Glossa Skopelos is a stunning panoramic village that sits in the northwestern part of this little Sporades island. It is the island’s second-largest settlement after Skopelos town (Chora).
There may be several towns and villages scattered throughout the rolling hills of the island. However, there is just something magical about Glossa.
The traditional architecturehere is wholly different from that which you find elsewhere on the island. Glossa, Skopelos is characterised by two-story houses with wooden interiors, wooden balconies, and burgundy tile roofs.
Glossa’s narrow cobbled streets are essentially a rabbit warren. They twist and turn up and down hills, opening out into picturesque piazzas and charming streets lined with local businesses.
The population of Glossa and its vicinity is just a little over 1,000. Even if you venture here during the height of summer, the village can appear almost deserted.
This is particularly the case if you find yourself in Glossa during the hours of 3 pm and 5 pm. At this time, all of the island’s coffee shops and businesses close their doors for siesta.
The emptiness does not take away from the village’s charm, though. Glossa, Skopelos, like much of the island, is reminiscent of a sleepy Greek island. It presents itself as what Mediterranean islands would have been before their discovery by tourists.
A Little History of Glossa, Skopelos
There is some archaeological evidence around Glossa and nearby Loutraki that indicates that a settlement has existed here in some form or another since prehistoric times. The sunbleached ruins of ancient towers and defensive structures are scattered around the countryside that surrounds the village.
Novelist Alexander Moriatidis referred to Glossa as “The Vineyard Region”. Indeed, historically, the inhabitants of the village were viniculturalists.
They produced some of the best wine in the Aegean and an abundance of it. Many Glossites were also sailors, captains, and shipbuilders.
A bustling shipyard once stood in what is now Loutraki. Today, this still boasts the island’s second port and ferries from here can take you to Skiathos town in less than 30 minutes.
Origins of the Name “Glossa”
The name Glossa [Γλώσσα] means tongue in Greek. There are various theories about why the village was awarded this name. However, nobody is entirely certain.
A popular theory is that the settlers that founded Glossa came from Crete. Most likely they were members of a Cretan colony that existed during the Minoan era.
A more comical idea is that the name was awarded on account of how hilly Glossa is, and how exhausting it is to attempt to conquer the various hills. After a day’s exploration in Glossa, your tongue would be lulling out of your mouth!
Visiting Glossa, Skopelos
Glossa Skopelos is often overlooked by visitors to the island. If at all, they may stop by the village briefly on their way to Agios Ioannis Kastri (the Mamma Mia Church).
Yet Glossa and the rugged northern part of Skopelos island are well deserved of at least a day of your time. The village boasts several excellent coffee shops, bakeries, and tavernas.
There are also some interesting hikes and nature walks that start just outside the village limits. One particular trail to keep in mind is the one from Glossa/Loutraki to Palio Klima.
Organise a Tour of the Antoniou Family Olive Press
The Antoniou Family Olive Oil Press is an olive mill that sits outside Glossa village. It can be found just off the coastal road between Glossa and Agios Ioannis Kastri.
Greece, and the Northern Sporades especially, are known for their exquisite quality olive oil. Indeed, in the supermarkets and delicatessens of Skopelos, you will find a local brand on the shelves – Antoniou olive oil.
The Antoniou Family press has been in operation for over 130 years and has been passed down through the generations. Second Generation Ioannis Antoniou is the current manager.
If you call ahead, he is more than happy to provide you with a free tour and tasting. Both Koroneiki and Amphis (local Skopelos) olives are harvested here.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a connoisseur of olive oils, taking a tour of the olive groves and production facility is a worthwhile experience. It aids you in understanding one of the staple products in Greek culinary culture.
Treat Yourself to Contemporary Food with a View
There are several excellent restaurants and tavernas to be found in Glossa. For dining with a view, head to Agnanti.
The dishes prepared at Agnanti err on the side of fine dining. Think traditional Greek classic dishes prepared with a contemporary twist.
Agnanti is ranked time and again as being one of the best restaurants in Skopelos. The owners are strong believers in the farm-to-table concept.
Many of the fruits and vegetables used in their dishes are grown in their own garden. Treat yourself to a hearty portion of pork shoulder slow-cooked in spices and served with fresh bell peppers and local prunes.
Or alternatively, order up a plate of tender, braised veal prepared with homemade pasta. Come for the food. Stay for the panoramic views across the Aegean.
Conquer the Hike from Glossa/Loutraki to Palio Klima
The scenic coastal trail that leads from Glossa to Palio Klima is one of the best hiking routes in Skopelos. This route leads you past forgotten woodland churches, historic shrines, and fragrant olive groves.
There is a designated footpath that leads the way, so knowing where you need to walk is easy. That said, you may wish to download an offline map.
Maps Me and Google Maps are good choices that let you can check your progress and be sure you’re on the right track. Similarly, you can purchase Skopelos trail maps from Juice & Books in the Chora.
Visit the Church of the Assumption
The Church of the Assumption dominates the village skyline. It is dedicated to Glossa’s patron saint.
The structure dates back to the late 19th century and has some incredible marble carvings. These are the works of Greek Sculptor George Kaparias.
You can also stop by the “gallery of the church”. This free-to-enter exhibit showcases 43 gorgeous oil paintings donated by Alexander Sideris.
Sideris was a globally-acclaimed Skopeliti artist that was born in Glossa in 1898 and was very active in both Greece and New York. His exquisite paintings on display in Glossa showcase scenes of noble life in the 1930’s-1950’s era.
Take the Time to Get Lost Among the Narrow Streets
Part of the charm of visiting Glossa, like many Skopeliti villages, is found in taking the time to simply wander through the narrow cobbled passageways and get lost. Stop here and there to admire a church or the display of a local artisanal store.
When you want to rest your legs, order yourself a strong Ellinikos Kafes (Greek coffee) and people watch as locals discuss the village news and play backgammon. The pastel-coloured Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is worth stopping by.
Its interiors are every bit as spectacular as its exterior. Here you can admire the vibrant frescoes and ornate interior furnishings.
Gaze Out Across the Aegean and Revel in the Views
Almost every turn in Glossa rewards you with breathtaking views out to sea. The island of Skiathos sits on the horizon, just across from Skopelos.
On a clear day, you can see all the way out to Volos and the Pelion region from here. It is for this reason that Glossa has been affectionately nicknamed “the balcony of the Aegean”.
Browse the Exhibits at the Folklore Museum
The Folklore Museum of Glossa is a worthy stopping point during your time in Glossa. There is also a similar history museum to be found in the heart of Skopelos town.
The museum is housed inside a traditional two-story house and could essentially be considered a “living museum”. It depicts how traditional life once was on the island.
Stunning pieces of furniture decorate the rooms, and tea sets are laid out upon tables. You will find many interesting pieces of porcelain throughout the houses which would be bought home as souvenirs from local sailors to their wives and families.
You only need to spend 30 minutes or so here. However, the museum gives a good glimpse into what life was like in Glossa centuries ago.
Share Meze Platters in Local Tavernas
Traditional Greek cuisine is simple and unpretentious. The cosy tavernas of Glossa, filled with friendly locals, are the perfect embodiment of this.
Plateia cafe is a great choice. The little taverna is a great place to enjoy al fresco dining as you tuck into home-cooked meze dishes or classic mains such as stifado and giouvetsi.
Similarly, Ēliobasílema, adjacent to the village bus stop, is always crowded with locals. This is a good place to enjoy a moussaka (the Greek national dish) and some ouzo as you wait for your bus back to town.
Admire the Monastery of the Archangels (Taxiarches)
Skopelos, like Greece in general, is a deeply religious and spiritual place. Indeed, there are more than 360 churches and monasteries scattered across this little island alone.
One of the most impressive and important religious structures – the Monastery of the Archangels, sits just 2.5km away from Glossa. The monastery is widely regarded as being one of the most impressive post-Byzantine era structures in the Northern Sporades.
The structure dates back to 1672. However, the remains of a very old (672 AD) Christian church can also be seen from the site. Renovation work has taken place in recent years to help restore the monastery to its former grandeur.
Visit Cape Gourouni
Cape Gourouni is a rocky bluff in the northernmost part of Skopelos, some 10m away from Glossa. This area is about as off-the-beaten-path as you can get on the island.
The panoramas here are unparalleled, particularly at sunset. An impressive 18-meter lighthouse is situated here.
It towers above the sea and dominates the mountainscapes. The 1889 building has been designated an important historic monument by the Greek Ministry of Culture.
Getting to Glossa, Skopelos
Presuming that you are already staying in Skopelos, it is easy to reach Glossa via the island bus. This bus completes a circuit of Skopelos every day, several times a day. The village is situated just 25km away from the port town.
Bus schedules may be subject to changes depending on the season. However, you will always find them displayed on the notice board outside of the port entrance. Tickets cost €4.80 each way from the Chora to Glossa.
By Ferry from Neighbouring Islands
There are two ports on Skopelos island: Skopelos town and Loutraki/Glossa. Services from Skiathos, Volos, and Alonissos often stop here. This may be a convenient option if you plan on doing a day trip to Glossa and the “Mamma Mia” church from a neighbouring island.
Where to Stay in Glossa, Skopelos
There are several charming hotels, guesthouses, and apartments to choose from in and around Glossa. You will find something that suits every budget and travel style.
A few shortlisted options are detailed below. However, keep in mind that if you wish to explore the beaches and coastal areas of Skopelos, you may prefer to stay in the southern part of the island. For example, the Chora or Stafylos.
Natura Luxury Boutique Hotel Skopelos
Natura Luxury Boutique Hotel is a stylish modern property in the heart of old Glossa. The newly renovated rooms are decorated with tones of white and beige and offer private balconies that overlook the sea.
Hotel guests are assured luxury when they stay here. The hotel’s heated infinity pool overlooks the Aegean and is the largest of its kind in the Sporades.
Aegean Wave Hotel Skopelos
Aegean Wave Hotel Skopelos offers luxury accommodation without the luxury price tag. The homely stone property boasts spacious rooms and en-suite bathrooms.
Guests can opt to enjoy a sumptuous candlelit dinner at Faros. This is the hotel’s in-house restaurant and boasts some of the best sunset views in town.
Rooms start from just €50 per night. You can browse the latest prices and availability details here.
Do you have any additional questions or queries about visiting Glossa, Skopelos, or organising your Greece travel itinerary?
I based myself in Skopelos for eight months in 2020 and got to know the island pretty well during that time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything.
I will get back to you as soon as I can. Safe travels!
Geia sou! Melissa xo