The Greek Islands and Athens
Skopelos is the largest island in the Sporades group, with a rugged coastline, steep cliffs and mostly pebble beaches. The islanders have resisted the urge to have an airport, so the easiest way to get here is by flying into Skiathos and from there taking a ferry to the island. It is a good deal quieter than its close neighbour Skiathos, and manages to maintain a more traditional Greek atmosphere. Despite the absence of an airport, it is still a popular holiday destination for those looking for somewhere that bit quieter and that retains a more traditional atmosphere.
In Skopelos town, most visitors congregate along the waterfront with its tavernas, bars, and souvenir shops. Check out some of the tavernas on the edge of town that are frequented by the islanders themselves, the food is often excellent, and the local wines are good value for money.
On the high ground on the edge of town stands the remains of a Venetian kastro. The way up to the top is not very obvious when you are in the midst of the town, but the view is well worth the walk to the top.
If you enjoy visiting churches, then you will not be disappointed as there is believed to be 123 of them within the town. Although some of them are very small and almost indistinguishable from the local houses.
Although the waterfront has been mostly converted to meet the needs of the tourist industry, the old town that stands behind it, is still the preserve of the local inhabitance. The balconies on many of the traditionally whitewashed houses almost meet in the centre of the steep streets that are made up of seemingly hundreds of steps.
Stafylos beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island and often becomes quite crowded during the high season, there is a beach taverna and the option to hire sun beds and sunshades. You can get to the beach quite easily, as a regular bus service runs from Skopelos town, the downside is that the bus stop is on the main coast road and that the road down to the beach is quite steep, which may not be a problem coming down, but remember that you also have to walk back up.
Valanio beach is reached by walking along the length of Stafylos beach and following the path over the headland and down the steps on the other side. The beach is wider and usually much quieter than Stafylos with easy access for swimming, there is also a snack bar, and again sun beds and sunshades are available for hire. Half way along the beach is a very large rock, beyond this rock is where you can find the island's official naturist beach.
On the main road, a little further on from Stafylos, is the sheltered port of Agnondas with its small beach and a couple of Tavernas, an ideal place to stop for a quiet lunch or perhaps an early evening drink.
Glossa, pictured here on the hillside above the fishing harbour of Loutraki, is the second largest town on the island. With narrow streets and picturesque houses, plus some very good tavernas and wonderful views over the harbour and out to sea, makes it well worth a visit. From Glossa, you can take the winding road down to Loutraki, or if you are walking, there is a more direct, paved path, that goes straight down and crosses the road in a number of different places. Loutraki is where the bus route from Skopelos town ends, so if you are traveling by bus, the best thing to do is to get off at Glossa, have a look around the town, then, using the path, take a stroll down to the harbour side, and take the bus back to Skopelos town from there.