Beach parties, cocktails on colorful pillows, overnight stays in the port clubs, and thousands of tourists in its streets. Skiathos, the most cosmopolitan island of the Sporades, however, is not just a party hub. It is also the island of the whitewashed city and the picturesque cobbled alleys.
It is a Greek island of endless pine trees and mountains in which small villages and historic chapels nest. It is the homeland of famous Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis, the island with some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and the whole world, the island of romance, with its enchanting sunsets from Bourtzi or the coasts that overlook Pelion and the northwest Aegean Sea.
And last but not least, it is also included in our gay Greece travel guide!
Here, you will find a guide to Skiathos island that will make you appreciate it in its full potential and book your Skiathos holidays in a heartbeat!
Reasons to visit Skiathos
Aerial view of Skiathos island - credits: @akiskalamidas
1. Its breathtaking beaches. With the green of the pines and plane trees embracing every settlement and bay, the beaches of Skiathos are a sight to behold. They combine beautiful, warm turquoise waters, the shade from lush pine forests that, in some parts, stretches all the way to the waves, and, in many cases, rich wetlands.
One of the best beaches on the Skiathos one cannot leave out of their itinerary is Koukounaries, one of the most beautiful in the world. Another one is Agios Georgios Beach, as well as Lalaria, accessible by boat, with all-white round pebbles and the famous stone holes in the rock in the sea.
Vassilias, blessed with pines and olive groves, Kalamaki, with plenty of options for young visitors and party animals, Agia Eleni, Elia, and Aselino for peace and quiet, and Mandraki for a shocking sunset, are also incredible options.
2. The beauty of Skiathos Town. Don’t miss the chance to walk across Bourtzi, on the verdant peninsula at the edge of the seafront that separates the old from the new port. There was once the Venetian bastion of the island. Today, however, it houses a municipal cafe, ideal for your cup of traditional coffee on a Greek island, enjoying wonderful views of the Aegean Sea and the rest of the city.
What’s more, in the heart of Skiathos Town, you will pass through the colorful shops and cafés, you will ascend to the Plakes district, and you will stroll Papadiamanti Street, where the house of the great novelist of the same name can be visited.
3. Because Skiathos island showcases in the best way possible the primitive forces of nature and is perfect for nature lovers. On the one hand, idyllic landscapes with lush pines and emerald waters, and on the other, a cosmopolitan ambiance and an overflowing tourist development that keeps people on their toes.
4. If you are young and have an appetite for life and partying, then this is definitely your island, as its name has become synonymous with fun, liveliness, and frantic rhythms of life. Skiathos is one of the most popular and attractive islands in the Mediterranean, and it competes with Mykonos and Santorini in Greece and other famous summer destinations across the world. Visit the many bars and clubs that will welcome you until the early morning hours and dance your troubles away!
5. Skiathos is the island that inspired the great short story writer Alexandros Papadiamantis! Apart from its home being one of the island’s main attractions, the fact that the island was the hometown of such a great Greek personality makes you want to explore it inch by inch in order to discover what made it special enough to shape its work and way of life.
6. Because there, you can seize the opportunity and explore the seabed of Skiathos! Skiathos island has a number of diving schools that will undertake your underwater tour, in a world that will fascinate you! It is worth mentioning that the sea of the Sporades hosts 300 species of fish.
How to get there
Skiathos - credits: @akiskalamidas
Skiathos island is, fortunately, easy to access. You can reach is it either by ferry -albeit not from the port of Piraeus but from other mainland destinations- or by airplane, as the island has an international airport that serves direct domestic and international flights.
Ferries from Volos arrive at the port of Skiathos with six itineraries per day from the companies and tickets that range from €20 to € 32 one way, depending on which company you choose and how quickly it will take you to your destination.
The Flying Dolphins will take you to the port of Skiathos in about an hour and a half, while the other ferries take about 2.30 hours. If you want to bring along your car, make sure to add around 60-80 € to your budget.
From the port of Agios Konstantinos, the ferries and Flying Dolphins take about 2-2.30 hours and 1 hour and 50 minutes, respectively, to bring you to Skiathos, with similarly-priced tickets.
The best towns and villages
One of the things that make Skiathos stand out from the rest of the Sporades islands and the Greek islands in general is the fact that it actually doesn’t have any villages. Instead, in addition to its town -or Chora-, it has a number of settlements formed mainly around its stunning beaches. Below you’ll find the most significant ones.
Skiathos town - credits: @patak.pk
First and foremost comes Skiathos Town. From the modern port -at the southern end of the jetty- you can follow the Papadiamanti pedestrian street, which cuts the city in two and reveals the touristy side of the island with dozens of stylish boutiques and uninterrupted traffic.
Almost at the beginning of the pedestrian street and at about 100 meters from the port, you will see the simple traditional house where the great Skiathos writer Alexandros Papadiamantis lived. Today it has turned into a museum called 'Papadiamantis House Museum,' worth the time of anyone even remotely interested in Greek culture and literature.
South and west of the sea stretches the heart of the Old Town, with its picturesque whitewashed stone houses and winding streets. Leave your vehicle behind and set on an exploration of its raw beauty on foot.
Behind the roofs, the blue windows, and among the flower gardens, you will see the delicious blue of the Aegean sea peaking through. The local architecture is an alloy of the popular island practice, the strictness of the Pelion mansions, and several elements borrowed from the aesthetics of neoclassicism.
Going down slowly, you will head to the old port where the church of the Three Hierarchs dominates the scenery, and It has important religious relics as it was the metropolis of the island for more than 150 years.
Megali Ammos - credits: skiathos.com
Megali Ammos is located just outside the town of Skiathos on the road to Koukounaries. You can get there on foot or by car and bus.
There, you will enjoy the clear waters of the beach, and you will eat in its very beautiful and picturesque taverns, and drink the local spirit of ouzo to your heart’s content!
If the homonymous settlement takes your fancy, you will find everything from luxury hotels to hospitable hostels to stay in.
Troulos is a small seaside settlement with a magnificent beach and is located 8 km south of the town of Skiathos. Specifically, it lies just opposite the homonymous bay are Troulonisia.
The beach of Troulos stands out for its natural beauty. The dense vegetation reaches the shore. The tall pines offer their shade to the bathers, who are impressed by this unreal beauty. The white gold beach and the turquoise waters that sparkle under the rays of the sun create a perfect backdrop for your Greek holidays.
Please keep in mind that private boats moor in the marina of Troulos, however, that doesn’t affect the pure beauty of the region in the slightest.
Kolios - credits: skiathos-apartments.gr
Kolios is a tourist settlement around the homonymous sandy beach. It is located about 8 kilometers southwest of the main town of Skiathos on the south coast, about three kilometers west of Platanias, on the road to Koukounaries.
There are many options for accommodation near the beach and many taverns and cantinas offering food and refreshing drinks before or after swimming. Unsurprisingly, the settlement has a well-organized beach and offers guests all the comforts of swimming and sunbathing, as well as excellent water sports facilities.
Achladies - credits: i-lovegreece.com
Achladies is an important tourist settlement of Skiathos around the homonymous long beach and is located about 5.5 kilometers southwest of the city of Skiathos. It is inhabited by a few permanent residents who are engaged almost exclusively in tourism. There is a wealth of choices in regard to accommodation near the beach.
It is especially worth paying attention to the seaside eateries and the beautiful picturesque ouzo taverns that will allow you to have a traditional meal after your swimming adventures that will refuel your energy. Achladies has a very well-organized beach and offers guests all the facilities for swimming, sunbathing and all the sports in the sea and the sand.
The best beaches in Skiathos
Skiathos is famous for its sandy beaches, which have the privilege of being shaded by the pine-covered vegetation that reaches all up to where the waves break.
While most of them may be known for their organization and vibrant beach bars, there are also crystal clear beaches, mainly on the northwestern and northern coast of Skiathos, which is suitable for those who are looking to experience a more quiet and authentic side of the islands.
Koukounaries beach has been voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and not unjustly. The pine needles fall on the sand, and the shallow, warm waters are crystal clear despite the influx of people looking for a sunbed or a spot to lay their towels on the golden sand.
It is located at the western end of Skiathos, opposite the port of the island, and it is without a doubt one of the most famous landscapes of the Mediterranean. There, you can indulge in all kinds of water sports and keep your stomach full and spirits high with snacks and drinks from the beach bars and canteens that can be found there.
The wooden benches, the shade areas, but also the shallow sea make the beach ideal for children. It is even protected by the Meltemi winds, providing a safe haven for everyone.
Behind the wonderful beach in Koukounaries grows the small wetland of Lake Strofilia, which is worth exploring after a refreshing dive into the beach. The famous pine forest is maintained in good condition as it is protected by Greek and European legislation.
For a better view, go up to the hill where Skiathos Palace, one of the most famous hotels in the Sporades, dominates the setting, and you will have the whole coast at your feet. The highly aesthetic landscape will compensate you for your effort. Just below the hotel, you will be able to admire the stunning beach of Marathia with its fine golden sand.
Lalaria beach - credits: @gaetanizarn
You can reach Lalaria beach only by boat. The extra effort you will put into visiting it, however, will be rewarded by the almost eerie, lunar charm of the beach, with the all-white and all-round pebbles, the majestic waves that appear as soon as the wind blows, and the famous stone holes in the rock in the middle of the sea that will serve as the most beautiful background for your holiday photos.
The spectacular natural arch rising out of the sea is a trademark of Skiathos, offering the perfect opportunity for incredible holiday photos!
Banana beach - credits: clickatlife.gr
Well organized and beautiful, Banana beach - which is divided into two parts: Small Banana and Big Banana- is famous for its water sports opportunities. If you are into windsurfing, the beach of Banana is ideal for practicing it.
What’s more, if you are a fan of nudism, walk across the rock that separates the larger side of Banana from ‘Mikri Banana’, the nearby beach that has been in recent years one of the most popular and well-known nudist beaches in the Aegean.
Megali Ammos Beach
Megali Ammos - credits: skiathostrip.com
One of the closest to the city, at a distance of only 2 km away from Skiathos town, Megali Ammos beach has two km of soft sand beach that gets flooded by people -both tourists and locals- from early in the morning.
It is organized; while on the beach, you will find several taverns and ouzo shops for appetizers after your swim.
Vasilias beach - credits: booking.bookres.com
Where Megali Ammos ends, the beach of Vasilias begins. It is a sandy beach protected from the winds and blessed with pines and olive groves at its "feet." This is where the Byzantine emperors came for their rest.
As a result, the name ‘Vasilias was given to the striking beach, which in English, translates to ‘King.’
Kalamaki beach - credits: triphelp.gr
Kanapitsa, Tzaneria, and Sklithri are some of the charming beaches lined up at Cape Kalamaki. They are wild, enchanting, quiet, romantic, organized, and, first and foremost, they are diverse!
There is a part of these coasts that suits every taste and won’t leave even the most demanding of visitors unsatisfied.
Vromolimnos beach - credits: @villaannaskiathos
On the west side of the Kalamaki peninsula lies the beach of Vromolimnos. Vromolimnos has proven to be the second most popular beach after Koukounaries. There, you will find facilities for water sports, cafes, and beach bars that cater especially to younger crowds.
‘Vromolimnos’ may mean ‘Dirty lake’, however, do not be fooled by its name! Vromolimnos is, in fact, a crystal clear beach, but it owes its name to an older lake that existed in the area, which had such shallow water that, over the years, it turned into an unpleasant swamp.
Nowadays, the beach of Vromolimnos is beautiful, with clear deep green waters, protected from the winds and surrounded by lush vegetation. Despite its staggering beauty, please keep in mind that it is not suitable for lovers of peace but for party animals instead, as countless beach parties with loud music are organized here.
Agia Eleni beach - credits: hellas-beach.gr
If you are looking for something quieter and family-friendly, the bay of Agia Eleni on the west side of the island, near Koukounaries, will be right up your street. It is a very beautiful beach, surrounded by trees.
It has 2 bars with sunbeds and enough space in between to spread your towel and lie down on the sand if you want to. The beach boasts fine sand and turquoise waters you won’t be able to resist!
Mandraki beach - credits: @lecheikblanc
Mandraki beach actually consists of two beaches in a row. One leads to the other through a narrow path. Both stand out for their thick sand, peaceful atmosphere, tall pine trees, and a wonderful view of Pelion that lies opposite the beach.
From Mandraki, you can enjoy an awe-inspiring sunset. That’s why this beach is favored by couples in love who want their swimming endeavors to be as romantic as possible.
Aselinos beach - credits: tripadvisor.com
On Asselinos beach, you will find small in combination with thick sand and crystal clear waters that deepen sharply. It is located 15 km from the port, in the northwest of the island.
Nearby, you will find a tavern with amazing traditional dishes that will help you recharge your batteries, as well as the historic, beautiful chapel of Panagia Kounistra that is worth a visit.
Tsougria beach - credits: @dazhill
Tsougria Island is distinguished for its excellent beaches and its landscape is reminiscent of an earthly paradise. The island is only 3.5 km away from the port of Skiathos and is definitely the most popular, as dozens of yachts and sailboats moor there in the summer. From the port of Skiathos, you can rent a boat with an outboard so that you can have autonomy and discover the unexplored Skiathos for yourself.
Kryfi Ammos beach - credits: @villa_teozenia
The name of this beach -which means ‘hidden sand’- is pretty self-explanatory. Kryfi Ammos is a beautiful sandy beach that is essentially hidden, in a small cove about 15 kilometers west of the city of Skiathos.
Access to the beach is mainly by excursion boats. You can also reach Kryfi Ammos by car in combination with a little bit of walking, however, the road there is difficult, so you need to be very careful.
Getting around Skiathos
Skiathos port - credits: kbammosskiathos.com
Due to its size, in order to thoroughly enjoy your trip to Skiathos, you will need your own vehicle. If, however, you do not have your own means of transportation in Greece, you still have a lot of choices in regard to transportation as you can go from one place to the other by taxi, bus, or by renting a wheeled vehicle in one of the many car rental shops that operate on the island.
Skiathos taxis, unlike taxis in other cities, have the ability to go almost anywhere. With a taxi, you can visit beautiful beaches, churches, and general locations where there is no asphalt road network or bus line.
Of course, if relying on taxis to get around the islands seems costly, which it is, you can always use public transport. The road network of Skiathos, with an area of 14 km, can accommodate you wherever you choose to go. Taking the bus is efficient, eco-friendly, and affordable. What more can you want?
The most expensive ticket does not exceed 2 euros, and there are a total of 24 intermediate stops. They operate from 07.00 am until after midnight in the summer season.
Things to do in Skiathos
Sunset n Skiathos - credits: akiskalamidas
1. Enjoy the lively nightlife! In the alleys of the country and on Papadiamantis street -the main pedestrian street- there are many bars that are relatively quiet and relaxed. The big clubs are located next to each other on the seaside, just outside the center, towards the airport. Follow the way the massive crowds lead after 11-12 pm, and you will find them.
2. Explore the islet of Tsougria. The number of consecutive great beaches on this uninhabited island makes it more than worth exploring. It has a small tavern and shallow waters, which makes it also ideal for families with children. You can reach it by taking a boat from the port, in the section right next to Bourtzi. There are daily boat trips that take place frequently so you probably don't need to book ahead.
3. Take a boat ride around Skiathos in order to admire its countless beauties. You can choose how many hours you spend on the boat, however, the full-day experience is the best in our opinion as it leaves no stone unturned. You will be amazed by the inviting waters and you will get the tan of your dreams with little to no effort!
4. Visit the scenic Plakes. It is a beautifully constructed neighborhood that you have probably already seen in photos. However, despite its popularity, if the locals don’t lead you there or let you know how to reach the region, it will be difficult to locate. It lies at the southwestern end of the old port at the roots of the long narrow rocky peninsula.
To get there, you must go to Panagia Limnia, the historic church of the Old Town. Then, you will descend to the coast where between the rocks and the beautiful houses there is a tiny beach and picturesque taverns.
5. Behind its pine forest, Lake Strofilia is a unique habitat with rare species of birds. Do not forget to visit the sea caves and don’t miss the opportunity to get to know the impressive flaura and fauna of the island.
6. Visit the Holy Monastery of Evangelistria. One of the most important sights in the interior of the island is the monastery of Evangelistria, in a verdant location near the city, a stone's throw from the sources of the Lehouni stream.
It was in the Holy Monastery of Evangelistria where the first Greek flag of the Greek Revolution was woven, while Kolokotronis, Miaoulis, and other great leaders of the Greek Revolution were appointed there!
All the information you need, as well as valuable collections of souvenirs, church objects, documents, and manuscripts, you will find in the small adjacent museum of the monastery.
7. Stroll the Medieval Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, when the constant pirate attacks forced the inhabitants of the island to move and settle their new city in the castle, on the north coast of Skiathos. In a naturally fortified position, the inhabitants further strengthened its endurance and enriched it with loopholes and cannons.
The Medieval Castle was abandoned in 1830 and today you can see four churches, the ruins of an old mosque, and part of the old walls. In our opinion, however, the most impressive sight at the Castle of Skiathos is the panoramic view it offers, perfect for a romantic afternoon.
8. Visit Bourtzi. Bourtzi is the small peninsula that divides the port of Skiathos in the middle and is the location where the Gizi family built its castle in 1207. The castle was destroyed in 1660 by the Venetian admiral Morosini, but the location still remains. So do its charm and its historical grandeur.
When you visit Bourtzi, do not forget to make a stop at the municipal cafe, which often organizes performances, events, and theme nights!
8. Indulge in hiking in nature. Not one or two but twenty-five marked hiking trails pass through 197 km in the nature of Skiathos. The route Aselinos-Moni Kounistras- Aselinos beach- Alygaries beach -Pachia Kechria is one of the most impressive, while in the axes Agia Eleni- Krifi Ammos- and Mandraki -Elia- Agistro, you will enjoy the most beautiful coastlines.
What to eat and drink
Skiathos tavern - credits: @labrosmartsakis
Skiathos cuisine is healthy and delicious. It deserves to be known and distinguished for its uniqueness.
Do not forget to try the famous Alpine Wine and ‘aspro,’ which is a spoon sweet with almonds. Skiathos also produces excellent-quality olive oil and tsipouro. The traditional macaroons from the station of the Women's Association in the port are an absolute must!
Skiathos boasts a great tourist infrastructure, which means that you will find restaurants for all tastes and preferences. Also, on the island, there is a lot of fresh fish -surprise, surprise! One of the best restaurants is ‘Carnayo’ in the new port. It serves Mediterranean cuisine, while the vegetables come from its own organic farm.
One of the best places for fresh fish, however, is ‘Scuna,’ where you can complete your meal with homemade pastries. For Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with creative touches, try ‘Salt & Pepper’ in Troulos, which also has a yard full of greenery.
For traditional and fresh local flavors go to ‘Artesanal.’ An award-winning restaurant of modern Greek cuisine is also ‘Elia’s Restaurant’ inside the Mandraki Village hotel. A delectable and traditional tavern in the city of Skiathos, with decoration reminiscent of a grocery store, is the ‘To Bakaliko.’ It is famous for its fish and seafood; be sure to try the shrimp saganaki.
In Koukounaries, you will find the cafe-bar restaurant ‘AlaMar,’ which you can visit at any time of the day. You can go to the ouzo bar of ‘Kambourelia’ for sea bream and appetizers at affordable prices in the old port.
Of course, you must pass by ‘Ergon’ to browse the grocery store that is full of incredible Greek products and try a menu made exclusively from these products. ‘Marmita’ is another beautiful restaurant with Greek cuisine on the busy Papadiamanti Street. It gets extra points for the cool yard and large portions.
If food is not all you’re interested in and you want to enrich your night with a couple of drinks, we’ve got you! The legendary club restaurant of Skiathos ‘The Borsoi’ is one of a kind. Inside there is the club, with a loud DJ set, while outside, in the yard of the old olive mill, there is the restaurant and a bar with amazing cocktails.
For coffee, drinks, and cocktails on the beach, go to ‘Marilyn’ in the old port, which organizes many special events. ‘Centaur’ is the timeless rock bar of Skiathos, while ‘Danny & Zoe’s Blind Dog’ has refreshing cocktails and a blind dog as a mascot!’
Our trips to Skiathos and the nearby islands of the Aegean Sea
Skiathos - credits: @akiskalamidas
The beautiful island of Skiathos deserves to be explored inch by inch. Its cultural value, amazing beaches, and incredible landscape make it a favored summer destination for thousands of people every year.
In order to get to know the popular island and combine it with a visit to the stunning Greek capital and equally beautiful regions of Pelion and Skopelos, joining our 12-Day Athens, Pelion, Skopelos & Skiathos Getaway is the only way to go!
Skiathos is one of the Greek islands, which everyone agrees, that ticks every box of even the most demanding travelers.
During your visit to Skiathos, natural beauty awaits you with stunning views, unlimited choices of nature quests, secluded beaches and cosmopolitan hangouts, picturesque corners, and excellent, delicious flavors of Greek and international cuisine. Do I need to say more?