Skiathos and Skopelos are two islands in the Aegean, north of Athens. We flew in for a week at the end of the season. The window shutters were being mounted, the restaurants were about to close and the number of other tourists were moderate.
Skiathos and Skopelos are part of the Sporades island group in the mid-Aegaen with Skiathos closest to the mainland. It is 12×6 km and has a population of roughly 5,000.
We had booked a room in a villa with a restaurant right outside the town, also called Skiathos or Chora in Greek. The nice little beach of Ftelia was close by and there were olive groves stretching up the fairly steep hillsides. We went for a hike up there and enjoyed a great view of the island’s capital and the surrounding islands.
I had not been to a typical Greek city before, but found it here. Just as I had imagined it would be like from photos and film. The Chora consists of narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, colourful window shutters and a number of shops, bars, cafes and taverns. The small port is really picturesque as is the small peninsula of Bourtzi dividing the port in two. Owing to the fact that this is the only village or town on the island, it also has a number of “native” inhabitants – not only tourists.
One day we rented a car and went around the island. A 4-wheel drive was necessary because of all the climbing and narrow dirt roads in the interior and northern parts of the island. The views were great all over. Skiathos has forests of pine trees on large parts giving it a green and fertile appearance even in summer.
We made a stop at the Monastery of Evangelistria in the mountains north of the Chora. It is ranked as an important religious centre in the Sporades. Dating back to the turn of the 19th century it played a part in the Greek struggle to relieve themselves of the Ottoman rulers. It was here that the first Greek flag was weaved.
We only had a week to spend, with a baby. Given that it is limited what one is able to do and discover. Apart from the day on the road on Skiathos we went for a daytrip to the island of Skopelos.
Skopelos lies to the east of Skiathos and is almost double in land size and half the number of inhabitants. Judging from our visit the population of Skiathos is also considerably larger than Skopelos in the summer months.
Anyway, we found Skopelos to be an even nicer and more picturesque island: Quieter, less bars and party life. If we were to return it would probably be to Skopelos. We walked around in the centre for some hours and took the fast passenger boat back to Skiathos.
Six years later we returned to the Greek islands, this time to the Cyclades further south. Read about that visit here.