Skyros, a small island in the Aegean Sea, is one of Greece‘s hidden gems. Known for its pristine beaches, traditional architecture, and warm hospitality, Skyros is an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Interesting facts about Skyros:
- Skyros is one of the smallest islands in the Sporades archipelago, located in the Aegean Sea. It has an area of 210 square kilometers and a population of around 2,500 people.
- Skyros is believed to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of settlements dating back to the Bronze Age.
- The island was occupied by various ancient civilizations, including the Mycenaeans, the Persians, and the Romans. It was also a part of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
- Skyros has a unique ecosystem that includes rare species of flora and fauna. The island is home to the Skyrian horse, a rare breed of horse that is found only on the island.
- Skyros is famous for its pottery, which has been a traditional craft on the island for centuries. Skyrian pottery is known for its distinctive style, which includes the use of local clay and traditional firing techniques.
- The island is also famous for its honey, which is produced from the nectar of the island’s wildflowers. Skyrian honey is considered to be one of the best in Greece.
- Skyros has a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its unique customs, traditions, and festivals. The island is known for its traditional dance and music, as well as its colorful carnival celebrations.
- The island is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It offers a variety of activities, including hiking, scuba diving, and horseback riding.
- Skyros is also a popular destination for artists and writers. The island’s stunning landscape and unique atmosphere have inspired many famous artists and writers over the years.
- Skyros is home to several beautiful beaches, ranging from long stretches of golden sand to secluded coves and rocky bays. The island’s beaches are known for their crystal-clear waters and stunning natural beauty.
In this article, we’ll explore 20 of the best things to do in Skyros, from lounging on the beach to hiking in the mountains.
Visit the Skyros Castle
The Skyros Castle, also known as the kastro, is a must-see attraction on the island. Built by the Venetians in the 13th century, the castle is an impressive example of medieval fortification. Visitors can explore the castle’s walls and towers, admire the panoramic views of the town and the sea, and learn about the castle’s history and significance. The castle is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, and visitors can enjoy a romantic evening stroll along its walls.
Explore the Town of Skyros
The town of Skyros is a charming and picturesque maze of narrow streets and alleys. Visitors can wander through the town’s whitewashed houses adorned with colorful flowers, visit traditional shops and cafes, and soak up the island’s unique atmosphere. The town’s main square is a popular gathering spot, where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy a coffee or a meal and watch the world go by. The town is also home to a variety of festivals and cultural events, including the Skyros Carnival and the Skyros Dance Festival.
Go Hiking in the Mountains
Skyros is a paradise for hikers, with numerous trails that lead through the island’s rugged mountains, valleys, and forests. The island’s landscape is diverse and breathtaking, and hikers can discover hidden waterfalls, springs, and caves. Some of the most popular hiking trails include the route to the highest peak of Skyros, Mount Kochila, and the trail to the Monastery of Saint George. Hiking in Skyros is a unique and rewarding experience that allows visitors to connect with the island’s natural beauty and explore its hidden treasures.
Visit the Monastery of Saint George
The Monastery of Saint George is one of the most important religious sites in Skyros. Built in the 17th century, the monastery is located on a hill overlooking the sea, and offers stunning views of the island’s coastline. The monastery’s interior is adorned with impressive frescoes and icons, and visitors can learn about the monastery’s history and significance. The monastery is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, and visitors can enjoy a peaceful and meditative atmosphere.
Take a Boat Tour around the Island
A boat tour around the island is an excellent way to explore Skyros’s stunning coastline and hidden coves. Visitors can swim in crystal-clear waters, sunbathe on secluded beaches, and enjoy the island’s unique landscape from a different perspective. Boat tours usually include stops at some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches, as well as visits to the island’s sea caves and rock formations. Boat tours are a popular activity on the island and are available throughout the tourist season.
Enjoy the Beaches of Skyros
Skyros is renowned for its beautiful beaches, which range from long stretches of golden sand to secluded coves and rocky bays. Molos beach, located on the east coast of the island, is a long sandy beach with crystal-clear waters and plenty of facilities, including beach bars, restaurants, and water sports. Atsitsa beach, on the west coast, is a secluded cove with pebbles and turquoise waters, ideal for those seeking a quiet and peaceful spot. Other popular beaches include Kalamitsa, Agios Fokas, and Magazia. The beaches of Skyros are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the island’s natural beauty.
Visit the Skyros Folklore Museum
The Skyros Folklore Museum is a must-visit for those interested in the island’s history and culture. Housed in a traditional Skyrian house, the museum features exhibits on local customs, traditions, and crafts, including embroidery, weaving, and woodcarving. Visitors can learn about the island’s traditional way of life and the customs and traditions that have shaped its unique identity. The museum also hosts a variety of cultural events and activities, including music and dance performances, traditional cooking classes, and handicraft workshops.
Experience the Skyrian Horse Festival
The Skyrian Horse Festival is a unique cultural event that takes place every year in Skyros. The festival celebrates the island’s indigenous horse breed, the Skyrian horse, which is renowned for its beauty, strength, and endurance. Visitors can watch horse races, attend traditional music and dance performances, and taste local delicacies. The festival is a colorful and lively event that offers a unique insight into the island’s culture and traditions.
Taste the Traditional Cuisine of Skyros
Skyros’s cuisine is based on fresh, local ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations. Visitors can taste dishes such as the Skyrian goat stew, the chickpea soup, and the sweet cheese pie. The island is also famous for its honey, olive oil, and local wine. Many of the island’s restaurants and tavernas offer traditional Skyrian dishes, and visitors can enjoy a unique gastronomic experience that reflects the island’s cultural heritage.
Learn about Pottery in Skyros
Pottery has been an important craft in Skyros for centuries, and visitors can learn about the island’s pottery traditions at the Skyros Ceramics Workshop. The workshop offers pottery classes and sells unique and handmade ceramics, including plates, vases, and bowls. Visitors can learn about the different techniques used in Skyrian pottery, including the use of local clay and the traditional firing methods. The ceramics workshop is a popular spot for souvenirs and gifts, and visitors can take home a piece of Skyrian culture with them.
Discover the Cave of Skyros
The Cave of Skyros, also known as the Skyrian Cave, is a natural wonder located on the west coast of the island. The cave is famous for its stalactites and stalagmites and its unique ecosystem, which includes rare species of bats and insects. Visitors can explore the cave’s chambers and admire its impressive formations. The cave is a popular spot for nature lovers and adventurers, and offers a unique and unforgettable experience.
Visit the Ancient City of Palamari
The Ancient City of Palamari is an archaeological site located on the north coast of the island. The site dates back to the Bronze Age and includes the ruins of a Mycenaean palace, a necropolis, and a settlement. Visitors can explore the site and learn about the island’s rich history. The site is a fascinating glimpse into the island’s ancient past and offers a unique perspective on its cultural heritage.
Attend a Traditional Skyrian Wedding
A traditional Skyrian wedding is a unique and unforgettable experience. The wedding ceremony takes place in the town’s main square and includes music, dance, and traditional costumes. Visitors can watch the wedding procession and join in the celebrations. The wedding is a colorful and lively event that reflects the island’s rich cultural heritage and offers a unique insight into its customs and traditions.
Visit the Church of Agios Panteleimonas
The Church of Agios Panteleimonas is a beautiful Byzantine church located in the town of Skyros. The church dates back to the 17th century and features impressive frescoes and icons. Visitors can admire the church’s interior and learn about its history and significance. The church is a popular spot for spiritual reflection and offers a peaceful and meditative atmosphere.
Go Scuba Diving in Skyros
Scuba diving is a popular activity in Skyros, thanks to the island’s crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. Visitors can explore the island’s underwater world and discover colorful fish, octopuses, and other sea creatures. There are several diving centers on the island that offer courses and guided dives for all levels of experience. The island’s most popular dive sites include the shipwreck of the Pelagia, the Kefalas Caves, and the rocky reefs of the north coast.
Attend the Skyros Dance Festival
The Skyros Dance Festival is an annual event that celebrates the island’s rich dance traditions. The festival includes dance workshops, performances, and competitions, and brings together dancers and choreographers from Greece and abroad. Visitors can watch traditional dances from Skyros and other regions of Greece, as well as contemporary and modern dance performances. The festival is a unique and colorful event that reflects the island’s cultural diversity and offers a glimpse into its artistic heritage.
Explore the Skyros Butterfly Valley
The Skyros Butterfly Valley, also known as the Petaloudes Valley, is a unique natural attraction located in the center of the island. The valley is home to a variety of butterfly species, including the Jersey Tiger Moth and the Southern Festoon. Visitors can walk through the valley’s lush vegetation and admire the colorful butterflies. The valley is a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
Visit the Beach of Atsitsa
Atsitsa beach, located on the west coast of the island, is a beautiful and secluded cove with pebbles and crystal-clear waters. The beach is surrounded by pine trees and offers stunning views of the sunset. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the turquoise waters, and enjoy a picnic under the shade of the trees. The beach is a popular spot for couples and families seeking a quiet and peaceful spot away from the crowds.
Experience the Skyros Carnival
The Skyros Carnival is a colorful and lively event that takes place every year in February or March. The carnival includes parades, music, and dance performances, and traditional costumes. Visitors can join in the festivities and enjoy the island’s unique carnival traditions. The carnival is a great way to experience the island’s cultural heritage and offers a fun and festive atmosphere.
In conclusion, Skyros is a small but beautiful island that offers a variety of activities and experiences for visitors. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, nature and adventure, or relaxation and beach life, Skyros has something for everyone. The island’s unique identity, rich cultural heritage, and natural beauty make it a destination that should not be missed. Visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s traditions and customs, taste its traditional cuisine, and enjoy its stunning landscapes and beaches. Skyros is a hidden gem that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for all who visit.
What is the best time to visit Skyros?
The best time to visit Skyros is from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches are at their best.
How do I get to Skyros?
Skyros is accessible by ferry from the nearby islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonnisos, as well as from the mainland ports of Volos and Kymi.
What is the Skyrian horse?
The Skyrian horse is an indigenous breed of horse that is found only on the island of Skyros. The horse is small and sturdy, with a distinctive gray color and a thick mane and tail.
What are some traditional Skyrian dishes?
Some traditional Skyrian dishes include goat stew, chickpea soup, sweet cheese pie, and honey-drizzled loukoumades (Greek donuts).
What is the Skyros Carnival?
The Skyros Carnival is a traditional carnival celebration that takes place every year on the island of Skyros. The carnival includes parades, music, dance performances, and traditional costumes, and is a unique and colorful event that should not be missed.