SKIATHOS



redline

Skiathos - general

General

The name ‘Skia-’ (shadow) ‘-athos’ (Mount Athos) is believed to refer to the fact that, at the time of the summer solstice, the shadow cast by the rising sun from the pinnacle of Mount Athos, 130km (80 miles) to the northeast, is said to touch the island of Skiathos. (The 14th century traveller, Sir John Mandeville, claimed something very similar of the same mountain, when he said its shadow at sunset reached the isle of Lemnos ‘76 miles away’: but he was later to be censured as the ‘greatest liar of all time’ by Sir Thomas Browne.)

   Skiathos is famous above all for its dense pine woods and its magnificent sandy beaches. This fame has brought the island prosperity and employment in the shape of an ever enlarging tourism industry, which in turn has done much to transform the appearance and the tranquillity of the town and of the island’s south coast. In effect, this is a thin corridor of intense development, and the sparsely inhabited and densely wooded north of the island has been affected by it hardly at all. Some of the prettiest and most untouched bays in the Sporades can still be found on the north side of the island, and there are abundant walks to be made in the peace and shade of the hills in the interior. Although Skiathos is primarily a destination for recreation more than for visits of cultural interest, a stay on the island can happily combine both nonetheless. The deserted Byzantine settlement of Kastro, on a pinnacle of rock overlooking the sea at the northernmost point of the island, is a magnificent and dramatic site, which alone justifies a journey to the island. Inland of Kastro, is the ruined Hellenistic tower at Gournia. There is the monastery of the Evangelistria, which is of interest both for its fine catholicon and for its historical associations; the painted church of the Panaghia Kounistra, in the south of the island; as well as many other chapels and peaceful hermitages in the hills of the interior. In addition to the celebrated beaches of the island are the less visited ones which are often of greater beauty: Aghia Eleni in the west and—more difficult of access—the bays of Kechria and Ligaries, to the north.
   The spare and self-sufficient simplicity of the Skiathos that Alexander Papadiamantis evoked with poignancy and unsentimentality in his writings at the turn of the last century, is now long gone from the island today, but the small uncluttered house where he lived and died in the centre of the town, is a moving window onto that world which no longer exists. It provides a pointed contrast to the swirling culture of materialism which pervades the town today.


Skiathos Island is part of the Sporades Island Group, Greece.


access

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

Access to the island is easy both by boat and by air.
By air. Olympic Air currently operates a 50 minute, non-stop scheduled daily service to and from Athens. Charter companies fly direct to Skiathos from all over northern Europe in the summer months. The airport is 2km north of Chora.
By boat. The usual main land port of departure is Volos, from which there are several daily services to Skiathos by fast car ferry and by hydrofoil. There are also less frequent connections (5 times weekly) to the mainland closer to Athens at Aghios Kostantinos, and to Kymi on Euboea. Skiathos is on the boat route to Skopelos and Alonnisos, and all the services which call at Skiathos also communicate with these islands.

Skiathos Travel Guide

beaches

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

Koukounaries beach

Skiathos Travel Guide

eating

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

Of the many good places to eat on Skiathos, a particular favourite with locals and visitors alike is Agnadio, on the road past the airport, on the way to the Evangelistria monastery. Set away from the bustle of the waterfront on Odos Kapodistrias, between the two large churches of the Tris Gerarches and the Panaghia Limniá, is the Taverna Alexandros. It provides good quality, traditional Greek food in a small square, protected from the wind.

Skiathos Travel Guide

further reading

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

A good selection of short stories set in Skiathos by Alexandros Papadiamantis (translated into English by Elizabeth Konstantinides) has been published as Tales from a Greek Island, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Another masterfully translated collection of his stories is the volume, The Boundless Garden, published by Denise Harvey, Limni, Evvia.

One of Papadiamantis’s most powerful and celebrated works is the novella The Murderess which has been sensitively translated by the poet, Peter Levi, S.J.

Skiathos Travel Guide

lodging

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

There is a huge choice of hotels on the island. Sophisticated and elegant designer luxury can be had at the Aegean Suites Hotel, 1km west of the main town at Megali Ammos (T. 24270 24069; fax. 24070, www. aegeansuites.com); alternatively, central and economical lodgings can be found on the front in Skiathos at the Hotel Meltemi (T. 24270 22493).
|Many visitors may simply be in search of somewhere away from the noise of Skiathos town at night: on the peninsula of Pounta, east of the town, at a distance of less than 2km from the centre, is the Hotel Emy (T. 24270 24119; fax. 24118) in the peace and quiet of its own garden.

Skiathos Travel Guide

museums

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

 

Papadiamandis' Museum

Skiathos Travel Guide

practical info

Skiathos Island, the Sporades.

370 02 Skiathos: area 47sq. km; perimeter 48km; resident population 5788; max. altitude 433 m. Port Authority: T. 24270 22017. Travel information: GATS Travel (T. 24270 24226, fax 24228; www.skiathos.gr)

Skiathos Travel Guide

Book your Trip to Greece

ferry

advertisements