Sporades Islands became increasingly popular right after the release of ‘Mamma Mia!’. You see, the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi with the turquoise waters and the bleached-white beaches that viewers fall for is nothing else than a curated concoction of scenes from Skopelos island and from Damouchari beach in Pelion.
But while Skopelos is the centre of the action, the visitability of the neighbouring island of Skiathos increased as well, all the more so because it lies just half an hour away and tourists can kill two birds with one stone by visiting both of them even within the same day.
Skiathos is a romance-infused destination mirrored in the number of weddings and honeymoons that take place here culminating in August each year. The island combines everything newlyweds are looking for in a honeymoon: secluded beaches, luxury hotels, fine dining and lots of romantic spots to enjoy the sunset. It is quite possibly the ultimate couple’s destination without breaking the bank!
Here’s our guide for a romantic getaway to Skiathos!
Welcome drinks at Bourtzi
Start married life and set the tone of your visit to Skiathos with a few drinks at Bourtzi. Bourtzi is an old fortress set on a small peninsula that extends into the sea between the old and new port of Skiathos Town. It was built in the 13th century and has since saved the island many times against its enemies and pirates’ attacks. Nowadays, Bourtzi hosts one of the best bars in town. It has great cocktails and nibbles to eat and it also offers the best airplane spotting and sea views. Don’t forget to take a selfie in the toilet mirrors (hint: there are no mirrors just endless sea views, something visitors adore about this place!).
Agios Nikolaos Church and Clock Tower
Getting to Agios Nikolaos Church just before sunset is one of the best things to do when in Skiathos. To get there you climb around 100 steps through century-old alleyways, past jasmine-filled gardens and the occasional stone-built bar that has bougainvillea-covered walls. It is all worth it though as once you are on top you have the best panoramic views of the town, new and old port.
Romantic dinner at Scuna restaurant
Scuna is the place to go for a romantic dinner by the seaside. We visited on our second night on the island, after a long tour around the beaches on the north side of Skiathos. We were ravenous and eager to find a quiet spot for dinner and this place did not disappoint! The food was exceptional, there was a chef’s touch in every dish and the whole restaurant vibe was full of Greek aromas with dried oregano bouquets hanging from the ceiling and Greek wine bottles on display.
Visit Skiathos Kastro
Not everyone wants to relax on a sun lounger for their honeymoon. Why not do something different and visit one of the oldest and most historical sites on the island, instead? The Kastro (castle) of Skiathos are the ruins of a medieval fortified site on a rocky setting lying on the northern side of the island. It was founded in the 14th century and its main purpose was to save the locals from pirate raids. From the day it was built, it was occupied by Venetian and Turkish rulers before it was given back to the Greek people in the 19th century.
Unfortunately, Kastro has been abandoned and left to its own fate for many centuries and as a result, nowadays only two churches have been saved (Gennisi tou Christou and Agios Nikolaos).
A visit is well worth it, any time of the day as you get the best views of the sea waves crashing on the rocks and the vastness of the Aegean Sea.
Walk around the port
Skiathos has a long port that is divided into three different areas: there is the old port, the Municipal Port and the Paraliakos port with the best views of Chora!
Explore the old port, which is located right next to Bourtzi, and have a few drinks at the local bars while watching the travellers chatting to the organisers of the island hopping day trips. Here, is also the place to book your tickets and take a boat to go to Lalaria beach is accessible only by sea.
The Municipal Port is basically the main port and the one you see when arriving on the island from the Greek mainland. This is the base for the lifeguard and also where the majority of the island’s restaurants are located. All ferries depart from here and this is where ferries to Skopelos depart from.
Last but not least, is the Paraliakos Port which is basically a stretch of the Municipal Port. As it is on a curve, it offers fantastic views of the main port and Chora.
Papadiamantis Alexandros was an influential poet and Skiathos native. His work tells the story of people in 19th-century rural and urban Greece with adventures set around the Mediterranean and rich plots involving captivity, war, pirates and diseases.
His house (turned into a museum) is on the main cobbled street of the island, which locals in his honour have now named after him. Being the Highstreet of the island there is a good selection of clothing stores, bars and souvenir places to explore. On a night out, the street is so crowded, that you will potentially stumble upon people over and over again so it’s best to visit during daylight.
The island beaches
Just like any other Greek island, Skiathos has plentiful stunning beaches to visit but there’s no doubt that the most beautiful ones are on the northern side of the island. Somehow, these are the less-visited ones, too, making them ideal to visit if you prefer something quieter and less touristy.
Renting a motorbike is something that I highly recommend before you go on a beach exploration pilgrimage as some beaches are difficult to get to by public transportation or even a car.
Even though the most famous beach on the island is Koukounaries, closely followed by Lalaria beach, we opted for the less-visited ones like the magnificent Troulos, Kanapitsa and Krifi Ammos. Try having breakfast at Troulos beach with the pair of swans greeting tourists every morning as they swim in the sea, a truly unforgettable experience!
Iera Moni Evangelismou tis Theokotou
This monastery is a must-see when visiting Skiathos. The impeccable views of nature and tranquillity of the place will make you feel relaxed and content regardless of your religious beliefs. Try visiting in the afternoon when there are not so many visitors and enjoy the company of the monastery cats giving you a tour of the place!
Shopping in Skiathos
Skiathos has plenty of seasonal, summer stores that sell anything from hand-knitted scarves to white linen dresses and handmade olive soaps. Allow yourself to get lost in the cobbled streets and have a look around the shops. Don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to the locals, they are always up for a chat.
Any antonym of the word ‘boring’ would describe Skiathos nightlife! There are nightclubs, bars, beach bars and late-night tavernas scattered all over the place offering the best in music, entertainment and cocktails. If you are indecisive just go for a walk through the old port, pick up a place with the comfiest seats and order a drink! The views of the port, attentive staff and sea breeze will make you fall for it.
Some extra tips:
-Book your accommodation as early as possible. Unlike the other Sporades, Skiathos Island had only one town, Chora, with not so many places to stay on the rest of the island.
-Rent a motorbike, the best way to explore the island and get the best experience.
-If you are staying for more than a week, then consider a day trip to Skopelos with the ferry boat. It’s a short ride and totally worth it.
Have you ever been to Skiathos?
Images By Anastasia Fountouli ©