With hillsides covered in olive groves and wandering herds of goats, Pirgos offers a peaceful setting with easy access to the pretty beach at Glysteri, where guests can enjoy lunch in the single taverna at the water's edge. Pirgos is an ideal base for walkers owing to the numerous small roads and trails in the surrounding countryside.
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Fresh fish, Stifado beef, Kleftiko/Mansaka lamb, pork and chicken kebabs, Pastitsia pasta. Mythos/Amstel/Fix beer and Retsina wine.
Night time is when Skopelos town comes alive, locals and tourist come to dine, window shop and meander along the waterfront and through the maze of back streets. Leisurely evenings can be spent in one of the many tavernas that line the front and back streets of the resort. The town also offers a few late night bars.
With the island’s clear, turquoise seas, peaceful coves and a magnificent array of sealife, you’ll want to spend at least one day of your stay exploring by boat. Along the quayside at Skopelos harbour you’ll find dozens of boat hire and cruise companies offering a wide variety of vessels and excursions. From sleek yachts to nifty motorboats, traditional wooden craft to modern cruisers, many of the excursions provide swimming and snorkelling opportunities, lunch and at least one or two stopping off points for you to explore.
Skopelos is a picturesque island in the North Aegean Sea. Getting out and about to explore its magnificent coastline, delightful villages and pine forested interior is an absolute must. A hire car gives you the freedom to explore at your leisure and experience some of the stunning scenery, from the coastal roads where you’ll find secluded pebbly bays with mountain views and cliff framed coves that can only be reached by boat, to the island’s rural heart where you’ll discover plum orchards, olive and almond groves.
This delightful little fishing hamlet is located on the south side of the island just eight kilometers from Skopelos and is renowned for mouthwatering seafood lunches served at several waterfront tavernas. Sheltered by pine-clad hills and with a pretty pebble beach sloping gently into the calm, clear waters, this lovely bay is a favourite destination of those exploring the island by car.
One popular destination is the island of Alonissos, the stunningly pretty and less developed sister to Skopelos, famed throughout history for its wine production. Myth has it that it was first occupied by Stafylos, the son of Dionysus and Ariadne and that Pileas, father of Achilles, was buried here. Whether you cruise around the island, admiring its magnificent bays, rugged landscape and hilltop villages from the water, or take the hydrofoil and plan to spend the day there, Alonissos is well worth a visit.
Alonissos is also part of the National Marine Park of the Northern Sporades islands, teeming with rare seabirds and renowned for its dolphins, turtles and Mediterranean monk seals. So if you’re visiting by boat, it’s worth a snorkel to take a peek under the crystal waters for a real treat and remember to look out for the dolphins surfing joyfully in the wake of your boat. Magical.
Glossa is another of the island’s pretty whitewashed settlements just five minutes up the hillside from Loutraki, a major port on the North peak of the Island. A charming little village with a reputation for great restaurants and magnificent sea views, Glossa is also home to the ruins of a temple to Athena dating from the 5th century as well as Roman baths with a mosaic floor and the ancient citadel of Selinous. If succulent local olives, garlic-marinated anchovies and fresh calamari aren’t enough to tickle your tastebuds, try some grilled sardines, pork with prunes or a traditional hearty moussaka.
Skopelos’s westerly neighbour, the more developed island of Skiathos boasts similarly beautiful beaches, typically Grecian villages and wonderfully clear waters popular for diving and snorkelling. Take the hour-long ferry trip across to Skiathos Town and spend the day exploring its little squares, winding alleys and plentiful shops, cafes and tavernas.
Kayaking - A fabulous way to soak up the island’s beauty, a guided kayaking tour here will provide great memories and unique access to parts of the island you’d otherwise miss. Ride solo or in a double kayak and paddle at a relaxed pace to suit you, with frequent stops to admire and photograph the incredible views. Some tours operate at sunset, adding an extra special dimension to your experience – and to your photos.
Walking - Glorious beaches may be its most popular assets, but Skopelos is also a magnet for walkers with its fragrant pine forests, magnificent gorges and tranquil old mule tracks meandering across the island. Wild flowers abound, to the delight of the island’s bees who produce copious amounts of exquisite golden honey as a result. In the spring you’ll find almond blossom, artichokes, iris, poppies and narcissi while the autumn brings crocus, cyclamen and orchids. Butterflies, birds and an array of flora and fauna also flourish here so why not take advantage of the knowledge and experience of local guides and join one of the guided walks and treks on offer? In the heat of high summer, a strenuous hike across the mountains may be off the cards but there are still plenty of gentler rambles available as well as walking tours of Skopelos Town and other villages to enjoy. Discover the island’s history and character among quaint shaded alleyways and cobblestone paths, calling at historic churches, characterful tavernas and local shops en route. Mamma Mia aficionados won’t want to miss the chance to climb the iconic Ag Ioannis to the famous clifftop chapel.
Mamma Mia - Unsurprisingly, the release of the hugely successful film of the musical Mamma Mia in 2008 brought fans flocking to Skopelos, the location of many of the movie’s most memorable scenes. Peace and quiet have since been restored but chapel at Ag Ioannis, where the wedding was partially filmed (see ‘Walking’ above) and the buzzing Kastani Beach are still much sought after by visitors (though the beach bar and the jetty on which the actors danced is no longer there). Fortunately, the beauty of the island remains undiminished by its sudden rise to fame though it’s clear to see why it was considered the perfect spot to represent the story’s paradise island.
Wherever your chosen villa location may be, a day or two exploring Skopelos Town is a must. In the picturesque harbour, sleek yachts rub fenders with traditional fishing boats while the twinkling lights of welcoming tavernas cast a soft glow over the calm waters after sundown. Scarlet geraniums and violet bougainvillea cascade from the brightly painted balconies of classic whitewashed townhouses, interspersed with quaint little squares and cobbled walkways winding their way up the hillside. There are no fewer than 120 churches, each with its own unique character, as well as an array of boutiques selling everything from local honey and pottery to jewellery and leather goods.
Skopelos Town’s stunning backdrop is Palouki Mountain, home to several of the island’s historic monasteries. Keen walkers can reach them on foot in a few hours but they are also accessible by car. The monasteries of Aghia Varvara and Aghios Ioannis Prodromos are within 300 metres of one another, located some nine kilometers north of the town with magnificent panoramic views. Varvara is no longer in use but is open to visitors in the summer for its historic interest. Promodros is still inhabited by female monks and is dedicated to St John the Baptist. The churches within the monasteries are both beautiful and fascinating, with icons dating back as far as the 16th century.
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