While you’ve probably heard of Santorini and Mykonos, you may not have heard of Skiathos. It was first developed in the 1970s and today, its sandy beaches, quaint villages, and vibrant nightlife make it a popular vacation destination. And Skiathos hotels take advantage of the stunning scenery.
If you’ve ever seen a calendar with photos of the Greek Islands, you know that the water here is crystal clear and absolutely gorgeous. The main town, also called Skiathos, is filled with cafes, bars, and sophisticated shops, especially along the seafront. The red-tiled roofs of the houses here are brilliant against the azure blue sky.
Flights are available from Athens to Skiathos, but a ferry or hydrofoil trip is more scenic. There’s service from Volos and Ayios Konstandinos. Skiathos is packed in summer, so avoid July and August if you can.
The 13th-century Bourtzi fortress guards the harbor in Skiathos, and you can visit the home of poet Alexandros Papadiamantis. Inside the 140-year-old house, there’s a small museum. And for a memorable tour, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around town.
Once you leave town, you’ll find most of the island in its natural state with olive and pine groves, a jagged coastline, and turquoise water. About an hour away, Skiathos Castle sits atop a rocky cliff overlooking the north coast of the island. Part of the old town walls and Turkish bath are also in the area.
Two monasteries – Panagia Kounistra and Evangelistria – provide an interesting look at religious life on the island. Evangelistria has a small library and a museum with religious relics.
Skiathos has more than 60 fabulous beaches, with fine, white sand and cool pine forests. The most popular are Banana, Vromolimnos, and Koukounaries, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas there.
If you don’t have a car and don’t want one, you can take a public bus or local boat to lots of great beaches.
The Skiathos Sea Caves can only be reached by boat, but they’re fun to explore. And the waters around Skiathos are great for sailing.
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels group, Aegean Suites is just outside town adjacent to Magali Ammos Beach. Each of the rooms here is a suite and they‘re outfitted with private teak decks or patios, ocean-view Jacuzzis, mini bars, and CD players. They’re located in four contemporary buildings spread across the property among the olive groves. There’s a pool-side restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant, and a Champagne bar. Watersports, tennis, sailing, and scuba diving can be arranged.
Named for the local fortress, the Bourtzi Hotel is in the center of town near the harbor and old town. The pedestrian shopping area is nearby. Each of the 38 rooms has air conditioning, a mini fridge, and small safe. Many have private balconies or terraces. There’s an outdoor swimming pool and bar. This is a good choice for travelers who like to be in the heart of the action.
On a sandy beach that overlooks Vasilias Bay, the five-star Kassandra Bay Hotel is about ten minutes from Skiathos. The hotel is surrounded by olive trees and pretty gardens, which make it feel secluded. With three outdoor pools – two reserved for adults – a fitness center, and a nice Greek restaurant, Kassandra Bay is pretty self-inclusive. Guests here can settle in and never leave. The hotel has several environmental certifications, so it’s also a responsible choice.
Perched on a hillside above Agia Paraskevi Bay, the Magic Hotel has 36 rooms and suites with large ocean-view balconies. Guests can choose between the swimming pool or Platanias Beach, which is five minutes away on foot. The restaurant’s terrace is wonderful at night.
In the same area, the Atrium Hotel is one of the most architecturally dramatic resorts on the island. The center of the property is the swimming pool which is on a large terrace with sweeping views of the seas below. The 75 rooms here are decorated with natural stone and wood and have either a balcony or a terrace. There’s a fitness center, sauna, tennis, and water sports rentals are available. The bar and restaurant here are quite good, and you can dine on the terrace. Atrium Hotel is the top hotel in Skiathos for well-heeled travelers who can afford the best. Service is top drawer and they’ll be happy to arrange any excursion or activity you could want.
About 15 minutes from Skiathos on Agia Paraskevi beach, Skiathos Princess is a four-star property with 133 luxurious room, three restaurants, and three bars. It provides easy access to the Marine Park, which is a protected sanctuary. They have programs for kids from six months to twelve years old. A 72’ wooden boat is available for charter.
Travelers looking for an affordable hotel in Skiathos will like the Eye Q Resort. The hotel provides free transfers to and from the airport and it’s about a ten minute walk from town, so you won’t need a car. A dozen studios and apartments are available. They’re clean and well laid out and many have balconies with good views. There’s a sauna, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and free WiFi access.
If Skiapos looks appealing, you might also like Hvar. Read more about it here.
1) Aegean Suites
2) Bourtzi Hotel
3) Kassandra Bay Hotel
4) Magic Hotel
5) Atrium Hotel
6) Skiathos Princess
7) Eye Q Hotel