Skiathos, the most cosmopolitan island in the Sporades, is a paradise on earth, with lush pine forests and crystal-clear azure waters. Despite the rapid growth in tourism, the island is still picturesque and unspoilt and blessed with more than 60 beautifully clean beaches. The most famous is Koukounaries, which has been declared the third most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean. When you add bustling nightlife, it is only natural that the island attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Whether you want to hide yourself away from the crowds or dance until you drop – and then wake up and do it all over again – Skiathos has it all! The pedestrianised street by the Old Harbour is the ultimate hotspot for entertainment. If clubbing isn’t for you, then there are colourful cultural events, concerts and art exhibitions held throughout the summer, which add a special touch to holidays on the island.
Skiathos town, the island’s capital and biggest settlement on the island, is a modern resort with excellent tourist facilities. The town is relatively new. It is generally assumed to have been built around 1829-30 on the same site as an older town. The town’s most important landmark is its natural harbour, which has determined the destiny of the town for centuries. Today it is a popular yacht and sailing boat haven that adds a cosmopolitan feel to the island. A stroll around the town’s paved streets reveals lovely white houses with red tiled roofs and colourful gardens. The picturesque harbour surrounded by four small islets is an unforgettable site. Don’t miss the chance to visit Bourtzi, a small peninsula with lush vegetation where the ruins of a Venetian fortress still stand. The fortress was established in 1207 by the Gizi brothers but it was destroyed in 1660 when the Venetian admiral Morozini conquered the island. Today it is one of the most romantic spots on Skiathos thanks to its densely planted pine trees and stunning views of the archipelago.
Apart from Bourtzi, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the former house and now museum of the famous writer Alexandros Papadiamantis who was born and raised on the island. There is also the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary with its four museums and Kastro (meaning castle), a natural fortress used by the inhabitants in the 14th century as a refugee against pirate raids. Today Kastro attracts many visitors thanks to its breathtaking natural beauty.
In search of glorious beaches
The island has 60 superb beaches, among which Koukounaries or Golden Sand in the southwestern part of the island stands out. Koukounaries beach is famous for its lush pine forest – whose needles almost touch the water and offer unique natural shade – while Strofilia, a rare wetland nestling amid the pine forest, has been declared a protected area due to its enormous ecological value. Among the accommodation options, there is a campsite at Koukounaries. There are also plenty of tavernas and lively cafes and bars. If you like, you can also rent a boat, play tennis at one of the local hotels’ tennis courts or try out some exhilarating sea sports. Megali Ammos, on the road to Koukounaries and Ahladies, is a popular beach with crystal clear waters and tavernas by the sea.
Banana (or Krassa bay) is a wonderful beach surrounded by pine trees that attracts young people thanks to its water sports facilities and the parties that take place in its cafes and bars all day and all night! Banana’s sister beach, Small Banana, next to it, is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds or if you are looking for some peace and seclusion. It is famous for its clear blue waters and pine trees. Those who want to get away from the crowds should also check out the western part of the island: Mandraki, Elias, Agkistros and Small and Big Aselinos are all ideal choices to escape the crowds. Lalaria, on the northeastern part of the island, is the kind of beach you find once in a lifetime. Impressive white rock formations; small round pebbles (which is what lalaria means in Greek), beautifully clean waters and the ‘hollow rock’ standing imposingly on the beach provide a beautiful natural backdrop that will take your breath away.
Following walking routes
Nature lovers will be thrilled by the well signposted walking routes and trails that pass through some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the island. Depending on your stamina, you can go on walks that last from one to six hours. Follow the routes and discover the pristine interior of the island or fabulous secluded spots with amazing views of the Aegean. A suggested route to explore the beauties of the island starts from Aselinos and goes past Kounistra Monastery, Small Aselinos Beach and Alygaries Beach ending at Kehria Beach. The routes Agia Eleni to Krifi Ammos and Madraki-Elia-Agkistro will help you discover beaches of unique beauty!
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