Skyros, located in the Sporades islands, is only three and a half hours away from Athens; a destination untouched by tourism, it retains its tradition and authenticity. Whether you are an adventure seeker or looking to relax your mind and body, Skyros is a unique experience that entices you to unveil all its mysteries.
1. Get lost in Skyros Town
While Skyros is not included in the Cyclades islands, its Chora has a Cycladic aura with a steep hill-rock -underneath the dominant Byzantine Castle- scattered with white houses, narrow alleys, and bougainvillea. It appears as though Chora is “observing” the island from above. Through the stone paths, you can explore the simplicity of the landscape and meet locals by day and night, while soaking up the traditional architecture and the wonderful panoramic views that stretch out to the horizon.
Extra Tips: For a traditional Greek breakfast or brunch (featuring local products) head to “Manna,” located in “Chora.” For the best Skyrian dolmades (made with a touch of goat’s milk) go to the charming taverna “O Pappous ki ego” (my grandfather and I) where one generation of family recipes follows another. The owners also own a great seafood taverna at Linaria (the main port of the island, which is a charming fishing village) called “Marigo”.
2. Enjoy the must-visit beaches of the island
The charming villages Magazia and Molos, 10-15 minutes’ walk from Chora have the most famous sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters and some beach bars, such as the premium “Kavoures” and “Ammoudia”. For long lunches head to “Istories tou Barba” or “Stefanos”. Agios Petros beach lies 16 km northwest of Chora; cedar trees growing over the rocks complete the charming scenery. On top of the hill, there is the chapel of Agios Petros. If you get hungry try the taverna with the same name “Agios Petros” featuring local delicacies and nice meat dishes. Close by here, there is another quite famous beach- Atsitsa, dotted with rocks along the water and shallow sea. Kalamitsa beach is one of the largest of Skyros with beautiful clear waters. After your swim, eat at the soothing terrace of taverna “Mouries”, beneath mulberry trees planted by the owner’s grandfather. The creative interior is adorned with horse-themed artworks, and you can watch Skyrian horses on the family’s farm across the road. The unspoiled Kirapanagia and Kalogria, two long and sandy beaches 12 km from Chora, are ideal for sunbathing. While Pefkos at the western side of Skyros is a pebble and sandy beach. Make sure you have lunch at “Stamatia” tavern. Nearby beaches are Acherounes beach and Aspous, which are more suitable for children. At Aspous, savor fresh fish at “Asimenos”.
3. Visit the settlement of “Pouria” in the afternoon
Located very close to Chora, this area that seems to have jumped from a painting offers spectacular scenery with a restored mill dominating the ruins of the ancient quarry of the “Skyrian Stone” – famous during the Roman times. The quarry occupies a large part of the coast, creating an image that travels the visitor to another era. Next to the quarry, you will find the small church of Agios Nikolaos, carved into the rock; one of the most photographed sights of Skyros. Sit at the café of Mylos “Anemomylos”, during sunset, to enjoy the spectacular colours of the sky.
4. Make the round trip of the island
From Agios Petros beach you can drive around the island by car. The duration is approximately 45 minutes from there. It’s a dreamy route through the pines from Atsitsa to Pefkos. Make a stop at Agios Panteleimonas to experience the amazing view of the islets Skyropoula and Valaxa. Return to the central road to reach Linaria, Chora, and then back from Aspous.
5. Discover the island’s best kept “secret”
There endless sea caves with stalactites (Xyloparati, Mantroucha, Pentekali, Diatrypti, Gerania) in the vicinity of the harbour. Small boats organize excursion trips to these caves, passing through the arched openings in the rocks outside the port of Linaria. By boat, you can also visit the small islet of Sarakino (or Sarakiniko), with its beautiful sandy beach of Glyfada and turquoise-colored water.
6. Watch the sunset of Skyros from its best spots
The best places to enjoy a magnificent sunset are from the beach of Kalamitsa, the church of Agios Panteleimonas, the beach of Atsitsa, the harbour of Linaria, and Brooke square (aka Immortal Poetry square*).
* The English poet Rupert Brooke died at sea while serving in the Royal Navy during WWI. He was buried on Skyros because it was the nearest port. His statue in the center of the square symbolizes Immortal Poetry.
Extra tip: If you want to enjoy the full moon, Magazia is the place to go.
7. Savor lobster pasta at Stelios Fish Tavern
This is a must-visit tavern and an unmissable experience. Famous for its lobster pasta, which comes packed to the brim with super fresh lobster meat. Ask for Manolis, the owner (the son of Stelios), he is one of a kind. His mother cooks all the amazing dishes. The fish tavern is located at Gyrismata beach. Try the velouté fish soup and the crab salad as well. In the end, they bring you loukoumades with an entire bucket of NuCrema (Greek-style Nutella).
8. Go for drinks at Chora
For a drink head to the harbor where you will find Kavos bar. Here you will enjoy your cocktail overlooking the enlightened harbor. Also try Agora all-day café, famous among the locals.
9. Visit Kores, the most contemporary shop on the island
Owned by a wonderful woman, Yianna, and her 3 daughters, this shop has a unique selection of special creations at affordable prices, all chosen and/or designed by Yianna. The pieces have both an artistic and Greek theme about them. Here you will find jewellery, clothes, bags, sandals, etc.
10. Enjoy an evening at Kavos Lounge Bar
Located on the north side of the bay of Linaria, above the port of the island, built on a hill,
Kavos is famous for its beautiful environment but also for the way it welcomes the ships arriving on the island. From 1994, when it first opened until today, when the ships arrive at the port, it “plays” loud music and specifically “Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss, offering a spectacular welcome to the visitors of the island, who remain speechless and impressed, not only by the loud sounds but also from the image of the spectators who turn on the lighters and create a unique and bright display.
10+1. Don’t leave Skyros until you take a photo with a Skyrian horse. This rarest and oldest horse breed (that is quite shorter than other horses) can only be found on Skyros. You can see them at several farms that exist on the island, such as the Skyros Island Horse Trust.