I just returned from a nice summer holiday in Skiathos, one of the most beautiful and best Greek islands, and so would like to share with you how it was and what to expect if you go there. I don’t know about you, but I have been many times in Greece – in Athens, Chalkidiki peninsula, on several islands, historical sites….And therefore I can say that I am quite overwhelmed with the country, its culture, people, food, everything…I also speak a bit of Greek, due to friendship with many Greeks during my studies in Budapest, which makes it a bit easier for me to orient and get what I want while in Greece. They love when you show that you know even a bit of Greek since they are quite a proud nation. Entaksi, pame twra ! 🙂 (Ok, then let’s go)
When to go?
My impression of this Greek island is that it is lovely and MUST VISIT at least once for summer holidays. I will definitely come back, maybe even next year 🙂 And my recommendation would be end of June beginning of July or end of August, not during peak season due to crowds and weather being too hot then. It is quite a small island, so easy to go around by city bus, car, quads or scooters, whichever you prefer.
Interesting fact for Skiathos:
At first, let me tell you that skiathos airport landing is quite famous and even considered quite “challenging”. It is because the runway is very close to the town and the airplane is approaching it very low, practically just above the sea level. Plus the runway is very short, so the pilot needs to break as soon as landed. If you like excitement, you will enjoy this for sure. I loved it! People even come near the airport to watch this, so I am sharing video I found on internet to show this amazing low airport landing to you.
What bothered me only was that at the airport only one officer was working at the Passport control, on the arrival and later on departure, which caused big queuing. Of course, the “relaxed” Greeks were totally ignorant of that fact while there should be some backup to solve the problem of people waiting long time to go through. It seemed a very busy airport, with lot of British, Scandinavian, Serbian people arriving. I could see a lot of Greeks as well vacationing here.
Where to stay?
It is always a question whether you should be staying in the city, near the center, around old/new port or near some of the good beaches. Well, I chose this time the city, which was totally fine for the evenings, to be near and just walk 5 min till the main Papadimanti street. But I realized it is also nice to be located near one of the nicer beaches, so you save yourselves hassle to go to the beach and back, wait for the bus or drive and so have some bigger comfort during the day etc. However, out of the 65 beaches on Skiathos, several ones being very nice, it is definitely another question near which beach to be then. I will handle Skiathos beaches I visited more in details in my next blog post 🙂
If you do not rent anything, the city is well linked between the town and the beaches on the south, by city line which has 26 stops. I was located near the bust stop 4 called Acropolis, which is also a stop to reach the end of the main pedestrian street Papadimanti. And for example the best beach Koukounaries on Skiathos is on the last stop 26 called Koukounaries. FYI the bus ride takes about 30 min during day from the first to last stop.
What to see?
There is so much to see at and around Skiathos, apart from amazing beaches. I didn’t get to see much of it, as I left it for next time visit, since I will definitely come to this island again, soon.
There are so many options for tours around the island, to Skopelos, and couple of more smaller islands, then to famous Lalaria beach– the most beautiful one, but which can be only reached by boat and only if not windy. If you like to take one day for this kind of activity believe me there are nice tours for around 15- 20 euros max, offered mainly at old port of Skiathos. TIPP: Be careful as they will try to drag you to pay for the tour even if the weather is bad, so check the weather first. Otherwise you might end up not going or not seeing the sights as nice as they should be. Plus, do not go without sun creams or some sun protection. And do not leave the tour for last days 😉
Since movie Mamma mia was filmed partly in Skiathos and mostly in Skopelos, there are a lot of promotions regarding it, to visit the filming locations or even watch movie in open-air cinema.
In the city, along the Papadiamanti street, there are many souvenir shops, with Greek products, beachwear, nice summer clothes… Then there also a lot of cafes, with crepes (Greek pancakes) and bars which are very nicely decorated. Especially you should explore the narrow streets left and right from the Papadimanti street, as each one is unique and so cute, hiding some small cafe or restaurant, more relaxed and less crowded.
This is what I loved about Skiathos, that is not boring and offers something for all generations, and so much choice – each night literally to go to a different place.
I loved mostly the cafe and bars along the Skiathos old port, even though there are many in the new port as well, and some night clubs a bit further, but I was not into that so didn’t go to check them. So plenty of choice for the early evening or late night drinks…or even for the cuisine- traditional Greek, Italian, international…
Interesting thing was that I saw horse carriages at the new port, same as 2 months ago in Vienna 🙂
And here is the most famous cocktail bar on Skiathos called Rock ‘n’ Roll, famous for the colorful pillows, cascade sitting, happy hours and beautiful crowd. Late at night, it is totally packed so better to reach there earlier, use the happy hour till 21h and then stay till late evening.
Another fab cafe is for me is on peninsula Bourtzi, just in from of old part, which is a perfect location to sit and relax, drink some cocktail or wine and eat some light tapas…And they say amazing sunsets are seen from this terrace. It is overlooking the whole harbor, so my recommendation is not to miss it.
What to eat?
If you like lamb, my recommendation is Lamb Kleftiko, famous for this island, as quality of lamb meat is for sure quite good. I would recommend taverna Dyonissos, which is in one small street to the left from Papadiamanti street (direction toward old port), where they cook the lamb first and then place into oven and here is for sure their specialty.
Apart from that you can find many restaurant with typical Gyros or Souvlaki in pita or platter. I ate mostly in Nikos taverna, which is located in the central part of the Papadimanti street.
Also there are few places with great grill and for that I would recommend a nice place at the old harbor, where I ate beef steak and lamb chops. As the owner said to me at the entrance, plus he spoke to me in Serbian with few words – If you are in Skiathos, you must taste Ladokalla’s grill. And it was absolutely fantastic.
What I love about Greece, is that you usually get at the end free dessert or at least fruit (often karpouzi – watermelon), as a nice gesture from the house. Walnut cake (Karidhopita) is one of the most popular sweets in Greece and MUST TRY. we got it for free at the end of the nice dinner at Ladokalla 🙂
Regarding fish, I was amazed to find swordfish in many places, and so ate it twice. Once at a restaurant on Troulos beach and once in the town, and the second one, in mentioned taverna Dyonissos was better. So if you are fan of fish, do try this one in fillets, for about 8-12 euros, depending on the place.
My whole perception was that the food was not even that expensive concerning it is a tourist destination and even at the restaurants located by the sea (which usually charge higher due to the view).
Regarding drinks you should try Greek beer Mythos and local organic white wine, usually servsed as house wine, which was fabulous (speaking as a white wine lover).
I tried to cover as much as I could, and what I loved at Skiathos, but as I said, there is so much more to experience and see. Hopefully I will travel there again to cover it again. My next post is going to be about the beaches, so stay tuned.