The beautiful Skiathos island has always maintain the same name since the pre-Hellenic period. It's assumed that this name was given to the island by the Pelasgians, its earliest inhabitants since they were impressed with the fantastic shadow ("skia" in Greek) of those numerous trees enclosing the island. After these initial immigrants at the history of Skiathos, the island was then dwelled by Cretans and Mycenaeans, who also inhabited the other Sporades islands. The fertile agriculture and the tactical place of the island attracted many invaders. In the 7th and 6th century BC, the individuals of Chalkis, Evia island, colonized Skiathos and constructed the first fortified city on Skiathos island.
During the Persian Wars, Skiathos harbor was used as a fleet base and this was a Fantastic help to the Athenians. Following the Peloponnesian War (404 BC) Skiathos became formally autonomous and independent. The Spartans tried to disrupt this by re-occupying the island however, the Skiathians, aided by the Athenians, was able to throw them out and established peace and autonomy in their island for 40 years. However, the years of serenity in Skiathos finished when the Athenians converted it into a military base against Philip II of Macedonia. When the Macedonians took Skiathos, they put a tyrant on the island where the democracy come back just in 341 BC.
Following the death of Alexander the Great, a succession of leader followed in integral Greece and at Skiathos through that the Skiathians suffered very much. In 197 BC, Skiathos repossess its democracy. The Romans took Greece in 146 BC however they allowed some liberties into the Skiathians who lived peacefully in the Roman oblivion. In the year of 88 BC, the king of Pontus, Mithriades VI burned and ruined Skiathos in the war against the Romans. In 42 BC, Skiathos went under Athenian domination. Many pirates raids damaged the island through those years. After 221 AD, Skiathos went back under Roman authority. During these years the town of the island grew and developed.
In the year of 325AD come up on Skiathos island and was built the first church dedicated to the Holy Trinity. At the time of the Byzantine period, Skiathos belongs to the province of Thessaly and its bishop has his chair to the Metropolis of Larissa. From the 7th century, Saracen pirates destroyed the island of the Skiathos, and a massacre was occurred. In the year of 1204, Crusaders gained the territories of the Byzantine Empire together with the Aegean Islands and Skiathos which they delivered to the Venetians. The Venetian built the castle of Bourtzi known as today. Skiathos remained under the Byzantine Empire until the 1453
The Ottomans conquered Skiathos in 1538 AD. Throughout the early years of the 19th century, the people of Skiathos began to grow in shipbuilding. The War of Independence of Greece found the Skiathians well prepared and they participated in many revolutionary actions against the Turks
Following the Greek Revolution, the local left from the town of Kastro and moved to the port at which a new town was built. Boat construction started again. Skiathos inspired many poets, writers, and musicians, such as Alexandros Papadiamantis and Alexandros Moraitidis. On September 14th, 1943, the Nazi troops sank the Greek Submarine Lambros Katsonis off the coasts of Skiathos and each year the Katsonia Festival memorialize this sad occasion. In years of the Nazi possession, Kastro turned into a refuge for Greek revolutionaries, British, Australians, and New Zealanders. Following the war, the social and economic life of Skiathos developed quickly with tourism growth with many shops and Skiathos hotels.
When coming to Skiathos it is important to remember that it has a lot more to offer than sunny summers, wonderful beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. It is also a famous destination for hiking. This is a must experience for everyone as the view from every point of the island is awe-inspiring and the trail presents its guests with such variety of picturesque landmarks, nature and adventure
First and foremost there are 25 mapped out trails, 197 kilometers in length with difficulty ranging from easy to medium-to- hard and the duration that vary from 1 to 6 hours.
Natural lovers would pass through fascinating natural vistas and be able to explore the entire island's flora. Luckily Skiathos offers a guided tour on the most famous areas of the island. So, if you only have little time and want to see as much as possible, would be better to have a local guide show you the way. Plus, on any of the island's many hiking trails there are available spots for a quick rest, photos or even a romantic picnic.
Whoever achieve to hike the 20 trails, will get the '' Wanderer`s Medal” from Skiathos hiking experts. Please write down the Hiking Codes on the routes.
For this reason, a special book is at your disposal, the “Tourist and Hiking Guide of Skiathos”, with maps and informative markers on each trail. You can find this guide in bookstores or Skiathos hotels.
If you are interested in guided group hiking tours, you can find local knowledgeable guides, who will gladly uncover you all the treasures and the knowledge of the island.
Skiathos is a hiker's paradise! Experience hiking on April, May, September and October in one of Greece’s most cosmopolitan islands, the evergreen Skiathos, in a natural environment filled with lush pine forests. So, come and experience Skiathos on foot!
The first important underwater exploration was conducted under the supervision of the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and researched in many regions of the island: The old port of Skiathos town remarkable for its Venetian fortress called Burtzi, in Kehria region along with many others.
Byzantine jetties together with an ancient breakwater were uncovered in the area around the old port of Skiathos town not far from Skiathos hotels. This means that the old harbor coincides with the ancient one.
In the place of old harbor were also identified many parts of ceramic jars. The most important findings were two intact lamps of the 4th and 6th centuries, a marble section with an acanthus (Late Roman times) and two intact vessels of the late classical period. These findings were lifted from the marine basement area.
At the Tarsanades area, the divers found part of a shipwreck of late Roman times. In a region close to the old harbor of Skiathos town was also discovered a shipwreck from Byzantium transferring mostly roof tiles and parts of Byzantine jars.
Another shipwreck of the late Roman age was discovered in Platania cove.
The infinite natural beauty of this beach is unbelievable. Lalaria can be the reason to visit Skiathos. The water is turquoise, the beach has only these unique white pebbles and rocky cliffs create a natural arch at the entrance of the beach. Lalaria is at the north part of the island. It is a remote beach that you can only reach by boat. Daily cruises are organized by many companies and small or big yachts leave the old port to come here, if the weather allows it and it is not windy.
Koukounaries and Lake Strofilia
Koukounaries is the most famous beach in Skiathos. It consists of golden sand and is almost 1 km long. It has been rated as the 3rd best beach in Mediterranean Sea. The surrounding environment is very special. There is a lush pine forest and Lake Strofilia, which is chosen by the migratory birds for resting during their journey. The area is totally protected and under Natura 2000.
Town centre and Bourtzi
The old town is stretched from the port up to two hills. The architecture of the area and the buildings, and Skiathos hotels are beautiful. Narrow alleys, little houses with red tiled roofs and beautiful small gardens create a picturesque scenic. The port is divided to the old and new by a green peninsula, the Bourtzi islet. In 13th century, a Venetian fortress was constructed in Bourtzi, so as to protect the town from pirates. Nowadays, visitors may see the remnants of it. The area offers an airy café bar with amazing views of the town and the sea. There is also an open air theatre, where many cultural events take place during summer.
Endless choices of beaches
There are more than 60 beaches to visit, all of them unique and beautiful. You would probably need a month to see them all, if you were elsewhere, but it is not the case in Skiathos! The distances are so small, that most of them are just a couple of kilometers apart. If we could suggest some, there is a must see list: Kolios, Troullos, Vromolimnos, Agia Paraskevi, Kanapitsa, Agia Eleni, Koukounaries and Megalos Aselinos. Beach bars, taverns, water sport facilities, sun beds and umbrellas are present in the vast majority to ensure your comfort.
Skiathos island has several churches and Monasteries which impresses all tourists from the very first sight. The majority of them are constructed at the very interesting places of Skiathos while some could be noticed along the seafront. Very interesting is the Cathedral church of Three Bishops which is located in Skiathos town. In this church there are valuable relics and the amazing icon of Panagia Kounistra, the saint protector of Skiathos.
The Monastery of Evagelistria
This monastery is the only one that is active in Skiathos island. It is located surrounded by lush trees and vegetation, only 5 kilometers from Skiathos town. In post-Byzantine years was built by some monks across the ruins of an ancient monastery. In this place you meet a fine library with rare books, a museum, and many cells.
The monastery of Panagia Kounistra
This monastery is dedicated to the Holy Virgin. It lies in the middle of a pine forest, about 13 km from Skiathos town, on the way to Aselinos beach. The monastery is dated in 17th-century. It has a great significance in the religious life of the locals.
Church of Three Bishops
The beautiful church of the three Bishops is the Cathedral Church of Skiathos Island. It was built in 1846 upper the old harbor and it has a tall bell tower seen from the sea. In this church there are some very rarely meted handmade icons.
Church of Agios Nikolaos
The church of Agios Nikolaos is colored in white and includes a remarkable tall Clock tower. Near this church you can find luxury Skiathos hotels.