Skiathos: Why go

For a small island (only 12km long and 6km wide), Skiathos packs a lot in. Part of the Northern Sporades group, it has a lush green centre, a jagged coastline, excellent restaurants and some of the Aegean’s best beaches (around 65 of them, in fact) - long, golden curves lapped by dazzlingly clear turquoise water.

This classic combination of sun, sea and sand makes it a magnet for package tourism, which is mostly centred on the south coast. Here you’ll find row upon row of beach umbrellas, as well as the island’s only major settlement - the red-roofed, white-walled Skiathos Town, with its yacht-filled harbour and taverna-lined waterfront. There’s plenty of cocktail-fuelled revelry to be had if that’s what you want, but it doesn’t take much effort to find a secluded spot away from the crowds, particularly on the upmarket Kalamaki Peninsula, or along the wilder northern coast, which is dotted with crumbling fortresses and striking rock formations (some accessible only by boat).

It’s just as unspoilt inland, where pine-clad slopes hide forest trails, tiny villages and hilltop monasteries, the peace disturbed only by a gentle melody of clanging goat bells. The stunning beaches may be the island’s main draw, but venture away from your lounger for a day or two and you’ll be richly rewarded.

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