To visit the Skopelos picture gallery - click HERE
We visited Skopelos in September 2002. Skiathos was our initial destination followed by a short crossing on a Flying Dolphin. While waiting for the transfer it is likely that you will have several hours to wait - in our case it was 5 hours. We were dropped off at a taverna opposite the yacht harbour - the tour company have an arrangement which allowed us to leave our luggage there. Quite a few people remained in the taverna for food and drink so it would seem to be a good deal for the taverna owner also. This left us with an ideal opportunity to explore Skiathos Town. In reality we sat in bar for most of that time. Life can be so hard !
After leaving Skiathos, the Flying Dolphin usually stops first at the port of Loutraki and then continues onto Skopelos Town via the northern coast. On the final approach to Skopelos Town the whitewashed buildings come gradually into view and then appear to rise up as if neatly stacked upon each other. It is certainly a very attractive town and a welcome sight after travelling for most of the day.
We stayed in rooms across the harbour from the town, a pleasant 15 minute stroll away from the many harbourside tavernas and bars. The harbour area is very picturesque with lines of Mulberry trees interspersed with Plane trees. The town still retains a traditional feel. The streets rising up behind the harbour area are very pretty. This area is a maze of meandering cobbled streets lined with tidy looking town houses all with decorative doors and windows. The predominant colours are blue (fishing) and brown (farming). It is definitely worthwhile setting aside a full day to actually walk around the town.
Looking out from the town across the bay one can see a number of hillside monasteries. There is a good road that takes you as far as the monasteries and then a rough dirt track, which ends at the aerial masts at the summit of Mount Palouki. As you climb there are excellent views of Alonissos. The whole area was carpeted with heather.
A disadvantage of staying in the town is that the beach just outside the harbour area is not very appealing. Too much rubbish brought in by the predominant northerly winds.
A bus service links Skopelos Town with Glossa. This is a good way of getting to see the island cheaply and treating the journey as a day out. The service also offers a viable way of visiting the majority of the beaches. However, it should be noted, that a number of the beaches are some distance from the main road. We found hiring a car gave you much more freedom to explore. The roads are reasonably OK and during September were relatively free of traffic. It was actually possible to travel the entire length of the island without being overtaken. Perhaps I have at last mastered driving the Greek way!
The island is densely forested with a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees. Fortunately, there is no evidence of any major fires, which have in the past afflicted other islands. It is possible to do a circular tour of Mount Delphi. Some of the tracks are remarkably good and for some reason very wide. I am told that the FOREST INSPECTION makes some tracks very wide to work both as tracks and fire zones. Just as you think 'this is easy', the road deteriorates and becomes extremely rocky. 4WD recommended! Spectacular views appear in every direction, Skiathos and the Pelion to the east and Alonissos to the west. Once the track on the western side reaches its highest point and levels out there are some excellent walking opportunities. Here you can fully appreciate the splendour of the mountain forest and landscape. A small track off to the right takes you nearer to the summit.
We finished the tour of Mount Delphi by heading down to the beach at Glisteri. In the peak months this is served by a regular boat from the town. At least that would explain the size of the taverna that exists there. On our visit it was almost deserted.
Around the Island
Stafilos - the nearest beach to the town. This has all the usual amenities and is likely to be busy. Walk to the end of the beach, up and over the rocks and you will find the beach of Velanio. This is the unofficial nudist beach.
Agnontas - is set in a sheltered bay and is just the perfect spot for lunch in one of the excellent tavernas right by the waters edge. There is also a small shingle beach.
Limnonari - sheltered cove with facilities but some distance from the main road.
Panormos - a beautiful bay with a good beach. Well served by tavernas and a few shops. If you do catch a bus anywhere then Panormos would be a good choice. This is one of the few places where the road actually goes down to sea level (Agnontas being another). In theory you could remain on the beach, ready to go, until you spot the bus coming down the hill. Then make a dash for it !! To the right it is possible to walk to a couple of smaller beaches.
Andrines - a hotel is positioned directly above a very nice beach and appears to have exclusive access. However, some of the fencing appears vulnerable!!
Milia - spectacular beach with 2 distinct areas either side of the car parking area. Probably the most popular beach on the island. From the southern end it is possible to walk up and over the rocks. Here you will find more opportunities for private sunbathing. Continue further and you will eventually reach one of the beaches at Andrines.
Kastani - small cove next to Milia reached via a rutted track.
Between Kastani and Hovolo there are a couple of isolated beaches that appear to be accessible by boat only. On a number of occasions we tried to find a way down from the main road but without success.
Nea Klima, also known as Elios. Here is a small community, harbour and a pleasant beach. A short walk south will bring you to a much better beach at Hovolo. When we were there it was often empty or with just one of two other couples. When entering the village take the road to the left and continue on to the end. On reaching the beach turn left and park in what appears to be a disused quarry. From here it is a short walk to Hovolo. The beach is backed by limestone cliffs, which are sprinkled with heather. At the far end of the beach it is possible to clamber up the rocks for views back towards Milia. This was our favourite beach on the island with the views of Skiathos as a bonus.
Glossa - is a very pretty village at the northern end of the island. Unless you are a local don't even contemplate driving through the village. There are good views of the village as you approach and also of Skiathos and the smaller islands around Skiathos. Sadly, Glossa does not seem to offer the visitor much choice in the way of places to eat and drink. However, it is interesting to wander amongst the flower filled narrow streets and alleys. Every now and then be prepared to leap out of the way of an oncoming moped! For something to eat the best bet is to head down the hill to the village port of Loutraki. Here you will find a number of nice tavernas but little else. It was noticeable that around Glossa the Olive groves were sprinkled with bright pink plants, cyclamen I think.
Heading out of Glossa to the east is a good road which takes you to the monastery at Aghios Ioannis sto Kastri. It is wonderfully isolated, perched high on a rocky outcrop. Here you will also find a couple of small beaches. There is a small cantina which is presumably only open during the high season.
Voyage to the marine park on the good ship Oceanis
This was one of those special days. Hot, sunny and the sea exceptionally calm. The calmness of the sea enabled us to sail up the undeveloped western coast of Alonissos. We soon spotted Dolphins ahead, the boat turned towards them and minutes later they were swimming alongside the bow. Occasionally they would turn on their side as if they were looking up at the inquisitive faces peering over the side of the boat. They swam alongside for about 5 minutes before, one by one, peeling off and diving down deeply and out of sight.
Later that day on the return journey, another group of dolphins swam with the boat for at least 20 minutes. One of those magical experiences. You could sense that they were there because they wanted to be and were actually having fun. It was if they were getting a free ride on the surf from the bow.
From the northern coast of Alonissos, the trip took us on to Petros bay and then Kyra Panagia, an isolated monastery owned by the monks from Mt Athos. Lunch was salad and souvlaki aboard the boat. After a couple more stops for swimming and a last stop at Patitiri, the day ended watching the sun set over the mainland as we headed back to port.
A highly recommended trip. Facilities on board were very good and Captain Vasilas was both knowledgeable and interesting.
To visit the Skopelos picture gallery - click HERE
In September 2007, the film based on the hit musical 'Mamma Mia' was filmed in Greece. Although some scenes were filmed in Skiathos and on the Pelion peninsular in Damouchari, the majority of location shots were filmed on Skopelos.
Agios Ioannis - scene of the wedding.
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