Updated on 02/09/2022. Skiathos is an island where every summer crowds of tourists fill the hotels and beaches of the island, enjoying their holidays.
It has become known for its nightlife and stunning beaches in recent years!
In this post, you will find the below information.
- Where Skiathos is and how to get there?
- What to do
- Best beaches
- Where to stay
- How to move around
Where is Skiathos island and how to get there?
Skiathos is a Greek island in the northwest Aegean Sea and is part of the Sporades archipelago.
There are two ways that you can visit this beautiful island.
- One way is by ferry from several harbours, like Volos (3.5 hours from Athens – 2.5 hours from Thessaloniki), Agios Konstantinos (2′ hours from Athens by car), Thessaloniki and Mantoudi. Personally, I use the Ferryscanner platform (a Greek travel startup) to book any ferry tickets and they have built a great product, user-friendly and efficient!
- Another way to reach Skiathos island is by flight, as the island has an international airport (but not very large). It is recently renovated and nominated for Europe’s most Scenic Airports Award 2020! This airport is famous for its close proximity to the beach and nearby yachting docks!
TIP: If you want to visit Skiathos, a good idea is that you can spend some days in the Pelion area, which is next to Volos city. It is a unique place that offers various things and places to relax, both in winter and summer. You can look at our mini travel guide about Pelion and where to stay there!
What to do in Skiathos
#Stroll around on the cobbled streets for shopping
Just get lost on its narrow streets. You will surely find one of the main pedestrian streets, Papadiamanti street, where you can buy local products from many stylish boutiques and deli places!
#Enjoying water sports!
Generally, Skiathos has calm seas, especially compared to other places in Greece. Many of its beaches are perfect for water sports, even for beginners. The ideal beach is Koukounaria, with ski and surfing schools with experienced instructors.
#Visit the Museum of Greek Writer Alexandros Papadiamantis.
In Skiathos town, there is the museum of the famous writer Alexandros Papadiamantis. This is his last home and where he wrote many short stories, but he, unfortunately, did not see any of them get printed.
The museum is close to the east port, where you will see the sign in an alley. Inside, you will find personal items of Alexandros Papadiamantis, such as his pen, inkwell, etc.
#Walk to Bourtzi and enjoy your coffee or drink
Bourtzi is a beautiful peninsula that you will see in the port of Skiathos. In Bourtzi, in 1207, a small Venetian Castle was built by the Gyzi brothers, where you will find some remains of the Castle today.
In Bourtzi, you will find many visitors sitting on benches by the sea just admiring the beautiful views!
Also, the Cultural Center in the area hosts the Museum of Maritime and Cultural Tradition of Skiathos. It narrates the two centuries of Shipbuilding and Maritime History of the island.
#Enjoy the sunset
There are two sunset spots in Skiathos that are my favourite. One of them is the beach of Agia Eleni, an ideal beach to enjoy with your loved one romantic moments with bright colours by the sea.
The second is in the main town, in Chora, and you can go to the church of Agios Nikolaos. The short walk passing through narrow streets and stairs is fantastic, and you will admire the old houses with courtyards. Once you arrive at the church, you can enjoy the magnificent view of the whole island and, of course, the sunset. ‘
#Hike on the stunning paths
There are 26 hiking routes in Skiathos (around 200 km in total!), and you will be able to go through wonderful pine forests and reach the island’s peaks! Trails are clearly marked and well-maintained, and you would be able to choose routes that need from 1 to 6 hours to be completed.
Ortwin Widmann, originally from Germany, fell in love with Greece and especially with Skiathos. Since 1997 he has lived in Skiathos with his wife, and he created a Hiking Guide for Skiathos. You can find more information here!
One of Skiathos’ most rewarding hiking trails is the one that leads to the medieval Castle on Kástro (= Castle), which was built to protect the island from pirates. Alternatively, you can take the path east of Skiathos Town that leads to Agios Georgios Beach, offering beautiful coast views.
All routes are given as a gift in a file for GPS and a hiking medal for all those who reached the 24 routes.
Tip: If you want to get a taste of the churches in Skiathos, then two of the ones you must visit are I.N. Evangelistrias and I.M. Millet, with the typical red dome.
#Visit the Kastro = Castle
On the site, there are four churches, the terrace with the scalpel, the gate and part of the wall, a cannon and a half-destroyed mosque.
You can visit it by car/motorbike, but if you have the stamina, you can go on foot, as mentioned above.
The most famous route – 6 km – is the one that starts from the Monastery of Evangelistria to the Castle, ideal for birdwatching friends in the area of the Castle.
Also, some boat routes reach the Kastro beach and you can ascend to the Kastro through a path.
#enjoy a boat tour around the island!
There are many boat tours on the harbour that you can book and enjoy the island tour, where you can swim on fantastic beaches!
If you are into sailing, you can select this nice full-day sailing trip around Skiathos.
Koukounaries: This is perhaps one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean and is also known as “Golden Sand” since its sand is magnificent and looks like shining under the sun!
There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas to accommodate enough tourists, and it is quite well protected from the north winds.
You can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and a wide range of water sports! Guided horseback riding through the pine forests in the northern part of Koukounariés is also available.
The beach borders the wetland of the protected area of the Strofilia lagoon, where there is a specially designed place for animals and rare species of migratory birds, including swans, herons and ducks. You can reach the beach by road or by bus.
Note that especially during July and August this beach gets extremely busy!
Maratha beach: This is the beach just before Koukonaries and usually it can be quieter than its famous neighbour! You can leave the car on the road and go down about 30 steps (a fairly steep walk o) or use the road, which might be slightly better, but still steep.
It is not long, with a beach bar from the hotel Skiathos palace to occupy a part. Some of the sunbeds are reserved for the hotel. There is also a tavern that is nice and the staff very helpful.
Megali Ammos: This is the beach closer to Skiathos’s town and a perfect choice that they need a beach close to the town. It has several taverns, cafes and rooms for rent just above the beach.
It has many sunbeds; it is relatively narrow as a beach, and combines sand with small pebbles. It is easily accessible by bus and almost right at the bus stop. It is around a 15′ walk to Skiathos town.
Elia Mandraki: This is an excellent beach and it can be reached in two ways. One is by bus (stop 21 and then walk through the lovely forest from the main road. It has shallow waters and is surrounded by dunes and red rocks.
There are no hotels or the possibility of doing some water sports, but the landscape is unique and special. It has a great canteen, where you can grab a coffee and something to eat and umbrellas with sunbeds. Finally, please check the weather before going because the beach is wavy with a north wind.
Agia Eleni beach: The beach is located north of Banana beach, 14 km from Skiathos town and just 1 km from Koukounaries. It is relatively quiet and sandy, surrounded by pine trees. There is a beach bar with some sunbeds, but it can be expensive if you want to use them. You can also do various water sports.
Lalaria beach: This unique and extraordinary beach you can visit by boat and enjoy its exceptional beauty.
Limestone cliffs surround it, and you totally be fascinated by the clear turquoise waters of the Aegean sea. The spectacular natural arch rising out of the sea is an icon of Skiathos, making it a popular place to take photos.
The daily boat trips from Skiathos port usually pass from this beach and go to Arkos and Tsougria, which is definitely worth visiting.
Achladies beach: It is located in a protected bay, and it’s a narrow but large organized sandy beach with some taverns and shops. There are sunbeds and umbrellas for a fee, and a water taxi also departs from this beach to Skiathos town. At the one end of the beach, you can do water sports activities.
Vromolimnos: I think Vromolimnos is after Koukounaries, the most popular beach in Skiathos. The right part of the beach is ideal for younger ages as it has loud music and can get quite crowded. But there is another part that can be quieter. There is a tavern and a bar, and you can even find a school for water sports. It is a long sandy beach, and there are sunbeds and umbrellas.
Banana Beach. Known for the intense life since most young people visit Skiathos.
This is a lovely, sandy beach, but it has changed significantly in recent years. It is accessible through the hotel, and they do not allow you to enter by car, so you have to park on the road and walk through. Finding a sunbed when you arrive at the beach is challenging because they are reserved for the new hotel guests. However, it has shade from trees, and you can sit and enjoy the clear waters and the beauty of the beach.
Tip: You can check the little banana beach, which it might be an easier choice but now that this is primarily a nudist beach.
Megalos and Mikros Aselinos: These are two side-by-side beaches, just separated b a forested piece of land, quite far away from the famous beaches in Skiathos. Both are sandy with handy parking (for Mikros Aselinos, you will walk on a short 5′ walk). Take a look at the weather beforehand as to when there is north wind the sea isn’t so pleasant.
Where to stay on Skiathos island
Where to stay is a crucial factor in the holidays, and it depends entirely on how to want to enjoy your holidays.
In Skiathos, you have several accommodation choices of all categories, from luxurious and 5-star hotels to more affordable villas or rooms.
You will find many choices in Skiathos Town, Koukounaries, Megali Ammos and Troulos. Generally, you have several options to stay in Skiathos in the various parts of Skiathos, most of which are in Chora.
We have written a dedicated post about the best hotels on Skiathos island, but you can get an idea from the below three options.
This is a beautiful adults-only hotel, just a 5-minute walk to the centre of Skiathos with a romantic atmosphere which makes it, I think, perfect for couples! Try to eat dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Mad Cow, at least once. Delicious food! The best thing about this hotel is the staff, as every single member would welcome you with warmth and a smile! More Information Here!
ELIVI Skiathos – Banana Beach
Elivi is fabulous, with four great sandy beaches nearby (Koukounaries, Ambelakia, Big Banana and Little Banana). The hotels are new (there are three different hotel buildings in different spots; Xenia, Grace and Nest), and the rooms are modern, beautiful and well equipped! The breakfast is also impressive! More Information Here!
Skiathos Avaton Hotel, Philian Hotels & Resorts – Skiathos Town
This newly renovated resort is just an enjoyable 15′ walk to the town and a 5′ walk to Megali Ammos beach. Great variety at breakfast with a selection of eggs, bacon, local pastries, Greek yoghurt, fruits, cereals etc. The pool area is fantastic, with super comfortable sunbeds and a lovely pool bar. The staff is very kind, helpful, professional, courteous and always ready to solve any inconvenience! More Information Here!
How to move around
The island is relatively small, and the navigation is easy and without any problem.
You can rent a car to be independent and explore some beaches that you cannot reach otherwise.
Skiathos has an excellent bus network that can help you explore the island. Here you can find more information about timetables and the route.
As in many islands in Skiathos, you will find companies with rental cars and motorbikes to rent during your stay in Skiathos.
If you have any question or you want to add your experience, please leave us a comment below!