Sitting to the north of Evia, and east of Volos, Skiathos is an island just 12 kilometres long, 6 kilometres wide, and 50 square kilometres in area, yet it is the most popular island in the Sporades archipelago. If you’re wondering about the best areas to stay in Skiathos for this year’s holiday, read on.
Skiathos lies in the turquoise Aegean Sea, and is an oasis of greenery. The island has pine, cypress, and oak groves across the hillsides, with cultivated areas of fig, almond, olive, and plum trees, as well as vineyard areas of grape vines on the lower reaches.
The typically Greek towns and villages, with the sun reflecting off the whitewashed cottages with their colourful doors and window frames, are in sharp contrast to the deep green vegetation that surrounds them.
Smaller buildings inland can be seen glinting through the pine trees, and explored from the many hiking trails and cart tracks that wend their way through the forests, making the interior so popular with walkers and nature lovers.
But, for all its natural appeal, it is the beaches of this beautiful island that set it apart from many others. Over 60 pristine, golden sand beaches dot the coast. Some include all the beachside amenities you would expect on a holiday island, while others are as natural as the day they were created.
Skiathos nightlife as well, has something of a reputation, and attracts young holiday makers from across Europe. Loud clubs and all night beach parties are the norm in some places during high season, although you can still find plenty of quiet taverns and restaurants around the different localities. The following are 10 of the best areas to stay in Skiathos.
Where to stay in Skiathos: 10 Best areas
1. Skiathos Town, where to stay in Skiathos for nightlife
Located on the south-eastern tip of the island, Skiathos town dates back to Byzantium times, although much of it was destroyed by German bombing during the war.
Post-war it was rebuilt in traditional style, and returned to its former glory by the town’s skilled tradesmen. Now it is home to over 90% of the island’s 5,000 population.
A town of narrow, twisting streets and cobbled alleyways, with terraced houses and businesses squeezed side by side, it offers hours of casual exploration to seek out the souvenir shops, local bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Papadiamanti Street is the main street in town, where you will find everything from small mini-marts, bakeries and grocers, to touristy shops selling beach towels, flip-flops, and wish-you-were-here postcards. Local and international restaurants sit side by side, and bars and clubs cater for all music genres.
If you prefer your evenings quiet and relaxed, Papadiamanti Street is probably not the place to head to. It is the main area after dark for the young party people, with live music, lively bars, and clubs that party on through the night.
Harbour areas are always a big draw, and Skiathos harbour is the largest on the island, with the main port accommodating ferries from the islands and mainland.
The commercial port, and small fishing harbour and marina, are separated by the narrow, pine covered Bourtzi peninsula, which holds the remains of an old Venetian fortress.
The southern area of the island receives little wind, and the sheltered marina is busy through the summer months. With large island hopping ferries, private sail boats, and chartered motor yachts coming and going, there’s always something happening around the port.
On a warm summer evening, with the full moon reflecting off the harbour water, what could be better than dining in an open air restaurant, or enjoying a beer on the terrace of a local harbourside tavern.
Accommodation is plentiful around Skiathos town, including camp sites and hostels, but early booking is recommended, especially if you want to visit in high season.
2. Megali Ammos, a self-contained resort complex five minutes from Skiathos town
In Greek, Megali Ammos means large sand, referring to the almost one-kilometre length of soft, golden sand beach, just a 15 minute stroll from Skiathos.
A busy resort centre in its own right, you will find hotels, self-catering apartments, and spa-villas to the back of the beach, along with a well-stocked supermarket, restaurant, and a few tavernas.
The beach area is primarily soft sand, although a few rocks appear toward the western end. Plenty of sunbeds and shades are available on the beach, and there is a water-sports centre for those who prefer a little more activity.
The beach shelves gently into the blue Aegean Sea, making it safe for younger family members.
Spread along the walkway are a number of tavernas, snack-shacks, and beach shops where you can buy sunblock, towels, and buckets and spades.
With its close proximity to Skiathos town, Megali Ammos is a very popular holiday destination with both mainland and local Greeks, Brits, Italians, and Germans, especially in the high season months of July and August.
If the crowds get too much, a walk to the east end of the beach, and a scramble over the rocks, will take you to the next door beach. No amenities, no sunbeds, but much quieter.
The whole island is popular with the younger generation because of its famous night-time party vibe. However, many staying in Megali Ammos will head off to nearby Skiathos town for a night of partying, allowing you to find a few quieter bars and restaurants locally.
3. Vassilias, a popular family friendly resort
A little further along the east coast, six kilometres from Megali Ammos, is the pretty beach and resort of Vassilias.
With a deep green backdrop of cypress and pine that reaches the edge of the beach, some fantastic coastal views, and a picturesque beach of golden sand, it is ideally situated to cater for all visitor needs.
The beach is equipped with sunbeds and parasols, and has a large water-sports area with banana boats, rings, surfing, skiing, and boat hire. With a gentle slope into the water it is also safe for younger children.
A large spa-hotel sits at the back of the beach, with other accommodation further to the rear. Along the front are a couple of tavernas where lunchtime snacks and drinks can be bought.
With a regular bus service, you can spend your time soaking up the sun, appreciate some scenic walking, or choose to explore other areas of the island.
In the evening you can enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and sample local wines and beers in the friendly family owned tavernas.
4. Achladies, more Greek village than resort, with everything for a great family holiday
Just a couple of kilometres from the island’s capital, Achladies is a popular tourist resort that has managed to retain much of its fishing village appeal, while catering for increasing visitor numbers.
The Greek name means ‘pear trees’, and through the summer months the scent of olive and fruit trees fill the air. Nestling in a valley, surrounded by tall, verdant vegetation, the village opens up to a sandy cove and clear blue water.
For somewhere so small, there is a good selection of water-sports, and the gentle slope into the sea makes it young children friendly.
Sunbeds, shades, taverns, and restaurants can be found along the front, with more bars and eateries around the village.
For those who like to explore by car, scooter, or bus, the main coast road to Skiathos passes the top of the village. Or you can take the scenic route, and hail one of the frequent water taxis that run from Skiathos port to the other beaches.
Evening entertainment is somewhat limited to the selection of taverns and eateries you will find in the village or along the front. The family owned bars and restaurants are very appreciative of your custom, and a pleasant, friendly evening can be had chatting to other like-minded visitors.
If you prefer busy, livelier, late night bars, Skiathos town is just a 10 minute cab ride away.
A good selection of accommodation can be found around the area, from the basic necessities, to high-end spa hotels.
5.Kalamaki Peninsula – Kanapitsa, best area to stay in Skiathos for nature lovers
Surprisingly, for a small, popular holiday island, you can still find somewhere to stay in Skiathos that is not so busy, even in the height of the season. The Kalamaki Peninsula, and Kanapitsa beach are one such area.
Part of the reason for this anomaly is the 15 minutes journey to the capital and its party bars and clubs. Another reason is the lack of public transport, and the unkempt roads, more like farm tracks, that lead to the beach area.
Most of the younger set want to be where they can get to the livelier bars and clubs as quickly and easily as possible.
Nonetheless, the peninsula is famous for its scenic views, and very popular with Greek and German visitors who enjoy walking the numerous trails. The beach areas are of soft golden sand and blue sea.
A water-sport school can be found on the beach, and there are plenty of sunbeds, parasols, and a taverna or two along the front.
Most accommodation lies around the Kanapitsa Bay area, which encompasses the beaches of Tzaneria, Sklithri, and Kanapitsa beach, and is made up of self-catering studio and one bed apartment complexes, 3 and 4 star hotels, and sumptuous private spa villas.
6. Vromolimnos, second most popular beach on the island
Lying 8km south-west of Skiathos town, Vromolimnos is a beach and resort area very popular with the young and the young at heart. The beach sits to the front of a dried up wetlands, and is sheltered from the land by groves of pine and cypress.
It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. There is good road access for day trippers with hire cars, and a regular bus service runs through to the capital.
The sandy beach curves around the bay for hundreds of metres, and has plenty of sunbeds and shades, water-sport equipment for hire, a water ski school, and bars and tavernas along the front. There are also volleyball and tennis courts available.
If you’re a 24 hour party animal, it’s the place to be daytime. The bars along the front are geared very much to the younger element, and have sound systems blasting out the latest hits, or the sounds of the ‘90s from morning to evening.
If you prefer things a little quieter, laying your towel down at either end of the beach will at least cut down the volume.
If you’re thinking of booking Vromolimnos for your stay in Skiathos. In the evenings you will find excellent local restaurants at the back of the beach serving superb Greek cuisine, and friendly taverns to enjoy a relaxing evening drink.
7. Kolios, ideal for families and older visitors
Another attractive south coast beach for your stay in Skiathos, Kolios nestles at the rear of a large bay, which includes the beaches of Vromolimnos and Platanias, and somehow manages to avoid any of the breeze that blows down the coast.
Even when the waves can be seen breaking out at sea, the inshore area manages to remain flat calm, providing ideal conditions for young children and seniors who enjoy swimming.
Its evergreen backdrop, golden sand, and blue sea provide tranquil conditions for the sun worshippers, while there is a good water-sport selection for the more active.
Sunbeds and sunshades are available on the beach, and there are a couple of taverns, snack-shacks, and a mini-mart spread along the front.
With good road conditions, and a regular bus service between Skiathos town and the south beaches, Kolios is ideally situated for those who want to sample other local beaches, or explore the capital, just 8-kilometres away.
Accommodation is good, with well maintained self-catering apartments, hotels, and luxury villas available.
8. Agia Paraskevi, a beach popular with all age groups
A 15-minute drive, or 30-minute bus ride from the island’s capital, Agia Paraskevi beach is named after the small local church of the same name, which lies just to the rear.
A large sandy beach and resort which stretches around two bays, it is well equipped with sunbeds, parasols, and water-sports. Along the beach front are bars, tavernas, mini-marts and snack-shacks.
It is a popular beach, and does get busy, but if you find it a little too much, there are two smaller sandy beaches right next door, which tend to stay a little quieter.
At the rear is the small village and its village square, with a larger selection of cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops supplying visitors everyday needs. At least one meal should be enjoyed in one of the excellent sea-food restaurants.
For the walkers and nature lovers, there are some interesting trails which start at the rear of the village, and take you up through the valley to Kechria.
Although the island has festivals of some sort in almost every month of the year, the 26th July is the festival of Saint Agia Paraskevi, when the village celebrates the Saint’s day with eating, drinking, and even a little Greek dancing. If you’re visiting during this time, add it to the itinerary.
An excellent selection of accommodation is available ranging from studio apartments, to luxury hotels, and sumptuous villas.
9. Troulos, where to stay in Skiathos for young families
Situated on the south coast 9km from the capital, Troulos is a very well organised resort area, and particularly liked by young families. A backdrop of rolling hills covered in tall pine and olive trees, contrast with the gleaming white sand and deep blue Aegean Sea.
The name of both the beach and resort derives from the small islet just off the coast, which resembles the dome on Greek churches.
A full range of amenities are available, with bars, cafes, and eateries along the beachfront. Sunbeds and shades line the beach, and there is an excellent choice of water-sports, including boat hire to explore other nearby coves not accessible by road.
The beach shelves gently into the water, and lifeguards are on duty every day, making it very children friendly.
The area behind the resort and town is part of the Skiathos National Park, and has a number of excellent walking and biking trails which can take you to other beaches, or further inland.
The town has a good shopping area where you will find supermarkets, mini-marts, bakers, and grocers; along with traditional shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Many of the apartment complexes and hotels have their pools and pool-bars open to non-residents, giving you the opportunity to see how the other half spend their holidays.
Night times can be quiet affairs. Or a little livelier if that’s your choice, but you won’t find any all-night bars in Troulos. There is an excellent choice of eateries, with the superb fresh fish restaurants being particularly popular.
If you are more turf than surf, then try the mouth-watering stuffed fig leaves filled with delicious lamb or pork, or maybe Souvlaki, a local kebab of pork and vegetables.
Accommodation choice is good with hostels and studio apartments, hotels, and villas. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Skiathos with young children, Troulos ticks all the boxes, and is one of the most popular resorts on the island.
10. Koukounaries, saving the best till last for couples and families
Still wondering where to stay in Skiathos for a great beach holiday? How about the best beach in Greece, third best beach in the Mediterranean, or the seventh best beach in the world.
Not bad accolades for a beach on an island of just 50 square kilometres.
Koukounaries lies 12km south-west of Skiathos town. A small village resort surrounded by pine and cypress climbing the hillsides from the very edge of the beach, it is a protected area of some 145,000 square metres.
The soft, golden sand beach curves around the treeline for hundreds of metres along the coast. A wooden walkway meanders around the beach, where you can find beach-bars, shopping kiosks, and eateries.
Sunbeds and parasols are spread out on the sand, and a water-sports school offers a host or waterborne activities the whole family can enjoy.
As you might imagine, with so much forested land, and a close-by wetlands, it is also very popular with nature lovers and bird watchers, who enjoy hiking the trails, and studying the bird and animal life in the area.
There is a good selection of quality accommodation behind the village, ranging from rooms and apartments, to villas and hotels.
Koukounaries village, just to the rear of the beach, can supply all your holiday catering needs during your stay. Along with the shops, you will find traditional and international eateries, and taverns where you can just enjoy a relaxing drink with friends and family.
If you feel the need for a change of scenery, the local buses run every 30 minutes to Skiathos town, and are reasonably reliable.
So there you have it. If you’re a lover of sand and the sea, your stay in Skiathos may just be the place to roll up your trousers, tuck in your skirt, and paddle around some of the best beaches in the Greek Isles.