Skiathos Holidays

Kalamaki Peninsula, Skiathos, Greece Book from

Reviewed by Emma Howarth
Good-value beachside villas, studios and apartments set in serene gardens on Skiathos’ upmarket Kalamaki Peninsula (self-catering; sleeping 2-6)
On an island as popular as Skiathos, it’s hard to imagine finding a place to stay that’s stylish, value for money and relatively undiscovered. But you just did. Set in bougainvillea-dotted gardens, seconds from the soft sand of Vromolimnos beach, this family-run mini-complex of 11 self-catering studios and apartments and 6 2- and 3-bedroom villas hits the spot with sea views, traditional whitewashed architecture and low-key charm.

Its location on the pine-scented Kalamaki Peninsula - an area of Skiathos known for its private villas and secluded beaches - has made it a longtime favourite with Greek families (who’ve tried their damnedest to keep it to themselves). It also attracts couples and groups wanting the inside track on the island’s hippest beach bars, clubs and boutiques, who will find a ready-made concierge in the owner’s son and manager Christos. Stay local and walk to nearby beaches and tavernas, or head further afield to discover the island’s hillside monasteries, wild coves, forest hiking trails and tiny uninhabited islets.

Highs

  • The beach is on your doorstep: stumble out of bed and into the waves in the time it takes for your morning coffee to brew
  • The great location, simple styling and under-the-radar vibe tick all the boxes - and the price is right, too
  • Airy accommodation options, all with private balconies, terraces or verandas looking out over the colourful gardens or the sea
  • We loved contemplating plans for the evening over drinks at the cabana-chic bar on the lawn; it also serves breakfast each morning (additional charge)
  • Easy access to the bus route to Skiathos Town and the island’s south-coast beaches. You’ll get more out of your trip if you hire a car, but it’s definitely not essential

Lows

  • Bookings for the villas and apartment only open in January each year - you won't be able to book before that, and once bookings open, they get snaffled up very fast!
  • You might pine for a pool when the midday sun hits
  • Kitchens are on the functional side, and cooking facilities in the studios are minimal
  • No basic ingredients are provided so you’ll need to bring everything with you, though a local supermarket can deliver groceries on request
  • Those used to high-end designer hotels may miss little luxuries

Best time to go

The season here runs from mid-May to mid-October, with the busiest time being the 2 weeks leading up to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on 15 August (a big holiday in the Greek calendar). If you want quiet beaches and idyllic walking weather, come in May or September; for high-season buzz and a party vibe join the crowds in late July or early August. Skiathos Holidays is closed out of season, from mid-October to May.

Our top tips

  • We visit Skiathos every summer and look forward to catching up on a winter’s worth of local gossip. And we're not the only ones who love a Skiathos story. The island’s most famous son, Alexandros Papadiamantis, paints a mystical picture of traditional Skiathos life in Tales from a Greek Island, while American actor, writer and adopted Skiathiti Richard Romanus’ Sketches of Skiathos has modern-day appeal (sold at the bookshop on Papadiamantis Street in town)
  • Don’t leave the island without eating at our all-time favourite taverna, Agnadio, on Evangelistria Monastery Road (booking is essential)

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique apartments and villas
  • 11 studios/apartments + 6 villas
  • Self-catering (breakfast available + restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 11 Dec 2016 - 11 May 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Books and games to borrow
Room: Standard Studio

Rooms

Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose (see Rates for full details), you’ll be welcomed by airy interiors that don’t use good value as an excuse for bad style. Bedrooms offer laid-back simplicity, making the most of sea breezes and natural light with gauzy drapes, whitewashed walls, stone floors and white linen. Adornments are minimal: single blooms in glass bottles, brightly coloured cushions, silver lanterns, the odd driftwood wall-hanging or bowl of shiny seashells. The small, tiled shower bathrooms are similarly fuss-free with piles of white towels stacked next to seashell soap dishes.

The same style principles apply wherever you sleep, but waking up to the dappled morning sun on our villa’s spacious terrace hit the spot for us. Some villas have 2 double/twin bedrooms, others 3, but all have 2 bathrooms (1 ensuite) and living and dining areas. They also have sea views, though not from the bedrooms, which are on the lower level.

You’ll find a mixture of garden and sea views (ask for 108, 109 or 110 for the latter) in the open-plan Standard Studios, all of which have sofas and kitchenettes and can be prepared as doubles or twins. While these are a good size for a couple, the extra space you get in a Superior Studio (note: these have garden views) or Junior Suite (separate bedroom and living area) is worth the small increase in price. These larger rooms are also a great choice for families with young children as they have sofabeds for up to 2 kids (no additional charge); there's also an apartment with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

All options have private outdoor space (a balcony, terrace or veranda), plus TVs, air-conditioning, phones, safe boxes and hairdryers. Maid service is daily in the studios, suites and apartment, and twice-weekly in the villas.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue in villas and apartment
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen in villas, Junior Suites and apartment
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Kitchenette in studios
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

All accommodation is self-catering, but an impressive breakfast spread of fruit, eggs, ham, cheese, bread and juice can be served on the lawn for a small charge if requested. If you prefer to do it yourself, nearby supermarket Hermes (300m away) will deliver direct to your door (pre-arrival deliveries can also be scheduled). The complimentary bottles of wine and water on arrival are a nice touch, but you’ll need to bring or buy everything else, including basics like olive oil and salt.

In the villas, Junior Suites and apartment you’ll find everything you need to knock up a decent meal, including a fridge/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, oven, coffee machine and kettle. Think clean and functional rather than high-end and you won’t be disappointed. There’s plenty of dining space, both indoors and out, and the apartment and villas also have small built-in barbecues. Facilities in the studios are basic (kettle, fridge, 2-ring electric hob) and best suited to those who plan to eat out for most meals.

There are several good tavernas within walking distance (5 mins), including Porto Paradiso at the western end of Vromolimnos beach (one of our favourite spots for sundown cocktails, though it can get busy in high season), and locally renowned Taverna Stathis. Head a little further down the main road towards Skiathos Town to check out charmingly ramshackle Taverna Sklithri, with its beach tables, twinkly lanterns and fresh fish dishes, or venture all the way into town for waterfront eateries and upmarket delis (6km).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
Eating:
Activity: Vromolimnos beach

Activities

  • Roll out of bed and wander down to Vromolimnos beach. There are loungers and palapa parasols, plus a small and friendly watersports centre offering waterskiing, wakeboarding and ample opportunity to get flung into the waves by an inflatable banana
  • Explore other beaches on the peninsula (we like secluded Koutsouri and family-friendly Kanapitsa), or head further afield to check out windswept Mandraki, tucked-away Micro Asselinos, low-key Kechria or über-chic Ampelakia
  • Take in the sea views on a walk around the peninsula (take a right onto the road at the top of the hill; it takes just under an hour)
  • Head into the hills for some tranquility at the beautiful Evangelistria Monastery & Museum, with its courtyard full of geraniums, lemon trees and tweeting lovebirds
  • Take a bus or drive into Skiathos Town for a spot of shopping, a stroll along the waterfront, ouzerias, cocktails and clubbing
  • Head across the bridge from town to the little islet of Bourtzi, home to a ruined fortress and scented pine groves
  • Visit the tiny, uninhabited islands of Tsougria and Arkos, just a couple of miles off the south coast - a perfect day escape. Boats offer trips to Tsougria from Skiathos Harbour, but to see the smaller Arkos we recommend chartering a sailing boat or hiring your own motorboat for the day (Christos can advise)
  • Skiathos is known for its well-marked forest hiking trails; tours can be arranged, or you can make your own way using Ortwin Widmann’s well-regarded guide, Skiathos: Hiking in the Aegean Paradise

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wakeboarding
  • Waterskiing

Kids

i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2014
Winner: Best For Value
> See the full list of winners

Children of all ages are welcome here and there are accommodation options to suit all sizes of family. Baby cots, sofabeds, highchairs and bed guards can be provided at no extra cost.

There are no specific activities aimed at kids, but they’ll be fussed over by staff as they tear around the grounds. And you’ll appreciate the short distance from beach to room when they refuse to take another step without the vital stuffed rabbit they left in the bathroom.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Superior Studios and Junior Suites are great for families as you can squeeze 2 children onto bench-style sofabeds at no additional cost. Standard Studios are large enough to accommodate a baby cot and have a sofabed suitable for 1 child. The villas and apartment have plenty of space, with 2 or 3 bedrooms that can be set up as doubles or twins, plus space for a baby cot. Note all bathrooms have showers only (no tubs).

Babysitting:

Can be arranged on request (see Rates).

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Mosquito nets
  • Highchairs
  • Bed guards

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

All accommodation is self-catering. Grocery delivery from the supermarket can be arranged if you don’t want to bring everything with you, and there are plenty of child-friendly tavernas nearby. Opt for a villa, Junior Suite or apartment if you plan on cooking full family meals, as the kitchenettes in the studios are basic.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Large gardens to play in
  • Books and games to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Watersports and swimming on Vromolimnos beach
  • Boat trips from Skiathos Town

Distances:

  • Airport: 8km (Skiathos)
  • Hospital: 6km (Skiathos Town)
  • Shop: 300m
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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