Skopelos is the greenest island in the North Sporades. Thee pine greenery meets here the beauty of crystal clear sea and blue sky. Each and every guest on Skopelos feel like in a small paradise here, in the perfect location in the heart of Greece.
Skopelos is located to the east of mainland Greece. The total area is 96 km², the coastline length is 67 km. The population is less than 6,000 inhabitants.
In ancient time, the island was called Peparitos. Peparitos was the name of Stafilos’ brother, the son of Dyonissos. According to the myths, Stafilos was the first ruler of the island. It is no hard to find some mentions of Stafilos here on the island — his name is given to the town and a coast, where in 1936 some traces of Minoan civilization were discovered. In particular, a burial was found and a 32 cm sword with a gold handle. It became an important example of Mykenian art. The tomb was considered to be Stafilos’ and the sword is now kept in the Archeological Museum of Athens.
In ancient times (5-6 century BC) Skopelos was famous of local high-quality olive oil & and no less excellent wine export. The island also participated in the Olympic Games: in 569 the winner of the run contest was the resident of Peparitos — Agnon. In the honor of Agnon a bay is now called on the island — Agnontas Bay.
After the Persian wars, Skopelos is no more an independent island and joins The First Athenian Alliance. According to Thucydides, in 417 BC Skopelos suffered from a devastating earthquake. After a short Spartan reign, Skopelos joins The Second Athenian Alliance.
In the Hellenistic period, Skopelos becomes an arena of struggle between the Romans and the Macedonians. At that time, churches and some classical buildings were built on the island. Today you can see only the remnants of them. The island has also its own coins minted, but the first significant mentions of Skopelos are found only in Ptolemy’s works.
The spread of Christianity on the islands of North Sporades is much Bishop Riginos merit. After his death, Riginos was declared a saint. Nowadays, Bishop Riginos is the patron saint of the island. His day is celebrated on February 25.
The Byzantine period in history of Skopelos is mentioned just a bit. The island was conquered by Venetians and has been subjected to numerous attacks by various invaders. In 1538, the Skopelos was invaded and destroyed by the Turkish admiral Barbarossa. But during the Turkish rule there was no Turks on the island. In prerevolutionary Greece Skopelos hosted fighters of Nikotsarasa and Yannis Statsasa and during the revolution the residents of Skopelos were actively involved in the hostilities.
In 1830, Skopelos became part of the Greek state.
The new history of Skopelos is also full of events: social division, participation in Balkan riots, World War II.
The development of tourism industry on Skopelos started in 1980s. And all over the years Skopelos has retained its originality, rich folk traditions and culture. Thus, there are many artists, who still use the theme of history of the island, the relationship of traditions and nature. Skopelos is famous for its masters of shipbuilding. In the past, it has been a well-known shipyard. While on Skopelos, take some time to visit ceramic workshops, as the craftsmanship of wood and ceramics machining is being revive nowadays. Skopelos cannot be understood without its turbulent past. Come and find out more about this beautiful island.
WHAT TO SEE IN SKOPELOS
On Skopelos, you can easily combine your beach rest with visiting some of historical monuments. Some of the must-see sights on Skopelos: graves in Sentuki, The Venetian castle in Chora, The capital of Skopelos, Old Bishop & archeological sites in Stafilia, old farms and the remains of Roman baths.
The ruins of ancient buildings used for processing of grain, wine and oil are scattered in the north of Glossa among the dessert churches. These buildings were used as a protection from the pirates and foreign invasions. Thus, the farms became fortresses.
At the site of the village of the same name, the Acropolis was located. Its walls on hill preserved in perfect condition. There is a path, which leads from the Acropolis to the cave Panas — a unique monument of worship to God Pan. This area is included in the long-term program of archeological excavations.
The third-largest city on Skopelos was Selinos. It was located in the port of Glossa in the site of current Loutraki town. Only a few ruins of the southeastern fortifications survived there. At the end of the port (in the direction of Old Klima) there was a place for Roman baths. Some of the mosaics preserved, but most of them went underwater.
THE BEACHES OF SKOPELOS
The International Organization of Biopolitics called Skopelos “an island of green & blue”. Indeed, most of the island is covered with pine forest and the seawater is so crystal clear that you can see the bottom in detail even at depth.
Beaches of Skopelos are varied and are all worth of a visit. Here are some of them:
Stafilos is an organized beach in the southern part of the island, a charming bay protected from the wind with a bar and rescuers. If you decide to get there by a public bus, notice that it stops on the way from Skopelos to Glossa, and you will have to walk 500 m. to the beach by foot.
This beach is named in honor of an Olympic athlete from Skopelos. His name was Agnon and his ship returned to the homeland right in this place. Agnontas beach is located 8 km away from the town. It is a perfect place for stay till dawn. The fishing port is located nearby. Boats depart from here for a night fishing to deliver fresh seafood to the taverns.
The beach of a rare beauty, just 9.5 km away from town. According to a legend, its name comes from the God of war Ares (Limni Ares = Lake Ares), who was charmed by the beauty of this place. This place is worth visiting to enjoy its clear blue waters and white sand. The beach is equipped with beach chairs and umbrellas. You will also find a few taverns and parking near the beach. The road to Limnonari is meandering, be careful on your way.
The beach is located 17 km away from town, in the village of the same name. It is one of the most visited and popular beaches on the island. The water here is crystal clear, and the beach is pebbly. There is a variety of taverns, hotels and apartments near the beach.
Some say that Milia is the most beautiful beach of the island. This statement is quite controversial, since there are no beaches on Skopelos that could disappoint you. Milia is big organized beach with a bar and rescuers. The left part of the beach is noisy, and right one is quieter.
It is worth staying here until the sunset to enjoy a truly magnificent view. Another fact about Milia: the beach was the base for the film crew during the filming of Mamma Mia musical.
The Mamma Mia beach. It is located right behind the Milia beach. It became famous after the release of the musical, as the bar scene was shot here. Today Kastani is the most fashionable beach of the island. It has loungers on the equipped lawn and a bar. It attracts many of the tourists, but do not negate the beauty of this wonderful place.
If you decide to get a tour through the beaches of Skopelos, don’t forget about the other beautiful beaches: Velanio, Linarakia Panormos, Adrines, Kowol, Neo Klima Elios, Armenopetra, Perivolia, Aggeletu, Petamenis (Kanalaki) Glifoneri, Vatias, Sarres, Spilia, Aghios Ionnnis, Glister, Kondrogiorgis Megan Pefki, Ftelia, Mavraki, Marie and others.
You can easily reach Skopelos from the neighbor Skiathos, as long as from the mainland Greece.
Check out the ferries timetable.