The largest of the Sporades islands; Skyros is a isle of two faces. The north part of the island is as you’d expect a Sporades island to be: covered in green, with nice architecture, and a happy go lucky night life. The south side is wilder, rockier, inaccessible, but also beautiful in its own way. Its a sensory spa.
Pretty villages and quaint medieval fortresses, post card beaches and great food are some of the things that people come to Skyros for. But the reason they come back is the feeling of bliss. For Skyros offers everything, except masses.
As is customary with most Greek stands, this one has a strong history. It goes as back as the early Bronze Age as finds near Atsitsa village demonstrate. The mythology of the island has it that Achilles hid here to avoid the draft for the Trojan War (Yup, definitely Greek).Venetians and Byzantines left their mark on the island further on, although the population never swayed from the Orthodox faith. The customary Byzantine castle has quite a bit of its architecture intact including a pretty dragon sculpture along the Cyclopean walls as well a 9th century monastery inside it.
Many artefacts and cultural symbols can be seen in the wonderful Archaeological Museum in Chora as well as the Manos Faltaits Museum.
Skyros has a lot of culture to see, owing to its segregated and close knit community. It has existed in parallel, where everything filters down to give way to a set of traditions and customs that are only found in Skyros.
The Skyrian pony is found here, and its distant cousin in the Shetland islands in Brittain are its only surviving kin, and are thus a protected species that is added to the monk seal as another guest of honour.
Near Chora you can get to one of Skyro’s superb beaches such as Magazia, Lino or Houma, or the ‘glitzy’ Molos. Nearly all the beaches have crystalline azure waters, said to be some of the best in the world in the Sporades. Petritsa, Theotokos and Agios Petros beaches on the north side of the island are equally as impressive and offer some water sports activities, too
The sea caves with the stalagmites are not to be missed. They can be found near the harbour in Xyloparati and can be accessed by a rented boat. From there you can stop at the small uninhabited islet of Sarakiniko to lounge about in the sandy beach of Glyfada.
The night life is just what it needs to be. For an island with such a low key profile it does actually boast some decent bars and clubs during the summer, that can satisfy the inner party animal in you.
Skyros strikes the perfect balance between nature and pleasure. Somewhere between Santorini and Mykonos, with a quick stop in Crete is where Skyros is at. Come and find your spot.