Skiathos is the smallest inhabited Sporades Island and has an area of just 48 km². With over 60 beaches it is a true beach paradise – one bay follows the next around the island.
The lively center of Skiathos town has picturesque streets and typical cafes, restaurants and shops.
The famous Papadiamanti street is the epitome of nightlife in the island and a popular meeting place for both young and old.
So if you love to get to know an island on your Greek holiday without having to travel long distances, Skiathos is the ideal place for you.
Unlike some other Greek islands, Skiathos is very green and has its own unique vegetation.
The nicest months on the island are June and September, although the sea is still quite fresh in June. You can also have one or two rainy days in these two months, but not always.
The best way to explore the island is by rental car or scooter, but buses also operate here. There is a lot to explore on foot or by bike if you live near Skiathos Town.
Table of Contents
What to See and Do in Skiathos
- 1. Walking Tour of Skiathos Town (Chora)
- 2. Plane spotting at the airport
- 3. Visiting the Monastery of Evangelistria
- 4. Trip to the Kastro of Skiathos
- 5. Lalaria Beach day trip by boat
- 6. Island hopping to Skopelos
- Greece film set from Mamma Mia!
- The best beaches on Skiathos
- Hotels and Accommodation in Skiathos
- How to get to Skiathos
- Recommendations for restaurants in Skiathos
- Best time to visit Skiathos
What to See and Do in Skiathos
Skiathos is popular primarily for its natural beauty, but a variety of historical, religious and cultural attractions are also present here. Below are our tips to explore this island.
1. Walking Tour of Skiathos Town (Chora)
Skiathos town is like a town straight out of some dream. If you stay just a 10-15 minute walk from the city you will be able to head downtown every night.
Unlike on many other islands, there is no typical blue and white architecture here, but white houses with brown pitched roofs.
The many narrow little streets in particular have their own charm and sometimes you can spot one or the other Greek family sitting together into the night.
The main shopping street is Papadiamanti Street. There are numerous shops here that offer different goods.
What is very nice is that, in addition to the classic kitsch, there was also a lot of high-quality goods to buy.
Many alleys branch off the main street, in which there are also one or the other shop and many taverns and bars.
Tip: there are also some lovely patisseries in these streets and the Greeks are really good at making sweets!
1.1 See the most beautiful view of Skiathos town
If you keep left on the way to the port and walk uphill, you will come to Saint Nicholas Church (Agios Nikolaos).
Tip: the area has no shade and gets very hot under the sun, and there is no place to buy water. We urge you to carry drinking water on you!
The church can also be seen from the harbor and the way through the narrow streets is well signposted.
1.2 Stroll along the Bourtzi peninsula
If you walk down Papadiamanti Street from above, you end up at the port.
At the port, if you walk north to the left, after a while you will arrive at the airport runway. This path, which is lined with many taverns, leads to a square called Paraliakos.
There are always a few traders there in the evening selling their goods.
If you turn right at the port in a southerly direction, you will come across the Bourtzi peninsula. A walk here is worth its while, as you have a great view of the harbor and you can enjoy a glorious moment of tranquility in the middle of the city.
2. Plane spotting at the airport
Even the arrival on Skiathos is a real highlight. There is only one runway at the airport and it is only 1,628 m long, which is rather short.
For safety reasons, flights to the airport are not permitted when it is raining.
It is particularly beautiful when you see the planes landing and taking off.
In contrast to bigger airports, this one is not cordoned off generously, and the planes are already quite low in the approach path over the city beach. So you can take a great photo.
You can take photos on the road that goes along the beach to avoid “mass tourism”.
If you just want to be in the hustle and bustle and watch the arriving planes, the best place to stop is the Mylos Taverna or Amaretto Cafe.
3. Visiting the Monastery of Evangelistria
The monastery of Evangelistria aka Moni Evaggelistrias, built between 1797 and 1806, is located on a hill about 3.5 km from Skiathos town.
Even if this seems a bit short, the journey takes a little. The entrance is formed by a large arch, and there are skirts that females have to put on top if they come wearing shorts.
As soon as you enter, you can feel the peace and quiet of the complex. The courtyard is very lovingly designed and a variety of plants are planted here.
Next to the chapel there is a museum with liturgical objects. It exhibits rare icons, the gospel of the eighteenth century, household items of the inhabitants of the island, costumes of the people of Greece, ancient manuscripts and historical documents, ship models and a collection of old postcards.
Detailed descriptions in English are enclosed with all exhibits.
You can also buy homemade jam and co. as well as souvenirs in the monastery shop. There is also a small monastery tavern in the garden.
Opening hours: 10am-4pm (Apr-May) | 10am-2pm & 5pm-9pm (Jun-Sep)
Entrance to the museum: €2
Good to know: On August 15th every year, on the occasion of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a large church festival is held in honor of the Holy Mother of God.
Near the city port there is a stop from which a small minibus regularly goes to the Evangelistria monastery.
4. Trip to the Kastro of Skiathos
The highlight on Skiathos is the Kastro with the associated beach in the north of the island. A jeep is worthwhile for the journey, although you will see many small cars and scooters on the dusty road that leads here.
You can also reach the Kastro beach by boat.
The road is not really well signposted, so it’s worth checking your GPS or marking the path on the map beforehand.
We parked a bit above because we were a little worried about our car. In fact, it is advisable to drive as far as you can until you can no longer do it.
The way to the Kastro, which partly consists only of ruins, is not optimally developed. Sturdy shoes are an advantage, also because of the undulating terrain.
You can admire the magnificent panoramic views of the Aegean Sea from the top of the cliff, where a majestic fortress once stood.
The entire path has not respite from the sun. If you want to avoid midday heat it is advisable to head there in the early morning hours.
Exploring the whole area of the Kastro is easy. In the middle of the complex there are old stone houses, ruins and also a small fountain rumored to have “holy water”.
Of course you also have a fantastic view here and look out over the small bay with a tavern.
Picture-perfect setting at Kastro Beach
Skiathos has mostly sandy beaches, but Kastro Beach is different. Here you will find a stone beach, which ensures that the water, which is already beautiful on Skiathos, looks much clearer and bluer.
No wonder its a favorite beach for some folks. If you like diving, you can discover some fish here.
There is also a small tavern where the food is really good. However, there is no menu and you simply ask what is currently available. We had ordered fresh calamari.
Next to the tavern there is also a small stream with a falls.
By the way, the only way to get to the bay with a tavern is on foot. It was a bit difficult to walk back up there, but we just did it like the Greeks did: Siga, Siga!
When we were there, it was very quiet and empty, but excursion boats and a water taxi with holidaymakers usually come by again and again.
5. Lalaria Beach day trip by boat
Like any island, Skiathos has numerous sea trips to go on. Whether with on a private boat, an excursion boat or on your own in a small boat, almost everything is possible.
For example, you can plan a boat trip to the famous Lalaria Beach and its rock arch. It can get very windy which often happens on the Laralia. So the sea route taken may differ based on wind factors.
Such a tour can take a good 5-6 hrs and costs €10 per person on a shared boat.
Our trip took us to two uninhabited small islands. First we visited Arkos where there was nothing but the beach. Then we went on to Tsougkrias (also called Tsoungria). The small taverna on the beach was closed in 2020.
In Tsougkiras you can also go away from the beach and on a little hike to a very pretty little church standing on a hillside in blue and white colors.
Further along the trail is a former olive oil factory in ruins with old equipment.
Here this unique tranquility is an experience in itself. In addition to sandy beaches, there are also pebble beaches with absolutely clear water.
If you want to join a full day sailing trip in a small group including food and wine, then you will find providers in the port of Skiathos Town.
6. Island hopping to Skopelos
Many people first associate the film Mamma Mia with the island of Skopelos as that is where it was filmed.
There are two ways to get to Skopelos – a small stop as part of an island tour or in big ferries that get you straight to this island.
For a direct trip, you can buy the tickets in the office at the port for about 6 € per person. You can also rent a car from Skiathos or from Dreamcar at Glossa Loutraki port (Skopelos) for €25.
Two ports are served on Skopelos, with Glossa having the better ferry times. You can get there after about 30 minutes.
Greece film set from Mamma Mia!
We started our tour to Agios Ioannis, the chapel where Mamma Mia! was filmed. This setting with its numerous steps is simply beautiful.
By the way: no film shooting happened in the chapel as it is too small for that.
Then we continued to Skopelos town. Just like Skiathos, is has small houses and narrow streets.
The shops and restaurants enjoy their siesta here, so many shops will be closed if you visit in the lunch hours.
All in all, we didn’t like the city itself that much, a lot seemed run-down and dead.
On the way back we stopped at Kastani Beach, also one of the film locations. The beach with a bar is well maintained and worth a swim stop.
Shortly before the port we made a small detour to the olive oil manufacturer Antoniou, who is not there on Skiathos since we really wanted to take regional olive oil with us.
Provided that you meet the owner, you can see everything in the factory there and of course taste and buy very tasty olive oil.
The ferry went back around 6 p.m. and which is usually the time for a fantastic sunset on the deck.
If you want to explore Skopelos longer, you will find enough accommodations there. Personally, I can say that a day trip is also worthwhile and you can pick out a few things to look at in peace.
Fancy some Sporades island hopping? Skiathos is an ideal starting point for extensive island hopping in Greece. In addition to Skiathos, the Sporades archipelago includes Skopelos, Skyros and Alonissos.
The best beaches on Skiathos
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. All are pristine with clear waters, but otherwise they are very different.
The north side of the island is mountainous, 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, the beaches here are barely crowded.
The northern coast is very beautiful, there is a gentle entrance to the water, the seabed can be sandy or pebbled, or a mixture of both. But there is no civilization here, just 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 beach areas are equipped for beach trips and there are a variety of water sports on offer such as jet skis, catamarans, parasailing and water slides.
Many beaches are ideal for diving and windsurfing and there are good centers to rent equipment and learn.
Most southern beaches are very easy to reach. On the map of Skiathos island 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 Koukounaries beach, making 24 stops along the road. The fare is 1.5 – 2 € (depending on the distance).
Below is a list of the most famous beaches of the island.
1. Lalaria beach
Lalaria is one of the most picturesque beaches of Greece and a visiting card of the island. It is this beach that is most often shown on the photos advertising Skiathos in Greece.
Lalaria is a narrow strip of the coast covered with snow-white pebbles, with huge and snow-white cliffs rising on one side.
On the left of the beach a limestone arch juts out of the water like a natural bridge connecting the sea and the coast.
It is painful to walk barefoot on the round pebbles that cover the shore and the entry into the water. You will likely need comfortable shoes to walk on this beach.
Despite the discomfort they cause, according to the law of Greece, it is strictly forbidden to take these pebbles away from the island!
Note that there are no cafes, showers, or sunbeds with umbrellas at Lalaria beach. Just the open sea and the sun.
Lalaria is located in the northern part of Skiathos 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.
2. Koukounaries beach
Koukounaries is recognized as the most famous beach and recreation area on the island of Skiathos, as well as the most beautiful sandy beach in the Mediterranean.
The sand here is really unique. Its yellow with diamond blotches that sparkle in the sun.
The beach is surrounded on the shore by a pine forest. Due to this a subtle and very pleasant coniferous aroma is floats in the air, but at the same time there are many pine needles in the sand because of which you have to walk in shoes.
This beach is large and stretches for about 1.5 kms along the coast. And there are almost always a lot of people, especially after 11 am since from then the travel agencies and ships began to bring here their customers from other places on the island.
There is always music playing and plenty of water sports going on. If you like it super lively, you will feel comfortable on this sandy beach.
Koukounaries is perfectly equipped with free and clean toilets, changing cabins, rentable umbrellas and sun loungers, many bars, water sports centers an massage cabins. Entrance to the beach is free for all.
3. Banana beach
Banana beach lies on a small cozy bay on the south coast of Skiathos.
It has a sandy cover, gentle entry into the water and beautiful views of other islands.
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.
On the Big Banana area is the Banarama Beach Bar, where DJs organize various entertainment events. As a result, a lot of young people always flock here.
Little Banana, located south, is one of the largest official nudist beaches in Greece. This part is rather devoid of amenities and suitable for those who want a quite day at the beach.
Getting to Banana beach is not very convenient. From the final bus stop you need another 25 minutes walk.
And even having arrived by car, you still have to walk 10-15 minutes to the beach since there is no convenient access.
3. Mandraki beach
This beach in the north-western part of the island is not too wide, as if squeezed by a horseshoe-shaped bay and a steep hill.
Coniferous and olive groves grow nearby imparting the air an especially wonderful quality.
Enter in the water is very smooth and long (about 50 m). These are ideal conditions for relaxing with children. The coast is sandy but the sand is somewhat wet.
There is a tavern on the shore where you can eat but there are no hotels nearby. Due to proximity to busy tourist destinations, it is almost always crowded.
Mandraki is located 14 km west of Skiathos. You can get there by bus followed by 30 minutes on foot. It can also be reached by car, but the road is not very good – its a dirt road.
4. Troulos beach
Troulos beach is named after a small island opposite it. It 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 and the descent into the sea is smooth.
There are toilets, showers and changing cabins on its premises.
You can shelter from the sun under the many picturesque pine trees. You can rent an umbrella and deck chair for about €8, the standard price for Skiathos.
Tip: if you want to get a sunbed, you need to arrive early, because after 9 am the sunbeds like the best spots on the beach, are already taken.
This beach gets quite crowded, especially in high season.
There is a shop near the road where you can buy a snack. Taverns and cafes are present on the shore.
5. Maratha beach
A small strip of sand on the south coast with a gentle entry into the sea, and very clear water – that is Maratha beach.
Sun loungers occupy almost the entire beach. Where it is very narrow the beds occupy one row, and where there is more space, two rows.
You cannot lie on your towels, only on sunbeds that cost €8 to rent together with an umbrella.
There are changing rooms and showers here, but no toilets. This beach also remains relatively crowded.
The 3 entrances to Maratha beach are:
- an uncomfortable path opposite the villa Nefeli
- a wide, level path along which you can even carry a pram, opposite the sign-board “Maratha beach”
- very steep steps up to 30 m long – near bus stop No. 22
6. Vromolimnos beach
Vromolimnos beach 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 as it is within walking distance from stop number 13.
The beach is protected from strong north winds. The sand is very soft and the gentle slope of the coast 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 sports.
And right on the beach is a pretty decent tavern.
There are always a lot of people at Vromolimnos, especially the young folk.
Hotels and Accommodation in Skiathos
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-star hotels, so it’s rather difficult to luxury room with a view.
There are few hotels in the city itself, and they are mainly chosen by those looking for rich nightlife.
Only a few hotels can be reached by car, as the whole city largely is a pedestrian zone.
Tip: In the peak season most of the rooms are sold out. So we advise against waiting just 2-3 weeks before your planned visit to book your hotel.
Reservations for Skiathos, as in most resorts in Greece, must be made in advance. It is most convenient to search and book hotel rooms on booking.com
Almost in the center of the city is the luxurious La Piscine Art Hotel, the highlight of which is an Olympic-sized pool. It is an adults only property, and the price of double rooms start from around €385 per day.
The bulk of hotels on the island are located off the coast outside the city, along the 14 km long road.
At the very beginning of the road, almost immediately by the city there are many private villas, guesthouses and small 3-star hotels.
For example, at a distance of 3.5 km from the city there is a family Hotel Paradise 3-star with 46 rooms. It is located on a hill, surrounded by a pine forest, and has two pools – for adults and children.
A double room here an be rented for 130 € and above.
Cape Kalamaki, as well as the area of the beaches of Trulos and Maratha, have excellent accommodation with a very large selection for all tastes. Not just that, but these areas also have restaurants and shops.
The best area is the last 8 km of the road where the Koukounaries beach is.
Here there are a lot of overnight options in various price categories. For example, in the Musses 3-star guest house with a huge outdoor pool, a double room can cost from €97.
And at the 5-star Elivi Skiathos Hotel, located right in the middle of a pine forest and offering its guests swith a spa center, the cost of double rooms starts from €230.
How to get to Skiathos
Like any island in Greece, Skiathos can be reached by sea and air.
If there is no direct flight from your region into Skiathos, there are 2 options that most people chose from.
- Athens to Skiathos
- Thessaloniki to Skiathos
From Athens Airport to Skiathos
From Athens you can take the 40 minute flight to Skiathos airport. Accounting for the waiting time flying involves, the door-to-door time easily blows up to 3 hrs or more.
Alternatively, you can take the 2.5 hr bus ride to the port of Agios Konstantinos and then take the hydro-foil (aka flying dolphin) or the ferry to Skiathos.
We would say that the combination of bus + hydrofoil that takes about 3.5 hrs in total is better as it is a different experience.
The second option is to fly to Thessaloniki, 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, and a ferry ticket costs about 40 €.
From Thessaloniki Airport to Skiathos
Step 1: Airport to Marina
There is no direct bus service following this route. By buses No. 78 or No. 78Н you can get from Thessaloniki airport to its bus station, and from there go to the marina by bus No. 8 or No. 31. The ticket price is about 2 €.
Or you can immediately take a taxi at the airport. A trip to the ferry will cost about 20 €.
Step 2: from Thessaloniki marina to Skiathos on a ferry
Thessaloniki-Skiathos ferry takes 4.5 hours for the journey.
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.
Recommendations for restaurants in Skiathos
Here are our favorite taverns on the island. In almost all taverns there was always a small dessert or fruit on the house.
1. Exanta’s restaurant
Excellent cuisine right on Megali Ammos Beach, not the typical Greek cuisine, but with a modern twist. The owners are always on the lookout for new food trends that they associate with Greek cuisine.
2. Little Balcony
You will find your daily dosage of delicious pita bread in the Little Balcony restaurant. It is located just 5-10 mins from Megali Ammos Beach on the corner of Mainroad. Giannis and his wife Eirini run this little taverna with a lot of love.
Although there are no fish dishes, there is a good selection of typical Greek vegetables and meat dishes.
Giannis and Eirini are always up for a chat. You can go there for breakfast and also for a late night drink on your way back from town. Value for money here is unbeatable.
3. Taverna Alexandros
The food here is nothing outstanding. On the contrary it is simple and good. The main reason for visiting the tavern is the over 80-year-old singer who sings Greek songs with his guitar every evening. Sometimes there are two of them.
The taverna is located in Skiathos town, not directly on the busy shopping street or at the port, but a little further in.
It’s easy to strike up a conversation in relaxed atmosphere and the openness of the guests. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone from your hometown!
4. Restaurant Scuna
Some taverns in Skiathos are quite fancy. This is also the case with the Scuna restaurant, located directly by the sea.
It offers excellent cuisine with a modern touch. We tried quite a few dishes and the meat and fish were always excellent.
Tip: As the Greeks do, order several small dishes together.
Bakaliko is also on the way to Scuna, and has a modern design. The freshly caught fish is in the chilled display and you can choose which one you want to eat.
Tip: Kritharaki with shrimp and stuffed squid with feta were very good.
Best time to visit Skiathos
The climate on Skiathos, as throughout Greece, is Mediterranean. It ha 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 hovers around 30°С, and the water temperature is 22°С to 29°С. Rains at this time of the year are extremely rare.
In September, Skiathos has the autumn season. The sea is still warm, 23°С to 26°С, the air is around 27°С. But it may already be raining.
From the end of October to April, when the wet season truly sets in, almost all hotels and restaurants in Skiathos are closed. If you were to visit Skiathos during this time, you will have nothing to do here.