Stunning Skiathos in Greece is full of surprises, from kayak expeditions and dolphin-spotting tours to historic hilltop ruins and dining in a windmill.
The natural colours of Skiathos make it a standout even somewhere as beautiful as Greece – think rolling pine forests, sweeping golden bays and dazzling blue waters. But there’s more to this Sporades island than meets the eye with its unique dining opportunities, chances to adventure out at sea and exciting historic sites to discover. From kayak expeditions and dolphin-spotting trips to a windmill restaurant and quirky live music venues, we’ve gathered up the best things to do in spectacular, surprising Skiathos.
All of Skiathos is beautiful, but its coastlines are something else. Unbelievably blue waters meet golden sands, flourishing greenery and impressive towering cliffs. There are 60 beaches across small Skiathos, each with individual character. Take a beach-hopping boat tour or hire your own to sail between them, stopping for a cocktail at party-loving Banana Beach or to peacefully doze under the lush trees at Maratha Beach. Some trips stop at caves for your chance at adventurous swimming.
If you think yoga is calming normally, you should try it out at sea. Join Skiathos Yoga – a company based at Skiathos Princess Hotel on Paraskevi Beach – for a yoga session on the tranquil Aegean waters, floating on a stand-up paddle board. Gaze at majestic Skiathos island or out to the horizon as you sit in lotus position and practice your sun salutations. It’s the ultimate wellness experience in paradise.
Skiathos is in the Sporades archipelago: a group of beautiful, famously green islands that are small and closely grouped together. As such, it’s the perfect place for a sea kayak expedition. Join a days-long group tour with a leader and hit the waters, paddling your way between exciting islands like Skiathos, charming Skopelos – where Mamma Mia! was filmed – and Alonissos. Stop at beaches and lagoons to chill, swim, eat and camp overnight under the stars.
The award-winning, family-run Windmill Restaurant sits high above Skiathos Town, promising excellent food and spectacular sea views. Climb flower-strewn steps to your table outside the restored white-stone windmill – it was built in 1880, and was a working mill until 1946. Tuck into international specials like French lamb and twists on traditionals like Greek salad with feta mousse. Finish with port, cheese and biscuits as the town lights up below. Always book in advance – choose the honeymoon table for a private balcony at the windmill’s very top.
When the sun sets in Skiathos, the party begins. Head to the Old Town for everything from sophisticated cocktail joints to energetic clubs. Live music fan? Hear it every night at the Blind Dog – there’s always something going on, from carnival parties to live DJs spinning late. Best are the sing-along performances by owners Danny and Zoe on guitar, piano and harmonica. Look out for their blind dog who inspired the bar – he’s been known to join in.
This beautiful stone monastery, founded in 1794, has a powerful history – even by Greek standards. It sheltered fighters and refugees during the Greek War of Independence and, in 1807, famous names took the Oath of Freedom as the first Greek flag was woven and blessed in the monastery. Discover the impressive, sacred site north of Skiathos Town, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Finish your trip at the monastery’s cafe, gardens and shop stocked with local produce.
One of Skiathos’ highest clifftops, protruding out over the island and sea, is home to the spectacular ruins of a medieval castle. Take a jeep tour with a driver up through the steep hills of the island to the crumbling stone structure, soaking up panoramic views as you sweep through the air. Marvel at the castle’s history as you explore, whilst nearby you’ll find ruins of town walls and remnants of an Ottoman mosque.
Across from Skiathos Port you may spot a small green islet out to sea. This is Tsougria, a deserted beach island which is uninhabited. Catch a boat from the port to this natural gem for a relaxed day of swimming in perfect turquoise waters. Pack a picnic of bakery goods to enjoy under the few umbrellas before visiting the island’s picturesque chapel.
It’s no surprise that Skiathos’ blue waters are home to exciting wildlife like rare monk seals and dolphins. Join well-reviewed group yacht tour Sail With a Dolphin to cross the Aegean with local captains Penelope and Kostas. They’ll teach you about the island, moor at the best beaches and stop at caves for your chance to snorkel. Enjoy lunch on board: the likes of fresh seafood – caught by fisherman Kostas – homemade moussaka, fruit and organic Greek wine. Keep your eyes peeled for passing dolphins.
Naturally beautiful Skiathos is a great place to hike in autumn and spring – when the sun isn’t too hot – with its 26 well-kept, signposted routes across the island. Trek through forests and hills with sea and island views growing more dramatic with every step. Stop at remote villages, secluded bays and hire a guide to share history and island knowledge as you walk.