of the most important places of worship on Skiathos, this sacred monastery is notable for its marvellous 17th-century murals and is a work of art in its own right. According to legend, it was built after a hermit found an icon of the Virgin Mary hanging from the branch of a pine tree in the nearby forest.

The Phryctoria in Pyrgi
Set in a dazzling green landscape of oak trees, this imposing circular tower is believed by archaeologists to have been an ancient phryctoria, which sent signals using a system of flames. The location offers unparalleled views of the sea and the horizon.

Tastes of Skiathos

The cuisine here is notable for its marrying of seafood and vegetables in delicious traditional dishes, such as fish stifado (a stew with tomatoes and shallots), boiled octopus with fava (split pea mash), langoustines with cabbage, and cuttlefish with wild greens and spring onions. They can all be found in the local ouzo bars and restaurants, along with ofti potato (baked and stuffed with cheese).

Don’t miss delicious pies such as tiropita (cheese pie) and kalapodia (with wild greens). Favourite confections on the island include amygdalota (almond sweets) and a ‘spoon sweet’ preserve, also made with almonds.

Skiathos also produces wine and tsipouro that are well worth trying.

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