Skiathos Town: Your Insider’s Guide for 2021

Skiathos town is the picturesque little capital settlement of the Greek island of Skiathos. Skiathos is a relatively small island.

It is only 12 miles long and 4 miles wide. However, the little town has everything that you could possibly need and is bursting with charm and personality. 

Charming Skiathos Town 

Skiathos town

Skiathos town, as most Greek island capitals, is often referred to as the ¨Chora¨. It is characterised by narrow cobbled alleyways and gorgeous whitewashed houses that cascade down the hillsides. 

The town sits within a natural bay on the island´s southeastern tip. Breathtaking views across the Aegean can be enjoyed from every corner of the town and the port area. The pine-clad island of Skopelos, and the little village of Glossa can be seen across the water in the distance. 

The vast majority of the island´s 6000 strong population lives in and around Skiathos town. Despite being an extremely popular Greek tourism destination during the summer months, Skiathos does not lose its charm. 

A plethora of dining and entertainment choices can be found throughout the town. Dining options in Skiathos town range from traditional tavernas serving up home cooked Greek classic dishes, to international restaurants showcasing cuisines from across the world. 

Full Disclosure: This Skiathos town guide may contain affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through some of the links on this page, I may obtain a small amount of commission. This is charged at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your understanding.

A Little History of Skiathos Town 

Skiathos town

A settlement has existed at this site in some form or another ever for thousands of years. In the 7th century BC, colonists from Evia island moved to Skiathos. 

They founded a small town in the island´s northeastern corner that they named ¨Palaiskiathos¨. However, during the Classical era, a new town was built. 

This new settlement was constructed where Skiathos town stands today. The sun-bleached, crumbling remnants of its 4th-century defensive walls can still be seen on the outskirts of town. This is all that has survived from this period.

Skiathos has a fascinating history, and the island has passed through the hands of various civilisations over the centuries. It has survived wars, pirate raids, and bombings. 

The Rulers and Conquerors of Skiathos

Skiathos town streets

Romans, Venetians, Macedonians, and Athenians have all conquered Skiathos at some point or another. Each of these civilisations have left their mark on Skiathos town. For instance, the ruins at bourtzi are what remain of a Venetian fortress constructed by the Gizi brothers in 1207. 

Continuous pirate raids and attacks on Skiathos by notorious Pirate Barbarossa led the islanders to retreat inland. In the 14th century, the population relocated to Kastro – a fortified settlement in the northern part of the island. 

It was not until after the Greek Revolution in 1821 that Kastro was abandoned and the islanders returned to the portside location of Skiathos town. Sadly, the town was heavily bombed by the Germans during World War II. Consequently, that is why so much modern architecture prevails in the town today. 

Exploring Skiathos Town 

Exploring Skiathos town

Taking the time to get lost among the labyrinth-like network of Skiathos town´s streets is as much a highlight of visiting the island as relaxing on its cerulean beaches. The seafront promenade is lined with souvlakias, gyro places, and coffee shops. 

During the winter, these establishments are a popular rendezvous point for locals. Old timers sit in the Kafenions here sipping Greek coffee and playing backgammon. In the summer, the eateries here are bustling with tourists. 

Skiathos port is divided into two separate sections via the leafy pine-clad peninsula of bourtzi. To your right, you have the new port. It is here where Hellenic Seaways and Anes Ferries connect you from Skiathos town to Alonissos, Skopelos, and Volos

To your left, there is the old port of Skiathos town. This is a pleasant place for an evening or early morning stroll. 

You can actually follow the path along and walk all the way to the airport from here. Little wooden fishing boats float in the water beside the boardwalk. If you stop by early enough, you will be lucky enough to see local fishermen row their boats out into the Aegean in search of the day´s freshest catches. 

Climb up to the Church of Agios Nikolaos 

Agios Nikolaos church

The church of Agios Nikolaos is perched on a hilltop high above the Skiathos town skyline. It is visible from virtually all corners of the town and is one of the very first things you see when your boat pulls into the harbour for the first time. 

Signposts lead you on a winding route through a charming residential district. As you make your way up towards the church, you will bypass one of the island´s Mamma Mia filming locations. It was at the postbox up here where Sophie mailed the letters to her fathers. 

The Agios Nikolaos church and clock tower are as beautiful from the inside as they are outside. Better yet, the panoramas across the town from up here are magnificent. Small, hand-painted signs lead you on a route through a sleepy residential district to reach the church. 

Stroll Down Papadiamantis Street 

Papadiamantis street is the main commercial street that runs through the centre of Skiathos town. It is lined with touristic stores, markets, coffee shops, and gelaterias. 

There are also a number of independent and high street brand clothing stores here too. Papadiamantis street, like Skiathos airport, takes its name from the famous Greek Writer Alexandros Papadiamantis who lived on the island. 

Get Lost in the Backstreets of the Chora 

Streets of Skiathos Chora

Part of the fun in exploring Skiathos town is to simply dedicate an afternoon to meandering through the little streets and admiring the sights as you go. Even the most unsuspecting back alleys and side streets have their charm. 

Away from the main promenades and the stores selling touristy Greek souvenirs, you will find quaint little bakeries, yiayias sitting out on their balconies as they hang their laundry out to dry, and charming scenes of island life. 

Many of Skiathos town´s homes are decorated with fragrant bougainvillea flowers and stunning floral arrangements. Skiathos town is a photographer’s paradise. 

Visit the House of Papadiamantis 

Alexandros Papadiamantis was one of the most prominent writers in the history of Greece. He was born in Skiathos in 1851. 

Although the house where he was born no longer exists, you can visit the house he grew up in and where he spent his final years. Most of the information is displayed in Greek. However even if you are not familiar with the works of this writer, you may find the house interesting as it depicts a traditional Sporades home as it would have been some centuries ago. 

The first floor of the house is perfectly preserved. It exists as it did when Papadiamantis lived here. It is essentially a ¨living museum¨. The ground floor displays a collection of his works and manuscripts. 

Take a Boat Trip Out to Uninhabited Islands in the Sporades 

24 islands make up the Sporades archipelago. Of these, only four islands are actually inhabited: Alonissos, Skyros, Skiathos, and Skopelos. 

Tsougkrias is one uninhabited paradise in particular to have on your radar. You can see this green leafy paradise across the water from Achladies and the Cape Kanapitsa area. 

The translucent, cerulean waters here are more reminiscent of something that you would expect to see in the Carribean. Its sandy beaches backed by pine trees feel like a true paradise lost. 

In the summer months, you can take a boat from Skiathos port to reach Tsougkrias, and other uninhabited islands for a day. From 2021, there is a hope to bring live DJs and singers from Athens to perform here when the sun goes down. 

Watch a Plane Landing at Skiathos Airport 

Skiathos Airport is one of the only places in the world where you can stand directly beneath planes as they are coming in to land. The runway here has often been referred to as being the European St Maartens. 

The walk from Skiathos town to the airport is pleasant and takes just over 30 minutes. This is a great place for plane spotting, or for capturing some incredible photographs. Set up your tripod and wait for the jet blast! 

Walk to the Monastery of the Annunciation (Evangelistria Monastery) 

There are several gorgeous monasteries scattered throughout Skiathos island. Two of these are well within walking distance of Skiathos town. 

Skiathos hiking trail #13 connects Skiathos town with the monastery. From there, the pathway also continues onwards towards the ruins of Kastro. 

The Monastery of the Annunciation was founded by a group of Kollyvades monks in 1794. Today, the large complex sits amidst some of the most dramatic scenery on the island, and consists of a chapel, a small museum, and living quarters. During the summer months, a mini-bus also connects Skiathos town with the monastery. 

Dance Until the Early Morning at Ammoudi

Ammoudi is the stretch that connects Skiathos town centre with the island’s airport. Skiathos is known across Greece for its vibrant, varied nightlife scene. 

Bars, clubs and live music venues to suit all tastes are found throughout the town. However, the largest concentration of these is found in the Ammoudi area. 

Catch a Show at Bourtzi 

The leafy islet of Bourtzi is connected to Skiathos by a walkway. When Skiathos was under Venetian rule, the Gizi brothers constructed a fortress here. 

The peninsula was encompassed by impregnable defensive walls. Two lookout towers sat either side of the main gate to aid the Venetians in scouting for enemies. It is believed that a small church once stood here too. 

Today, an open air theatre sits at the centre of the islet. Many movie showings, musical, and cultural performances are hosted here between June and October. Notably, showings of Mamma Mia are popular in the summer months.

Bourtzi is a popular rest spot for Skiathos locals. People of all ages will come here to walk beneath the trees, chat with friends, and grab a glass of wine or a coffee from the cafe on the islet. 

Walk from Plakes to the Nearby City Beaches 

Beaches near Skiathos town

Several ¨city¨ beaches can be found right on the outskirts of Skiathos town. You can easily walk from your central hotel to a beautiful stretch of coastline in less than ten minutes.

Many of these beaches are crowded in the summer, on account of their proximity to the town. However, they are still a convenient place to go swimming and catch some sun without having to board the bus all the way to Koukounaries. Paralia Vasilias and Achladies are both worth having on your radar. 

Where to Stay in Skiathos Town 

There are a plethora of hotels and accommodation options available in Skiathos town. You will find something here to suit every budget and travel style. 

Skiathos town is a popular Greek travel destination. As such, it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance if you plan on travelling during the peak summer months of July and August. A handful of reputable Skiathos town hotels are discussed below for your reference.

Atlas Hotel, Skiathos Town

The Atlas Hotel in Skiathos town offers a luxury stay without the luxury price tag. Rooms here start from just €35 per night.

The property has been decorated in a chic, contemporary style. All of the rooms feature plush, modern furnishings that boast an elegant black and white monochrome palette.

Atlas Hotel´s location is excellent. You are situated right at the beating heart of the Chora.

There are a plethora of restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. Meanwhile, the port and the beach of Megali Ammos are just a short walk away. You can check the latest room rates and availability here.

Skiathos Mystery Residence

The four-star Skiathos Mystery Residence is one of the most luxurious and decadent properties on the island. It is situated on a hilltop just above the town.

Guests can enjoy breathtaking sea views from the exteriors and balconies. The property boasts an outdoor pool, perfect for relaxing in at the end of a day´s sightseeing. Click here to check the latest rates and availability.

Parting Words

Do you have any additional questions about Skiathos town or planning your Greece holiday? I´ve lived in Greece since 2017 and spent 8 months in the Sporades in 2020/21. 

Feel free to reach out if you need anything. Safe travels. 

Geia sou! Melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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