Skiathos is a small but beautiful Greek Island in the Aegean sea. I spent 4 days, 3 nights here with my two cousins. We went at the beginning of September because we wanted to avoid the crowds; Greek islands are heaving with tourists in August and July! The summer season ends by the beginning of October, so the weather was still great and the island still bustling. I have put together this complete guide to the island, it’s a long post but here’s what’s included:
- WHAT TO DO AND SEE
- WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
- WHERE TO STAY
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
Ok what are you even doing with you’re life if the no. 1 thing you do when visiting an island (especially a Greek island) is not go to the beach?? Skiathos has so many beautiful and unique beaches! Think white sand and clear blue waters! In the four days we were there, we managed to visit four beaches. That’s right, a beach a day keeps the blues away! That’s my philosophy at least, as a thalassophile. Thalassophile is actually a greek word, made up of “thalassa” Greek for ‘sea’ and “phile” Greek for ‘friend’ i.e. a friend, or lover, of the sea 🌊 how beautiful is that?
Anyways back on topic, the beaches were one of the best parts about this trip for me, so much so that I’ve written a whole other blog post about all the beaches we visited, you can find it here: Skiathos Island, Ultimate Beach Guide I talk about how to get to each beach we visited, what their vibe is like, amenities and my overall opinion! Also many, many beautiful photos of all the beaches! If you’re in a hurry though, here’s a quick list of the beaches we visited:
Agia Eleni Beach
2. Get Lost in the Town
You can’t go to Greece and not get the standard photo in a cute cobbled street by an old pretty door….
But seriously, aside from getting an insta worthy photo, I love old Greek towns like Skiathos town centre. It feels a bit like walking back in time. If you venture past the souvenir shops and really get lost in the winding alleyways you can see that the way of living has probably not changed much in the last 50 years or so, and I love that. Getting lost in a new place is part of experiencing it and it’s fascinating seeing what life on a tiny island like Skiathos is like. I mean I come from a small island myself but I grew up in one of the main towns, yeah there are so many villages that still upkeep the old way of life but when you’re in the big main towns you tend to forget about them. Whereas in Skiathos the whole island feels like one big village.
We also walked down to the port and there was an extended hill (?) shrouded in beautiful old trees that you can climb (don’t worry it’s not a long or steep climb!). There’s a church at the top and a theatre! There’s also a lovely cafe where you can stop for a coffee or some lunch. Best part, you get some amazing views of the aqua blue ocean.
3. Day Trip to Skopelos
Skopelos is another island, approximately 12 nautical miles from Skiathos – yeah I don’t know nautical miles either, about a 30 minute boat ride. Ticket prices range from as little as €6 – €15 depending on which company you find. We actually went on a whole day boat tour that included one 2 hour stop in Skopelos town centre (more on the rest of the tour later). But to be honest I do wish we had a bit more time on Skopelos.
We managed to have lunch at one of the oldest tavernas on the port then went up to a monastery overlooking the sea, that our boat captain recommended we visit. I would have liked more time to explore the town centre some. But you could spend a night on Skopelos island if you wanted to!
4. Live your Mamma Mia Dreams
The town centre wasn’t the only place on Skopelos we visited. If you didn’t already know, you’ll definitely know when you arrive in Skiathos/Skopelos that a lot of Mamma Mia was shot here! Specifically the famous church on a hill where Meryl Streep gives her all singing The Winner Takes it All.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how Meryl Streep ran up those stairs, they’re so steep towards the end, if you’re afraid of heights, this one ain’t for you. But seriously, even if you’re not a Mamma Mia fan (what 😳) Agios Ioannis, Sto Kastri church is still worth a visit! I mean the views you get on top! Well worth the scary climb up.
If you go down to the port in Skiathos, there will be many boat companies offering different tours. We chose a tour that included a stop at the church, briefly passing a blue cave, Skopelos town centre and lastly Lalaria beach which is actually on Skiathos but only accessible by boat. The ticket cost €20 per person, we booked it a couple of days before and paid a €10 deposit. The boat left at 9am and we were back by 5/6pm. There are also tours that include a stop at the beach where the “Lay All Your Love On Me” scene was filmed! So have a look and see what different companies offer!
6. Open Air Cinema
Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s not a very cultural thing to do. But actually open air cinemas have been around on Greek islands for decades. In the hot summer months, before air condition was a thing, villagers would gather at their local open air cinema to watch that weeks movie under the stars 💫.
The Open Air Cinema is the last one like it here, right in the heart of Skiathos town centre. They offer classics such as Drity Dancing but also newer releases. However the reason it attracts many tourists is because every Thursday and Saturday they have a Mamma Mia singalong 🎤! What better way to end your day touring Mamma Mia film locations than to watch the movie itself under the stars! 🌟 There is a drink and snack bar available too! 🍿
5. Stop for a Coffee
Let me tell you something about Greek culture, we love coffee! ☕️ Our philosophy is that there is always time for a coffee! But it’s more than that, it’s a lifestyle. For me the Greek pace of life is quite slow, slow in the sense that you take your time to enjoy life rather than rushing through it. And no matter how hectic or busy life gets you should always make time to enjoy a coffee! One of my favourite things to do when I visit a new place is to sit in a local coffee shop, drink some local coffee and just watch the word go by, noticing how it’s different from other countries.
Speaking of drinking local coffees, if you’re a coffee drinker, when in Greece you must drink coffee like the Greeks 😉. One option is a traditional Greek coffee, (picture below). It’s like a Greek espresso but thicker and has a thin foamy layer on top. It’s traditionally made in a small pot sunk in very hot sand, to heat it more evenly. It’s quite strong though, I don’t drink it often but when I do I put a little sugar in it. When you’re done you’ll notice that the coffee grains leave patterns on the inside of the cup, apparently the patterns can tell you’re fortune! Kind of like tea leaves!
If you’re not a fan of strong milkless coffee, your second option is a Greek frappe. If you’ve been to Greece or Cyprus before you’ll have seen frappe on every cafe menu! It’s a frothy iced coffee made with Nescafe. I have a bit of an obsession with frappe, especially in the summer, I can’t not have an ice cold frappe! You can have it how you want, milky, no milk, sweet or strong! For more information on how the frappe was invented, how to make one and even how to order one in Greece, check out my blog post What is a Greek Frappe.
Lastly, another place in Skiathos town centre you can visit is the clock tower. There’s not really much to do but there’s a lot to see; you get an amazing 360º view of the island and sea surrounding it!
We discovered this by accident when we were just following the winding alleyways up. There’s not really much to say about this one except show you the photos, so you can see for yourself why it’s worth a visit…
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Akrogiali Taverna is a great spot for lunch! We came here straight after the beach for a late lunch. It’s right on the port which means the best part about it is the views…
Lunch goals or what?? We got a selection of dishes to share and it was good. Also the portions are quite big, we definitely over ordered! The staff was really friendly and the general atmosphere was very laid back and welcoming!
We ate here for dinner, on our first evening. It’s also by the port not far from Akrogiali. The seafood is very fresh, I had the Orzo pasta with prawns in a tomato sauce and it was delicious.
Taverna Asprolithos is as traditional as a Greek taverna can get, from the complimentary ouzo tasters to the very hospitable and friendly staff. The staff were very attentive, helpful and so full of warmth it felt more like we were dining at their home rather than a restaurant. That typical Greek hospitality, still surprises me sometimes and I am Greek 😅.
This place is in the town centre, a tad further out, just at the edge of the bustling shopping streets, but it’s definitely worth it! Just ask for directions if you get lost! You’ll hear the music!
On our last night, the night before my cousin’s birthday we went to Mouria Tavern. It’s right in the heart of the town, set in the courtyard of a hotel, beautifully decorated with flowers and hedges.
I mean do I have to say it, yet again the staff were very friendly and helpful! We got a delicious meze platter to start, which was massive! I then had stuffed squid for my main. Overall lovely place for dinner!
The Bourtzi is located at the end of the port up on a hill, which means a beautiful view of the ocean! It’s a great spot for lunch, they do different sandwiches and pizzas. I had a tasty halloumi pitta! It’s also a great spot to sit and enjoy a coffee 😉.
Skiathos does have a vibrant nightlife scene. We did not participate much in it 😅 we said we would go clubbing one night but were wiped out from spending all day at the beach 😬. We did however go to a bar on our last night and had some unique cocktails!
Tesla bar is a small trendy, hipstery bar in the town centre, next to Papadiamantis house. They have a range of unique cocktails and even a couple of secret ones! The cocktails were both visually pleasing and tasty. They also play music inside so it does turn into a club later at night!
WHERE TO STAY
Yeah there’s only one place on this list because this is where I stayed and honestly would stay here again, it’s perfect. Firstly it’s right in the town centre, within walking distance to so many restaurants, cafes, the port and basically everywhere! The only place it’s not near is to the beaches but you can easily get the local bus there.
Secondly it’s very clean and modern, it was recently renovated and this year (2019) was it’s first year after being renovated.
Thirdly the service is great. It’s owned by a couple who were friendly and very helpful, giving us a map of the island and suggesting the best places to see and things to do! So I don’t have any photos but I do have a brief room tour in my travel vlog below!
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