Discover the best places to stay on the charming island Greek of Skopelos, nicknamed “the green-blue island”.
Pines grow right down to the island’s jagged shores, lending the sea its shimmering jewel shades. There are two traditional towns on the island – Skopelos town and Glossa – and between them, dramatic mountain scenery. Tranquil beaches, too, including one under the pinnacle-topped chapel of Agios Ioannis – made famous in the wedding scene in Mamma Mia! (2008). Another blessing is the lack of an airport, which has kept tourism low-key. The nearest is a short boat hop away on Skiathos, with direct connections to most European cities.
Island hotels that are not by a beach have to be special – and the recently built Aegean Wave is just that. Perched above Glossa’s port, Loutraki, it has the most sublime views on Skopelos – you can see right across to Skiathos, floating on the horizon. You’ll love Antonis and Andromachi, the charming, helpful husband-and wife-team who run the place, and will arrange free transfers to Glossa and the nearest beach. The cherry on the cake? Dining on grilled calamari and sipping the family’s wine on the candlelit terrace while the sunset ignites the sky.
The best bargain on the island is the bright, white Rastoni Guest House, 800m (half a mile) from Skopelos Town. An easy 10-minute walk, it feels deliciously rural, in a tranquil grove of fruit and olive trees. Each double room has a groovy retro-tiled bathroom and balcony. There’s also a useful shared kitchen for whipping up breakfast before hitting the beaches. Be sure to sound out owner Lambros, a great guy who is ready to spill the beans on the best places to go.
Bringing the family? Only 100m (328ft) from bucolic Agnontas pebble beach, Diamantis and Chrisi’s colourful homely home awaits, with a big porch for relaxation amid the pines. It can sleep eight, in two bedrooms and on two sofa beds, and has a lived-in low-key feel – you won’t need to watch the kids like a hawk to make sure they don’t knock over a pricy designer lamp.
Check in and you’re immersed among lush gardens, but only a 10-minute walk from all the restaurants and music bars of Skopelos Town. Anofli reflects the island’s charming traditional style, with its red-tiled roof, white walls and wooden accents, and balconies overlooking the pool and garden. Up to five guests can fit in one of their pristine white-and-blue suites. The super-friendly owners will pick you up at the port and lay on a big buffet breakfast, including Skopelos’s famous pies and the piles of succulent fresh fruit that are the very definition of summer in Greece.
It’s quiet and shady in these spotless, affordable, friendly rooms, and they’re surrounded by a grove of towering pines – in the summer heat, their heady scent fills every room. Here, you are within easy walking distance of Agontas and Limnonari beaches and their tavernas. You are also near the bus stop to Skopelos Town, if you’re looking for something livelier. All rooms have balconies with views (try to get one on the first floor), and there’s a shared kitchen and barbecue area. Best of all, Ourania treats her guests like family.
This laid-back complex of crisp white studios and apartments is prettily scattered amid an ancient olive grove. It’s arranged in an amphitheatre, the better to drink in the gorgeous views across the bay to Skopelos town, just over a mile away. There’s a pool and pool bar in the centre of the action, but if you want bigger thrills, the owners George and Magda, who are keen on water sports, can set you up for boating, stand-up paddleboarding or diving. And you don’t even have to drive to dinner, as great restaurants within easy walking distance are yours for the picking.
The blue-greenness of Skopelos seems even more intense in the seaside village of Neo Klima, overlooking a series of tiny coves. Here, your toughest daily decisions include which of the island’s three most beautiful beaches (Elios, Chovolo and Megalo Pefko) you’ll walk to that day, and whether you’ll dine at Vangelis or Manolis’s taverna – or just pick up produce at a supermarket. Nina’s two-bedroom apartments and studios, all with balconies and nearly all with sea views, make a perfect base for a chilled-out holiday whatever you decide.
Gather up to 16 family members or best friends to book this big villa packed with mod cons. You’ll need to hire a car, but the reward is the idyllic peace and quiet amid the olive groves, pines and cypresses, only five minutes’ drive from beautiful Panormos beach and its tavernas. Luminous and bright inside, Villa Amaryllis has a private pool, a barbecue terrace and hammocks for long lazy days and unforgettable swims on moonlit nights.