Skiathos: the ''emerald'' of the Aegean
by Rania Kalapoda Skiathos! A beautiful island in the central Aegean Sea, opposite of Pilio and Evia. An island with unique natural beauty, rich vegetation and some of the most beautiful beaches of the Aegean. For many years, Skiathos has rightfully won the title "Emerald of the Aegean", because visitors can combine golden beaches with an environment with rich vegetation and great history.
You can reach Skiathos by sea or by air. There are a lot of routes every summer which connect the island with the opposite coasts. You should go to Agios Konstadinos in Fthiotida where you will find the ships for the island. You'll also find routes from Kymi in Evia, from Thessaloniki and Volos. The distance is small, around 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending of course from where you are going to catch it. If you want to, you can travel by plane since during the summer there are frequent air connections.
The residents despite the huge development in tourism have not lost their spontaneity and hospitable nature.
The town of Skiathos is the capital of the island where you can find and the harbor. Skiathos is known for its great tourist infrastructure. The right place to book a room for your stay thanks to its modern facilities where you can find whatever you want. Then you can stay on Achladies, an important tourist resort in the southwestern part of the island where you will find beautiful accommodation spread out around the beach.
Kanapitsa is a village near the picturesque bay of Kalamaki, where you can also find nice places to stay for your summer vacation. On Trulos, which owes its name to the opposite isle which resembles a domed church, you will have the opportunity to find and choose the room that represents you. Finally, in the area next to the famous Koukounaries beach you will find a rapidly growing tourist and holiday resort that offers all the comforts.
The distinctive feature of Skiathos beaches is the combination of blue sea and the lush landscape exactly near the beach.
Achladies beach is located southwest of the city. It is very well organized and offers moments of true relaxation in the clear waters. Also, you can indulge in water sports raising your adrenaline. It is very popular and attracts many visitors. You can visit the beach with an excursion boat or with your vehicle. The beach Bourtzi below the castle ruins on the small peninsula on the island of Skiathos is a bit steep and we would say is ideal for those wishing to dive from high cliffs. Then the Megali Amos located southwest of the town of Skiathos, a beach worth visiting as it will amaze you with its natural beauty and clear waters.
Koukounaries is the most famous beach in the Mediterranean and is located at the southwest part of Skiathos. For many visitors the name of the beach is "Chrisi Amos", a name due to its extremely fine sand. But it is now known as Koukounaries. Also here is the famous forest of pines that reach to where the wave bursts. The magnificent natural surroundings attract many visitors to this beach and there you will find a perfect combination of beautiful nature and high quality infrastructure. Bathers will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful beach and watersports which never stop. You will have the opportunity to tour lake Strofilia. This is a wonderful and beautiful wetland that extends around a lagoon.
West of Skiathos town, 1 km west of Koukounaries you will find the Banana Beach. The name derives from the peculiar shape of the namesake exotic fruit. The sea is crystal clear and the environment is truly exotic as the trees are a breath away from the coast. Another element is the fact that it is in the west, so the beach has sun until late afternoon. The place attracts many visitors, especially young people, who find here the ideal place for a relaxing bath and wild fun. Water sports dominate the interest of young people who stay until the sun sets. It is well organized and you can find whatever you want. Many years ago, this was the place for nudists, but in recent years most people "expelled" them and now you can find them to Mikri Banana, a secluded beach located right next, which is a smaller sibling of the Megali Banana. The two beaches are separated by a large rock. Swimming in clean waters away from the bustle of cosmopolitan beach will offer you an unforgettable experience as the sea and the environment are unique. The beach does not have any organization with umbrellas and sunbeds and a bar so you should have made provision in advance or you will have to pop in to "Banana". Finally, if all these are combined with a magnificent sunset, then you can understand why those who come here do not want to leave ever.
The beach Aselinos is relatively isolated and is located on the northwest coast of the island within an open bay to the north. The Aselinos has some rudimentary organization with umbrellas and sunbeds and the sea is crystal clear surrounded by an exotic and peaceful environment. Here you will have the opportunity to enjoy swimming away from crowded beaches, having very near you the beauty of green nature. Only when strong winds blow, the sea has strong waves and needs special attention. You can visit the beach mainly by boat, since the road is a bit dangerous.
Finally, you have to swim at the famous beach Lalaria. Its name comes from the white, almost round pebbles which in local parlance are called "lalaria." The pebbles were created and are still created daily, and the tearing frothy waves fall with great force over the white cliffs distracting white pieces which over time become rounded pebbles. Many visitors who love Skiathos believe that the island became famous all over the world from the photos of this beach. The "hole Stone" stands proud and protects the beach. It is a very beautiful picture worth seeing. The beach is inaccessible by land and has absolutely nothing other than magnificent beauty. When the weather allows it, many people go to the deserted beach to enjoy the magic. Do not forget to bring along your camera because you will definitely want to capture the beauty of the location and the rock with a big hole through which you can see the boat carrying more people. When north wind blows nobody dares to go as there is no place to shelter from the raging sea. If you have a private boat is worth to visit Lalaria, only if you know the waters and the route.
On the island you can indulge in many water sports such as water jet ski, windsurfing, sea rolls and parachutes. Even if you have a diving qualification you can explore the fascinating depths of the island. There is also available tennis club in Koukounaries.
The country is surrounded by many restaurants and taverns where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the delights of the island. In particular, the taverns and the beautiful graphics ouzeries servin a good meal after an equally good sea bath. If you prefer something more gentle you can dine in one of the taverns located next to each beach.
The island has many local delicacies that you should taste. In the seaside taverns you can enjoy fresh fish and seafood. Whatever restaurant you see that offer local cheese pie you have to try anyway. Of course, you should finish your meal with a dessert spoon. I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Visitors to the island will have the opportunity to shop local products. You can buy olive oil, flavored honey and delicious almond, known as "aspro." From the Evaggelistrias monastery you can get wine, raki, exquisite liquors, many sweets, honey, oil, olives, herbs and authentic handmade pasta.
When you arrive in Skiathos you will see a small peninsula, whih called Bourtzi, which separates the harbor in two parts. In the past it was a fortress founded by the brothers Gizi who occupied Skiathos in 1207. Today Bourtzi is truly a rare place of recreation. It is full of pine trees, cool breezes and magnificent views. Today there are few remains of the old fort and in the center of the peninsula was a school, which has been converted into a quaint cultural center which hosts noteworthy events. At the entrance you will see the bust of Papadiamantis.
The great novelist was born in Skiathos on March 4, 1851 and died on January 2, 1911. Papadiamantis is the glory and pride of the island. His house is located on the main road near the harbor and now is open as a museum. The old entrance of the house is closed, and visitors enter the house-museum from an external wooden staircase. It is really worthy a visit!
Many tourists visit the Monastery of Panagias of Kounistras, which is located 10 km from Skiathos town. Access to the monastery is easy because of the paved road, which will lead you to the door of the monastery. This is the most sacred place of Skiathos because according to the tradition around here in 1650 the icon of Virgin Mary was miraculously found. Previously you could distinguish several paintings but with the passing of years they have been damaged.
The Monastery of the Annunciation is in the area Agalianos located 6 km north of Skiathos town. This is a beautiful place and here there are also the sources of the stream of Lechouni. In the Monastery you will see the monks' cells, the hostel kitchens, mills, a rich library, precious manuscripts and rare books. Many people swarm mainly August 15th during the festivities for the Assumption of Virgin Mary.
Finally, the Castle is a major attraction and attracts many visitors who love the wild beauty of the landscape and the sad remnants of the destroyed castle reminiscent of glorious times of the distant past. The Castle is built on a giant rock on the north side of the island.
Almost all summer numerous cultural entertainment events take place culminating in "Dream on Wave," from the homonymous novel by Papadiamantis, July and August. In isle Tsougria on August 18, the faithful of the island, but many visitors too honor the memory of Agios Floros with a great feast. Do not miss the festival of Agia Paraskevi on July 26.
The nightlife of Skiathos can satisfy all tastes. Young people prefer to visit all the bars instead of going only to a specific one. There are clubs for youth who want to dance nonstop until the early morning hours. The most popular bars is the Slip Inn and bar-club Cassablanca. The decor is original large pillows have been placed on the level stairs and there, you can drink the best cocktails!! For lovers of greek music there are also many clubs with live music. If you prefer more quiet places away from the center, visit a bar in the southwest of the island. There you will find the relaxation you desire together with your cocktail and soft music.
It is sure that when you are leaving the beautiful island of Skiathos you will have the most beautiful memories. It is an island that combines relaxation, entertainment and adventure, which in conjunction with its magnificent green nature and worshiped beaches is sure that you will make you visit again and again.