About Skiathos

Magnificent Skiathos

The island

Skiathos is a small island belonging to the Northern Sporades group of islands. It is situated opposite the southern tip of the Pelio mountain range with the two neighbouring islands of Skopelos and Alonissos to the East.

Its name...
There are various interpretations regarding the origins of the name Skiathos

One of these suggests the combination of the word ‘σκιά’ (‘skia’) meaning ‘shadow’ and the place name ‘Άθως’, (‘Athos’) the homonymous peninsula in Halkidiki.
It is supposed that this peninsula which is home to Mount Athos casts its shadow over the island. Another interpretation suggests the name originates from the word ‘shadow’ and the ending ‘-thos’ denoting place. That is, the island is in other words a shady or shadowy place.

Historical locations and milestones in the history of the place

Ecataeus the Milesian, a writer in antiquity, records the existence on the island of a settlement known as Palaiskiathos on the hill of Kefala at Xanemo, the beach where the airport now ends. This was a prehistoric settlement with significant economic activity documented by recent archaeological studies.

The town of Skiathos today

The area where the modern-day town of Skiathos is situated was first inhabited by the  Chalcidians. It was surrounded by an extensive wall made up of large square marble stones which even today are still discovered when digging to lay the foundations of new houses. This town later belonged to the Athenian alliance and had its own currency. It had a long existence both in the classical and Hellenistic periods as well as in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine eras.

Pyrgi or Pryi

This was a round tower located in the area of the same name. All that remains today is the base which is composed of huge stones built in a circular shape near the small church of St. Anastasia of Farmakolytria. It is believed to have been used as a phryctoria or beacon (type of semaphore system for sending messages by fire from one tower to another) and in this way the inhabitants informed the Greek fleet of the arrival of Xerxes and thus the Greeks were able to successfully face the Persian fleet in the naval battle of Artemisiou in Evvoia in 480 BC.


This is the small peninsula which divides the south-eastern harbour of Skiathos into two parts. It takes its name from the Venetian fortress which dominates the place. It was built by the Venetian Gyzi brothers when the Venetians conquered the island in 1207 and used both as the home of the Gyzi and as a fortress for the security of the town. Later, it was used as a school, while today it includes the Town Hall, an Events Hall, the Nautical Museum of Skiathos and an open theatre.

Kastro or Castle

This is an area of unparalleled wild beauty with natural fortifications. It consists of a promontory, a massive, steep rock with a tremendous cliff which drops down to the sea and dominates the northern tip of the island. The Skiathites suffered greatly due to pirate raids during the later Byzantine years as the ancient town was vulnerable to attack. Thus in around 1360 they moved their settlement to this place as it offered more security. Within the castle there were about 400-500 houses, only the ruins of which now remain, as well as numerous churches, four of which survive today. Visitors may see an impressive part of the fortifications with the entrance gate to the settlement, above which a cauldron with boiling oil was kept.  Equally impressive is the canon which sits on top of the rock facing out to the open sea. Life there was extremely difficult because of the limited space and the inhabitants were under constant attack. The Castle went from Byzantine possession to Venetian and then fell subject to Turkish rule. In 1830 it was abandoned and its inhabitants returned to what is the town of Skiathos today.


The Holy Μonastery of Evangelistria is situated in the north-eastern part of the island, in Agalliani, at the source of the Lechounio stream. It was constructed by the monks of Mount Athos who came to the island under the leadership of monk Nifonas. The monastery observed the strict standard of sainthood and access was forbidden to women until a few decades ago. Its construction was begun in 1794 and completed in 1806. It combines elements of saintly architecture and other styles which are seen in churches of mainland Greece and which result in an impressive appearance. It constitutes an important part of the history of the island since it provided both moral and material support for the pro-revolutionary movements and the Revolution of 1821.  

Skiathos’ Natural Environment

It is no exaggeration to characterise Skiathos as an island laced with beaches. Indeed visitors have a great many choices for spending time by the sea, as the island boasts a host of accessible beaches where they can enjoy their holidays.

The Beaches

It is no exaggeration to characterise Skiathos as an island laced with beaches. Indeed visitors have a great many choices for spending time by the sea, as the island boasts a host of accessible beaches where they can enjoy their holidays.

On the southern side, there are shores which are suitable for families and visitors who prefer peaceful spots. These sandy beaches with their shallow aquamarine waters are perfect for swimming in safety, or enjoying a restful vacation, with various activities such as watersports available for the more adventurous.

...among such beaches are,

MegaliAmmos,Vassilias,Vromolimnos, Troulos, Achladies and Agia Paraskevi, as well as other smaller beaches. Each with its own distinctive beauty, they also offer sheltered havens to those who reach them in their own boats. Meanwhile, for lovers of wild, natural beauty and sport, there are also rocky beaches with deep cool waters and big waves. Some beaches are pebbled, others sandy, some with organised amenities and others without, some can be accessed by car, on foot or by small boat, but each offers a unique experience. Some such beaches are Aselinos, Xanemo, Mantraki, the famous Lalaria and finally Trypia Petra, a natural monument of rare beauty which has travelled the globe on postcards

The forests and wetlands of Skiathos

In addition to its cultural monuments, Skiathos also has environmental places of interest. Decorated from end to end with pine trees and olive groves, it boasts rich flora, with herbs and flowers embellishing the landscape. Indeed some parts have been described as natural treasures and are protected by various environmental schemes. The Koukounaries area, for instance, which includes the forest of Koukounaria and the wider marine area have been incorporated into the Natura ecological network, which aims to protect endangered species. The area includes a forest with Aleppo pine trees and hardy shrubs situated next to Koukounaries beach.

As well as that, Skiathos has many wooded slopes that have been described as aesthetic forests covering an area of approximately 30 square kilometres. Here you will find Aleppo pine and pine, while plane trees and heather also flourish. Of special interest are the small wetlands of the island which are designated as completely protected areas. Examples of these are Vromolimnos, Platania marsh and Tsougria, the little island that protects the town’s port. Finally, visitors are afforded a beautiful walk to the lagoon of St George, at the …of the bay where they will find the church of the same name beside the airport.

Alexander Papadiamantis


Rightly proud of their literary heritage, the people of Skiathos have named their main street after one of Greece’s best-loved writers, whose house is also a place of interest for Greek and foreign visitors alike. Alexander Papadiamantis was born in Skiathos on 4th March 1851. His father was a priest while his mother came from an old aristocratic family. Alexander had one other brother, George, and four sisters, Urania, Sofoula, Kyratsoula and Charikleia. In 1874 he enrolled in the School of Philosophy at Athens University, where he attended the first two years before abandoning his studies.

Through independent study, however, he became fluent in English and French. Perhaps best-known for his short stories, his most acclaimed works include The Murderess and… He wrote in the local dialect and old ‘katharevousa’ language of the time, posing a challenge to modern translators.


Papadiamantis’ childhood years may have been overshadowed by the scourge of poverty, but they were happy years. He himself was a reserved boy, who enjoyed studying for hours, writing verse and painting saints, while his overprotective mother would keep him away from socialising with lively children. Despite this, he remembers the affection and warm human communication of those years, excursions to the countryside and the powerful atmosphere in the chapels where his father worked. Thus, in the years that followed, he often recalls these memories with deep nostalgia. And from those years he acquires the habit of closely observing people, later conveying their joy and pain in his short stories. He sees Aunt Sofoula mourning her last godchild who drowned in an accident at the well. He hears legends about Aunt Chadoula Fragogiannou who drowned girls to save them from the dreadful fate that awaited them when they would become women. And the neighbourhood Casanovas who told him of Seraino Karachmetaina whose bones were scented from the boundless kindness she showed throughout her life. He observed his relatives’ grief up close when they learned of their beloved’s shipwreck, but he also experienced the captain who would return joyfully every autumn and treat the patrons of the seaside coffeehouse. And in some magical moments as a teenager in the sweetest Skiathos spring countryside, God blessed him with visions of the divine beauty of Moschoula, who swam in the waves like a dream, or of Polymnia, who would walk all around the lake with her red umbrella.