About Skiathos beaches
The green, hilly, pine-clad island of Skiathos, lying opposite Mount Pelion on the mainland, is a member of the Sporades island group, on the Aegean Sea in Greece. Skiathos is the most cosmopolitan island in the Sporades, offering some of Greece’s best sandy beaches, including the renowned Koukounaries, crystal-blue sea and sophisticated tourist facilities. Most hotels, villas and restaurants are concentrated along the south coast, west of Skiathos Town, the capital. Skiathos Town, with its whitewashed, terracotta-tile roof houses, is built over two hillsides overlooking the harbour. It is the centre of life on the island and offers the best range of restaurants, bars and clubs. North of Skiathos Town lie several interesting cultural sights, including a beautifully restored 18th-century monastery and the ruins of the 16th-century Kastro, the island’s oldest settlement which was abandoned in the early 19th century.
Skiathos is known first and foremost for its excellent sandy beaches, which lie along the sheltered south coast. These include Koukounaries, a gently curving 1km (0.5-mile) stretch of fine golden sand backed by pinewoods, with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, plus good watersports facilities. It is often referred to as the ‘best beach in Greece’ and is home to Skaithos’s largest resort after Skiathos Town. Close by, Banana Beach offers similar facilities, plus a fine stretch of golden sand reserved for nudists. Lying between Skiathos Town and Korkounaries, Vromolimnos sand beach is popular with a young, lively crowd who enjoy windsurfing, waterskiing and beach volleyball. On the north coast, the much-photographer Lalaria Beach is made up of smooth white stones backed by cliffs, and is accessible only by taxi boat from Skiathos Town.
Beyond the beach:
In Skiathos Town, the Bourtzi Fortress on a small peninsular jutting out into the harbour, is now a cultural centre, well worth a visit. A one-hour hike north of Skiathos Town stands the impressive 18th-century Monastery of Evangelistrias – it can also be reached by bus (infrequent) or by car (a 10-minute drive). On the north coast, the 16th-century Kastro is the island’s oldest settlement, abandoned in the early 19th century when inhabitants moved to Skiathos Town. To see a bit of everything, take a round-the-island boat trip, including a stop at the Kastro, Lalaria Beach and a sea cave on the north coast.
Skiathos’s unspoilt sandy beaches shelve gently into the sea, making them very safe for children. Horse riding enthusiasts should visit Skiathos Riding Centre at Koukounaries, offering riding lessons and trekking at all levels. For very young children they also give donkey rides, and there’s a mini zoo and a playground.
Numerous travel agencies offer one-day excursions by boat to the neighbouring islands of Skopelos and Alonnisos – if you are lucky you might see dolphins along the way. Alternatively, regular ferries connect Skiathos Town to Volos and Mount Pelion on the mainland.
Just 1.5km (1 mile) outside Skiathos Town, the Aegean Suites Hotel (www.slh.com/greece/skiathos/hotel_skiaeg.html) overlooking Megali Ammos Beach, is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It has 20 stylish suites (all with balconies and sea view), three restaurants, a beauty centre, an outdoor pool and a private beach.