Skyros: a traditionally modern greek island
Part of the Sporades islands and located in the Aegean Sea, just north-east of Athens, Skyros is a relatively small island but has many things to experience and enjoy. Apart from its incredible beauty, Skyros also has fantastic food, beaches, impressive-looking landmarks and holds certain traditions that cannot be found in any other Greek island. So, let’s explore everything that Skyros has to offer.
Great beaches for a warm sunny day
Personally, I recommend three beaches in Skyros. The first and perhaps the most popular beach on the island is Molos Beach. Not only is it the most well-organised beach on the island, but it is also conveniently close to the centre of the Skyros (main town) and easily accessible by car. It is a beach that caters for everyone, from large groups of friends, families with small children and couples. Also, it is very long and is all full of soft sand, it has a beach bar with a wide selection of refreshing drinks.
Another beach that is worth visiting is Pefkos beach. The name truly reflects the scenery. The true allure of this beach is the fact that it is surrounded by pine trees, which makes for a spectacular view while you’re swimming in the crystal clear, blue-green waters. Situated 10km west of the main town, it is a very clean beach that also has its own beach bar. There may be a windy road that leads to the beach, but do not let that put you off because it is a relaxing beach and has a great view of the sunset in later hours of the afternoon.
Last but not least is Kyra Panagia Beach, which is located on the north-western tip of the island and is the furthest away from the main town; specifically, 17km away, which means you will need a car or some form of transport to access it. While this beach is unorganised, there is a tavern nearby that serves great local food at good prices. More importantly, the beach is known for being very clean and sandy which is soft and pleasant. Also, it is very quiet, making the perfect beach to have a nice swim and relax while getting your tan!
The great local food; where should you go?
The main town certainly has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from but for truly authentic and local cuisine with a flair, I would suggest two restaurants, the first of which is called “Taverna O Stelios”. As you can probably gather, the restaurant is named after a man called Stelios, who is the owner of the restaurant. The owner himself as well as the staff are all very friendly, as are most people across the island. The food is exceptional. While the menu features traditional dishes from Skyros, many of the dishes are presented in a special way while others have a slight flair or twist when it comes to taste. For example, even the bread comes in a miniature hand-made wooden chair instead of a regular bread basket. One simple recommendation: call them in advance, not necessarily to book a table, but to have them prepare a fresh lobster caught straight from their local waters. Whether you eat it by itself with lemon and olive oil or with spaghetti and tomato sauce, both are absolutely delicious; that I guarantee you.
The other restaurant whose food will certainly knock your socks off is called “To Perasma”, which directly translates to “The Gateway.” This large restaurant is located at a quiet junction in the centre of the island. Whether it is full or quiet, you will receive great service. With this restaurant you must remember that looks can be deceiving. You should not judge the dishes by the presentation but the taste is excellent. Many dishes include local meats that are slow cooked for many hours, making the meat very soft, delicate and delicious. So, you should order plenty of food and enjoy their lovely local wine too while you’re at it.
What to look out for in Skyros
Skyros is generally a beautiful island and its main town is a lovely casual walk filled with local shops, coffee places and bars. However, despite the town having an abundance of shops to choose from, you will never feel cramped or surrounded by too many people as you would in perhaps other more ‘well-known’ islands such as Mykonos or Paros.
Except for the main town, the most significant attraction of the island is the Holy Monastery of St. George. This monastery is next to the main town. You leave your car at a parking lot and walk up towards the monastery which is located at the top of the town and overlooks all of the Eastern and Northern side of Skyros. In fact, there is a bench located right outside the doors to the monastery where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of Skyros from a high altitude. It is a great place for taking pictures if you are into that.
Also, if you have a car, you should take an interesting ride to the southern tip of the island. This is because you will see a totally different landscape in comparison to the central and northern parts of Skyros. While most of Skyros is covered in pine trees and loads of different green shrubs, the southern point is the opposite; it is a barren landscape with no trees but a lovely view of the ocean. That is certainly worth a short drive.
Finally, there is something slightly more special that you should see for yourself if you are interested and that is Skyros’ tradition with horses. Skyros is known for many things but in particular its famous unique breed of horses. In the centre of the island is a horseback riding service called “Apaloosa Horse Riding Club”, where you can have the unique opportunity to ride one of the island’s horses, which are like no other. The horses are a special breed because of their small size, but they are a lot of fun to ride. So, if you are a fan of horseback riding or animals in general, a visit would be highly recommended!
How to get to Skyros
Getting to Skyros is rather inexpensive and easy since it can be accessed by ferry or airplane. Skyros has a small military airport which is also used for commercial travel and in the summer season has daily flights from Athens operated by Greece’s two major airlines: Olympic/Aegean Airlines and Sky Express. Prices and availability are usually good. On the other hand, you could use the ferry, which takes roughly two and half hours from the port of Kymi. Kymi is the closest port to Skyros and is two hours away from Athens by car or public transport (coach).
Whatever you plan to do in Skyros, you will definitely eat well, enjoy your nights and have plenty to see on the small yet rich in culture island of Skyros. Have a wonderful time!