Megáli Ámmos © Aerial-motion, Shutterstock
On Skiáthos, mobile sardine tins called buses follow the south coast. The stops are all numbered, stopping within walking distance of the best strands, all of which are equipped with tavernas and water sports hire.
The most convenient beach from Skiáthos Town is Megáli Ámmos (Μεγάλη Άμμος) although it’s generally packed. Moving westward, Achladiás (Αχλαδιάς; easiest reached by taxi-boat) is also chock-a-block in summer. Beyond that, 5km from town, the Kalamáki Peninsula juts out with a coating of holiday villas.
Beaches here include Kanapítsa (Καναπίτσα), a popular cove, and nearby Vromólimnos (Βρωμόλιμνος; ‘dirty lake’), hard to pronounce and hard to find, but one of the finest places to swim on the island, with powder-puff sand; the restaurant-bar at the right-hand end of the strand is worth a stop for a tipple or two.
Plataniá (Πλατανιάς) overlooks Ag Paraskeví (Αγ Παρασκευή), a lovely long stretch of beach with plenty of parasols and sunbeds. Troúlos (Τρούλος) has a couple of tavernas and more good swimming.
Vromólimnos Beach © Heracles Kritikos, Shutterstock
The last bus stop, 12km from Skiáthos Town, is the legendary Koukounariés (Κουκουναριές) a superb sweeping crescent bay of soft sand that escaped from the South Pacific, fringed with pines, although in August it seems that not only can you ‘see a world in a grain of sand’, as Blake wrote, but that each grain of sand has a world sitting on it.
Tavernas, hotels and a campsite are hidden away from the sea behind trees and wetlands of Lake Strofiliás. Hyper-trendy Krássa, nowadays called Banana Beach, is up the hill with the sea on your left when you get off the bus at Koukounariés. Little Banana (or Spartacus), next door, is the gay/nudie beach where you can peel off everything and lie cheek-to-cheek in a bunch.
Next is the lovely Ag Eléni (Αγ Ελένη) the last beach accessible by road, a quieter spot with a view across to the Pelion Peninsula and a welcome breeze; or take the dirt road just before the beach, which leads after 1km or so down to Krýfos Ammoúdia (Κρύφος Αμμουδιά) Beach, with a cool taverna.
Where rambunctious Skiáthos has given its all to tourism, Skópelos (Σκόπελος), with its more modest pebbly beaches, remained aloof during the 1960s and 70s, the decades of slapdash cash-in-quick building.
Yet, not only has the island kept its integrity and serenity – the lure for a new wave of upmarket tourists, along with its star turn in the 2008 film Mamma Mia! – but it’s also exceptionally beautiful, with dramatic scenery, dense pine forests, plum orchards and two truly pretty towns, Skópelos and Glóssa. It is a lovely island for long walks, especially outside of the heatstroke months of July and August.
Buses from Skópelos Town to Glóssa pass within 500m of some of the island’s best beaches. Stáphylos (Στάφυλος), where the Minoan tombs were found, is now a popular family area, with several beaches. Agnóntas (Αγνώντας), the next stop, is a boaty little bay with good tavernas and a pebbly beach. Greeks have long memories: Agnóntas was named after a local victor in the 569bc Olympics, who disembarked here to wild acclaim. Nearby sand-and-pebble Limonári (Λιμνονάρι) has usually calm turquoise waters and a pair of tavernas.
Agnóntas beach © leoks, Shutterstock
From Agnóntas a road cuts through the pines to pebbly Pánormos (Πάνορμος), set in a magnificent bay, followed by pretty pebbly Miliá (Μηλιά) and charming Kastáni (Καστάνη) – one of several film locations around the island. Further along, Élios (Έλιος) is a small resort that got its name from a dragon who demanded an annual tribute of human flesh, until St Reginos took the place of one of the victims and asked God for mercy (éleos); the dragon then let Reginos lead it over a cliff. Today it’s better known as Néa Klíma. Beyond is the larger village of Old Klíma, and then just before Glóssa is tiny Athéato (Αθέατο) the ‘invisible’ and the oldest village on the island.
The north end of Skópelos is the quieter, more traditional part of the island. Glóssa, its main village, spills prettily down a wooded hill over hundreds of steps, guarded by a trio of ruined 4th-century bc towers. A scenic road descends to cliff-hugged Perivolioú (Περιβολιού; w perivolioubeach.gr) beach with a taverna and sunbeds, 5km from Glóssa; the colours are especially fetching in the afternoon light.
Perivolioú beach © Alex Konti, Shutterstock
A track leads in an hour to the outrageously pretty church of Ag Ioánnis, an eagle’s nest with real eagles often soaring overhead; the last leg of the walk is up 100 steps carved in the rock, leading to the church hanging dramatically above the sea – now world-famous after its role in the wedding scene in Mamma Mia! in 2008, and still receives a lot of cinema pilgrims. There’s a small beach below.
A steep 3km below Glóssa, there’s an untidy beach and tavernas at Loutráki (Λουτράκι; Ancient Selenunda), the peaceful port of Glóssa, with its cobblestone lanes, where the ferries call. South along the shore is peaceful white Katakaloús Beach, near the scant eroded remains of Selenunda’s Roman-era baths.
Learn more about the beautiful beaches of northern Greece with our comprehensive guide:
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