Greek Guide

 

Skiathos Car Hire Greece Greek Rentals

Unless you're a hardened hiker the best way to explore the interior of Skiathos is with a car or motorbike. Regular buses run between Skiathos Town and the south coast beaches in the summer months but with your own set of wheels you'll be able to discover secluded coves around the coastline, visit the old fortress capital of Kastro and make your way to the various monasteries dotted around the island.

There are numerous car and scooter hire firms along the waterfront behind the ferry harbour. You can rent cars, jeeps, motor bikes, mopeds and mountain bikes prices vary according to the standard of vehicle and duration of the rental period but are always higher in July and August than at other times of the year.

Many firms include insurance in the rental fee so check this point before signing on the dotted line. If you're hiring a motorbike or scooter, make sure you get a helmet included in the price.and wear it because it's the law and there are many fatalities and serious injuries involving foreign bikers in the Greek islands every summer.

The road north from Skiathos Town takes you to the beautifully located Evangelistria Monastery, perched 450 metres above a gorge and surrounded by pines and cypresses. Ignore the airport turn off after you leave town and continue north towards the monastery, taking your time on the drive up to it because it's worth stopping to admire the wonderful views en route. The 18th century monastery was once used as a hiding place for freedom fighters during the Greek War of Independence. The fighters took their pledge of "freedom or death" here and it's said that the first Greek flag was raised at the monastery in 1807 in defiance of the Ottoman occupiers.

To reach the abandoned hilltop fortress of Kastro you can either take the dirt track leading north west of Moni Evangelistria, if you're using a 4x4 or mountain bike, or take the paved road which leads from Skiathos Town and stops about a 30 minute walk from the island's former capital. The pirate proof town, built in the 16th century to protect the islanders from seaborne invaders, is in a spectacular location on the headland and was once only accessible via a drawbridge. The fortress consisted of 300 houses and 22 churches but only three churches remain, one of which houses some elaborate frescoes and an impressive iconostasis (the screen separating the altar from the main part of the church).

The road south from Skiathos takes you down the east coast and skirts the coastline all the way to the south west tip of the island, passing several access points to the most popular beaches including beautiful but busy Koukounaries. You might want to stop for a delicious fresh fish lunch at the waterside Trouillos Taverna before heading inland four kilometres to the deserted 17th century Kounistra Monastery. It was built on the spot where a monk reputedly found a miraculous icon of the Virgin swinging in a pine tree. It's a lovely trip to the monastery which contains some fine icons, though the main one is kept in Trion Ierarchon Church in Skiathos Town. If you're visiting in November you'll be able to see the annual procession in which the islanders bring the icon from the town to its former home in celebration of feast day in honour of the Virgin.