The peaceful island of Skopelos is a little paradise. It is often overlooked by the masses, meaning it’s managed to preserve a low-key vibe. Skopelos may just be the next big thing for discerning visitors who shy away from big hotel resorts and overcrowded beaches. Summering in Skopelos is like taking a step back and reconnecting with nature, yourself and authentic Greek life. Here is why you should get lost in Skopelos.
Skopelos, in the North Sporades island cluster, is known to be the greenest island in the country. If you are a nature lover and enjoy long walks and hikes, you are in for a treat. The green of the island’s pine forests complements the intense blue of the sea.
Skopelos is one of the islands that the god of tourism overlooked. Its hard-to-reach location has contributed to lower tourist numbers here and prevented the island from becoming as busy as its neighbors. As such, it is one of the few where you can enjoy and observe authentic Greek life, find empty beaches and simply relax.
Anyone looking for a relaxing, quiet break can enjoy one on Skopelos. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family holiday, a meditation retreat, an adventurous week of watersports, or something in between, Skopelos has something for you.
Walkers and hiking aficionados will feel at home on Skopelos. The island is crisscrossed by a network of old mule trails, passing through pine forests, olive groves and God-forsaken villages with Instagram-worthy houses and villas. Skopelos Walks is an excellent site where you can find recommended trails and walks to explore on your own or with a guide.
Whether it’s your first time or you’re are a die-hard fan, sea kayaking is a fun activity possible throughout Greece. Kayaking Greece offers a vast range of kayaking activities for all ages and experience levels. Row your way to the most magical sunset spots or discover the nearby islands. If you fall in love with sea kayaking after your first try you can even sign up for training lessons. Explore secluded beaches and coves, sea caves and uninhabited islands and islets before stopping for a picnic and snorkeling.
Arriving on an island by boat is always a memorable experience, and you’ll quickly understand this when setting foot on Skopelos. The island’s main town, Chora, maintains its authentic character, and welcomes visitors with white-washed houses, sinuous streets and pleasant little chapels. Built like an amphitheatre, Chora is crowned with its kastro, a decrepit Venetian fortress, which Barbarossa failed to destroy in the 19th century. From up there, you will enjoy unspoiled views over the town, the harbor and the sea.
An island is nothing without its beaches, and Skopelos won’t disappoint you on that front. One of the most popular beaches on the island is Panormos, located on the northern part of the island. The sandy beach is surrounded by lush green vegetation and consists of two islets. A favorite sunset spot, it is definitely worth a visit.
If you have seen Mamma Mia! then you probably remember the beautiful church where the wedding happened. This is Agios Ioannis. Reachable via a winding road starting outside the town of Glossa, the small 18th-century church perched on top of a rocky hill offers splendid panoramic views over the sea and the island of Alonissos. Be warned, though: before enjoying the view you must climb up more than a hundred steps. Don’t worry, it is definitely worth it!
You can visit several locations where the 2008 romantic comedy was filmed. If you are a fan, make sure to visit the beaches of Kastani, Glisteri and Milia (or Milies), the beautiful rocks of Cape Amarantos, the nearby small harbor of Agnontas, and of course the little church of Agios Ioannis.
Another great way to explore the island is by bicycle. While the island has only two main roads, it is crossed by a network of smaller roads and trails along hilly landscapes. You will find plenty of springs along the way where you can cool down and refresh yourself. Drop by Skopelos Cycling to check their bike fleet, and opt for a mountain bike for an easier ride.
The ideal amount of time on Skopelos is a week, which gives you plenty of time to explore the island while inserting full beach days in between. But if you want to explore different horizons or are in need of a longer urban break, take a day to visit Skiathos or Alonissos, an island known for its stunning natural beauty and marine park where you may even catch a rare glimpse of a Mediterranean monk seal.