If you are looking for a peaceful island to enjoy your family holidays, Skopelos is your destination. Find yourself in a green surrounding with rich pine forests, crystal blue seas and sandy beaches. Taste the famous cheese-pie of Skopelos, and have a shot of ouzo in the taverns by the sea.
If you are you a movie fan, trace the paths of the famous film "Mamma Mia". Yes, the amazing chapel on the rocks (where the wedding ceremony took place) really exists. Itâs "Saint Ioannis Chapel" in Skopelos. The island enjoyed international acclaim when Hollywood producers chose it, establishing the island as a holiday destination for thousands of tourists coming from all over the world.
Skopelos belongs to the Sporades group and has three main ports: Skopelos (Hora), Agnontas and Glossa.
It is the greenest island in Greece. Here, where the green of the pines and dense virgin forest meets the deep blue sea and sky, creating an image of natural beauty, you will find yourself in a small paradise with eye-catching landscapes, azure and crystal blue waters on golden coasts.
Approaching with a ferry, the first to see is the capital of Hora, on the northern coast, nestling on a small hill and sprawling around a medieval castle. From up there you have a sweeping view of the Aegean, the stone houses (with the traditional Pelion architecture) and picture-perfect courtyards, narrow paved streets and a number of Byzantine churches. This small town encapsulates the essence of a typical Greek island settlement. Take a trip through the rich history of the island with a visit to the Folklore Museum, with a rich collection of folklore-related exhibits.
Wander around the small streets, starting from Pigadaki and let the alleys ascend to the castle stopping every so often to admire the spectacular views. When you think that you got lost inside them, just go down to one of them taking you to the port. Or you can start from the Panagitsa Tower on the edge of the harbour all the way up to the castle. This path is like a flashback. Splendid churches, picturesque alleys, steep cliffs and the Aegean open in front of you, is rather impressive. Such is the beauty of this town that really wins from the first time.
Skopelos is a beauty of contradictions, a constant journey in time from past to present and vice versa. You're on an island which has a rich historical past, a landscape that may be found in thousands of post cards but remains incredibly vibrant and impossible to capture. The islandâs main settlements are Glossa, Palio and Neo Klima.
Glossa, is the second biggest settlement and port on the island, 25 km north of Hora. "The tall village" according to Papadiamantis is distinctive for its traditional, noble character and the ruins of ancient towers and buildings that have been discovered around the area.
Palio Klima is a picturesque village nearby Glossa, despite the serious damages it suffered from an earthquake back in 1965, and Neo Klima or Elios is very close to the beautiful beach of Hovolos. Note that all the villages on the island have excellent facilities for tourism, with hotels, restaurants and bars and traditional little taverns to satisfy all you may wish for.
Donât leave without visiting Agios Yiannis at Kastri, a picture-perfect chapel built on the top of a steep rock. If itâs not too hot, climb up the steps carved into the rock and enjoy a stunning view of the archipelago. The chapel became famous by the movie and ever since is the choice of preference for young couples planning their wedding.
Skopelos has no shortage of wonderful sun-drenched beaches stretching uninterrupted along the islandâs pine covered coastline. The island might seem to be small, but every turn on the road hides a small bay, or a sandy beach behind the trees. They have a unique diversity (may be long, small bays and coves, sandy or pebbly beaches, coastal caves with steep cliffs, coastal wetlands), but everybody loves the purity and clarity of the waters, that are so popular and loved.
If you reach the island by boat you will have the unique privilege to swim in beautiful secluded beaches, but also by car, (or even the bus), you will find the vast Milia (25 km south western of Hora), a beach covered with shiny white pebbles and surrounded by a pine forest. Is considered to be one of the best on the island.
An excellent choice apart from Hovolos, is the unique Panormos a pebble beach, 15 km west of Hora. Swimming at sunset is an unforgettable experience as you are in golden waters by the time sun disappears in the distance. Donât hesitate to ask for the location where you can rent a small boat. You will have the chance to join all the fancy yachts and sailing boats having anchored at the nearby small bays. Limnonari has beautiful waters and white sand. It might not be easy to get into (some rocks only for a few steps) but is really lovely, quiet and full of sand afterwards. In the past you could only visit by boat but now you will find a beautiful tavern and cafÃ© shops.
Staphylos and Velanio are the two beautiful beaches closest to the capital of Hora (only 4km away). You will also find beach bars, or taverns, that offer you an easy way to park. The route to Stafylos through dense pine forests is pure magic. Whichever beach you may opt for, the crystal clear waters and the green surroundings will take your breath away.
If you feel like sightseeing
These should be on your list:
- The Byzantine monasteries of Evangelistria and Timiou Prodromou, built in idyllic locations. The old Monastery of Evangelistria is famous for its fortress-like precinct and a breathtaking view of the port.
- The piratesâ graves at Sendoukia (ancient graves carved into the rock).
- The Episcope, a Venetian building that remained unfinished due to the invasion of the pirate Barbarossa in 1538.
Donât leave the island without tasting the traditional cheese pie (skopelitiki), a mouth watering delicacy made of crispy pastry in a spiral shape and local goat cheese. Donât worry, you will find it almost everywhere.
If you have time, spend a day visiting the nearby island of Skiathos, a popular destination for young people, or Alanissos, a beautiful island where the seal Monachus-Monachus is common. They are frequently connected by ferries or speed boats.
- By ferry, hydrofoil or high speed ship from the port of Volos.
- By ferry from the port of Thessaloniki (only during summertime)