Skiathos (Greek: Σκιάθος, Skiáthos) is the entry point and main island of the Sporades Islands. Although it is neither the biggest nor the most attractive of the Sporades islands, because it is the first port of call for most ferries and possesses the sole airport, most tourists don't venture beyond Skiathos. For most, why would they want to? There are great beaches, good accommodation on offer, and decent public transport. In season, the 6,000 or so natives are vastly outnumbered by tourists from around the world.
It is undoubtedly the most tourist-intensive island of the Sporades, with beautiful scenery, quaint tavernas and lots of luscious green terrain great for strolling and hiking.
There is one town on Skiathos which is literally called "The Village" by the locals, or Skiathos town, on the east end of the island with the airport, port, and a variety of shops, bars and clubs on the waterfront.
- 1 "Alexandros Papadiamantis" International Airport (JSI IATA) (situated north-east of Chora). It is served from Greek destinations by Olympic Air, and from northern European destinations in summer months by charter and some regular scheduled airlines (including Austrian Airlines,) usually only once or twice a week. The ~1600-m runway is an excitement in itself; as you descend towards Skiathos you are met with sea, sea and more sea before out of nowhere appears a precarious strip of runway across the end of this small island. If the pilot misses his spot, you’ll have to circle and try again!
Public buses operate on one line that runs from the port to Koukouniares along the southern side of the island. The port station is 200m to the right of the port. Tickets are bought on the bus from the conductor. Stops are marked with a sign and a number.
Taxis are easy to get from the port to anywhere on the island.
By car or motorbike
It is not worth the hassle to bring your own car to the island, although it is in theory possible. You can rent a car or a motor scooter. Asphalt roads run across the south of the island. Roads in the interior turn out to be little more than dirt paths.
Motorbikes and mopeds are popular alternatives to cars. Especially mopeds are frequently used by local youths and can go to many places that cars cannot go - for example the twisted narrow streets of Skiathos city. An additional advantage is that they are cheap to rent - €10-15 a day is the usual price.
If you start a day-trip with a moped, make you sure you do so on a full tank, as gas stations are sometimes hard to find. An extra stop at a gas station can save a lot of nerves. When renting a moped, check if the profile of the tyres is ok if the brakes work properly, lights, turn indicators and petrol gauge. If it doesn't look good don't be bothered to rent it, it could be the one that needs a repair badly. it can cause you a lot of troubles if it breaks down. Make sure the insurance stands on the contract. Helmets are required on Skiathos.
- The First Rent a Car and Motorbike, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Delivers and picks up your car or motorbike to and from the airport, Skiathos Harbour or your hotel. Has a large selection of the cars, jeeps, motorbikes and scooters for rent.
- 1 Alexandros Papadiamantis House Museum, Papadiamanti Street (Skiathos main street) (after 100 m at a small alley on your right), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-13:00, 17:00-20:00. Alexandros Papadiamantis (1851-1911) is one of the greatest ever Greek authors. He wrote over 100 novels mostly based on island life. His house has been turned into a museum.
- 2 Kastro. Site of the medieval center of the island. Abandoned in the 19th century (1829). There are well maintained three churches and a house, the other buildings are dilapidated.
- 3 Evangelistria Monastery (Ιερά Μονή Ευαγγελίστριας, also known as Monastery of the Annunciation, Ιερά Μονή Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου) (some 4 km north). A monastery dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary which sits on a hillside. Although some buildings are ruined, the church and accommodation buildings have been restored. The monastery has important historical significance relating to the Greek War of Independence. Visitors are welcome but should dress modestly and be respectful of any services in progress as the monastery remains a place of Greek Orthodox religious worship. August 15 is the major feast day of the monastery.
- Most people come to Skiathos for the beaches. Let's face it, there is not much else to do on the island. However, there is a large, forested interior that can be explored.
- Yachting. Skiathos has a large port from where one can charter yachts either for day trips or longer periods to explore the surrounding islands. Puresailing Yachting has a selection of yachts for this purpose.
There is a good variety of beaches on Skiathos with over 60 in total. The south side of the island has sandy beaches with calm waters. Beaches on the north are less crowded. The wind mostly comes in from the north and also the sea tends to be somewhat rougher to the north.
- Koukounaries. Covered with umbrella pines is the most famous beach on the island.
- Lalaria. Beach only accessible by daily boats, crystal clear water and large stones on shore.
- Big Banana. Next to Koukounaries is the beach for young people .
- Small Banana. Next to Big Banana
- Asselinos. Large and quiet undeveloped beach.
- Kanapitsa. Amazing beach, water sports, and a nice taverna.
The island's airport as discussed above has a 1600 m-long runway. As land reclaimed, for the construction of the airport, the landing path of the airplanes passes just above the spotters heads, and an asphalt road passes right in the spot, making that location ideal for experiencing the same effects as Saint Marteen, with more safety in the absence of jumbo jet airliners
- Jewelry stores are common.
- Colorful sea shells are a popular souvenir item, but very many of them are imported, and have no connection to the island.
- Many brand name products for sale in the tourist shops may be fakes and/or unlicensed (t-shirts, towels, hand bags, and so on).
Besides the following listings, there are numerous Souvlaki (Greek kebab sellers) dotted around the island, and frozen yoghurt is increasingly available on Papadiamanti St.
- En Plo, Skiathos Town. (200 m. from the port to the airport.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 17:30 - 00:30. Seafood.
- Marmita, Evagelistrias 30, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Simply fantastic Greek food (albeit not typical tourist fare) in a lovely courtyard setting. Off the beaten track, so fewer tourists and more Greeks. €15-20pp.
- Medousa, Old port. Italian restaurant, with wood-fire oven.
- Olive land (Elaias gi), Katsarou. Traditional Greek food, lots of nice vines, friendly staff.
- Paralia Souvlaki Cafe, Troulos (Just down the road to the beach, past the Alfa supermarket.). Good, cheap souvlaki (Greek kebabs) near the beach. Recommended. €2.50 for a souvlaki.
The tap water is not drinkable (and even ice in restaurants is provided via special procedure from companies) and restaurants will serve glasses of ice water upon request. Local drinks include beer and Ouzo.
There are various hot club locations, though most famous clubs are located north-east of the port at around 300 m, by the seashore.
- Kahlua. Club.
- Maraccas. Club.
- BBC. Club.
- 1 Aphrodite Skiathos (Aphrodite Studios), Megali Ammos (near bus stop no.5, Megali Ammos Beach), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A group of 20 spacious studios for 2, 3 or 4 people.
- Atrium Hotel, Agia Paraskevi, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Four-star hotel in harmony with the landscape.
- Bourtzi Hotel, Moraitou 8 Skiathos Town 370 02, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 star modern boutique hotel in the heart of Skiathos town, in a very peaceful area.
- Dabasi Hotel, Skiathos Town, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Complex of furnished studios and apartments available for rent year around.
- JasmineVillas, Troulos, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Two villas offering island views supplied by a warm & friendly family. Offers private swimming pools with sea view, a large patio with very pleasant gardens, bbq and a private parking lot.
- Skiathos Princess Hotel, Agia Paraskevi (Agia Paraskevi), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- [dead link] Skiathos Repos, Agia Paraskevi (Platanias, Agia Paraskevi), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Two villas.
- Villa Elpiniki, Troulos (near bus stop 19), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-out: 11:00. Rustic holiday flats. Simple and cheap accommodation on top of a hill which means there's more of a breeze, and fewer mosquitoes - the downside is the steep walk required to get up there! 10 min from the beach, next to bus stop 19. Kostas, the owner, is helpful and friendly. From €40 pp per night.
Skiathos is a generally safe destination. As with all Greek islands, the summer sun is very strong all day. You should not take the risk of dehydration, sunburns or even heat strokes lightly. Wear appropriate clothes, a hat and sunglasses; use sunscreen; bring enough water on excursions and know when to stop exhausting yourself and seek the shade of a tree. Greeks take it easy in the middle of the day, from 2–5, often only venturing down to the beaches in the late afternoon and early evening.
Then aircrafts taking-off, the engines are in full thrust, directly on you. So then an airplane taking-off get a cover behind the wall on the other side of the road, or if you are adventurous person grab the Armco barrier and low your profile, the exhaust gasses can throw you hundred meters away. Cover your face also, very often the gasses lifting items like a tiny gravel, you don't want such an encounter that could ruin the enjoyment.
Flights to Athens are short, and daily.