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Top things to do in Skiathos

Andy Stevens / 06 February 2017

Skiathos is one of those smaller Greek island destinations where, if you choose wisely, you just know you're in for a laid-back and luxurious holiday.

Skiathos town on Skiathos Island, Greece. Beautiful view of the old town with boats in the harbor.
This island gem in the Sporades archipelago off the east coast of Greece, Skiathos is peppered with pine forests, fringed by fine sandy beaches and enclaves, and all wrapped in the warm embrace of the clear, blue Aegean Sea.

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There's plenty of action, too, should you be looking for the occasional diverting day excursion or two to prise yourself away from the not inconsiderable poolside or beach-based pleasures of simple sunseeking. 

Skiathos' many pristine beaches are one of the island's absolute major draws, after all.

This island gem in the Sporades archipelago off the east coast of Greece is peppered with pine forests, fringed by fine sandy beaches and enclaves, and all wrapped in the warm embrace of the clear, blue Aegean Sea.

Skiathos is also a perfect place from which to take a sunshine cruise around her coast while you're there; a great way to explore more of the island plus the delights and surprised of her beautiful neighbours.

Tempted by a holiday to Greece and her islands? Find out more about Greek holidays here

Here is your guide to a selection of memorable places to visit and enjoyable things to do when you next visit Skiathos:

About those beaches...

Koukounaries beach bay view in Skiathos, Sporades islands

The beaches are among the star attractions of Skiathos, and there are many highly worthy of recommendation.

If you're staying in the island's capital, Skiathos Town, you could well find yourself drawn to the nearby Megali Ammos beach. It's a terrific spot to go for a swim. 

And once a splosh around in the blue waters has sharpened your appetite, you're not short of beach bars and restaurants to choose from nearby for a bit of light refreshment.

Just half an hour away from Skiathos Town by bus you'll find the popular Koukounaries beach. 

Its fine white sands and - again - those clear, blue waters are a magnet for sun-worshippers in the high tourist months.

But Koukounaries' natural beauty is, we're pleased to say, not something Skiathos takes lightly, in the pursuit of getting tourists to rent a sunlounger or part with their euros in its bars.

This beach is well looked after, and its attractive pine forest surroundings have been designated a protected environment. 

The biodiversity of the forest's bird and plant life also have ministerial clout behind them, to make sure this special environment remains just that.

If it's a seriously peaceful retreat that you look for in a beach, then Plakes beach is just the job.

Plakes beach can't promise you sandy, as it's rocky, but it does deliver plenty of tranquillity.

You'll find this oasis at the western end of Skiathos Town, complete with pine trees offering welcome shade when the temperature soars, plus a shimmering, aquamarine sea to savour as standard. 

You're no distance from few tavernas, either, for when that inner peace and relaxation get all too much.

Lalaria beach and the Blue Caves

Lalaria beach and the famous holey rock at Skiathos island in Greece

A boat trip to Skiathos' famous Lalaria beach has to be top of the to-do list for all visitors to the island.

You can only get to Lalaria by boat from Skiathos Town harbour - and your first glimpses on arrival at this remote gem in the north of the island will instantly make you realise what all the fuss is about.

Lalaria is a wild and other-worldly beach paradise just made for the camera. 

Dazzling large white pebbles cover the beach and the ethereal sub-aqua world of Lalaria's crystal waters, all against the backdrop of rocky arches carved out of the sea and towering white cliffs.

Get the picture? You certainly will. But don't even think about taking away a white pebble as a memento from your visit. There are hefty fines in this protected spot for any such infractions.

And on your boat trip to one should head back to port without a glimpse into the Blue Caves. 

These two sea chasms, the dark Skotini Cave and the blue Galazia Cave, are enchanting natural wonders you'll never forget.

A monastery that's the pride of Greece

Moni Evangelistrias

Skiathos' Moni Evangelistrias is a hilltop monastery whose history is hewn into the very genesis of a nation: the birth of modern Greece.

Now a visitor attraction easily reached by bus from Skiathos Town, 18th century Moni Evangelistrias (also known as the Holy Monastery of the Annunciation) had a pivotal role as a refuge in the Greek War of Independence, and it is feted as the first place upon which the flag of Greece was raised in 1807.

Set in delightful countryside, Moni Evangelistrias is to this day inhabited by a couple of monks who look after the upkeep of the place, while doing a bit of wine production on the side, partly for the liquid edification of visitors. 

You can buy a bottle or two from the monastery shop to help those monks keep their business thriving, and there are other handmade souvenirs for you to purchase as well.

On your visit to the monastery make sure you visit the museum, and then in pop for a look at the monastery's impressive triple-domed church, where you can enjoy the uplifting sight of some breathtaking Greek Orthodox frescoes and icons.

The charms of Skiathos Town

Skiathos Town

Skiathos Town is a buzzy and cosmopolitan destination in high summer, as well you'd expect from such a small but perfectly formed sunshine destination.

Spring and autumn are equally lovely times to visit, when you can enjoy the old town's traditional architecture, small whitewashed houses and narrow streets, with stacks of different options for sampling local restaurant fare after a bit of souvenir shopping.

The lanes above the old port area of Skiathos Town are worth a venture for some excellent traditional tavernas. 

And if Greece's trademark aniseed drink, ouzo, is your thing, when in town we suggest you track down an ouzerie, to discover how it is produced and indulge in a modest tipple while you're there.

If you're all for a bit of a peek inside Skiathos Town's interesting buildings as you walk around, then don't forget to take in a small church or two.

Be sure to visit Skiathos' Cathedral Church of the Three Bishops, where you can marvel at the collection of icons and relics it keeps in its care.

The churches of Agios Nikolaos (with its distinctive bell tower) and Agios Fanarios, are likewise charming little attractions, and well worth a visit, too, for their stunning island views.

Nearby Skopelos and the Mamma Mia! factor

Beautiful white church above Chora on Skopelos island, Greece

As exquisite island paradises go, Skiathos' neighbouring island of Skopelos pretty much had it made anyway.

And then, some time in 2007, a group of film location bods turned up, just to make sure the island was all it was cracked up to be, for some musical or other they were making...

So opened the unlikely Mamma Mia! chapter for Skopelos, where the spectacularly successful 2008 feelgood musical was filmed.

A Greek beach idyll straight out of central casting, Skopelos is just as dashingly handsome in itself as any Brosnan, Firth or Cooper from the mega-hit movie of Abba songs and kitschy romantic capers.

Mamma Mia! might have put Skopelos on the movie map and tourist trail. 

But you'll be pleased learn that even if the unlikely sight of Meryl Streep belting out one of Bjorn and Benny's finest isn't necessarily your thing, then Skopelos is still deliciously unspoilt despite its relatively newfound fame.

Whether you're a movie-buff or not, Skopelos' Kastani beach is equally recognisable to Mamma Mia! fans as a much-used location in the film, as it is to anyone simply recognising what a stunning beach looks like when they see one.

The Mamma Mia! factor still plays a not-insignificant part in the island's tourist life, and visitors can take bespoke tours to Kastani and other locations from the film, such as the Agios Ioannis Kastri chapel on its dramatic rock-top promontory, Agnontas harbour and Milia beach.

And another fabulous, non-film-related beach we know you'll relish on a trip from Skiathos to Skopelos is the sandy bay of Panormos, which is renowned for its amazing sunsets.

Ferry trips from the Skiathos itself to Skopelos take about an hour; make sure you check out the times and frequency of the trips, as there are inevitable seasonal variations.

If you manage to grab some time before your return trip to Skiathos, we recommend a little wander around Skopelos Town itself. 

This unspoilt little port is outrageously picturesque, with the remains of a Venetian fortress at the top of the hill and a gentle cascade of whitewashed dwellings and charming little chapels meandering down to the town's waterfront.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.