All you need to know about Skiathos island!
One of the most popular Sporadic islands is the natural gem of Skiathos. Although this island is small in size, it attracts thousands of visitors each year due to it’s breathtaking beaches and wild nightlife. The island boasts many charming towns, each with their own special characteristics. Skiathos town, the beating heart of the island is built amphitheaterically around the port and offers; waterfront restaurants, narrow cobbled streets and a cosmopolitan vibe. Bourtzi is a tiny peninsula that divides the port into two districts and has an amazingly vibrant atmosphere with it’s dense greenery, colourful houses and waterfront cafes. There are many more enchanting villages and sights to discover on the island.
Welcome to Skiathos
Sea caves: One of the most beautiful sites on the island are the sea caves located close to the beach of Lalaria. Skotini Spilia (dark cave) is a low, narrow and dark cave 20 meters deep in the ground. Galazia Spilia (blue cave) is bigger compared to it’s sibling cave and creates mesmerizing water reflections on the rocks. Boat excursions are avaliable to take you to the area where visitors can enjoy diving and swimming within the caves.
Medieval Castle: On the north side of the island lies the remains of a medieval castle and it’s surrounding walls, baths and charming church with a red brick dome. This landmark offers remarkable panoramic views and is reachable with boat or by foot.
Monastery of Evangelistria: On the slope of the lush mountainside, 5km of north of Skiathos town stands the Monastery of Evangelistria. It was built in the 19th century and is of significant historical importance. This idyllic monastery was used as shelter during the Greek War of Independence by soldiers and refugees. It was also the location where war heros like Theodoros Kolokotronis and Andreas Miaoulis took their oaths of freedom and the birth place of the first Greek flag. The monastery is reachable by car or foot.
Lagoon of Strofilia: Located southwest of the island lies the verdant lagoon of Strofilia. This biotope is an important area for migratory bird species and other rare animals and has been declared a wildlife refuge by the Network of Natura 2000. It has a natural channel to the sea and is filled with beautiful butterflies, other insects and small mammals like wild rabbits.
House of Papadiamantis: The house and now museum of the famous Greek writer, Alexandros Papadiamantis was built between 1850 and 1860 by his father. The museum contains original furniture, personal items and a collection of manuscripts.
Monastery of Panagia Kounistra: This white stoned monastery is located on the southwest side of the island in the middle of a verdant pine forest. The monastery is considered to be saint protector of the island and is home to some fascinating frescoes.
Churches: The Church of the Three Bishops. The Church of Agios Nikolaus.
Skiathos boasts over 60 stunning beaches, each with white fine sands and turquoise waters. Every single bay is breathtaking but below are the most renowned:
Koukounaries: 13km southwest of Skiathos town is the largest and most popular beach on the island. Koukounaries bay is engulfed by a pine forest and boasts white sands and crystal clear waters. It has been listed as one of the most unspoiled beaches in the Mediterranean and one of the top beaches in Greece.
Lalaria: Listed as one of the most impressive beaches in Greece is the beach of Lalaria. Located on the northeast side of the island, this beach has soft white sands and glassy waters. It’s backdrop of white faced cliffs and moonlike rocks make this a unique place to relax.
Banana: Located 13km southwest of the island’s capital is Banana beach; named after it’s curvy shape. This organised beach has golden sands and crystalline waters. Watersports are avaliable.
Agia Paraskevi: This popular resort is found 7km from Skiathos town and has blonde sands and azure waters. The beach took it’s name from the small beachside chapel of the same name. The resort offers tourist facilities, coastal accommodations and fantastic waterfront tavernas.
Aselinos: The unspoiled beach of Aselinos is found 13km west of Skiathos town. The long bay has blonde sands with fine pebbles and deep blue waters. The verdant mountainside that surrounds the entire bay creates an exotic ambience. A charming beachside taverna and sunbeds with parasols are avaliable.
Local products of the island include: olive oil, wine, Tsipouro and handmade pasta.
Specialities include: Cheese pies, Kakavia fish soup (named after the tripod cooking pot used by
Ionian fisherman), Crawfish with cabbage, octopus with fava and Amigdalota (almond cookies).
Notable events and festivals
The island, like most of the Greek islands, celebrates many religious feasts that entail litanies, lots of food, local wine, traditional music and ‘Kamara’ dancing (the traditional dance of Skiathos). The biggest feasts celebrated on the island are:
March 25th: Feast of the Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria April 23rd: Feast of Agios Georgios
July 25th: Feast of Agia Paraskevi
August 15th: The Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Summer: Bourtzi Festival- Located in the old fortress (Bourtzi town). The festival consists of art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, theater performances and Karagiozis- shadow theater.
September: Katsonia Festival- This festival commemorates the sinking of the submarine Labros Katsonis. Aswell as traditional music, dancing and food, this event also involves the locals throwing flowers into the sea.