By Thomas Panagiotopoulos

Skiathos is for many years the cosmopolitan tourist destination of Sporades as well as of the whole northern Aegean islands. The green slopes, the pines touching the sea, and the variable exotic and golden beaches are the main reasons that made Skiathos Island famous worldwide.

This place is attracting very young people due to its vibrant nightlife, while in almost every beach there is a beach bar, perhaps the most of any other island in the Aegean Sea.
It is the westernmost island of Sporades, with its perimeter not exceeding 20 nm, making it an ideal holiday destination for boaters. Apart from the numerous and wonderful beaches, it is ideal to be used as a «base» for day trips to nearby Pelion, from which it is separated by a narrow channel three miles wide, to the beautiful west coast of Skopelos, which is only six miles away and to the islets located a breath away from the port.

παλιό λιμάνιEarly in the afternoon, we were entering the very picturesque old port of Skiathos, on the east side of which it is protected from the small peninsula of  Bourtzi. On the west side on the rocks ,the white two and three storey houses with red roofs and blue windows are built, making this place one of the most beautiful parts of the island.
The old and oblong houses, located one beside another along the coastal walkway, make a very beautiful scene, the ground floors of which have been converted into cafes hosting daily many people.
After Bourtzi, which is connected to the mainland by a strip of land, there is the new port of the island. On its southern side, the ships and flying dolphins moor, while on the north side there are many berths as well as one big floating pier, which hosts large yachts and sailboats.
We walked on Papadiamantis Street, the largest and busiest cobbled street which is the central market of Skiathos. Everything is gathered here. Gift shops, grocery stores, bakeries, cafes and taverns, are found here while many people are walking along this street daily, either for a simple ride or for shopping. From Papadiamantis Street plenty of alleys start that lead to the town’s neighbourhoods and the harbour too.

ΚαστρονήσιαQuite early in the morning, we decided to visit the small islands located opposite the harbour, Tsougria and Arkos.
The islet of Tsougria, just two miles from the old port of Skiathos is planted with olive trees and pines, a sandy beach on the north side and two others on the west. The beach however, which no matter how many times we visit, it always cares to fascinate us, is the northernmost of the west side of the island. A wide strip of white sand that separates the dense vegetation of the shallow crystal clear waters reminds an exotic place from which only palm trees are missing. Without any doubt, it is one of the most beautiful beaches of Sporades.
A little further northern, we find the islet of Arkos. As reaching, we can see a wide strip of golden sand that goes up to the steep slope, and among the dense vegetation, it reaches the top of the hill, offering a stunning spectacle, unique in the entire Aegean. Like a sandy corridor that reaches the sea, it is creating a beautiful beach where a small canteen is waiting for us.

We returned to the port of Skiathos and went on cruising to the southern coastal shores alongside the golden beaches, where the pine-covered slopes end. Through the dense vegetation, there are impressive country houses and charming hotels, reaching Koukounaries, at the western end of the island.
Passing by Troulonisia we reached the famous Koukounaries. The well-formed beach of fine sand, along which the entire pine forest extends, that reaches the small lake Strofylia located right behind, is claiming without any doubt a place among the most beautiful of Aegean Sea. With shallow clear waters and several wooden canteens, tucked in the pines, it attracts many people gathered along its length, which reaches the distance of one kilometre. It is a landscape of rare beauty that charms every visitor. On the east side of the beach, there is a small harbour, the waters of which are joined by a small river with the water of the lake.

ΑρκοςPassing by the cape Korfoula, we passed on the west side of Skiathos, which is protected very well by the «meltemi».   We can find here three magnificent beaches, of the most beautiful in the Sporades. The Great Banana, small Banana and the beach of St. Helena. They are all covered with golden sand, next to the lush greenery of impressive tall pines. The Great Banana is the most famous and most beautiful of all and can only be compared with exotic beaches. It gathers many people, especially young dancing to the rhythms of loud music playing all day at the most famous beach bar on the island.

Arriving at the Castle, the northernmost cape of the island, we found Kastronisia. East of the small peninsula of the castle, there is a beautiful pebble beach from which a path that leads us to the entrance of the medieval castle starts.
A little further, we find the most famous beach of Skiathos, the famous Lalaria. The white smooth pebbles, the steep slope that raises imposingly behind the coast and of course the white rock with the typical arch in the bowels combined with the amazing turquoise waters, compose a fascinating picture of rare beauty.

Notes for navigators
The island is characterized for its stunning golden beaches where many people are crowded.
Even during the summer period with the meltemi blowing strong, the southern and western coasts are protected quite well, allowing us to enjoy the exotic beaches.
The islands that are very close to the harbour hide many beautiful surprises that will definitely impress us.
The circumnavigation of the island, not exceeding 20 nm, is of great interest, but hides quite dangerous places that need special attention.
At the island there is the main port, located north of the small peninsula of Bourtzi, the old one west of Bourtzi and the small harbour on the eastern side of the bay Koukounaries, but where it takes some luck to find a free bert.