Skiathos in Greece: a Gem of the Aegean

Skiathos in Greece is a stunning island in the Aegean Sea, a few miles off the east coast of mainland Greece. Skiathos Island is famous internationally for its 60 pristine sandy beaches with Lalaria and Koukounaries ranking among the most spectacular beaches in Greece.

With a backdrop of lush greenery of pine trees, the vibrant rhythms of its lively night scene, and the enchanting traditional character of the island Skiathos is the most cosmopolitan and popular island in the Sporades.

The  picturesque scene of the sandy Koukounaries beach framed by a dense pine forest, where the emerald-green trees meet the sparkling turquoise waters of Skiathos, Greece.
Koukounaries Beach

Join us on a journey through the finest offerings of Skiathos in Greece, a quintessential slice of Greek paradise!

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Top Things to Do in Skiathos

Skiathos in Greece Fast Facts

  • Population: 5.802 (2021)
  • Acreage: 12 km (7 miles) long and 6 km (4 miles) wide with uninhabited islets.
  • Terrain: Densely pine wooded hills with the highest peak at 433 m (1,421 feet) on Mount Karafiltzanaka. Caves all around its coastline. Strofilia wildlife habitat in Koukounaries. and Abundant water. Its orchards contain mainly fig, olive, plum, and almond trees as well as grapes. It has 60 (mostly sandy) beaches.
  • Economy: Skiathos has undergone tourist development for several decades, becoming particularly popular among young people. During peak season in July and August, finding accommodation without a prior booking can be challenging due to high demand.
  • Public transport: Local buses.

Exploring Skiathos Town

An enchanting scene of Skiathos town, nestled on the island in the Sporades, featuring tiled roofs glistening under the Mediterranean sun and winding picturesque alleys inviting exploration.

Skiathos town is the main settlement and the port of the island where you will find everything that you need for your vacation. It’s a picturesque town with tiled roof houses and colorful gardens, a delight to discover its winding alleys and stone-paved pathways, especially in the old part of the town.

A traditional bakery in Skiathos town.

As you wander around the town, you’ll stumble upon artisan shops displaying handcrafted jewelry, vibrant ceramics, locally made olive oils, and fragrant herbs. There are also quaint little shops serving up creamy scoops of local gelato, bakeries tempting you with cheese pies and cookies, and cozy cafes and taverns serving up their delicious local cuisine.

A captivating image capturing the essence of Skiathos town, with its distinctive tiled roofs adding character to the skyline and quaint, winding alleys offering glimpses of local life and culture.
Papadiamantis HouseCredit: Giorgos Detsis

Be sure to visit the original house of Alexandros Papadiamantis, one of Greece’s most significant writers, now transformed into a museum. Step back in time to the early 20th century as you explore this middle-class home and view personal items belonging to Papadiamantis. The museum is open daily for visitors.

But perhaps the most captivating sight in town is the stunning port, framed by four small islets, creating a picturesque backdrop. It’s a favorite spot for yachts and sailing boats.

Bourtzi Peninsula: A Blend of Nature and History

A captivating image capturing the essence of Skiathos town, with its distinctive tiled roofs adding character to the skyline and quaint, winding alleys offering glimpses of local life and culture.

Take a stroll along the port and you’ll come across the charming Bourtzi peninsula, a small fortified area lush with greenery. Here, you’ll discover remnants of the 13th-century Venetian Castle still standing. Keep exploring, and you’ll stumble upon a quaint chapel and the Museum of Maritime and Cultural Tradition of Skiathos in Greece.

Bourtzi is a beloved spot for sightseers, offering a picturesque setting with panoramic views of Skiathos stretching out before you. It’s the perfect place to soak in the island’s beauty and history.

Accommodation tip: If you are looking for a mid-range, family-friendly, seafront hotel with breakfast, check out Skiathos Theros, Philian Collection.

Sun, Sand, and Surf: Skiathos’ Best Beaches

An idyllic view of a sandy shoreline hugged by lush pine trees, with the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Skiathos Island invitingly lapping at the shore.

You step onto the soft, golden sands of Skiathos and instantly understand why beach lovers flock here. All types of water sports are available at most beaches and even diving centers. As a rule, the closer you are to town the busier the beach will be.

Skiathos Town Beaches: Siferi and Megali Ammos

A tranquil beachscape featuring a sandy shore embraced by towering pine trees, against a backdrop of azure skies and the mesmerizing turquoise hues of the Aegean Sea.

If you’re short of time, Siferi and Megali Ammos are the closest sandy beaches to the town with organized and free parts for a quick dip. You’ll find them well-equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas and they can be very busy during July and August.

Nearby, there are plenty of beach bars and tavernas where you can grab refreshing drinks and savor delicious Greek cuisine. It’s the ideal spot for a brief but enjoyable beach outing.

A great budget hotel in the area is Megali Ammos House (family-friendly), at a very convenient location with the town center within walking distance.

Koukounaries (Top beach in Skiathos)

A serene image capturing the harmony of nature, with a sandy beach nestled within a vibrant pine forest, leading to the tranquil turquoise waters of Skiathos, Greece.

Just 13 km west of Skiathos town lies the stunning Koukounaries, renowned as the most famous beach on the island and one of the loveliest in the Mediterranean. Here, you’ll find golden sand, turquoise, crystal clear waters that blend with beach bars, umbrellas, and sea beds.

What makes Koukounaries truly enchanting is its setting: a dense pine forest embraces the beach, while behind it lies Lake Strofilias, a unique habitat that serves as home to a variety of rare birds. Koukounaries is one of the best things to do in Skiathos in Greece.

A fantastic hotel with killer views in Koukounaries is Skiathos Palace Hotel.

Lalaria Beach

A captivating sight of a sandy coastline flanked by verdant pine trees, where the shimmering turquoise waters of Skiathos' beaches merge seamlessly with the horizon, creating a breathtaking vista.
Lalaria beach

If you’re up for a bit of adventure, don’t miss out on the breathtaking Lalaria Beach located on the north side of Skiathos. You can only get there by boat, but trust me, it’s worth it. Picture-perfect white pebbles, clear blue water, and those cliffs? They’re like nature’s own masterpieces.

Keep in mind that Lalaria can get quite crowded during the summer months, and there are no facilities for shade, water, or food, so be sure to bring your supplies for a day in paradise. 

Achladies

A picturesque scene of a sandy beach framed by a dense pine forest, where the emerald-green trees meet the sparkling turquoise waters of Skiathos, Greece.

Achladies sandy beach is just 4 km south of Skiathos Town. Here, you’ll discover sunbeds, umbrellas, water sports, and numerous charming taverns nearby. What’s more, its strategic location provides natural protection from strong winds and waves.

Reaching Achladies is a piece of cake, with regular bus services from Skiathos Town and small boats departing from the old port. So, whether you prefer land or sea travel, getting to this picturesque beach is hassle-free.

Banana Beach Greece Skiathos

An idyllic view of a sandy shoreline hugged by lush pine trees, with the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Skiathos Island invitingly lapping at the shore.

Perhaps a playful day in the waves suits you? Then stunning Banana Beach awaits with its vibrant atmosphere and water sports aplenty. You can jet ski, paraglide, or swim in the rejuvenating waters of the Aegean Sea.

After your adventures, unwind at one of the beach bars lining the coast, where you can kick back with a refreshing cocktail in hand. It’s the perfect way to top off an exhilarating day by the sea!

Cultural Treasures: Monuments and Monasteries

You’ll find that Skiathos is not just about the pristine beaches and lush greenery; it holds a treasure trove of culture in its historical monuments and monasteries. Whether you are a history buff or an admirer of architectural beauty, these sites are a must-see.

Kastro

The abandoned area of medieval Kastro in Skiathos.

Up on a rocky cliff, about an hour’s drive north of Skiathos Town, you’ll find Kastro, the island’s old capital, with stunning vistas of the Aegean Sea. Walk around and you’ll spot bits of history everywhere: old churches from the Byzantine era, a cannon, and even a half-ruined mosque. Check out the old houses still standing and the medieval fortress with its crumbling walls and towers.

While reaching Kastro by car isn’t possible because of the wild terrain, you can conveniently park your vehicle nearby and embark on a thirty-minute walk to reach the old town. Alternatively, for a more scenic approach, consider boarding a kaiki boat from Skiathos’ old port, providing both transportation and picturesque views en route to Kastro.

Evangelistria Monastery

A Monastery decorated with many small flags in Skiathos in Greece.

Nestled amidst the pine-covered hills, the Monastery of the Annunciation (Evangelistria) can be visited 5 km from the town of Skiathos. It was founded in 1807 and played a significant role in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans. The first Greek Flag -with the white Cross on a sky-blue background- was designed, created, and raised here for the first time.

Today, 8 monks live in the monastery, taking care of everything, including the in-house museum with religious artifacts. It is open daily.

Mamma Mia Moments: Finding the Film’s Magic

An overview of the pier of Skiathos port where a scene of mamma Mia was filmed.

Skiathos was one of the dreamy spots where they filmed “Mamma Mia!” The filming locations in Skiathos are in the old port next to the picturesque and pine-covered peninsula of Bourtzi. From here is the scene where Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, run on a pier to catch the boat that will take them to Skopelos.

However, most of the shooting of the film was on the nearby Skopelos island and the Dancing Queen scene was in Damouchari village in Pelion.

Conquering the Trails: Hiking in Skiathos

A woman pointing at a paper hiking map in Skiathos Greece.

Skiathos is a wonderful place to hike with 197 km long trails criss-crossing the island. 27 signposted trails will take you to lush forests, coastal paths with killer views, creeks, springs, and peaks for Insta-worthy panoramas of the Aegean Sea.

If you also love culture, the paths pass by religious points of interest and archaeological and Byzantine treasures. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned hiker, Skiathos has trails for everyone.

After the Sunset: Skiathos’ Vibrant Nightlife

People at a party in a yard of a bar in Skiathos.

Skiathos is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and is often called the ‘Mykonos of the Sporades’. A must-visit spot to grab a drink is the famous “Pillows-Maxilares” located near the port and the Rock n Roll bar is one of the famous bars in this area. These iconic steps are where bars have placed cushions, allowing you to sit and enjoy your cocktail with a view of Skiathos Port.

For a drink at the old port, grab a seat at Marilyn or Danny & Zoe’s Blind Dog. For refreshing cocktails, head to Ginfish Cocktail & Bar in Megali Ammos or Jaguar for Mediterranean-inspired cocktails. And for clubbing, check out Pure on the waterfront.

Wine Tasting in Skiathos

People having wine tasting and a tour in vineyards in Skiathos.

In the Prophitis Ilias area, close to Skiathos town, you will find the only winery in Sporades. It produces excellent wine using Greek indigenous varieties: Assyrtiko, roditis, xinomavro, limnio, and malagouzia are some of its wines.

You can have a tour of the winery, and discover its history and the production procedure. Then you can have a wine tasting accompanied by nibbles of cheese, bread, meats, and olives enjoying beautiful views of Skiathos Town. You can also buy bottles of wine to bring home if you want to.

I suggest you take a taxi from Skiathos Town to the winery (15 minutes and €25) as the winery is high above Skiathos Town and only reached by a tricky road that is narrow, twisty, and climbs steeply.

You can check out the winery and the tours here.

Gastronomic Delights: Top Taverns in Town

There are plenty of traditional taverns and sophisticated restaurants in Skiathos. Some of my favorite ones are:

At Basilikos Restaurant on Evangelistrias Street in Skiathos town, you’ll get to taste an incredible cheese pie with handmade pastry and cucumber juice, feta wrapped in filo pastry with fig jam, and incredible seafood dishes.

Marmita Restaurant is located in the heart of Chora and offers gourmet and traditional recipes.

The seafront tavern of Scuna restaurant in Sporades.

Perched on the waves on the eastern beach of Chora since 1960, Scuna offers homemade flavors, a large and select wine cellar, a romantic atmosphere, and great music.

A modern Greek cuisine restaurant that is also worth trying is the award-winning Elia’s Restaurant inside Mandraki Village Hotel.

Hotels in Skiathos in Greece – Where Best to Stay

A view of the swimming pool of La Piscine hotel in SKiathos.
La Piscine Art Hotel

The majority of the hotels are in Skiathos town but there are also fine properties around the gorgeous beaches. Find below some of my favorite hotels on the island:

Hotels in Skiathos Town

La Piscine Art Hotel, Philian Hotels and Resorts (luxury, adults-only), is a top hotel on the island if you are looking for luxury and excellent service.

Skiathos Theros, Philian Collection (mid-range, family-friendly, breakfast) is a seafront gorgeous hotel in Skiathos town with an outdoor swimming pool and stunning sea views.

Entelia rooms (budget, children over 9 only, self-catering) are located in the heart of Skiathos town with lovely views of the town and Pelion mountain.

Hotels in Skiathos Beaches

An overview of Skiathos Palace Hotel terrace and diner.

La Luna Hotel (mid-range, family-friendly, breakfast) is in the south of Skiathos near the beaches of Troulos, Koukounaries, and Maratha. It has beautiful sea views, a swimming pool, and top-notch service.

Skiathos Palace Hotel (mid-range, family-friendly, breakfast) is located on a cliff overlooking Koukounaries beach. That means that you will get a beautiful sea view from every location of the hotel.

How to Get to Skiathos

Skiathos belongs to the northern Sporades, an island group including Skopelos, Alonissos, Skyros, and fifteen smaller islands, an Archipelago.

You can get to Skiathos either by flying or by ferry:

  1. By Air:
    • Direct Flights to Skiathos: Skiathos has an international airport (Papadiamantis Airport) with direct flights during the tourist season from various European cities.
    • Connect through Athens: Alternatively, you can take a flight to Athens International Airport (ATH) and then catch a connecting flight to Skiathos.
  2. By Ferry:
    • Skiathos is well-connected by ferry from the mainland ports of Volos in Pelion, Agios Konstantinos, and Mantoudi in Evia Island. Ferry services and high-speed Flying Cat vessels operate regularly, especially during the tourist season.
    • You can also take a ferry from the nearby islands, such as Skopelos and Alonissos.

When is Best to Go to Skiathos?

An image of the tourist seasons in Greece.

Skiathos is at its liveliest between May and October, making it a popular choice for many visitors. In July and August, it is very busy and crowded, so choose the month that best suits you. If you prefer fewer crowds and more moderate prices, consider visiting in May, June, or September/October for the best combination of pleasant weather and reasonable costs.

How to Get around Skiathos

Typical boat offering local tours in Skiathos port in Greece.
Typical boat offering local tours in Skiathos

You can explore central Skiathos town only on foot as the alleys are tiny and made only for humans and the occasional motorbike. As for the rest of the island, I suggest the following:

  1. Renting a Car: This is my preferred way of traveling in Greece as it offers flexibility to explore remote areas, beaches, monasteries, archaeological sites, and scenic viewpoints. However, if you are an inexperienced driver you might find some steep areas slightly challenging.
  2. Public Buses: they are cost-effective (tickets are around €2), well-connected routes covering major destinations. The cons are the fixed schedules, too many people during high season, and limited or no service to remote areas. Find here info about the Skiathos bus routes.
  3. Taxis are available in Skiathos Greece and they are super convenient, no need to navigate or park. The cost depends on how far you will be going on the island, anything between €10 and €25, and availability may vary during peak times.
  4. Boat Tours are great and relatively cheap for exploring the nearby islands and secluded beaches. You can take them from Skiathos port. However, they are also limited to specific routes and schedules and they are weather-dependent.
  5. Private All-Inclusive Full-Day Cruise & Lunch in Skiathos: You will enjoy a unique day sailing tour on Skiathos island with a new Luxury Sailing Yacht, a tailored trip to your preferences.

You can always opt for a combination of these options based on the activities and locations you plan to experience on the island.

Best Guided Tours in Skiathos

Experience the beauty of Skiathos Island with personalized guided tours, immersing yourself in its picturesque landscapes and rich history. From exploring hidden coves to discovering ancient ruins, let expert guides enhance your Skiathos adventure.

How Long Should You Stay in Skiathos

The ideal duration for a visit to Skiathos typically ranges from 3 to 7 days, allowing ample time to explore its stunning beaches, charming villages, and vibrant nightlife while savoring the island’s laid-back atmosphere.

Is There Nightlife in Skiathos?

Yes, Skiathos offers a lively nightlife scene, especially during the summer months. From beach bars to clubs in Skiathos Town, visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment options, including live music, DJ sets, and beach parties, creating vibrant nights for all tastes.

Is Skiathos Island Expensive?

Skiathos Island can be moderately expensive, especially during the peak tourist season. Prices for accommodation, dining, and activities may be higher compared to other destinations, but there are options available to suit different budgets. Travelers can find affordable accommodations, local eateries, and free or low-cost activities to manage expenses while enjoying the beauty of the island.

Is Skiathos Safe for Solo Travelers?

Skiathos and Greece in general, is a perfectly safe country for everyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. In addition to that, Greek people are gene-programmed to be hospitable and are always eager to offer directions to your destination or any other advice, so ask freely.

However, as with any destination, it’s essential to exercise common sense and take necessary precautions, such as staying aware of your surroundings and belongings, especially in crowded areas or late at night.

Timeline: Skiathos’ Rich History

Skiathos island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, likely by Pelasgians and possibly later by Cretans. From ancient times until today, it has always been called Skiathos. The city of Skiathos was a steadfast ally of the Athenians.

In 338 BCE, Skiathos fell under the rule of the Macedonians, and the island lived undisturbed for many years. It was destroyed by the Romans in 199 BCE. There is little known about its Byzantine period but we do know that the islands suffered for many centuries by the invasions of the pirates.

In 1207, the Venetian Gizi brothers seized the island and built the Bourtzi to safeguard the capital from pirates, rather unsuccessfully. That’s why the inhabitants abandoned Bourtzi and relocated to the northern part of the island, which they fortified known as the Kastro, around the mid-14th century.

Fast forward to the 19th century, and you find Skiathos contributing to the War of Greek Independence. In 1829, when the new country of Greece was founded, the residents abandoned Kastro and relocated to Skiathos town.

Plan My Trip to Greece

Do you need a custom travel itinerary for Greece? Are you traveling solo, with your family or friends and need a tailor-made multi-day tour or a transfer within Greece?

If yes, please visit my dedicated Plan My Trip Page for a free itinerary!

Where is your dream summer destination? Would you go to Skiathos in Greece?

I’d love to hear about where you’re spending your vacation this year, especially if you have any exciting travel plans! There are so many things to do on Skiathos Island. I hope that you get the chance to try as many as possible. Till next time, Evgenia❤️

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Evgenia Mataragka
Hi! I am an Athens-based Greek obsessed with exploring Greece and bringing you the best travel experience ever!

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