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If your holiday priorities are tranquillity, relaxation and natural beauty, then make your way to Skopelos in the Sporades. Layer upon layer of luscious shades of green make a stunning vista of pine trees stretching out to the seashore, where you’ll find hidden coves with fishing boats and winding paths leading through dense forests. Banish any thoughts of timetables or deadlines and spend whole afternoons just wandering around the picturesque main town. Amidst the cluster of cobblestone streets are tiny chapels and neoclassical buildings. Art comes to life everywhere in Skopelos: in the hand-crafted vases and hand-painted plates and in the embroidery and miniature model boats. The star of the hit musical Mamma Mia, which gave the island its recent fame, will also be the star of your holiday.
Your holidays in Skiathos will be painted green and blue. About 80% of Skopelos is covered in dense, luxuriant forest. The sea and greenery merge into one on beaches such as Milia, Panormos, Elios, Velanio, Glysteri, Agnontas, Pethameni, Armenopetra and Antrines, where pine trees embrace the Aegean Sea, providing shade after a refreshing dip.
You will see the town as soon as your ferry moors. It is the capital and harbour of the island and, spreading out across the cove, it skirts the landscape and climbs towards the ruins of a Byzantine castle. It’s all here: flagstone streets with whitewashed stairs, flowers on the patios, ornate arches, pretty windowsills, well-kept homes built by rich merchants, sailors and landowners. Tucked in among all this are 40 little chapels. This is the main town and it beckons to you to immerse yourself in its beauty, especially when you take a break at an ouzerie or have a drink under the mulberry trees.
A small community built into the hillside on the northwestern part of the island, Glossa is known for its sleepy streets and the church of Panagia Eleutherotria (The Liberator). It is here that a shipwrecked sailor would come to pray for his safety. The story goes that he found the Virgin Mary’s icon and was saved. In the village, you will find a pottery workshop that keeps old traditions alive.
Three different varieties are cultivated here: avgato (a dessert plum), sour (used for jams) and Agen (the French variety, used in cooking and dried as prunes). They all contain the sweetness of Skopelos.
The second port in Skopelos was built upon the ruins of Ancient Selinountas and its name from the Roman baths that were once here.
Family traditions continue in the workshops where black and red vases are shaped into figurines and miniature models of boats, cast iron knives, oil lamps, embroidery and hand-painted plates are made. These are all souvenirs with real character … unique and traditional.
In Kastri, Agios Ioannis (once a Catholic monastery) is built at the tip of an impressive rock. Though small, its renown is worldwide thanks to the movie Mamma Mia, in which it was the setting for the wedding scene. You’ll have to climb 110 steps to get there!