Greek Guide

 

Skopelos Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

skopelos 2304044 1920

Skopelos is a delight to explore by day with its lush, green interior criss crossed by ancient paths which lure hikers, bikers and horse riders ever deeper into the densely forested countryside. The island is awash with olive groves, plum, pear and almond orchards along with swathes of tall pines which sweep down to secluded coves. Follow the dirt tracks to the myriad of monasteries and churches which speckle Skopelos and take the time to browse the streets of the island's two main settlements which rate among the most charming towns in the Greek islands.

If you're staying outside Skopelos Town it's worth spending at least a day or two exploring the captivating and convoluted streets of this enchanting port town which boasts no less than 123 churches, many fine old mansions and some irresistible tiny shops selling local produce such as honey, prunes and home made sweets.

Bars, cafes and craft shops line the waterfront and as you venture into the back streets you'll delightful walkways, studded with pebbles and sea shells, winding their way up to the Venetian fortress which crowns the town. If you're interested in the local churches you can get a map pinpointing their whereabouts from helpful Thalpos Travel on the waterfront. The church nearest the ruined castle is Agios Athanasios which was built in the 11th century and houses some fine 16th century frescoes. The castle itself was originally built by King Philip of Macedon in the 4th century BC and rebuilt by the Venetians who ruled the island for 300 years from 1204.

The town has a plentiful supply of craft, souvenir, antique and jewellery shops where you can ferret for unusual gifts including loom woven textiles made by the local nuns. For an insight into a traditional Skopelan house, visit the Folklore Museum which has a range of local costumes, embroidery and furniture on display in a 19th century mansion behind the harbourfront.

Of the island's 40 monasteries, five are clustered in the hills above Skopelos Town and can be visited either on foot or on a coach tour organised by one of the local travel agencies. Most of the monasteries have wonderful views of the island and at two of them Moni Evangelistrias and Moni Timiou Prodromou you can buy handicrafts made by the nuns who live there.

A monastery well worth visiting in the north of the island is Agios Ioannis which perches quite spectacularly on a boulder above the sea. If you're a keen hiker you can make a four hour round trip from the lovely hilltop town of Glossa which is a must on your list of places to visit. The town is blissfully peaceful and unspoilt, still very Greek in character but with remnants of the Venetian and Turkish occupations. The whitewashed, red roofed houses cling to a steep hillside above the island's second port of Loutraki.

Seafood fans should take a trip out to the small port of Agnontas at the southern end of the island, where locals come to dine at the fish tavernas alongside the pebble beach.

If you're interested in the local marine life, book yourself on a weekend cruise of the National Marine Park which incorporates the nearby island of Alonissos and surrounding islets. You'll be provided with binoculars, snorkeling gear and equipment to record dolphin signals and if you're lucky you may spot some of the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seals which inhabit these waters. The trip is aboard a large caique captained by a marine biologist who makes the experience both educational and fun. You can make reservations through Madro Travel opposite the ferry dock in Skopelos Town.