Skiathos is one of the four major islands comprising Northern Sporades, a complex of islands "sporadically" scattered - hence the name - in the northern part of the Aegean Sea (the other three being Alonissos, Skopelos and Skyros).
Only 38 nautical miles away from the Port of Volos, Skiathos is the first and easier to reach island of the Sporades with the frequent ferry / hydrofoil services that mainly operate from Volos or Agios Konstantinos. However, adventurers will very often seek for a privately chartered sailing boat from the mainland or the surrounding islands.
Upon arrival, visitors will set foot on the island's capital called "Chora" where the heart of the island literally beats. Numerous shops and cafes, restaurants with fresh fish and all sorts of seafood, people strolling from the traditional Old Port and its fish market towards the New Port and its modern nightclubs.
An island of enchanting beauty with an evergreen natural surrounding full of pine and olive trees, Skiathos has more than 60 beaches to choose from, most of which are located in the southern wind-protected part of the island. In addition, a frequent bus service connects Skiathos Town on the southeast up to Koukounaries Beach on the southwest end of the island.
Skiathos boasts itself as the birthplace and home of Alexandros Papadiamantis, one of the most important Greek authors of his time, whose work is globally considered to be a landmark in Greek literature and an equal to Dostoyevsky.
Highly Recommended Beaches
- Koukounaries - the world famous beach of the island, almost 1 kilometer wide with a golden thin sand. Fully organized with water sports, sun beds and umbrellas, cafes and small kiosks. Frequent bus service operates throughout the day.
- Lalaria - competing Koukounaries in fame, a beach of unparalleled equal-to-none beauty with turquoise waters and the famous "hollow stone". Reachable only by boat, a must-see for all visitors. Unspoiled, and as such, not organized.
- Banana - a wide sandy beach with shallow turquoise waters, the beach of the youngsters. Partying and dancing throughout the day at the two large beach bars. Frequent bus service operates throughout the day. Organized.
- Agia Eleni - literally one minute before Koukounaries, lovely sandy beach. Ideal for families and for those who wish to avoid the major crowds. Frequent bus service operates throughout the day. Organized.
- Kechria - an off-the-beaten path must-visit beach. Small beach with pebbles, highly recommended for families, young couples. Car is essential, 4x4 recommended. Partially organized (one beach bar with food, beverages etc.).
- Aselinos - another off-the-beaten path wonderful beach, sandy with tiny pebbles. Found on the northern part of the island, relatively windy, excellent choice for the hottest days of the summer. Car is essential. Partially organized with sun-beds and umbrellas, one taverna with food, beverages etc.
A few drops of History
- Based on existing historical indications, the island's first inhabitants around the 7th Century B.C. were initially the Pelasgoi and the Cretans, two of the most important Hellenic tribes in antiquity.
- Right after the end of the Peloponesian War, Skiathos became a member of the B' Athenian Alliance and came to possess its own currency with the word "CKIATHI" carved upon one side and the head of Hermes - the messenger of the Gods - on the other.
- The island came under Macedonian rule during the 3rd Century B.C., whose war with the Romans two centuries later brought the island back to the Athenians, as a gift to them by the Roman Emperor Antonios.
- Little is known about Skiathos' course during the era of the Byzantine Empire, whose first collapse in 1204 A.D., brought Skiathos to the hands of the Venetians. To protect the island from the frequent pirate raids the Venetians built "Bourtzi", the fortress standing at the port's opening.
- In the years during the Turkish Occupation of Greece, many Greek insurgents from the surrounding mainland fled to Skiathos and took refuge in its mountains.
- The Greek Revolution of 1821 found Skiathos in the frontline, being the first island to rebel against the Turks (legend has it that the first flag of the Revolution was crafted and raised on the island).
- In 1823, the inhabitants of Skiathos liberated the island and in 1829 they moved from "Kastro" - the castle in the northeast - back to the Old City, where Skiathos Town - the "Chora" - still stands until today.
- During the 2nd World War in 1944, Skiathos was burned by the Germans when they were abandoning the island.
- Through the past 30 years until today, investments on tourism, development and services have turned Skiathos into one of the best holiday destinations in Greece, while it also ranks highly as one of the top touristic destinations for worldwide visitors.