Here I am again, back home, pondering what possibly I could write that could accurately describe Skopelos.
Apart from being probably the most forest-covered island of Greece –which was something extraordinary even after having visited Corfu and Ithaki— , Skopelos has some of the best beaches I’ve ever been to, and can be compared only to the beaches of the Ionian Sea (as I’ve mentioned before, I am really biased when it comes to the beauty of the Ionian islands).
It is an island which is also perfect for those who have a yacht or a sailing boat, with its many mooring spots and bights and bays. Clear turqoise waters and white pebble beaches are typical, crowded and noisy beaches and also secluded beaches can be found at the south side of the island. Most of them are protected from the strong summer north winds, known as “meltémia”. That means there is always somewhere to enjoy a swim , even when strong winds prevail on the island. [UPDATE: I just read on another travel blog that there are 60 white beaches, most of which inaccessible by car]
As far as beaches go, Kastani is probably the best, if you can ignore the noise. It is a surrounded by a luscious pine forest which goes down to the seaside. The natural beauty of the beach of Kastani though was ruined for us by loungers, the tacky beach bar and the fact that loud music was played by a DJ at the beach bar – the guy could not even get a hint to change to another genre when , just before sunset, with 10 people at the bar, he was still playing noisy greek-pop bouzouki-based songs (we actually call them “skyladiko” , which translates to “dog’s music”). All this made me think that I’m starting to get old for this kind of thing… I wonder if he didn’t do it on purpose, to make everyone leave the place, so that he could enjoy the sunset alone with friends. I know I would do that!
Well, not all beaches are like Kastani: Milia, which is next to Kastani, is also very beautiful. Things are a little more calm there, although there is a kind of a beach bar there too.There is also a path under the pine trees at the west side of the beach which shortcuts to Kastani.
Stafylos , with the pine forest virtually hanging above, calls for scuba diving. Agnontas is the spot for those who like their fish food really fresh -lobsters are plenty to be eaten- after swimming in the calm, clear sea. Limnonari is not as impressive as other beaches, but it it’s really nice, less crowded and worth the while to go there, even if only to see the landscape – there is a nice little restaurant there, too (“Limnonari”).
For us the one beach fine-tuned to our taste was Panormos. With pines providing shade at some parts of the beach, you could be on the beach all day and not be tired or sunburnt. Bars and restaurants offer everything you could need, plus free sunbeds and umbrellas.
Of course, the island has more to offer than beaches. The town of Skopelos is beautiful with its winding alleys and built on the side of the hill sloping to the sea. There is much to see and do, or just walk around and enjoy the vistas. We saved the best for the last evening: Sunset and dinner with the best view of the town of Skopelos. The “Anatoli” restaurant on top of the “Castle”, where there is live “rembétiko” music (after 10.30pm as we later found out), is probably one of a kind.
The village of Glossa is very nice, too, probably best to visit in the evening – we were there at noon and although we had great coffee on an open terrace at “Avra” cafe overlooking the Aegean, there was not much else to do at that time.
One of the most visited places – because of this little-known movie – is the chapel of St. John near Glossa. It won’t be hard to find, as there is a huge sign “THE MAMA MIA SPOT”(unfortunately not kidding) on the main road to Glossa which marks the turn you have to make to go there.
So now that we’re back in Athens the only thing we have brought back is pictures (and a nice tan). Not even some cheese or wine.
Oh, well. Skopelos is one of those places we’ll probably visit again , anyway.