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Skiathos in Greece
Skiathos belongs to the Sporades islands located in north eastern Greece. The other islands of the Sporades are Alonissos, Skopelos and Skyros. Approximately 6,100 people are year-round residents, the majority live in Skiathos Town which has about 4,900 inhabitants. Other villages with more than a hundred residents are Achladias (120 inhabitants), Koukounaries (120 inhabitants) and Troulos (160 inhabitants).
The surface is 48 km2, the smallest of the islands in the Sporades. Highest mountain Karaflitzanaka measures only 427 meters above sea level.
Like all islands in the Sporades Skiathos is surrounded by incredibly clear water. The landscape however is far from spectacular, though it can be quite pleasing, especially in the north. The island is green and lush all year round and packed with pine trees.
If you are looking for the "genuine Greece" you should go somewhere else, for example to one of the neighboring islands: Skopelos, Alonissos or Skyros. But if you are looking for nice sand beaches, shopping and a large range of restaurants and bars, this is the place to be. Perhaps you've heard that there are many nice beaches on this island. But you will be surprised by how good and how many they actually are.
TRAVEL TO SKIATHOS
Charter flights from all over Europe. The independent traveler flies directly to Skiathos. There are good boat-connections to the neighboring islands of Skopelos and Alonissos as well as to Thessaloniki, Volos and Agios Konstantinos on the mainland.
GETTING AROUND IN SKIATHOS
Buses ply the road between Skiathos town and Koukounaries beach. It stops at almost every beach along the way. Car-, motorbike- and bicycle rental outlets are found in Skiathos town and in the larger tourist resorts. Bathing- and sightseeing boats go to several beaches.
VILLAGES IN SKIATHOS
There is only one village (or town) and that is Skiathos town. The cosmopolitan Skiathos town is a swarm of alleys where restaurants, fast food joints, cafés, pubs and bars are packed together with souvenir shops and stores that sell everything from bathing towels to the latest of the hottest brands in clothing.
Skiathos town at night.
Almost the entire town is adapted to tourism. The ordinary Greek life is if not invisible, at least very hard to find. Even if almost all of the islanders live here, the tourists are in majority. But there are some parts of the town that are relatively unaffected by tourism, for example the older parts above the fishing boat harbor.
The pedestrian precinct Papadiamantis is the life-blood of Skiathos town. The street is full of all kinds of shops, as well as bars, cafés and restaurants. The street is named after the writer Odos Papadiamantis, who is famous in Greece. The house where he lived and worked during his time on the island is now a museum located in a cute little square a few steps from street that carries his name.
Megali Ammos close to Skiathos town.
The long harbor promenade in Skiathos town tries its best to compete with Odos Papadiamantis. Tavernas and bars are lined up after each other. It is a killer race, as you will find out when you pass by. The eateries all fight the eternal struggle over new customers. Generally speaking the tavernas here by the waterfront does not quite sell what they offer. But you can't complain about the spot, here you can keep a constant eye on the ways and whereabouts of almost everyone.
BEACHES IN SKIATHOS
Skiathos is a grand beach paradise. Few Greek islands can compete with the variety that is offered here. If bathing in sun and water is your preference, you can hardly pick a better island to stay at. A few of the many nice beaches of Skiathos are described below. More beaches like Achladhias, Vromolimnos, Troulos, Mandraki, Agistros, Xanemos, Stigero, Agia Paraskevi, Kolios, Agia Eleni, Maratha, Gournes and Aselinos are found in The Kalimera Guide (presently only available in Swedish).
Mandraki is one of the least known beaches of Skiathos.
Megali Ammos is the beach closest to Skiathos town is also the most exploited one. Long rows of hotels and tavernas lie by this mediocre beach (mediocre by Skiathos standard that is). It is long and narrow and lead almost the entire way to Mitikas beach.
The sand consists of fine grains and is a bit brownish. The fact that many choose Megali Amos before better beaches in the south has a natural explanation: The majority of Scandinavian package holiday tourists stay here and it is comfortable to walk back and forth to the beach without changing clothes. The closeness to Skiathos town is also a plus.
Many view Koukounaries as paradise on earth. The beach lies along a beautiful bay where the trees are always green. The powder fine sand shift color from golden yellow to white, the water is shallow and playfully suited for children.
The entire shoreline is full of sunbeds (without parasols). It is crowded during the high season. Unfortunately, there are no tavernas here, but plenty of fast food-like joints where ketchup and mustard are always included in the laying of the tables.
Banana beach lies just after Koukounaries. With some imagination the bay may resemble a banana, hence the name - quite cute when you think about it. Anyway, Banana beach is one of the best beaches on the island. The sand is just as beautifully fine as on other beaches, but Banana Beach is better because the water here looks and feels clearer and bluer than anywhere else.
Nudism is common, mostly on the west side. If you pass a cliff on the far end of the beach you will reach the strictly nude Little banana beach.
SIGHTS IN SKIATHOS
Skiathos main attraction is the lovely beaches and Skiathos town. If you should to get tired of swimming and sunbathing, you can rent a car or moped and drive to the ancient capital Kastro, situated on a cliff top on the north of Skiathos. There is not much left of the city except a few churches, but the place is very beautiful, and there is a beach and a taverna below the kastro. It is well worth a visit.
Kastro - the old capital of Skiathos.
ACCOMMODATION IN SKIATHOS
Accommodation is available throughout the island, and it is difficult
to choose where to stay. The smartest is to book in advance instead of
looking for room when you arrive.
The largest selection is in Skiathos Town and Megali Ammos beach. But there are also hotels in other places on the island, like in Agia Paraskevi, Achladies, Koukounaries and Kolios.
Koukounaries is the best beach in Skiathos.