Skiathos overview ... village, harbour, beaches, country ... eating out, shops, night-life ... trips and transport
Here's a brief Overview of 'Part 2 - Skiathos and the Islands' of my 40-page 'Orchard Villa Skiathos Guide' sent free when you book (or PgDn to get an advance copy)... or click here to see Skiathos photos first, then click ⇐ (left arrow) at top-left of photos to return to this page.
Picturesque Skiathos harbour saw the 'arrival of the fathers' in "Mamma Mia" (wedding in Agios Ioannis church on nearby Skopelos).
Skiathos village has a paved traffic-free main street and back lanes, a taverna-lined 'old harbour', with a huge choice of shopping and eating out, cafe/bars and night life; and all services - health, banks/ATMs, garages, hairdressing, travel, post, tourist etc.
(see listings and details in the 'O-V Skiathos Guide’ part 2, and on the ‘Sky/3D’ maps - free in shops that don't sell maps! For night-life, check out "Trip Advisor Skiathos Night Clubs", as the favourites change every year)
... and literally dozens of sandy beaches, also within 5-25 mins or so drive of most villas (bar a few coves needing boat hire). Some, like secluded 'Elias' Beach (photo top left) are then a short walk through the woods, or a scramble down from the road to a favourite cove.
(transport - see 'Getting Around' below).
The dozen or so main beaches have one or more tavernas and bars, and water-sports including water skiing; parascending; speed-boat towed inflatables; dinghies, canoes, pedalos; windsurfing; SCUBA diving (book in village, or Tzanerias beach).
My own eight favourite beaches and twenty-four tavernas are all in Part 2 of the "O-Villa Skiathos Guide", with plenty of ideas to discover more of your own.
For inland hikes and horse-riding, there’s plenty of pine-forest cover with woodland paths and tracks, wild flowers, and a couple of streamlets running all summer from high-level springs. Skiathos rarely suffers the extreme heat of Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, or the often continuous meltemi winds that can blast the Cyclades islands and Crete... and most beaches are sandy, not the limestone shingle the holiday brochures don't tell you are a feature of so many other islands!
There aren't any 'classical ruins', but plenty of fascinating relics of Skiathos in recent centuries - the beautiful restored and working Byzantine monastery of Evangelistria where independence fighters Nikotsara, Kolokotronis, and Miaoulis were sworn in on the new Greek flag; the ruined old town of Kastro (some restoration in course); the olive-grove taverna at Tarsanas beach (the original island boatyard and water-mill, with its summer brook and Kechria Monastery - a small decorated chapel - up the valley).
How to get here - full details, click Travel to Skiathos in main menu above
Recently extended Skiathos Airport has brought fares down, with direct daily UK and European charters, or budget flights to Athens or Volos and onward by local airline or express hydrofoil. It's also surprisingly quick and practical as a fortnight tour via eg. Venice and the Alps (by car/ferry, total time at wheel from Calais is 18½ hrs - call me for more).
Getting Around - although there are reliable radio-taxis - and the bus - you really need a car for shopping and beaching - if only to avoid the stiff and hot 20-30 min. uphill walk with your arms full, from the bus stop (no. 9 btw, not 8) or nearest beach (Vassilias). So unless my timings say "mins. walk", they assume you have a hire car. I can recommend two (with usual disclaimers) who know Orchard Villa well, and go the extra mile for guests - contact me for details, and so they know you are a guest when you book on-line.
For local excursions there are boat trips 'round-the-islands' of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos; and the Marine Park (wild seals/dolphins), and scheduled ferries / jet catamaran/hydrofoils, also to the mainland port resort Volos and beautiful Pelion peninsula beyond; or on to Athens and (just about in a day!) some of the nearer touristic sites like Parnassus (Delphi) and Meteora.
Do let me know if you'd like an advance copy of the Guide - although parts 1-3 are not so useful until you know you're coming, because:
Part 1 'Welcome, and Villa-life ‘how-to’s' (9 pp.) you only need at the villa - all good stuff how to operate the air-con and find the garden light-switches!
Part 2 'Skiathos and the Islands' (18 pp.) is a useful advance guide to the beaches, shops, services, a stroll round the town and local trips
Part 3, 'Food, Drink, some handy Greek' (11 pp) also most use when here (like books on cooking and love, not much use without the means to try it out!)