Skiathos, the most cosmopolitan island in the Northern Sporades, is truly a paradise on earth, with lush pine forests and crystal-clear azure waters. The island is picturesque, unspoilt and blessed with more than 60 beautifully crystal clear waters and beaches. Whether you want to stay away from the crowds or dance until you drop – and then wake up and do it all over again –, Skiathos, with its upbeat night life, is a real treat for visitors and especially for young people seeking the freedom to party and listen to their favourite music!
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Skiathos has always been called by the same name since the pre-Hellenic period. It is supposed that this name was given to the island by the Pelasgians, its first inhabitants because they were impressed by the great shadow (''skia'' in Greek) of the many trees covering the island. Dionysus was the god worshipped on the island. After these first settlers in the history of Skiathos, the island was then inhabited by Cretans and Mycenaeans, who also occupied the other Sporades. The fertility and the strategic position of the island attracted many invaders. In the 7th and 6th century BC, the inhabitants of Chalkis, Evia island, colonized Skiathos and created the first fortified town on the island.
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Top things to do and see in and around Skiathos
Skiathos town is where you’ll find most of the island’s life. It’s filled with shops, bars and cafes, as well as restaurants and tavernas and all the other amenities you’ll need for your holidays in Skiathos. Just strolling along the waterfront (including the Old and New Port and the Bourtzi peninsula) is special, but you’ll also adore exploring the maze of alleyways of tightly packed whitewashed houses. It feels like every time you turn a corner, you’ll find another adorable little spot or a bougainvillea-filled courtyard.
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The town of Skiathos, the only town and at the same time capital of Skiathos island, is located on the southeast part of the island, on a calm bay/port split in two by Bourtzi island and it’s extremely busy during the summer. The big natural port of today’s town, ideal due to its shape and south orientation, played a fundamental role in shaping the island life throughout the years.
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Bourtzi is a small peninsula that splits the port of Skiathos in two: into the old port and the new one. It was a fortress built during the Venetian Rule by the Ghisi brothers who took over the island in 1207, after the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders.
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The dazzlingly beautiful Lalaria beach is one of the landmarks that put Skiathos on the map. Prepare for crystal-clear waters, smooth white pebbles, steep cliffs that plunge into the sea. Little boats, yachts and day cruises bring visitors here to experience its splendour.
A beach of fine golden sand that backs onto a dense woodland and saltwater lake, Koukounaries has been winning over the hearts of visitors to Skiathos for decades. It ranks as the island’s most-celebrated beach setting – with a lake, forest and bay that are part of the Natura 2000 network of protected biotopes.
Around 1360, because of the continuous pirate raids, the Skiathians had to abandon the ancient town of Skiathos and establish a new town in Kastro spanning roughly 25.000m2. Kastro is less than an hour’s drive but the car cannot really reach it. However, there is a spot where you can park your vehicle and then take a half-hour walk up to the old town of Kastro. That said, the best way to approach it is through a kaiki boat from the old port of Skiathos, so you can enjoy the ride and view.
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The culinary wealth of Skiathos was and continues to be remarkable. In the past, fishermen used to swap the treasures of the sea with the farmers’ vegetables and oil. This exchange “game” created a fragrant cuisine based on seafood and “chorta” (edible wild greens).
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Skiathos island presents many particularities as an island that has been declared a “Landscape of National Value”. It boasts distinguished beaches, rich vegetation, historic monuments, traditional architecture and an extensive network of traditional trails where the island, despite its size, astonishes the visitor with its everchanging landscape.
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Diving in the crystal-clear waters of Skiathos is an experience of a lifetime, since you can dive with experienced instructors into reefs, shipwrecks, caves and other attractions of the magical Mediterranean seabed.
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