Skiathos packs a whopping 50 beaches into just seven by four miles, alongside everything you want from a Greek island.
Surrounded by the sparkling Aegean Sea, it is the smallest of the inhabited Sporades, boasting an historic harbour town, fantastic seafood and natural beauty.
Arriving at Skiathos International Airport
From London City Airport you’ll touch down directly on Skiathos at the Alexandros Papadiamantis airport, named for a 19th-century Greek writer who was born here and set much of his work on the island.
The beachfront airport has a famously short and narrow runway, and coming in to land over the Aegean is a novel experience – bag a window seat if you can. The airport is a couple of miles north of the island’s capital, Skiathos Town, and there is no public transport that serves it.
Taxis are easily available and good value though, setting you back around €12 to Skiathos Town, a quaint and beautiful harbour town with a sweeping cobbled seafront, with traditional whitewashed, red-tiled buildings.
If you don’t mind braving uneven footpaths — and you don’t have much luggage — you could actually walk from the airport to Skiathos Town easily.
Alternatively, make your way from the airport to nearby Xanemos Beach, where you’ll find the nearest bus stop.
Skiathos is a great place for snorkelling and serious swimmers as the waters are exceptionally clear and well-stocked with colourful fish and sea-life. You can take a boat trip out to a more remote spot for snorkelling. Diving is also a major enterprise here. Most beaches have pedal boats available for hire. Troulos beach is a good place to pick up a sea kayak if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Prefer to exercise on dry land? Running on the beach is a favourite pastime, especially along Koukounaries, which is one of the longest stretches of sand. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking on this hilly island. Although, be aware that footpaths aren’t always brilliantly maintained and proper footwear is a must. No flip-flops!
A passenger ferry to Skopelos takes under an hour and a half, which makes it a very doable destination for a day-trip. Skopelos is the largest of the four main Sporades islands, famous for its natural springs, wine and for its starring role in Mamma Mia! – you can take a guided tour of locations from the movie. Or, simply enjoy delicious food in Glossa (where the ferry docks), take a bus trip to Skopelos Town or laze on any number of idyllic beaches.
The white pebbled beach of Lalaria is only accessible by boat, which means it's one of the least-developed beaches on the island. With a dramatic sea arch and crystalline waters, it is glorious. During high season there can be lots of boats toing and froing and it can feel crowded, so it's best early in the day or at sunset. If you hire a boat taxi, it’s worth asking them to pop along to Kastro, a little north of Lalaria, for a dose of culture on the way back.