Greece- Skiathos - The Mamma Mia Island- Contains Skiathos Photos
Skiathos is a small island in the Northwest Agean.It is in the Northern Sporades group of islands. It is most famous for the film Mamma Mia, where, despite what people think, only small portion of the film is based. It is also the birthplace of author Alexandros Papadiamantis. The island itself is very small, only 19 square miles. It main income is from tourism. Travellers flock to the island between May and October to soak up the sun and enjoy the Greek culture and lifestyle.
Skiathos Old Harbour
The Islands north is largely rugged and uninhabited. The south of the island, on the other hand, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches. The island has in excess of 60 beaches, mostly sandy and all stunning.
Getting around the south of the island is easy with a bus route going along the entire of the south of the island, with 26 stops and can be as regular a 5 per hour in the high season. The main tourist destination is the beach of Koukounaries. Buses to the north are less frequent from Skiathos Town to Xanemos, with only six a day.
Taxi boats operate from Achladies to Skiathos Town. A fast taxi boat goes from Skiathos Town to Koukounaries.
In August the island is at its busiest, but it still seems like a quiet, relaxed place to visit. Skiathos Town is good for shopping and eating. There are hotels in the town so it is possible to stay here. From Skiathos Town it is easy to get around the island on buses, water taxis and excursions. The excursions include the round the island trip, the Mamma Mia Tour, an island hop to Skopelos and many others.
A favourite location for tourists to stay is Koukounaries which has some of the longest stretches of beaches and water sports for all tastes. Other locations for a more relaxed feel include Archladies and Troulos.
To the north of the island is the old city of Kastro. Whilst it is basically a ruin, it has some of the best views on the island. It was previously the capital in the 14th Century when the island was under constant attack from pirates. There are trips to Kastro on a daily basis.As the island is small it does make other stops but Kastro is the stand out stop. The climb to the old city is not for the faint hearted. Kastro sits up a very steep climb up dirt paths and cliff edges but is worth it.
View from the path leading to Kastro
The other main stop in the north is the famous Lalaria Beach. It is only accessible by boat and with its tranquil pebble beach and natural formed arches in the water,It is truly beautiful. My only issue was that all the boat trip arrive at the same time so the secluded beach becomes over run very quickly.
My top tip is to find a tour that goes anti-clockwise round the island. The tours going clockwise seem more numerous and can mean that Lalaria get very busy whilst you are there.
Where to stay
Where ever you choose to stay on the island you are guaranteed a relaxed atmosphere and stunning views. As the island is so small you will always be able to get around easily.
Achladies - A small resort situated almost in the centre of the south of the island. It has a beautiful sandy beach, several restaurants and bars, local super markets and a fantastic bakery. It also has water sports from the beach and a boat taxi taking you to Skiathos Town.
Koukounaries - A slightly larger resort, but only by Skiathos terms,Koukounaries has one of the biggest beaches on Skiathos and has a wide selection of watersports and also Tennis courts. The resort has all the usual amenities of supermarkets ,tavernas and restaurants.
I could go on listing other resorts of Troulos,Kolios and Megali Ammos but I would just be repeating myself.
Skiathos Town - One of the most charming places I have ever been. It is the busiest of all the resorts on the island but still feels like a relaxed fishing village. It is good for shopping, eating and drinking, As it is a harbour you can also get boat trips from here as well as the buses for the three routes. In the centre is an open air cinema often showing Mamma Mia for the tourists. You will also find amenities such as doctors, pharmacy's and internet cafes. However as it is so easy to get to I would not stay in this resort.
Eating & Drinking
Eating out on the island is a must. Skiathos town is full of different restaurants for every taste. The most common are traditional Gyros restaurants to sit and eat or walk with. A Gyros is a seasoned pork served in a round Pitta with salad, chips and Tzatziki. Ice cream and frozen yoghurt shops are popular along with crepe shops selling sweet and savoury delights.
In the evening the place come alive with restaurants serving great food, good wine and will often have traditional Greek dancing or music. Many restaurants will have deals on meals such as three course meals for a set price. If looking for a great place to eat in the town try 1901 where you can enjoy your meal sat outside soaking up the beauty of Skiathos by night.
If you are just looking for a drink and a great view try the harbour front. Be careful though prices can very vastly between the bars so be sure you check the prices to avoid an unwelcome surprise.
Holidays to Skiathos are perfect for families or couples. If you are going as a family avoid 'little banana beach' that is a nudist beach. For an activity filled holiday head to Koukounaries with its water sports and may beaches catering for everyone, for a quiet holiday but with easy access to everything try Achladies. I have also heard good things about Troulos but not been there myself. The star of the island is Skiathios Town. Be sure to venture here early in the holiday as you will want a few trips there.
© 2015 Mike Welsh