Tiny Skiathos is a sparkling pendant drop off the damp nose of the Pelion peninsular, and is a perfect, sandy playground for families and youngsters. The south coast is lined with an almost continuous strip of golden sand kissed by calm, shallow, pale blue water, and fronted by hotels, tavernas, some private villas and excellent beach lounges with cool furniture and chilled music on Banana Beach or Koukounaries that heats up as the evening gets going.
The interior is a wild and rugged mountain mass thickly forested and studded with monasteries and chapels. The mountain walks to the little chapels, or to lunch spots with wonderfully hazy views down over the town, offer cool, green peacefulness in the height of the summer. The north coast can be battered by the Meltemi wind, so boat access on calm days only, while the beaches are hard to get to by road, so great for getting away from the crowds.
Skiathos is a great choice for families wanting sailing, swimming, water sports in the day, and getting rid of their teenagers at night without having to wait up worrying. More wholesome than Mykonos, but just as much fun for youngsters wanting to roam around in the evening, there is only one main road with a bus stop every kilometre, so kids really can go free range. Skiathos town is rather lovely, with picturesque lanes, piazzas and churches, with flights of whitewashed steps tiered along the hill, and a colourful waterfront with lively bars.
The prestige thing here is a villa that gives you some private access to a bit of these wonderful beaches – not easy, but Five Star Greece has a few. Accessorize with a boat to explore the wonderful archipelago of islets outside Skiathos or access the emptier beaches of the north.
If you can’t have your own beach, then live just above the best ones – Skiathos RX is a symphony of sliding glass, teak decking, overflow pool and a flow of indoor –outdoor spaces that have views over Koukounaries lake and the sea. 6 airy and well-appointed bedrooms are kept immaculate by a devoted staff, and the villa offers astonishing value at prices from 1,000 euros per day.
You can fly direct from several international airports, but if you fly to Athens, don’t obediently turn up and wait at the well-sign-posted “Domestic Terminal” building, as you will probably miss your plane – the terminal closed about 3 years ago and no-one has yet thought of taking down the sign-posts. Which is totally charming as it implies that;
a) Everyone on Skiathos is an insider and knows these things.
b) Who pay attention to sign posts anyway when on Skiathos?
c) They don’t really want you to leave…
Impeccable reasoning as always in Greece – no matter how illogical something seems, there is always a perfectly convincing argument for it.