The small island of Skiathos is the most visited of the Northern Sporades, probably because word has spread that some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean are located here.
You’ll have more than 60 to choose from, and with that you could already fill up quite a bit of your Skiathos vacation, but it would be a shame not to devote some time to the island’s cultural and historical attractions and maybe even indulge in a few hours of shopping in the bustling capital.
Explore Skiathos far and wide to discover the most beautiful beaches but also monasteries, museums, fortresses and natural beauties: our list of 10 things to see in Skiathos is just the beginning!
Skiathos Town is the only real inhabited center of the island. Beautiful and trendy, Skiathos Town is full of clubs, restaurants and craft stores.
The city of Skiathos, the capital of the island, is also the only true inhabited center if we exclude the seaside resorts born with the development of tourism. Built in 1830 within a quiet bay and above two hills in the southeastern part of the island, Skiathos Town is one of the most touristic centers of Greece.
Skiathos itself has changed profoundly with the arrival of mass tourism, dramatically increasing the number of trendy cafes and boutiques, but without losing its nineteenth-century charm.
Its main street, the pedestrian avenue Papadiamantis dedicated to the writer who best described in his novels the soul of the city, is a succession of stores selling clothes, souvenirs, leather goods.
Do not miss a visit to the church of Agios Nikolaos, protector of sailors, in the eastern part of the city.
Some typical Greek taverns are found along the ancient street of the Polytechnic that crosses the main course.
Bourtzi is a small peninsula that divides the city of Skiathos into two distinct areas. Initially it was a fortress, built by the Venetian brothers Ghizi who ruled the island in the thirteenth century: surrounded by imposing walls, it had two defensive towers located to the right and left of the entrance door.
The fortress was destroyed in the seventeenth century following the occupation of the island by Francesco Morozini. Today Bourtzi with its streets lined with pine trees and the exceptional panoramic views of the sea is the favorite retreat of the islanders and tourists who want a bit of relaxation.
The old school inside the peninsula of Bourtzi is now used as a cultural center and often organizes theme nights and events.
Alexandros Papadiamantis (1851-1911), one of the most important Greek writers of the 19th century, was born and lived all his life in Skiathos. Religious and humble, Papadiamantis led a frugal, almost ascetic life; his works reflect his spiritual dimension and his deep theological reflections.
His house, built between 1850 and 1860 by his father, is now a museum open to the public that tells the life and works of the writer. The second floor has remained unaltered, with original furnishings and objects from the period, to show the artist’s home as it was; the second floor is home to a permanent exhibition with a collection of original manuscripts and other documents.
It is a museum not to be missed for lovers of literature but also for all those who are curious to see an authentic traditional Greek house of the second half of the nineteenth century and to imagine how it could be living in Skiathos at that time.
The most famous beach of Skiathos is Koukounaries, which surprisingly manages to combine its popularity with an ecological vocation.
Set within a protected natural area, Koukounaries is a pristine beach of fine sand bathed by the azure waters of the Mediterranean; behind it the pine forest that gives its name to the beach offers shelter from the summer heat, while a narrow channel connects the sea to a nearby lake.
In spite of the efforts to protect the delicate ecosystem of the area, or perhaps because of these, Koukounaries, reachable from the capital by bus, has become one of the main seaside resorts of the island and attracts many visitors who can find here a large number of services, bars and restaurants.
Aselinos is another charming beach of Skiathos immersed in nature: it is an expanse of coarse sand and pebbles at the foot of Mount Kounistra, along the northern coast of the island.
It is a lovely beach, not by chance is included in many boat trips around the island, which usually stop here in the early afternoon. If you prefer to enjoy the beauty of Aselinos in peace and quiet, it’s best to come here in the morning.
Banana Beach is the name of a sandy bay a dozen kilometers from the capital that includes two beaches, Big Banana and Little Banana, surrounded by dense vegetation.
Big Banana is an equipped beach where it is possible to practice many water sports and it is generally frequented by young people. Little Banana is smaller and wilder, occasionally frequented by naturists.
Discover more about Skiathos beaches
The enchanting Lalaria is one of the most famous beaches of Skiathos and owes much of its fame to the sea caves that open along the rocks adjacent to the beach known as Skotini and Galatia, two extraordinary creations of nature that represent without a doubt one of the most beautiful attractions of the island.
Skopili is also known as “dark cave” for its dark and gloomy aspect of particularly suggestive charm: it has a low and narrow entrance which allows the entrance to only one boat and it is about 20 meters deep. Galazia, or blue cave, is larger and enchants visitors with the extraordinary play of light created by the reflections of the water.
The sea caves near Lalaria can be visited by private boat or by taking part in an organized tour; experienced swimmers and divers can enjoy the exciting experience of swimming in the crystal clear waters of the caves.
Also in Skiathos you can find the traditional small white churches that we instantly connect to the image of a Greek island.
The most famous religious building on the island is the Evangelistra Monastery, about 30 minutes from the capital, perched on the slopes of the mountain and surrounded by lush vegetation.
The monastery is famous for having given shelter to a group of Greek patriots who fought during the war of independence in the nineteenth century and it was here that the white and blue flag that would later become official was made.
Inside the monastery are housed the folklore museum and the museum of sacred art: the latter exhibits a collection of ecclesiastical robes, rare books and manuscripts, gold and silver crosses and Byzantine icons.
Another important religious building is the monastery of Panagia Iconistria, about 2 km from the beach of Aselinos. For the inhabitants of the island it has a deep religious significance because the monk Dionysus, an emblematic figure of the Greek Orthodox Church, lived there and because an icon of the Virgin Mary was found here in 1650 which is considered “miraculous”.
Kastro is a fortified village dating back to the 15th century situated on the northernmost tip of the island of Skiathos. Wonderful panoramas and beach of pebbles.
On the northern point of the island rises the Kastro, a fortified suburb to peak on the sea going up again to the XIV century. It can be reached only on foot along a steep path that requires two hours of walking, if you think you can not make it you can participate in a jeep safari or admire the village from below during a boat trip around the island.
Once one of the most important villages on the island, with more than 300 inhabited houses and twenty churches, Kastro today is just a pile of ruins that include the ancient walls, drawbridge, Turkish bath, a couple of houses and a lone church.
The remote location gives these ruins a truly evocative charm; add to that the breathtaking views of the sea and it won’t be hard for you to understand why Kastro has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Skiathos.
In the surroundings of Kastro
Not far from the ruins of Kastro there is Lalaria, a magnificent locality reachable only by sea thanks to the numerous caiques that land there. The beach is of stones and is characterized by a perforated rock. Unfortunately there are no taverns.
From Skiathos there are many day boat trips to the nearby islands of Skopelos and Alassonissos: the first is the island made internationally famous by the film “Mamma Mia!”, which despite the Hollywood fame has not mounted the head and has kept intact its traditional soul, the second is an island with lush nature, bathed by the cleanest waters of the Aegean.
Taking a day cruise is a fun way to see the best of the Northern Sporades in a short amount of time.