19 Top Things to Do in Skiathos, Greece: A Complete Guide
Thinking about visiting Skiathos Island, Greece? Keep reading for the best things to do in Skiathos in our insider’s guide to this Sporades gem.
Nestled in the clear waters of the Aegean Sea, Skiathos Island beckons travelers with its pristine beaches, charming villages, and vibrant atmosphere. The most popular island in the Sporades group, Skiathos is a small island perfect for a quick beach break or Greek island getaway.
Known for its stunning coastline, Skiathos boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. From the lively and bustling Koukounaries Beach to the secluded and tranquil Lalaria Beach, the best of Skiathos’ beaches are always within easy reach.
The island also has a rich history and culture evident in every corner, from its picturesque villages to its ancient ruins. Make sure to leave time for exploring the beautiful streets of Skiathos Town, trying delicious Greek food, and visiting the historic monasteries and churches.
Most recently the island has shot to fame as the filming location for the movie ‘Mamma Mia’ (along with Skopelos) and you too can visit some of the stunning locations used for the film.
Keep reading to find the best of Skiathos, Greece. Discover what to do, where to go, how to get around, and all the best hotel recommendations for the perfect escape to Greek island bliss.
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How To Get To Skiathos
Skiathos is easily accessible by ferry and plane. It’s the only island in the Sporades with an international airport so if you’re flying in but you plan to be based on Skopelos or visit Alonnisos, you’ll need to fly into Skiathos first.
By Plane- Skiathos International Airport (JSI) receives many direct flights from European destinations such as London, Manchester, Vienna, Bucharest, Rome, and Munich making it a convenient destination to visit. There are also many flights from Athens and other Greek islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Corfu.
To book flights, I always use Skyscanner and Google Flights to check the best deals. Use Skyscanner here to book your flights to Skiathos.
From the airport, you can get the bus to Skiathos town (€3) or take a taxi which are available outside the arrivals hall.
By Ferry– Many Greek ferry companies link Skiathos with other islands in the Sporades such as Skopoles and Alonnisos. You can also take a ferry to the mainland, to Volos and Agios Konstantinos.
For island groups further away such as the Cyclades, you’ll most likely need to change ferries at least once.
Skiathos is a small island and most of the things to do in Skiathos are easily reached by rental car or scooter, bus or boat.
By Rental Car/Scooter/ATV
One of the most popular ways to get around Skiathos is to rent a vehicle and explore yourself. Renting a vehicle gives you the ultimate amount of freedom to access almost all the best places on the island in your own time. This is how I recommend getting around.
You can rent a car online in advance or rent a scooter or ATV once you arrive in Skiathos, in Skiathos town. Rates vary depending on the vehicle but scooters generally go for about €20 per day.
Note that some of the roads on the island especially in the north are dirt, mountainous roads so if you plan to explore some off-the-beaten-path gems, I’d recommend renting an ATV.
By Bus – One bus line links Skiathos Port in town to Koukounaries Beach. The bus travels between the two destinations with many different spots along the way, all along the south coast. This makes it very easy to explore many of the southern beaches in Skiathos by bus.
For places a little further out of the way, you might need to take the bus and then walk the rest of the way.
Renting a boat is also another great way of exploring the Skiathos coastline from a different vantage point. Boats can be rented in Skiathos town and you can then explore the coastline as you wish.
Lalaria beach, probably Skiathos’ most incredible beach, can only be reached by boat so renting a boat to visit Lalaria as well as a few other spots is a great way to see the island.
Taxi boats also operate from Skiathos town to Koukounaries and a few other popular beaches if you don’t want to take the bus.
Top Things to Do in Skiathos Greece
Stroll around the Center of Skiathos Town
Skiathos town or ‘Chora’ as it’s also known, is a beautiful hub of narrow, snaking alleyways filled with boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.
White buildings with colorful shutters and terracotta roofs dominate the center of town and bougainvillea flowers bloom on just about every corner in the summer months.
One of the first things you should do after arriving in Skiathos is to get your bearings and take a walk through its gorgeous narrow streets, camera in hand preferably. You’ll find some seriously picturesque corners to gawk at!
You can start exploring on Papadiamanti Street, Chora’s main thoroughfare but make sure to also head into the other cobbled streets around it.
For more, read the full guide: Top Things to Do in Skiathos Town Greece
Do some Watersports
On pretty much every popular beach you’ll find the opportunity for some watersports. From kayaking and SUP to jet skiing and water skiing there are plenty of watersports on offer to try for the first time or perfect your skills.
The best way to book is just to get to the beach of your choice early and enquire about renting a kayak or SUP.
Visit the Museum of Greek Writer Alexandros Papadiamantis
A trip to Skiathos Town wouldn’t be complete without immersing yourself in the rich literary history of the island. While there aren’t too many cultural attractions in Skiathos, one of the must-visit sights in Skiathos Town is the Museum of Alexandros Papadiamantis.
The 19th Century Greek writer is an influential novelist, short story writer, and poet who was born in and lived in Skiathos.
The museum is housed in his former home where you can see a collection of personal belongings, manuscripts, and photographs, offering a fascinating glimpse into the life and works of this renowned Greek writer.
Even if you’re not massively interested in the life of the famous writer, a visit to this house museum will give you insight into life in Skiathos in the 19th Century and the island’s history.
Go for a Walk on Bourtzi Peninsula
Nestled at the entrance of Skiathos harbor, the Bourtzi Peninsula is a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. When walking along the harbor you’ll immediately see the little island, a wonderfully relaxing spot filled with pine trees and benches to relax on.
From here you’ll also have breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the smaller islands that surround Skiathos. Standing proudly atop the peninsula is a 13th Century fortress that offers a glimpse into the island’s rich and long history. As you’re walking around make sure to pop into the fortress to have a look- it’s now a Maritime and Naval Museum.
Bourtzi Peninsula is also one of the best photo spots for views of the old harbor and waterfront, especially at sunrise.
While you’re there you can also enjoy a meal at Bourtzi Skiathos, a health-focused outdoor restaurant and cafe with some of the most scenic views in Skiathos. A must for sunset or even for brunch on a day you’re not hitting the beaches.
Enjoy the Sunset
One of the best things to do in Skiathos is witness the breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple.
The best sunsets on Skiathos happen on the Western coastline and you’ll need to head there for some unobstructed views. Agia Eleni Beach was my favorite for watching the sunset and it is a popular option.
If you’re in Skiathos town for sunset (the sunset is around 9 pm in summertime) the best place to go is the Agios Nikolaos Church which sits perched on top of a small hill in town. While you won’t see the sunset over the horizon ( the hilly geography of the island doesn’t allow it) you will be able to get that golden and orange glow.
Without a doubt, however, the best places for watching the sunset in Skiathos are Agia Eleni Beach, Big Banana Beach, and Little Banana Beach.
Go Scuba Diving
For those seeking an exhilarating underwater adventure, Skiathos has some fantastic options for scuba diving enthusiasts. With crystal-clear waters, a few wrecks, and diverse marine life, this Greek paradise offers an unforgettable experience beneath the surface.
There are a couple of dive schools on the island that can organize dives and courses too. The most popular option is Skiathos Diving Center on Koukounaries Beach.
In terms of dives, one popular diving spot is the uninhabited island of Tsougria, located just off the coast of Skiathos. Here you’ll be able to see a colorful underwater world teeming with vibrant corals, fascinating rock formations, and an array of marine species.
The famous Lalaria Beach is also a great dive site. Known for its incredibly clear water there are many spots here full of marine life.
For the wreck fans, Panagiotis Shipwreck, also known as the “Mamma Mia Shipwreck,” is a great one to dive just off the island of Skopelos.
For the hiking fans, you’ll be pleased to know that Skiathos is full of beautiful hiking trails, all around the island. Due to its small size too, most hikes are manageable and can be done in a day.
One of the most popular hikes is Skiathos Town to Kastro- the ancient capital of Skiathos. You’ll hike through stunning pine forests and along the coast so get ready for some amazing sea views as you hike.
The ruins of Kastro perched on a rocky hilltop offer a glimpse into Skiathos’ past, and the panoramic vistas of the Aegean Sea are very picturesque.
Another great hike is to the Monastery of Panagia Kounistra, a hidden gem tucked away in the pine-covered hills. The trail winds through fragrant forests, and reaching the monastery feels like stepping into a serene sanctuary. The views from the monastery are also worth the climb.
If you’re looking for more hiking trails, Hiking Skiathos is a great resource for hiking in Skiathos with over 26 different trails listed for all levels.
If you’re hiking in Skiathos in the summer months, make sure to bring plenty of water with you, non-toxic sunscreen, and a hat, even though the pine forests do provide a nice blanket of shade.
Kastro is the ancient capital of Skiathos and it’s here where you can find the enchanting site of Kastro Castle, the ancient fortress. Perched atop a hill, Kastro offers panoramic views of the island’s coastline and the sparkling Aegean Sea. You’ll be able to explore the ruins of the medieval castle, wander through the hillside, and imagine life herein a bygone era.
You can visit Kastro by driving or by boat. Make sure also to descend down to Kastro beach where you can relax, go for a much-needed swim, and have lunch in the quaint little beach shack that has stunning ocean views.
Go on a Boat Tour
Taking a boat tour or boat trip is one of the best activities to do on Skiathos Island, Greece. Skiathos town is where most tours depart and they can be booked online or at the port.
Whether you’re after just exploring Skiathos and its beaches by boat, or heading on a Mamma Mia tour of Skopelos Island, you’ll be able to find that perfect tour for you. You can choose from itineraries around Skiathos, popular spots on both Skiathos and Skopelos or a boat tour of Skopelos.
I’d highly recommend going on a small group tour as some of the Skiathos boat trips can get quite big (80+ people). You’ll be able to find most of the boutique, private boats docked here which offer tours around the island and to Skopelos.
Best Things to do in Skiathos: Visit Lalaria Beach
The most beautiful and well-known beach in Skiathos, Lalaria is dramatic and all about contrasts. Flanked by tremendous, dry stone cliffs on one side and the crystal, blue Aegean on the other, a visit to Lalaria Beach is a must on a Skiathos itinerary.
You can only get to Lalaria by boat so you’ll need to hop on a tour or rent a boat to see this beach. On arrival, you’ll be greeted by a towering stone arch, white cliffs, a stunning stone beach, and the clearer, bluest water on the island.
You can spend all day here just swimming and relaxing on the stone beach.
Make sure to bring everything with you as there are no food and drink facilities here.
You can get to Lalaria by either hopping on a guided tour or by renting your own boat and going alone. You’ll be able to do both at the old port in Skiathos town. Generally, tours also include a visit to Kastro or Tsougria Island too and you can choose your itinerary.
Beach Hop around the Island
While Lalaria Beach is magnificent, it’s definitely not the only beach you should visit. There are so many amazing beaches in Skiathos, depending on what you’re after.
For those that are after a peaceful escape away from the crowds, head to the northern beaches of Elia, Megalos Aselinos, and Mikros Aselinos.
For those wanting a little bit more action then you might want to check out popular Agia Eleni beach, Koukounaries, Big Banana as well as Little Banana.
The best way to explore Skiathos’s Beaches is by renting a vehicle whether that’s a scooter, ATV or a car. This will give you the most freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace.
For ATVs and scooters, you’ll need to book directly with the local renters in Skiathos.
Take a Stroll Around Lake Strofilias
Just above Koukounaries Beach, you’ll find Lake Strofilias, a tranquil oasis surrounded by the lush greenery of Koukounaries Nature Reserve. It’s a lovely area of natural beauty where you can spot many different bird species.
A trail encircles Lake Strofilias which you can walk or bike on and enjoy nature. It’s lined with tall pine trees and wildflowers, it provides a refreshing break from the scorching sun and a chance to immerse oneself in the island’s natural wonders.
During the walk, keep an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. The lake serves as a haven for various bird species such as herons, ducks, and even the elusive kingfisher.
As the lake is so close to Koukounaries it’s really a great beach alternative for an hour or so.
Visit Parissis Winery
Located high above Skiathos Town is Parissis Winery, one of the few wineries on Skiathos Island that you can tour and have a tasting. Visiting this family-owned winery offers a fascinating insight into the traditional winemaking process, from grape cultivation to wine production. This is also one of the best alternative things to do in Skiathos.
After a tour of the grounds, you’ll be able to enjoy a basic or premium wine tasting where you’ll sample a range of fine white wines from the winery. The tastings are held on their terrace which has the most magnificent views over Skiathos town and the sea.
You’ll need to reserve your visit and tasting in advance. You can do so through their website here.
Visit the Evangelistria Monastery
A visit to Skiathos wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one monastery. Exploring the historic Evangelistria Monastery, which holds a special place in the island’s history is one of the most important on the island. Nestled on a hill just outside the town, this monastery has witnessed centuries of events and is a testament to the island’s spiritual heritage.
The origins of Evangelistria Monastery can be traced back to the 18th century when it was established as a spiritual refuge. It played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, serving as a secret meeting place for Greek revolutionaries.
Inside the monastery, you’ll find a fascinating museum that showcases artifacts and memorabilia from this pivotal period, including weapons, documents, and ecclesiastical items. Make sure not to miss the monastery church too which contains ornate frescoes and intricate woodwork.
From the monastery’s panoramic terrace, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Skiathos Town and the surrounding landscapes. It’s the perfect spot to capture some incredible photos and appreciate the beauty of the island from a different perspective.
Spend the afternoon on Tsougria Island
Tsougria Island is an uninhabited island just off the coast of Skiathos. It’s a lovely spot to head to by boat, relax on its beaches, tour the island, and dive in head first into the azure waters around the island. If you’re seeking a peaceful beach day, a snorkeling adventure, or a serene hike through the pine forests, Tsougria Island has it all.
One of the most popular ways to get to Tsougria is to hire a boat and go yourself, or to opt for a sailing tour. Many larger boat tours also visit the island but you’ll have little flexibility when it comes to which beaches to explore.
Don’t miss the main Tsougria Public Beach where you’ll find azure waters, white sand, and a lovely beach bar and restaurant- a great option for lunch.
Sail Around Skiathos
One of the most fun yet relaxing experiences in Skiathos is getting on the water and sailing around the island. There’s something magical about being out on the crystal clear water, feeling the breeze as you navigate the Aegean Sea.
In Skiathos old port you can rent a small boat for the day and head out on your own itinerary. You’ll be able to explore the hidden coves, and secluded beaches (like Lalaria Beach in the early afternoon) and visit the little villages that dot the coastline.
Sailing around Skiathos on your own little boat is a great way to pass the day relaxing on the water as well as see the delights the island has to offer from a different vantage point. Don’t forget your snorkeling gear too! There’ll be plenty of opportunities for it.
Visit Neighbouring Skopelos
The beautiful island of Skopelos sits just to the east of Skiathos. It really is a Greek Island destination in itself but you can easily hop over on a ferry or boat tour and make the most of a day on the island.
Skopelos is famous for having many of the filming locations of the movie “Mamma Mia” which makes it a popular destination in the Sporades Islands. Skopelos is full of lush green landscapes, charming villages, and a breathtaking coastline with countless lovely beaches.
If you take the ferry from Skiathos you’ll end up in Skopelos town (alternative routes to Glossa are also available). Here you can explore the winding streets of Skopelos Town, where vibrant bougainvillea adorns the white-washed buildings and traditional tavernas beckon you with mouthwatering local cuisine.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Church of Agios Ioannis, perched on a cliff overlooking the azure sea, a sight made famous by the movie “Mamma Mia.”
You can then rent a scooter or ATV in Skopelos Town to visit some other sites and beaches around the island.
If you prefer to do a Skopelos Tour from Skiathos rather than heading on the ferry, this is one of the best options.
Skiathos is the only island in the Sporades group with an airport and due to the island’s small size, its runway pretty much goes from one part of the coastline to the other.
It’s one of the few places in the world where the runway starts right on the beach, so if you’re a plane spotter or someone who wants to experience a plane landing at close range, this is your chance.
Head to this point to see planes land or to Xanemos Beach to see planes take off. Make sure to also check the Skiathos Airport website to time your visit with arriving or departing flights.
You might want to bring some earplugs too as the noise can be deafening.
Check out the Skiathos Cat Welfare Association
If you’re an animal lover, or specifically a cat lover then you’ll love all of the island’s feline residents. There’s also something else you can do with some free time you have to help the cat community of the island.
Stop by the Skiathos Cat Welfare Association if you have a free minute, make a donation, or just volunteer for a few hours to help the resident cats. This wonderful organization is dedicated to the welfare and care of the island’s stray cat population and does what it can to feed them and offer veterinary assistance.
If you want to give back while on Skiathos, this is a great way of doing so.
Where to Stay in Skiathos Greece
There are many hotels, resorts, and rental options in Skiathos for all budgets. Choose whether to stay in the vibrant Skiathos Old Town to make the most of dining options in the evening, or consider a luxury resort amid some of the island’s best beaches. Here are some of my favorite Skiathos stays to consider.
ELIVI Skiathos – For those looking for the best beaches and a luxury resort stay surrounded by azure water and pine forests, make sure to consider ELIVI Skiathos. Private suites, beautiful views, and everything you need for a perfect stay on the west coast of Skiathos. Check rates and book here.
Skiathos Palace Hotel– A great 4-star option near Koukounaries. Light and bright suites, great pool area, and stunning ocean views. Check rates and availability here.
La Piscine Art Hotel – One of the best luxury hotels in Skiathos Town, you can expect classic Mediterranean design, bright, large suites, a great pool area on site, and an epic wine cellar. Check rates and availability here.
Evgenia Seafront House- For those looking for the ultimate sea views in Skiathos Town make sure to check out this stunning studio. With a bedroom and terrace overlooking the ocean, and all the facilities you need for the ideal self-catered stay, this rental is a winner. Check rates and availability here.
Ready it dive into the best things to do in Skiathos? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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