Skiathos has become so much more than our favorite holiday destination. Soon after arriving here in 2016, we decided to literally build our dream from the ground up. Between the olive orchards, the horizon and the beautiful sea, we found the perfect spot for our villas.
Teaming up with renowned architect agency 3H Architects allowed us to develop a sustainable relationship with the island as we wanted the villas and the terraces to encapsulate the surrounding scenery.
So asking us to limit our selection of beloved island hangouts to just a few, is very much like asking a parent to name a ‘favorite’ child. Almost everywhere you go, your senses will somehow be infused with a refreshing magic. Skiathos is a place of uncanny beauty that loves to surprise you, but since Kechria was where it all started for us, let’s take it from there.
Located in the north of the island, the area around Kechria is the perfect environment to counteract the more densely populated resorts of the southern coast. What makes the beautiful beach of Kechria extra special, aside from the tiny peddles and the crystal clear water, is the lawn with the luxury sunbeds perfect for lounging. If your idea of deep relaxation is simply to soak up time in a somewhat intact natural environment, then consider Kechria the perfect place to replenish your energy. It’s the area where our OHLIVE Villa I and OHLIVE Villa II are situated.
You can reach the beach by boat or (preferably) 4x4 car.
There are more than 60 sandy beaches to choose from on Skiathos, but there are several reasons for mentioning Ligaries Beach. First of all, it’s a gorgeous sandy beach in the Kechria area. Secondly, it’s surrounded by lush green hillsides covered in pine trees making it absolutely stunning.
Thirdly, it’s the perfect setting for OHLIVE Beach, our unique standalone design beachfront villa. We also fell head over heels with the nearby taverna that offers deliciously ‘simple’ grilled meat and even provides drinks on the beach, if it’s not too busy.
Tsougria beach, ideal for families with young kids (because of its shallow water), is not a part of the Skiathos mainland, it’s actually an islet across from the port of Skiathos town. It’s covered with pine trees and eucalyptus with the most amazing beaches with green crystalline waters. Although it’s a very popular destination among people who have their own boats, it’s easy for anyone to get there as there is a regular boat service from the harbor that costs about €10 for a return trip. There are usually about 2 or 3 trips in the morning and in the evening.
Lalaria Beach is often regarded as one of the most magnificent beaches on earth. It is indeed one of the spots that made Skiathos famous, as it boasts an exceptional beauty with its huge white cliffs rising out of the clear deep blue sea. There is a rock to the left of the white sandy pebble beach that forms a natural arch and caves on the east side. The magnificent Blue and Dark caves are located just before Lalaria and are worth being visited by boat.
Arkos is a tiny island off the coast of Skiathos with a secluded beach and a family run taverna. There is a sandy beach and the water is perfect for snorkeling. It is a popular destination for any boat owner, we therefore suggest you book ahead, especially if you choose to dine on the island. Or better still: allow our holiday concierge Markos to make the arrangements for you. The skipper will drop you off at Arkos and pick you up at an arranged time later in the day.
There are so many heavenly beaches for you to choose from, we really recommend you dedicate part of your holiday to playing it by ear. It might sound counterintuitive, but trust us on this one: you’ll usually find exactly what you’re looking for by simply going with the flow. But just in case you need some help finding your bearings, consider using our next blog (‘The Beaches of Skiathos’) as a compass.
A walk through the ‘magical’ forest, as it is popularly referred to, starts just below the 18th century Kechria Monastery, which in itself is worth a visit. During your walk amidst the hollowed out old tree trunks and their gnarled roots, you’ll get to see the ruins of four water and olive mills which outdate the monastery by more than a thousand years.
For a truly enchanting experience head off to Kechria Monastery in the early morning.
Keep in mind that it can be really hot in the summer and incredibly humid in spite of the woodland’s shady canopy. So don’t forget to bring a bottle of water and sunblock with you.
The historical site of Kastro
This stunning ‘castle’ is presently closed for renovation (its re-opens in 2024), but its extraordinary, awe-inspiring beauty is well worth the mention. Built onto an imposing mass of rock in the 14th century, it literally seems to be perched above the sea. The Castle’s fortifications made it the perfect shelter against all sorts of attacks until 1829, when locals decided to settle back into the island’s main town as we know it today. From its approximately 20 churches and 500 households, today only 2 parish churches have been preserved.
Right below the fort there is a beautiful, secluded beach called ‘Castle’. You should definitely schedule a swim in its crystal clear waters and a visit to the Castle’s astounding old town when visiting Skiathos.
Getting there is very easy: there are several little cruise boats that leave from the port in the morning - or you can go by car. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the nearby parking lot.
There are also some steps involved, so refrain from wearing stiletto’s during your visit.
Bourtzi is now a popular place for rest and recreation, but back in the early thirteenth century the tiny peninsula that divides Skiathos port into two distinct parts used to be a fort. There was also a small church, but it was ruined (along with everything else) in 1660.
In 1906 a primary school was built in the middle of the peninsula. It presently serves as a gorgeous cultural center where you can enjoy theatre and musical performances. The entire neighborhood is replete with stately pine trees and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. There are numerous sites where one can still see the vestiges of the past, such as the impressive canons that were once used to ward off pirates and other unwelcome intruders.
There is also a great bar/restaurant that doesn’t just serve amazing food, the restrooms offer a truly world-class view of the coastline.
Monastery of Evangelistria
The Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria is located about 5 km north of Skiathos Town. It is among the most important religious centers in the Sporades and certainly the most important in Skiathos. Dating back to the late 18th century, it played an important part in providing shelter to the fighters and refugees during the Greek Revolution in the 1820s.
The monastery is now a museum that tells the remarkable story of modern Greece. This is also where you can see the loom on which the first Greek flag was created, among many other ecclesiastical artifacts, rare books and manuscripts from the 17th century, gospels from the 18th century, silver and wooden crosses and Byzantine icons.
It is said that the colors of the Greek flag (blue and white) were inspired by the sky and the sea on Skiathos. The exact origins of the flag, with its cross-and-stripe pattern, are however still a matter of debate. But if every part of it, including the colors, the cross and the stripes, were indeed inspired by history, there is no reason to doubt the very first Greek flag was indeed made in the vicinity of the monastery of Evangelistria.
There is an infinite amount of reasons for you to lose your heart to Skiathos, so consider this an appetizer to prepare your palate for the island’s many delicacies.
Our holiday concierge Markos loves nothing more than to help you make all the arrangements for an unforgettable experience. The sky’s the limit when it comes to things to do and see, but the way you go about discovering the island, is entirely up to you. Anything from boats and bikes to beaches and bars: Markos will gladly help you out with the practicalities. There are also 26 different hiking routes waiting to sweep you off your feet. Figuratively speaking, that is.