Skiathos (also known as Sciathus, Greek “skia” and “athos” — Athos shadow) is one of North Sporades archipelago islands. Eleven green archipelago islands scattered in Aegean Sea near east cost of continental Greece. Four of these islands are populated — Skiathos, Skiros, Skopelos and Alonissos. Evia island coast, Pilio peninsula and neighbor Skopelos are visible from Skiathos.
Skiathos is a small island: its area is less then 50 km2, coastline 44 km, and population barely over 6 thousand people. However, despite Skiathos’ small size it has many interesting places to visit. E.g., monasteries — in one of them, Evangelistria monastery, current version of Greek flag was woven in 1807.
Or ancient fortresses ruins — Bourtzi and Kastro. In Skiathos town you can visit house-museum of Alexandros Papadiamantis — Greek classic writer — who is also called “Greek Dostoevski”.
You can visit drive-in theatre as well — it is available few times a week. Also, you can buy a tour on a small ship around Skiathos or to the other archipelago islands.
It is also fun to do trekking and go through the whole island by foot: there are a lot of routs, some you can finish in 1-2 hours, some, which are more difficult — in 6 or more hours. Anyway, it is easy to orientate on any route because of many landmarks. Skiathos is a perfect place to have a cycling tour, there is cycling club where you can join a group cycling. You can ride horseback or visit donkey farm. And, of course, you will always find out what to do on Skiathos if you are a water sports lover, no matter how experienced you are.
<h3>HOW TO REACH</h3>
You can reach Skiathos by plane from Athens or Thessaloniki or by sea — for example, ferry or speedboat. There is an Alexandros Papadiamantis International Airport — it is both for domestic and international flights. During summer, airport receives charter flights from Europe. Moreover, Skiathos is an important point of yachts routs. The most pleasant entertainment of a carefree traveler is admiring yachts during a seafront walk in Skiathos port.
As in whole Greece, Skiathos has Mediterranean climate — dry but soft, sun is shining almost 300 days a year, during summer months average temperature is above +30o C, water temperature is up to +26o C. Summertime there are almost no rains, and evening thunderstorm changes to sun shining in the morning. Greeks call winter on Skiathos cold — sometimes it can be even snowy.
Skiathos history is rather rich with positive moments: the fertile land gives rich harvest of olives and grape. Skiathos was famous agricultural products exporter and had strategic importance as freight point. During Jason’s travel against Troy with his Argonauts, he visited Skiathos.
In different times Skiathos used to be populated by Cretans, Chaldees, the island was captured by Spartans. In 338 year B.C. it went to Macedonians, but was ruined and enslaved by Romans after Alexander III The Macedon death. In 42 year A.D. the island was returned to Athens.
In 13th century, Skiathos was at the mercy of Gisi brothers. Time of their regime was a development period for Skiathos, but then brothers were expelled from the island. The main trouble for the island during Middle Ages was pirates’ assaults. To escape their attacks, inhabitants had to go to Kastro town, built specially for defending them from pirates. However, it could not save the island from Barbarossa capture, and soon Skiathos was under Turkish regime.
After Greece became independent in 1829, Skiathos inhabitants returned to the old city and started retrieving shipping and building.
Skiathos is also called an emerald island — mostly it is covered by olives on hills, and by pines which go down up to the sea, and create natural shelter from sun for beaches. There are more than 60 beaches here — sand or shingle, equipped or wild. Some of them (for example, Lalaria beach) can be reached only from the seaside.
Scandinavian people do love Skiathos very much, partly because of associations with ABBA band, because in 2008 the shooting of “Mamma Mia!” musical (where popular songs of this Swedish band are sound) took place on Skiathos and Skopelos. There are many tours for visiting the places where “Mamma Mia!” was shooted.
However, Italians, British, French, East Europeans, as well as Greeks do also love Skiathos. Most of tourists appreciate specific atmosphere of the island, local’s hospitality, tasty cuisine and extra pure sea.
The most comfortable ways to travel in Skiathos are cars (Suzuki Jimmy is especially popular here because it can easily overcome mountain roads as the highest island point is 433 meters over sea level), quadbike and scooter. From May till the end of September (when the peak of travelling season is) on the only main road buses are running according to their timetable with 20 minutes interval. All bus stops has their number (for example, the first one — New Port — is №3, and the last one — Kukunaries — is №26). Average travel time (depends on bus load) is 30 minutes. If you don not remember the name of your stop (usually bus stops have names of beaches they are near to), it is enough to tell its number to conductor, and he or she will inform you when your stop will be next. Average cost is 2.5 euro, but if the length of your travel will be short, the price will be lower then.