Located in the Sporades Islands north of Athens Skopelos was chosen as a major filming location for good reason. Lush, covered with verdant trees and with crystal clear water Skopelos holidays really are where dreams come true.
Our complete guide to Skopelos ensures you book the best hotels in the best location and make the most of the activities and dining experiences to have truly unforgettable Skopelos holidays.
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Where is Skopelos?
Skopelos is part of the northern Sporades Islands in the Aegean Sea. These are located just off the east coast of Greece north of the island of Evia (Euboea) – the second biggest Greek island after Crete.
Skopelos is larger in size than both Santorini and Mykonos with an area of 96 square kilometres (37 square miles). The nearest islands with any sizable population are Skiathos to the west and Alonissos to the east.
When to visit Skopelos
Tourist season in the Greek Islands runs between May all the way through early November. Visitor numbers peak in the summer months which is considered high season for the island.
Like many of the Greek islands, Skopelos has a Mediterranean climate. This makes summer the best time to visit.
Warm weather is to be expected between June and September with the hottest month of the year being July. Temperatures can reach highs of 32°C and lows of 21°C.
If you are looking for a beach break, visiting any time in summer should give you sunny days and a low chance of rain.
The shoulder months of May and October may be the best time to visit Skopelos if you want fewer crowds and cheaper prices. You will still experience pleasant weather but without hordes of tourists.
Further reading: When to visit Greece
How to get to Skopelos
As with many of the Greek islands, getting to Skopelos means getting there by boat.
Ferries connect up with the island’s main port (also called Skopelos), but there are three ports in total on the island.
There are a variety of different types of ferries. Some of these are for foot passengers only while others take cars in addition.
Getting there from the mainland can be achieved by ferry via a couple of routes. Firstly, you could opt to take the ferry from Agios Konstantinos in central Greece (three hours) as there is no ferry to Skopelos from Athens.
Another option is to board the ferry that departs from Volos in Thessaly. This route takes two hours.
If you are arriving in Athens the best option is to take the bus from the capital to Agios Konstantinos, which takes two hours. After that you simply hop on the ferry.
There are also ferry connections that connect Skopelos with nearby islands including Skyros, Alonissos, and Evia. These inter-island ferries are more frequent in the summer months, which is yet another reason to visit in summer rather than winter.
Flying to Skopelos
Skopelos has no airport so if you were thinking of catching a flight there, you’ll have to reconsider.
The closest airport is on the nearby Skiathos island. Domestic flights connect Skiathos with Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as destinations around Europe in the summer months.
From Skiathos, you can then take one of the daily ferry connections to Skopelos (around one hour).
Getting around Skopelos
A good way to get around Skopelos is by using its bus network. The KTEL buses work well if you want to explore the island and visit some of the more popular beaches and villages. Most of the buses start and end in Skopelos town. There are four different bus routes costing between €2 and €4.
There are taxi ranks in the main towns on Skopelos and they are good for getting around after you have been out for the evening. Note that these do not use the meter and have an established rate for journeys, although this can be somewhat expensive. Be sure to ask first.
The best way to get around is by hiring your own set of wheels. Car hire can be reasonable especially out of high season. If you are visiting in the height of summer, then you might want to book ahead.
Further reading : Driving in Greece
There are three main towns & villages that are popular bases for those who are visiting Skopelos.
The main one is Skopelos town. This is the main port and capital of the island and is a protected Heritage site. It’s a pretty town with beautiful, white-washed buildings and colourful wooden shutters. There’s even a 13th-century castle here.
Some of the nicest accommodations here are self-catering options overlooking the sea such as Aeolos Hotel. There is also the charming Denise Hotel and beautiful Olia Green, a boutique luxury hotel with stunning waterfront rooms.
For something truly special, romantic and secluded check out Christine’s House up in the hills with its chic luxe styling and private pool.
If you are travelling as a family or group check out Artemis Garden on the outskirts of town who have a gorgeous 2 and 3 bedroom villa set amongst a stunning tranquil garden. Another excellent option is Thimisi House, a stunning renovated house in the heart of Skopelos Town which can sleep up to 7 people in 3 bedrooms.
Budget travellers would be hard-pressed to beat Thea Home Hotel or Pansion Prodromina for both ambience and amenities or Achinos one-bedroom Guest House if you want something fully self-contained and very private.
Another place to stay on Skopelos is Skopelos Glossa – it is the second largest town and is located 25 kilometres from the capital. It is a sloping village with white-washed houses and views out over the sea. The ferry port here makes it a good place to stay if you want to explore nearby islands too. Here we are big fans of Aegean Wave and Natura Luxury Boutique Hotels.
The third option is Neo Klima. This resort village is located 19 kilometres to the west of the capital and has lots of local tavernas and shops as well as a good beach for swimming and sun-bathing. Check out Anna Marie-Vanessa Apartments right on the waterfront and Elios 2- bedroom villas in the hills above.
Or, for the full resort experience Adrina Beach Hotel, just outside Panormos, is located right on one of the best beaches on the island and has some of the best reviews in Greece!
Thimisi House view
Skopelos restaurants and food
Food to try
There are many traditional Greek dishes to expect on the island of Skopelos. When dining in local tavernas, you can enjoy classics such as stuffed tomatoes, moussaka, Greek salad and beef stifado.
One local speciality that you should try is strifti pie – a mouthwatering goat’s cheese and spinach pastry that is deep-fried. Like most of the Greek Islands ( actually all of them!) Seafood plays a big part in the cuisine of Skopelos especially when you’re eating near a beach or port. Fish is locally caught, and popular dishes include grilled sardines, stuffed squid and lobster.
Plums are a favourite and are grown widely on the island. They often come served with meat such as pork or rabbit and can be used on desserts. Local honey and fruits are also a must-try.
Skopelos tavernas, bars and cafes
You are in for a treat when you are dining out on Skopelos. There is a big selection of local tavernas and eateries situated in cobbled lanes and right by the sea.
Recommended restaurants include the famous Agnanti in Glossa, which has been a favourite and landmark eatery since it opened its doors in 1958. Stou Dimitraki enjoys a similar reputation in Skopelos Town.
Zoupa in Skopelos town is a romantic spot in an oasis courtyard that provides meals made with local produce as does very charming Olivo. Azan is the new kid on the block and has been causing quite a stir since opening.
It’s worth a trip up the hill in Skopelos Town to visit Peparithos with its sweeping views and beautiful garden and similarly Η Πλατεία in Neo Klima for its authentic Barbeque.
For somewhere to eat with ocean views nothing beats The Muses, also located in Skopelos town or Nikos Taverna in Panormos or Korali Seafood Restaurant on Agnontas Beach (see photo below).
In terms of Bars Vrachos All Day Bar on the harbour in Skopelos Town is the place to be or Mercurius Cocktail Bar for a late-night tipple.
There are numerous tavernas on the beaches that have sunbeds and umbrellas including Apanemo Beach Bar on Limnonari Beach, Milia Beach Bar on Milia Beach and popular Kastani Beach Bar on Kastani Beach which has lots of shade and plenty of sunbeds.
Korali Seafood Taverna, Agnontas
Things to do on Skopelos
The beaches in the Sporades Islands are generally very good and Skopelos is no exception. With forests of trees hanging right down to the crystal clear water the conditions are excellent for a very laid back Greek beach vacation.
Stafilos Beach is five kilometres from Skopelos town. It is a large pebble beach in a curving bay that is lapped by sparkling waters. Here, you can find a taverna for a lazy lunch and a beach bar for drinks and snacks.
The main beach in Skopelos town is also a good option. It is close to accommodation and eateries, but so-called Town Beach is not the most beautiful beach on the island. There are some ruins of a temple nearby for something to add to this beach outing.
Hovolo Beach is one of the most picture-perfect beaches on the island. Much of the natural environment here is unspoilt, so don’t come here expecting water sports or many facilities. Instead, you can enjoy rocks and interesting coves for snorkeling and exploring.
Twelve kilometers from Skopelos town you will find Panormos Beach. It is an attractive spot with great facilities that makes it perfect for spending a long day by the sea.
Neo Klima’s Elios Beach is a pleasant place for soaking up some sun. It has amenities such as showers and tavernas. This part of the island’s coastline is linked to its patron saint, Riginos.
One of the most popular things to do on Skopelos in recent years is the Mama Mia Island Tour. This will take you to the beautiful little Church where the wedding took place as well as other spots of interest used in the film.
Monuments of Skopelos
Currently the most famous landmark on Skopelos, this lovely church is located seven kilometers to the north of Glossa. It was here that some scenes from the movie Mamma Mia were filmed. It is a particularly pretty church that sits up high on rocks and overlooks the island’s coastline.
You will find this important monument just outside of Skopelos town. It sits on the slopes of Mount Palouki and was originally constructed in 1712. The monastery is home to valuable religious icons from the Byzantine era and the internal dome is covered in Gold Leaf. The views are also quite stunning.
The Venetians were one of the many civilizations that laid claim to the island of Skopelos through the ages. One remnant of their rule can be found in the island’s main town. Getting to the castle is part of the fun as it involves walking through winding streets up to the high fortress.
Sentoukia pirate graveyard
Though this sight is more off the beaten track it is still an interesting thing to discover while staying on Skopelos. Centuries ago, pirates would plunder the island and others in the area and these tombs have been connected to them. In truth nobody knows who the tombs are for or how long they have been there.
Museums of Skopelos
Antoniou Family Olive Oil Museum
This olive oil mill with beautiful views is situated close to Glossa. Here you can learn about olive oil and purchase cold-press olive oil made right there for a delicious souvenir.
This museum is situated in a renovated house built in 1926 in the village of Glossa. The museum opened its doors in 2008 and works to promote the cultural history of the island. Here you can see items from Skopelos naval history as well as photographs, manuscripts, and personal belongings.
Skopelos Folklore Museum (Vakratsa Mansion)
This museum is situated in a historic house right in the middle of Skopelos town. It tells the story of the folk traditions of the area. The furniture in the museum belonged to the original family who owned it.
This museum is situated inside the house of 19th-century writer Pavlos Nirvanas. Today it showcases items from the history of the island of Skopelos from antiquity to the present day.
SKOPELOS Nature and outdoors
This rock is connected to a legend regarding Saint Riginos. The dragon was terrorizing and eating the residents of the island until Riginos hunted the dragon down and killed it (apparently around 800 years ago). It is possible to get to Drakontoschisma by boat or you can view it from the cliffs above.
Those who like to dive will find Skopelos an interesting spot to do so. There are multiple dive centers on the island that offer guided diving tours of great locations situated around the coastline. Free diving is also well known on Skopelos.
Like many Greek islands Skopelos offers many opportunities to walk around in its beautiful natural setting. There are a number of different trails for visitors, from simple strolls along the coast to full day hikes between villages on the island. It pays to take join a local on a guided hike too.
Taking a boat out to explore neighbouring islands is a popular option on Skopelos. One option is to head to Alonissos. This island boasts its very own national marine park. Here you may be able to spot dolphins, seals, and seabirds in their natural habitat.
Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri – the ‘Mama Mia’ Church
The view from Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri
Events on Skopelos
It worthwhile understanding what festivals or events may be on during your Skopelos holidays, especially if there are any national holidays involved.
February 25 is marked by the Feast of Agios Riginos. This local festival to honor the island’s patron saint takes place every year at Agios Riginos Monastery in Skopelos town. The relics of the saint are transferred, and locals attend vigils.
Easter is a colourful religious celebration everywhere in Greece. Think food, marching bands, processions, and fireworks. This takes place each year according to the Julian Calendar, usually between one and four weeks after western Easter.
Transfiguration of Jesus Christ takes place August 6. It is a popular feast day on Skopelos.
One of the most important religious events on Skopelos, as it is elsewhere in Greece, is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This takes place on August 15 and sees nationwide celebrations including traditional music and dancing. On Skopelos, celebrations can be found across the island but the main festival takes place in Glossa. Here you can enjoy live music and good food and wine.
On December 4 the island celebrates the Feast of Agia Varvara. This takes place at the Monastery of Agia Varvara and involves vigils and feasting on fish.
Other Events on Skopelos
The island’s Wine Festival is a must for wine lovers. This takes place every year in mid-September. Expect free-flowing wine, music, and dancing.
Another major event in August is the Loizia Festival. This festival honours the Greek-Cypriot composer Manos Loizos with storytelling, live music, and food.
The International Film Festival for Youth occurs in Skopelos town during July and August. Young people take part in workshops, and you can see screenings of films made by international filmmakers.