Greek Guide

 

Skiathos Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

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The wonderful beaches of Skiathos and the island's lively night scene are more than enough to satisfy most visitors. But if you take the time to explore the island's hilly, wooded interior you'll find some lovely unspoilt countryside peppered with deserted monasteries and churches, cool mountain springs, olive groves and pine forests.

Spend a few hours browsing in Skiathos Town where the cobbled back streets are littered with 19th century sea captains' houses and flower filled balconies. There are many good quality shops in town (interspersed among the inevitable tacky tourist outlets). You'll find some excellent jewellery stores along with arts, crafts and antique shops some of which are more like museums than shops. The classiest store on the island is Archipelago which has some beautiful antiques, jewellery made from fossils and various embroidered items. You'll find it near the Papadiamantis Museum which commemorates the life and work of one of Greece's greatest literary figures Alexandros Papadiamantis. The writer was born on Skiathos and spent his childhood on the island before leaving for Athens to pursue his literary career. He later returned to his homeland and died in1911 in the house which is now a shrine to his memory. The house contains the bed where he died, some personal belongings and the writer's pen and inkwell. Papadiamantis' short stories and novels, many of which have been translated into English, focus on island life particularly that of Skiathos.

The town's harbour is divided in two by the pine clad Bourtzi islet a former fortress which hosts an annual Aegean cultural festival each summer with performances of theatre, dance and music. To the west of the Bourtzi there's the fish market and a good ouzeri where locals while away the hours over tasty seafood snacks. From here you can take a boat excursion to one of the many islets that surround Skiathos or book a boat ride right around the island. Many tours take in a visit to three spectacular grottoes at the northern end of the island and a stop at the beach below Kastro, a fortified hilltop town built in the 16th century and abandoned in 1829.

You can walk across country to Kastro from Skiathos Town, allowing about three hours for the journey, or save your legs and join one of the donkey trains that transport tourists over to the north west corner of the island throughout the summer months. The town was originally built to protect the islanders from marauding pirates and had 300 houses and 22 churches within its defence walls. Only three of the churches remain including the 17th century Christos church which has some ornate frescoes and an impressive iconostasis (the screen separating the altar from the main part of the church).

The most impressive of the island's monasteries is the beautifully located Moni Evangelistria, poised 450 metres above a gorge about an hour's walk north of Skiathos Town. The 18th century monastery was a hiding place for freedom fighters during the War of Independence (1821 1822) and the islanders claim it was here that the first Greek flag was raised in defiance of the Turks in 1807.

For guided walks of the island, visit Mare Nostrum Travel in Papadiamantis Street, the main street leading away from the harbour in Skiathos Town.

Or explore the countryside on horseback with the Pinewood Riding Centre, located on the road from Troulos at the southern end of the island to the Kounistras monastery. The centre offers lessons as well as mountain excursions and all day treks.