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Your guide to Skiathos
All About Skiathos
As the most visited of the Sporades Greek islands, Skiathos is known as one of the treasures of the Aegean Sea. The westernmost island of the bunch is home to a generous smattering of greenery (fig, olive, plum, and almond trees all grow here) over craggy cliffs and more than 50 beautiful beaches that have attracted visitors from all over the world, and even Hollywood filmmakers to its shores.
The town of Skiathos is the jewel in the island’s crown, with its romantic, old marina and narrow, cobbled back alleys. In summer this is a great spot to enjoy the nightlife, with famous DJs dropping in to whip up excitement in the local bars. By day you can take your pick from a number of watery pursuits all over the island — boating, swimming, watersports, and scuba diving. For a trip off the beaten track, there are also boat trips to the island’s less accessible beaches and coves.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Skiathos
Being situated fairly far north in the Aegean Sea means that Skiathos has a slightly shorter summer season than other Greek islands, with its hot days concentrated between June and mid-September — although you can expect up to 15 hours of sunshine a day at this time of year. Book a Skiathos apartment on either side of the high season and you’ll have the island more to yourself, although you’re likely to find the evenings a little cooler. November is an important month, when locals hold one of the two festivals celebrating the Virgin Mary at the island’s monastery of Panagia Kounistria (the other festival is in July). But for real, authentic, local fun, come at the height of low season — late February — when it’s Carnival time in Greece.
Top things to do in Skiathos
Learn about the history of the island through its monuments. From Skiathos’ town you can visit the medieval ruins of Bourtzi Fortress that separate the old and new harbour. For insight into the Greek life of old, stop by Papadiamantis House Museum and discover the way things were at the turn of the 20th century. A visit to the island’s famous Byzantine castle in the north is worth the trip for the views alone.
The bay at Lalaria is home to the island’s two most photographed sea caves. Skotini Spilia is known as the Dark Cave because of its deep rock pool and low entrance, accessible only by swimmers and small boats. Galázia Spiliá (Blue Cave) is a much larger cave, sunlit through its entrance to create a beautiful, midnight-blue colour. There are even more sea caves to explore at Strofilia Lagoon near Koukounaries Beach, so you’ll have plenty to choose from when it comes to water-bound activities.
When seeking somewhere to lay your towel, take your pick from the shallow waters and sandy shores of Koukounaries or the wilder coves on the north of the island. Koukounaries, Banana Beach, Troulos, and Vromolimnos are all favourite spots for watersports. For more secluded sands, Kanapitsa is quieter, while Lalaria Beach is inaccessible by road but is a favourite stop on island boat trips. The neighbouring islets of Tsougrias make great day trips by boat as well.