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  • Writer's pictureIndiaLily

Skiathos travel guide: Living my Mamma Mia dream

I've never been to any of the Greek islands before so I was a bit lost when it came to holiday researching. There are so many to choose from so it's hard to know where to start.


I'm aware of the big ones (like Mykonos, Rhodes, and Corfu) but my travel buddy had been to a few of them and wanted to do something new. As soon as I learnt of the Mamma Mia links to Skiathos, I was sold.


Getting there


This was the easiest transfer I've ever experienced. We flew from Newcastle and it took about 3.5 hours.


Seeing the island from above when you prepare to land is very exciting, although the runway is literally just before the sea so this was one of the more unique landings I've had.


The airport isn't big, so really quick to get through. Then fast-forward a €12 taxi that took 10 minutes, we were at the hotel!


To stress just how quick it was, when we were coming back to England we left our hotel at 11.40am, and by 12.15pm we were in our gate ready to board the plane. This wasn't because we were at a particularly close hotel, Skiathos is just very small

so wherever you stay, you're

not going to have a long hot transfer.


Hotel


I'm not going to go into the hotel we stayed in as it wasn't amazing. It was nice enough, but I wouldn't write home (or on here!) about it.


Getting around


Skiathos is the greenest Greek island, and although it's small, it has a lot to offer.


There's a bus that runs along the south coast which stops at some of the island's beaches. We took this to get back from one beach and it was easy to use with ticket operators at each stop. It's €3 for a single journey.


We got on at the start of it's return to town which meant we got a seat, however very quickly people were having to stand as it does fill up, so that's something to think about. Cheap and cheerful though, and an easy way to get around.


One day we took a water taxi to Koukounaries beach for €6 each one way. It took 15 minutes and left the harbour every hour. There's no pre-booking, you just turn up and hope there's a space. This was a fun way to see the island from another angle.


A few days in we had the idea of hiring a quadbike to get around for some beach-hopping days. I've got experience with quadbikes on the farm and on my trip to Africa so felt pretty confident. I'd never driven on the other side of the road before, but it was fine!


We paid €90 for two full days with it, and we had to return it with the same amount of petrol but that was really cheap so overall good value I think.


We stayed on the main roads mainly and it honestly felt like you were in a video game. The sea was on one side and the green land on the other - stunning.


The quad was great because it meant we had freedom to go wherever we wanted,

which meant I came across my favourite beach of the whole trip...


The beaches


There are 60 beaches around Skiathos, so knowing where to go is a bit of a minefield. I would stress that getting a map was very helpful, not just because we were travelling around on a quadbike, but because it meant you could see the island as a whole which made it easier to make plans. We picked one up in our hotel but they seemed to be all over town.


The salt levels in the water are so high that you can just float around on your back without any core strength, it was bliss.


Just for background, we weren't bothered about paying for sunloungers because we like to move around, so I can't tell me much about hiring them.



I did the obvious thing and searched 'what are the best beaches in Skiathos?'


Here are the ones that kept cropping up, and my experience of them:


Megali Ammos - We went here on our first full day because it was closest to our hotel so we just walked there. Some call it 'Skiathos town beach' as it's the closest to the centre. This had lovely taverns for lunch, and was a nice first stop on our beach-hopping experience.


Troulos - We went sea kayaking here and it was lovely as you can go around Touranes Island and have a little explore along the coastline. For reference, most of the beaches we went to had kayaks/paddleboards to hire, but the landscape of Troulos really lends itself to these activities.


Koukounaries - This is the most well-known beach at Skiathos so I had high hopes. It was fine, but when we went a lot of the beach taverns were shut and there were only a third of the usual sunloungers because of ongoing issues between the authorities and business owners. This didn't really bother us because it meant it was pretty quiet, but it's a shame because you know business owners will be losing out on a lot of money.


Ag Eleni - This was really small and felt very hidden, but a lovely find. I would say Skiathos never felt like a tourist takeover, there were always lots of locals around too which was nice.


Megalos Aselinos - This was my favourite beach we went to. It was north of the island so took us away from all the people. On the quadbike it took just 10 minutes to get from the south to the north. The rural road suddenly opens out and there's goats to one side and a make-shift car park on the other. On this stretch of beach there was only about 20 people, so it really felt like you'd come across a hidden gem. There was a beach tavern, but it was shut so very basic, but definitely my favourite beach of the week.


Ag. Paraskevi - This was the last beach we went to. There was a posh hotel restaurant and bar there which we went to for lunch. Despite how it looked, the prices were really reasonable actually so I would recommend. They had lovely thick sunloungers too if that's what you're looking for.


Lalaria - This is another beach that gets a lot of a promo. We didn't actually go because it can only be accessed by boat, and it very stoney so if you don't have beach shoes it's not really very practical. Beautiful from what I've seen, but we didn't make the trip there.


Mandraki - Didn't have time to go here, but came highly recommended.


Vromolimnos - Didn't have time to go here, but came highly recommended.


Food


I am a bit of a foody, so I made sure I'd done some reasearch before we arrived. I would recommend the following:



Scala - This was on a rooftop overlooking the harbour. Stunning views and great food.


Paraxinos - We were lucky to get in here. We joined the queue of people and within minutes they found a table for us. This was in a bit of a courtyard off the busier streets and had a lovely buzz to it.



1901 - We went here twice. It's tucked away down the little streets so could easily be missed, but the food was amazing.


Bourtzi - This is on what looks like a bit of an island just off the harbour. The food was great, but the atmosphere and surroundings really made it. There were trees with fairylights, music playing, and you were looking out onto the sea. Oh, and the toilets are next level...trust me.


To Palouki - We came across this place on the way back from 1901 one night when I noticed a guy unwrapping a parcel of lamb, we were back the next night for two lamb kleftiko. Delicious!


Overall I'd say you should stay away from the restaurants right on the front trying to drag you in, the ones further back are much better and good prices too.


If you're up for a night out there's plenty on offer. We went to some amazing cocktail bars that had live DJs and there were clubs hidden away too if you want to dance through to the early hours.


Other things to do


Day trip to Skopelos - Along the harbour there's lots of people trying to sell you boat trips so it can be confusing knowing who to go for. Our hotel manager said the Elizabet and Poseidon (owned by brothers) were the best. We went down on the Wednesday night and told them what we wanted to see, and then they sold us the right tour to do on the Friday.


We went to the Mamma Mia chapel (1.5hrs), Skopelos Town for lunch (2hrs), and then finished off at Kastani beach (they filmed a lot of Mamma Mia here and we stayed for 1.5hrs).


It was €40 each. We set off 9.45am and got back around 6pm. They played music on the boat and there was a bar too so a lovely way to get around.


I loved this. Everything was stunning and it felt like we had long enough at each stop.


We even saw dolphins on the way home...amazing.


Top tip - Make sure you get there around 9am as the boat does fill up so if you want a seat in the shade, get there early.


Open-air cinema - Another Mamma Mia activity. They play the film every other night at this old ourdoor cinema and it was a perfect way to end the holiday on our final night.


Top tip - Book your tickets asap. The desk at the front sells them every night but they sell out fast. You can also book online, but we didn't know that!


Shopping - There's lots of lovely independent traders in the town selling gorgeous clothes/jewellery/food/pottery.


I came away with some jewellery, but could have easily spent so much more.


I didn't really see any tacky shops selling Mamma Mia merch/fake designer bits either which was a nice surprise.


Overall


There was a nice mix of people there in terms of ages - families with older kids, couples, friends, and people that have been coming back for years.


FYI - It's not for young kids in my opinion so if you want water parks and kids activites it's not for you.


I can't recommend Skiathos enough. We felt really safe there, everyone was friendly, and there was lots to do (or amazing beaches if you want to remain horizontal for the week).








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