Small but well-developed, Skiathos offers spirited nightlife, gourmet spots and modern hotels. But this Sporades Island also features serene beaches, protected nature zones and historic sites.
Dining and merrymaking spills out on to the streets around the old harbor. For a quieter evening, catch a movie at the town’s open-air cinema.
Enjoy the Beaches
Skiathos’ beaches are some of the best in the Mediterranean. Many have sheltered waters perfect for beginners, and tavernas and beach bars that offer drinks and food. You’ll also find water sports equipment for rent on some of the beaches.
The island’s most famous beach is Koukounaries, a vast stretch of soft golden sand backed by pine trees and the protected wetlands of Lake Strofilia. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists, so it gets busy in summer. Another beautiful beach is the rocky Lalaria, a remote spot that’s only accessible by boat when sea conditions are calm.
Other notable beaches include Vromolimnos, which is a long beach with fine sand and breath-taking scenery. It’s a favourite among families with its watersports and range of facilities, such as sunbeds and umbrellas for hire.
Away from the main beaches, you’ll find a wealth of nature and wildlife. On the north coast, a walk up to the Evangelistria Monastery (€2 entry) takes you past shady pine trees to a monastery that was founded in 1794 by Kollyvades monks. The monastery is now a museum, and its collection includes manuscripts, church vestments, icons, and the loom that weaved the first Greek flag before the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Other museums in Skiathos include the House of Alexandros Papadiamantis, a traditional home where you can learn about the Greek writer’s life and work.
Hike in the Mountains
Skiathos packs a lot into its small space, with some of the best beaches in Greece, an extensive network of hiking trails and plenty of historic sights including churches and monasteries. While the beach crowds flock here in summer, spring and autumn offer a quieter experience on these hilly peaks with cooler temperatures and more lush greenery.
Pick a trail and you can expect to be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views back down over the island and out across the Aegean. The most popular hike is the summit tour of Skiathos, which starts at the church Profit Ilias and heads over to Karaflitzanaka and the highest point on the island before ending at Platanos mountain restaurant.
As well as hiking in the mountains, Skiathos has lots of great walking trails, especially around the ring road that circles the island. This is the best way to see the raw beauty of the landscapes, with forests, river valleys, quaint villages and a number of monasteries dotted around.
The island has a number of interesting historical sites to visit too, from the 18th Century Evangelistria Monastery to the home and museum of Skiathos writer Alexander Papadiamantis. Other notable sights include Bourtzi fortress and the Old Town castle, as well as a church dedicated to St Nicolas and the old port of Koukounaries.
Explore the Caves
Among the most popular things to do on Skiathos is exploring its spectacular sea caves. These are a highlight of the island, and can be seen by boat trips that leave regularly from the old port. There are two main caves, the Blue and the Dark Cave, which are utterly mesmerising in their beauty.
In addition to nature, the island also has a lot to offer culture lovers. The home and museum of acclaimed Greek writer Alexandros Papadiamantis is a must-see for book lovers, while the ruins of the Venetian castle at Bourtzi are also an impressive sight. The islands also have a number of beautiful monasteries, including the Evagelistria and Kounistra Monasteries.
The heart of Skiathos is its Old Town, with its picturesque whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. Many of the buildings date back to medieval times, and cars are banned in most of the area. Wander the streets and admire the brightly painted shutters and pots of flowers, then stop at one of the pavement cafes for a coffee and a bite to eat.
There are plenty of boutique shops where you can pick up locally produced food products, handmade tableware, and stylish clothing. The pedestrian street of Papdiamantis, which is named after the author, is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of unusual antiques and curios.
Take a Boat Trip
In the busy world of modern civilization, it is easy to feel estranged from nature. But on Skiathos, you can reconnect with the primitive forces that sustain life and inspire human creativity.
Aside from its stunning beaches, the island has many other sights to see. The old town of Skiathos is a delight to explore, with its narrow streets and traditional Greek tavernas. History buffs will enjoy learning about the island’s intricate past at its fascinating museums.
Skiathos’ most famous beach is Koukounaries, a soft stretch of golden sand backed by pine trees and a protected wetland reserve. It can get crowded in summer, but visitors will find plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas to rent as well as several beach bars and tavernas.
The Blue and Dark Caves on the island’s northern coast are also popular attractions. These eerily beautiful sea caves can be accessed via a boat trip that leaves from the old port in Skiathos Town.
If you are looking for accommodation on the island, check out our favorite options for hotels in Skiathos including The Byron Bay Hotel and La Piscine Art Hotel. The best time to visit Skiathos is during the warm months of July and August, when weather is hot and dry. However, you will find a pleasant climate in May, June, and September as well.