Greece is famous for its rich culture and cultural elements are dominant even in a small island like Skiathos. Sights worth visiting could be divided into cultural and natural sights, expressing the unique character of the island which combines natural beauty with culture.
The cultural sights of Skiathos are churches, monasteries and other monuments mostly from the Byzantine period onwards as well as the Venetian period. Most of them are located in Skiathos Town or in the outskirts near it. In Skiathos Town, it is worth visiting the Castle, the Bourtzi Fortress, the Old Medieval Town and the Papadiamantis house.
It is a breathtaking location in the north side of the island. It was built during the times Skiathos was being attacked by vicious pirates and the people wanted to protect themselves and their property. Life inside the castle was difficult due to the lack of space. Despite this, people of Skiathos continued to develop their culture and keep their traditions. They built churches, chapels and even a mosque, the ruins of which can be seen when visiting the castle.
The Bourtzi Fortress
The fortress is located in the small peninsula which divides the island into the eastern and western part. It was built by two venetian brothers who were benefactors of the island. It used to be a primary school and the locals used it to fight against the Ottomans. Nowadays it has been turned into an art gallery and there is an open air theatre next to it.
The Papadiamantis house
It is the house where the Greek author grew up and died. Papadiamantis was a well-respected public figure of the island who offered greatly to the local culture by promoting it through its famous novels, although he ran a modest life. The house operates as a museum and it is definitely worth visiting. The building is a monument on its own as it is a symbol of the traditional architecture of the island.
The Old Medieval Town
If you want to spend an evening walking around the island, visit the Old Town with its narrow, pebbled streets. You will see some of the remaining traditional mansions, with the typical architecture which is a combination of the architecture of the islands and the Mount Pelion villages.
If you want your holidays to be a more spiritual and religious experience, then visit the monasteries of the island. They are strongly connected with the history of Skiathos and the popular beliefs and celebrations of the locals.
Monastery of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary – Evangelistria
It is located in the northeast side of the island, in the Agalianou region. It is the only active monastery. Inside the monastery there is a museum of musical instruments.
Monastery of the Entry of Virgin Mary – Panagia Kounistra
It is in the west side of the island and the legend has it that a monk found the icon of the Virgin Mary hanging from a tree and this is how the name “kounistra” (swinging) was derived. Tip when visiting monasteries: In order to enter the sites of the monasteries a descent outfit is required. Women should wear long skirts and men long trousers.
On the island you will find the Sea Caves, near Lalaria,the Strofilia Lake, near Koukounaries beach, which are unique natural sights. The small islets around Skiathos, such as Tsougrias, are also stunning.
Sea Caves – Lalaria
There are two caves near Lalaria beach, the Skotini (Dark) Cave and The Galazia (Blue) cave. The dark cave is a very narrow and low cave which can be accessed only by small boats.
It is a pebbly, secluded beach on the northeast coast accessed only by boat. Almost all visitors of Skiathos have a picture from Lalaria because of the sublime and wild beauty of the beach.
It is a protected wetland with rich fauna and flora. It is quite rare to find wetlands on Greek islands and it is characteristic of the special geography of Skiathos.
Opposite Skiathos island there is a group of small islands with Tsougrias being the most visited of them. All these islets are uninhabited but on Tsougrias there are small snack bars on both sides of the island which sell sandwiches and refreshing drinks. Daily tours run from Skiathos Town and most visitors prefer these islands for a nice swim in the turquoise shallow water and the tranquil atmosphere. If you are visiting Tsougrias by your own boat, be careful with the rocks nearby the shore, as they are not visible when the sea is rough.