The island of Alexandros Papadiamantis and Alexandros Moraitidis, two exceptional literary figures, combines enchanting pine-covered landscapes with golden sandy beaches and a cosmopolitan flair. It is one of the most famous spots in Europe for plane spotting, as aircraft here fly very low. It is also where the first Greek flag was made in 1807, in the traditional loom of the Holy Monastery of the Annunciation to Virgin Mary.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the house of Papadiamantis, designated as a historical listed building by the Ministry of Culture and converted into a museum (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 24270.238.43), to better understand the life and works of the “saint of Greek letters.” At the Skiathitiko Spiti (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 24270.213.34), which dates from 1910 and features large clay pots and the old millstone of the olive press, you can catch a glimpse of the life of the locals during the early 20th century, while at the Museum of Naval and Cultural Tradition of Skiathos (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 24270.235.04) you’ll encounter everything from shipping tools to paintings of sailboats. Also, be sure to take a walk around the ruins of the 14th-century Castle for breathtaking views over Kastronissia.
Diving, hiking, yoga and more
The sea around Skiathos is not very deep, nor does it have any strong currents, which makes it ideal for novice scuba divers. Mr. Panagiotis Violetas from Skiathos Diving-Center (Tel. (+30) 697.708.1444) organizes underwater explorations mainly around the islets of Arkos and Repi, which include some lovely reefs and impressive walls with corals and Posidonia marine plants. In addition, Kyriaki Kantarakia (tel. (+30) 698.210.7202) combines hiking trips with yoga or pilates on the beach, organized for groups of up to 12 people. A regular route, lasting 3 hours and covering a distance of 7km, begins from bus stop 23 at Koukounaries and finishes at Mandraki beach.
If you are searching for something more unusual, contact Rania Stamelou (Tel. (+30) 697.578.5595) to experience being a beekeeper for the day. Rania and her husband will provide you with gloves, a mask and a bee smoker, give you a tour of the apiaries and teach you about the life cycle of a bee at their beekeeping facilities on the north side of the island, which are open to visitors. Depending on the season, they produce heather, pine, thyme and flower honey.
All the shades of blue
With over 60 beaches, you will be spoiled for choice. Local tourism agencies organize tours of the island by boat: you will take pictures at the Cave of Fonissa, enjoy the turquoise waters at Lalaria Beach and take a dip near the small island of Tsougria. Plan for approximately 8 hours. The most famous beach is Koukounaries, a horseshow-shaped sandy beach where pine trees reach the sea.
Behind the dense forest lies the lagoon of Strofilias, which belongs to the Natura 2000 network and has been declared a Wildlife Refuge. It attracts herons, cormorants, many rare bird species, and sea turtles. On the northwestern part of the island, in a small cover is nestled the beach of Mikri Aselinos, with its coarse sand and surrounded by impressive rock formations. Near the beach you will find the Holy Monastery of Panagia Eikonomistra, or Kounistra, dating from the 17th century and the patron saint of the island.
At the Parissis Winery (Profitis Ilias, Tel. (+30) 698.772.8440) they cultivate only Greek varieties and offer wine tasting sessions from May to October.
For local desserts, such as haimali (fried pouch-shaped dough with walnuts and honey), visit Anthos you Gialou (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 697.679.5208).
At the fish taverna called Amfiliki (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 24270.228.39), with its wonderful views over the islands of Tsougria and Tsougriaki, you will have exceptional crayfish and lobster, as well as fresh fish and home cooked dishes.
At Kalo Pigadi (Skiathos, Tel. (+30) 24270.231.12) you should order shrimp patties, lyraki (local zucchini)and grilled tounaki fish.
For meals by the sea, Tarsanas (Kehries, Tel. (+30) 697.725.9325) is a peaceful beach bar at the mouth of a small river, which makes a great seafood pasta.
Additionally, Diamanti restaurant (Koutsouri, Tel. (+30) 698.202.7468) seems to have been forgotten by time itself – enjoy local and Mediterranean cuisine here, on tables that have been set out on the sand.
Skiathos is located 1.5-2.5 hours by boat from Volos, depending on the itinerary.