Skiathos (Greece) – one of the islands of the Northern Sporades archipelago. The island is located in the northwest of the Aegean Sea, east of mainland Greece.
Skiathos is very small in area – only 47 km², and the length of its coastline is 49 km.
The island is inhabited by just over 6,000 people. At the same time, the bulk, almost 5,000 people, live in the administrative center – the city of Skiathos (or just Chora, which means “city”). In fact, this is the only large-scale settlement, all the rest are small towns, although with a rich tourist infrastructure.
Relative to the rest of Greece, the island of Skiathos is completely non-standard: the pristine beauty of nature, a huge amount of greenery, sandy and pebble beaches, clean ecology. Exotic lovers from around the world come here to relax, especially many tourists from Germany, England and Austria.
Sights of Skiathos
Skiathos is popular primarily for its natural beauty, but a variety of historical, religious and cultural attractions are also present here.
Advice to tourists! For traveling around the island it will be more convenient to use a car that can be rented at a city car rental or pre-ordered online. It is better to rent a jeep, since there are good roads only along the south coast and near the city, and on the north side there are mainly primers.
In the city of Skiathos, on the top of a hill, the Church of St. Nicholas proudly rises. It is perfectly visible from anywhere in the city, and you can go right from the promenade. You will have to climb the mountain along the ancient narrow streets sandwiched between small white houses.
The church is open, you can go inside, stand, light candles.
From the site around the church offers stunning views of the sea, port, snow-white houses with tiled roofs on city streets. Here is a great place for a photo shoot: it is from this observation platform that the most beautiful photos of Skiathos island in Greece are obtained.
Important! The area is open and very hot, and there is no place to buy water. It is a must to take drinking water with you!
The only monastery on Skiathos that is open to daily visits is the Gospel. It is located at a distance of 4 km from the administrative center, on a hillside, among lush pine trees. Address: Vicino Al Monte Mitikas, 370 02, Greece.
The territory is small, a lot of greenery and flowers. In the center of the complex stands a functioning ancient church in the Byzantine style (dated to the 18th century).
There is also a museum, among the exhibits of which are: rare icons, the gospel of the eighteenth century, household items of the inhabitants of the island, national clothes of the people of Greece, ancient manuscripts and historical documents, ship models, a collection of old postcards. There is also a loom on which the flag of Greece was made in the form in which it exists now. Detailed descriptions in English are enclosed with all exhibits.
Near the city port there is a stop from which a small minibus regularly goes to the Evangelistria monastery. It is impossible to mix up – it depicts this religious building.
The ruins of an ancient fortress are located in the north of Skiathos, coordinates: Cape Kastro, 370 02, Greece.
The fortress was built high on a cliff, and so that the cliffs surrounded it on three sides, and only on one (south) side were significant fortifications built. There was the only narrow entrance with a drawbridge – now a staircase has been made specifically for tourists in its place.
Climbing to the very top of the cliff, where once stood a majestic fortress, you can admire the magnificent panoramic views of the Aegean Sea.
You can get to this historic landmark of Greece by car or boat. From the local parking lot to the flag developing in the wind, you still have to walk about half an hour. By boat, you can swim to the beach of Castro, which is located at the foot of a cliff, and 10 minutes from there climb to the top.
Every day at 10:00 a seagoing vessel, delivering tourists here, sets sail from the city port, and at 17:00 it departs.
The best beaches of the island
Despite its very small area, the island of Skiathos offers a large selection of beaches. There are 60 of them along the southern and northern coasts. For all, characteristic purity and clear water, but otherwise they are very different.
The mountainous area prevails on the north side of the island, so most of the beaches here can be reached either by SUVs or just by sea. But precisely because of such inaccessibility, even at the peak of the season, these places are uninhabited. The north coast is very beautiful, there is a comfortable entrance to the water, the coating can be sandy or pebble, or mixed. But there is no “civilization” here – pristine, luxurious nature.
The southern coast is dominated by beaches covered with fine golden sand, with a gentle and very convenient entry into the water. All recreation areas are equipped, vacationers are offered a variety of entertainment: jet skis and skis, catamarans, parasailing (parachuting), water slides. Many beaches are ideal for diving and windsurfing, there are good schools of water sports.
Tourists note! Most southern beaches are very easy to reach: on the map of Skiathos island (Greece), you can see that there are numerous bus stops along the entire southern coast. Every 20 minutes, a bus number 2 (red line) leaves from the city for Kukunares beach, making 24 stops along the road. The fare is 1.5 – 2 € (depending on the distance).
Further in brief about the most famous beaches of the island.
Lalaria is one of the most picturesque beaches of Greece and a visiting card of the island. It is he who is most often depicted in the advertising photos of Skiathos in Greece.
Lalarya is a narrow strip of the coast covered with snow-white pebbles, over which huge, and such snow-white cliffs rise. On the left side, a unique natural creation grows directly from the waves – the stone arch of Tripya Petra, like a natural bridge connecting the sea and the coast.
Tourists note! It is very painful to walk barefoot on the round pebble that covers the shore and the entry into the water – comfortable shoes are definitely needed. And yet: according to the law of Greece, this pebble is strictly forbidden to take away from the island!
The territory of Lalarya is not equipped: no cafe, no showers, no sunbeds with umbrellas – only the sea and the open sun.
Lalaria is located in the northern part of the island, and can only be reached by water. Every day at 10:00 a sea vessel leaves the city port, and at 17:00 it goes back.
Koukounaries is recognized as the most famous recreation area on the island of Skiathos, as well as the most beautiful sandy beach in the Mediterranean. The sand here is really unique: yellow, with diamond blotches that rise in the water and sparkle in the sun.
The name of the beach means “bumps”, because from the land it is surrounded by a pine forest. A subtle and very pleasant coniferous aroma is floating in the air, but in the sand there are many needles, because of which you have to walk in shoes.
The coastline stretches for 1.5 km on the south coast – the territory is large, and there are almost always a lot of people, especially after 11:00. Since that time, travel agencies on buses and ships began to bring here their customers from other places on the island.
Kukunaries is perfectly equipped: free (clean) toilets and changing cabins, an umbrella and 2 sun loungers are rented for 8 €, many bars (high prices), various entertainments, water sports schools, massage cabins. Entrance to the territory is free for everyone.
Banana is a small cozy bay on the south coast. Sand cover, gentle entry into the water, beautiful views of other islands open from the shore. The recreation area is well equipped, there are sun loungers and umbrellas that can be rented (about 8 € per set for two). The bay is divided by rocks into two parts: Big and Little Banana.
Next to Big Banana is the Banarama Beach Bar, whose DJs organize various entertainment events. As a result, a lot of young people always rest here.
Little Banana, located south, is one of the largest official nudist beaches in Greece. This place is characterized by passive pastime.
Getting to Banana is not very convenient. From the final bus stop you need another 25 minutes to walk. And even having arrived by car, you also have to walk 10-15 minutes, since there is no convenient access.
This beach in the northwestern part of the island is not too big – it is as if squeezed by a horseshoe-shaped bay and a steep hill. Coniferous and olive groves grow nearby, so the air is especially wonderful.
Entering the water is very smooth and long (about 50 m) – these are ideal conditions for relaxing with children. The coating is sandy, but the sand is somewhat wet.
There is a tavern on the shore where you can eat. There are no hotels nearby. Due to some distance from busy tourist destinations, it is almost always crowded.
Mandraki is located 14 km west of the city. You can get there by bus, and then another 30 minutes you have to go on foot. It can also be reached by car, but the road is not very good – a dirt road.
The beach, named after a small island opposite, is located on the south coast, 9 km from the city, very close to the main road.
Troulos is sandy, but there is a place with small pebbles. The water is warm and clear, the descent into the sea is smooth.
On the territory there are toilets, showers, changing cabins.
You can hide from the sun under picturesque pine trees – there are a lot of them. And you can rent an umbrella and deck chair – the standard price for Skiathos is 8 €. To have time to take a sunbed, you need to arrive early, because after 9:00 the sunbeds, however, like the best places, are already taken. It is quite crowded, especially in high season.
There is a shop near the road where you can buy something for a snack. There are taverns and cafes on the shore.
A small strip of sand on the south coast, a gentle entry into the sea, sometimes a large mountain pebble in very clear water – this is Maratha.
There are changing rooms and showers, but no toilets. Sun loungers occupy almost the entire territory: where it is very narrow – in one row, where there is more space – in two rows. You cannot lie on your towels, only on sunbeds (rent with an umbrella 8 €).
There are 3 entrances to Maratha:
- uncomfortable path opposite the villa “Nefeli”;
- a wide, level path along which you can even carry a pram – opposite the sign “Maratha beach”;
- very steep steps up to 30 m long – near bus stop No. 22.
Vromolimnos is located on the south coast of the island, 8 km from the city. It is convenient to drive here both by car and by bus (within walking distance from stop number 13).
The beach is protected from strong north winds. The sand is very soft and pleasant; setting into the sea is perfect for children.
You can sit on your towel in the shade of a few pine trees, or you can rent an umbrella with a deck chair. There are a variety of water activities. Right on the beach is a pretty decent tavern.
There are always a lot of people at Vromolimnos, especially young people.
Skiathos accommodation: prices, location of hotels
There are more than 300 hotels on the island, most of them are villas and private hotels with up to 30 rooms. There are relatively few 5 * hotels, so it’s rather difficult to “capture” a room.
Tourists note! The chance to book a room in any hotel you like during the peak season 2-3 weeks before the tour is reduced to zero. Reservations for Skiathos, however, as in most resorts in Greece, must be made in advance. When planning to visit here in August, you need to take care of housing no later than in May. It is most convenient to search and book hotel rooms on the Booking service.
There are few hotels in the city itself, and they are mainly chosen by those tourists for whom a rich nightlife is important. Only a few hotels can be reached by car, and most of them will have to be walked, as the whole city is pedestrianized. Almost in the center of the city is the luxurious La Piscine Art Hotel 5 *, the highlight of which is an Olympic-sized pool. In La Piscine Art only adults are accommodated, and the price of double rooms starts from 385 € per day.
The bulk of hotels on the island is located off the coast outside the city, along the road (its total length is 14.5 km). At the very beginning of the road, almost immediately by the city, there are many private villas, guesthouses and small 3 * hotels. For example, at a distance of 3.5 km from the city there is a family Hotel Paradise 3 * with 46 rooms. It is located on a hill, surrounded by a pine forest, and has two pools – for adults and children. Double room can be rented for 130 € and above.
Cape Kalamaki, as well as the area of the beaches of Trulos and Marat, are excellent areas with a very large selection of a wide variety of housing. Everything is provided for tourists there: hotels, restaurants, shops.
The best area is the last 8 km of the road where the farthest Cucunares beach is. Here are a lot of housing of various price categories. For example, in the Musses 3 * guest house, where guests have a huge outdoor pool, a double room can be rented from 97 €. And at the 5 * Elivi Skiathos Hotel, located right in the middle of a pine forest and offering its guests spa services, the cost of double rooms starts from 230 €.
Tourists note! In terms of housing prices, there is no clear division into districts. In any area of the island there are also inexpensive hotels, and with a price higher than average.
How to get to Skiathos from Thessaloniki
Like any island, Skiathos can be reached by sea and air. But from the post-Soviet space there are no direct flights to this island in Greece. The best option for getting to Skiathos from the CIS countries is to fly to Thessaloniki (Greece), and from there sail to the island by ferry. A ferry, of course, is not as convenient as a plane, but much cheaper: there are low-cost flights to Thessaloniki from the CIS, and a ferry ticket costs about 40 €.
There is no direct bus service following this route. By buses No. 78 or No. 78Н you can get to the bus station of Thessaloniki, and from there go to the marina by bus No. 8 or No. 31. The ticket price is about 2 €.
You can immediately take a taxi at the airport – a trip to the ferry will cost about 20 €.
Thessaloniki Skiathos ferry runs from the starting point to the final destination for 4.5 hours.
When planning such a trip, you need to take into account that the ferry service operates only in the high season (from late April to early October). The schedule is drawn up about a month before the start of the season. But even those flights that were planned in the schedule can be canceled if there are not enough passengers.
See the schedule and current ticket prices here: www.ferriesingreece.com.
The old promenade, where the ferry approaches at Skiathos, is located in the central part of the city.
All prices on the page are for April 2019.
When to relax on Skiathos
The climate on Skiathos, as throughout Greece, is Mediterranean: long dry summers and short wet winters.
The beach season starts from the end of May and lasts until the end of October. The high season and the most pleasant weather conditions are the months of July and August. At the height of summer, the air temperature is kept at +30 ° С, and the water temperature is +22 ° С … + 29 ° С. Rains at this time are extremely rare.
In September, Skiathos has a velvet season. The sea is still warm, +23 ° С … + 26 ° С, the air warms up to +27 ° С. But at this time it may already be raining.
From the end of October to April on the island of Skiathos (Greece), almost everything is closed (hotels, restaurants). Tourists at this time have nothing to do here.
Walk around the city of Skiathos in Greece.