Skiathos, Greece is a beautiful little island with pine forests and some of the best beaches in the world. Only 19 square miles, 50 square kilometres, it is the perfect place for a peaceful family holiday or a private getaway. The gentle, warm Aegean is inviting for swimming and water sports including scuba diving. It has 60 beaches around is perimeter interspersed with capes, inlets and peninsulas bordered by forests.
It has a water-ski school with a highly trained instructor who promises his pupils will water-ski on their first attempt. There are several diving schools that will take you to different dive sites. They have dives for beginners and experts so everyone will enjoy their diving experience.
Skiathos is very well organised for tourists providing a wide range of facilities including a variety of hotels, bungalows and studios. With people visiting from all over the world, Skiathos has a very active and lively nightlife. There are romantic bars for a secluded evening, and night clubs and pubs for mixing with other people. Several beach resorts also have private bars.
There is a horse race that is great fun for tourists and locals alike. Young men race horses from the suburbs of Skiathos town to the lake near the airport. It is in honour of Agios Georgios the patron saint of shepherds and horse riders. Tourists also enjoy visiting the settings for the film Mamma Mia which was shot in and around Skiathos including a taxi chase scene and an overloaded Caique or ferry boat.
Skiathos played a minor roll in the history of ancient times. It was mainly used by the Greeks as a place from which to fight the Persian Wars and block the enemy of 300 Spartans. Philip V of Macedon razed the city in 200 BC. A small Venetian-styled fortress was built in 1207 by the Gyzi brothers, but this was ineffectual in protecting the people from pirates of the Aegean. The capitol was moved to Kastro on a high rock that overlooks the sea. In 1704, the Evangelistria monastery was built by monks from Atos and it played a part in the Greek War of Independence. The first blue and white Greek flag was created and hoisted from the monastery in 1807.
Skiathos is linked to mainland Greece and other islands by hydrofoil. There is frequent and regular bus service from the town to Koukounaries beach the most famous beach of Skiathos. The first beach to be developed for tourism, it has a large variety of restaurants, tavernas, cafes, hotels, camping sites and hostels.
Whether you are looking for gentle footpaths through idyllic scenery, sailing or speedy beach cats to rent, Skiathos has an activity for you. There is also tennis, para-sailing, jet skis, windsurfing, canoeing and pedalos. Boat trips around the island run hourly and larger boats go to the neighbouring islands of Alonnisis and Skopelos. It tends to be a bit crowded in July and August because of its popular beaches, but it is still an ideal holiday destination.