The Sporades

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  • 1. Evangelistria Monastery

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    A perch on Palouki Mountain provides views of the sea and the town. The impressive complex was founded in 1676 and completely rebuilt in 1712...

    A perch on Palouki Mountain provides views of the sea and the town. The impressive complex was founded in 1676 and completely rebuilt in 1712 by Ioannis Grammatikos, who believed he was saved from execution by an 11th-century icon of the Virgin. The miraculous object is housed in the church, with an intricately carved iconostasis. It's a short drive from Skopelos Town, but a walk up the quiet, pine-fringed roads and across mountains patched with olive groves offers a serene excursion. Stop by a stone fountain mid-way for refreshment—the mineral mountain water is safe to drink.

    Skopelos Town, Skopelos, 37003, Greece
    24-2402–3230

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 2. Evangelistria Monastery

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The island's best-known and most beautiful monastery sits on Skiathos's highest point and was dedicated in the late-18th century to the Annunciation...

    The island's best-known and most beautiful monastery sits on Skiathos's highest point and was dedicated in the late-18th century to the Annunciation of the Virgin by the monks of Mt. Athos. It encouraged education and gave a base to revolutionaries, who pledged an oath to freedom and first hoisted the flag of Greece here in 1807. Looming above a gorge, and surrounded by fragrant pines and cypresses, the monastery has a high wall that once kept pirates out; today it encloses a ruined refectory kitchen, the cells, a small museum library, and a magnificent church with three domes. Fascinating still, it houses the wooden loom that wove the very first Greek flag. A gift shop sells the monastery's own Alypiakos wine, olive oil, locally made preserves, and Orthodox icons. A café on a hill next to the monastery serves drinks and snacks, with stupendous views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. In summer, a bus goes to and from the monastery from the main bus station in Skiathos Town, where the bus times are advertised.

    Lalaria, Skiathos, 37002, Greece

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Donations accepted
  • 3. Faltaits Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Built after Greek Independence by a wealthy family (who still owns the museum), this house is one of the most impressive in Skyros Town and...

    Built after Greek Independence by a wealthy family (who still owns the museum), this house is one of the most impressive in Skyros Town and is nearly overflowing with rare books, costumes, photographs, paintings, ceramics, local embroideries, Greek statues, and other heirlooms. Of particular note are the embroideries, which are famed for their flamboyant colors and vivacious renderings of mermaids, hoopoes (the Skyrians' favorite bird), and mythical human figures whose clothes and limbs sprout flowers. Top treasure among the museum's historical documents is a handwritten copy of the Proclamation of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. The informative guided tour is well worth the extra euros.

    Palaiopyrgos, Skyros Town, Skyros, 34007, Greece
    22-2209–1150

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, tour €7
  • 4. Mandraki

    Beach

    Located in a nature reserve, it's just a 3 km walk from busy Koukounaries. Make the journey on foot to walk through a heady, scented pine forest...

    Located in a nature reserve, it's just a 3 km walk from busy Koukounaries. Make the journey on foot to walk through a heady, scented pine forest that rises from terra-cotta-red sand before reaching this "secret" beach that's a haven for those seeking silence and solitude. There are no watersports businesses in operation and the sea is a little rough, so it's frequented by swimmers and surfers rather than families and noisy youths. Sometimes called Xerxes' harbor, the bay is where the notorious Persian king stopped on his way to ultimate defeat at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis. The reefs opposite are the site of a monument Xerxes allegedly erected as a warning to ships, the first such marker known in history. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free). Best for: swimming; walking; solitude.

    Troullos, Skiathos, 37002, Greece
  • 5. Milia Beach

    Beach

    Skopelos's longest beach is considered by many to be its best, with white sands, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant green trees. Though still...

    Skopelos's longest beach is considered by many to be its best, with white sands, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant green trees. Though still secluded, the bay is up-and-coming—parasols and recliners are lined halfway across the beach and there's a large taverna tucked into the pine trees. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Panormos Bay, Skopelos, 37003, Greece
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  • 6. Monastery of St. George

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The best way to get an idea of the town and its history is to follow the sinuous cobbled lanes past the mansions of the Old Town to the Kastro...

    The best way to get an idea of the town and its history is to follow the sinuous cobbled lanes past the mansions of the Old Town to the Kastro, the highest point, and this fortified monastery founded in AD 962 and radically rebuilt in 1600. Today it is inhabited by a sole monk. A white marble lion, which may be left over from the Venetian occupation, is in the wall above the entrance to the monastery. The once splendid frescoes of the Monastery of St. George are now mostly covered by layers of whitewash, but look for the charming St. George and startled dragon outside to the left of the church door and, within, the ornate iconostasis. An icon of St. George on the right is said to have been brought by settlers from Constantinople, who came in waves during the iconoclast controversy of the 9th century. The icon has a black face and is familiarly known as Ayios Georgis o Arapis ("the Negro"); the Skyrians view him as the patron saint not only of their island but of lovers as well.

    Skyros Town, Skyros, 34007, Greece
  • 7. Adrina Beach

    Beach

    This strand of small pebbles has crystal-clear, turquoise water and, despite some sun beds and umbrellas, a feeling of seclusion. Dassia, the...

    This strand of small pebbles has crystal-clear, turquoise water and, despite some sun beds and umbrellas, a feeling of seclusion. Dassia, the thickly forested islet across the bay, was named after a female pirate who (legend has it) was drowned there—but not before hiding her treasure. Access to the beach is somewhat difficult since you now have to go through the new resort to get to the shore. Amenities: food and drink; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; swimming.

    Panormos Bay, Skopelos, Greece
  • 8. Agia Eleni and Krasa

    Beach

    Around the island's western tip are Ayia Eleni and Krasa, facing the nearby Pelion Peninsula. The beaches are also known as Big and Little Banana...

    Around the island's western tip are Ayia Eleni and Krasa, facing the nearby Pelion Peninsula. The beaches are also known as Big and Little Banana, perhaps because sun worshippers—mainly gay men on Little Banana—often peel their clothes off. Rocky coves provide some privacy. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: nudists; partiers; sunset; swimming.

    Troullos, Skiathos, 37002, Greece
  • 9. Agios Fokas

    Beach

    The road south from Atsitsa deteriorates into a rutted track, nerve-racking even for experienced motorbike riders. If you're feeling fit and...

    The road south from Atsitsa deteriorates into a rutted track, nerve-racking even for experienced motorbike riders. If you're feeling fit and the weather's good, however, consider the challenging 6-km (4-mile) trek around the headland to Agios Fokas. There are three lovely white-pebbled beaches and a small taverna. Amenities: food and drink; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; solitude; sunset; swimming; walking.

    Atsitsa, Skyros, 34007, Greece
  • 10. Agios Petros Beach

    Beach

    Close to the airport, this wonderful beach of white sand and pebbles is surrounded by lush greenery, with the little chapel of Agios Petrosa...

    Close to the airport, this wonderful beach of white sand and pebbles is surrounded by lush greenery, with the little chapel of Agios Petrosa on a hill above as a serene backdrop. Don't be put off by the 4 km (2½ miles) of dirt road leading to the beach, it's definitely worth the effort. Amenities: none. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Atsitsa, Skyros, Greece
  • 11. Agnonda Beach

    Beach

    This little seaside settlement fronts exceptionally clean waters and has numerous tavernas along its pebbled beach serving fresh seafood. Agnonda...

    This little seaside settlement fronts exceptionally clean waters and has numerous tavernas along its pebbled beach serving fresh seafood. Agnonda is named after a local boy who returned here victorious from Olympia in 569 BC brandishing the victor's wreath. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; solitude; swimming.

    Agnonda, Skopelos, 37003, Greece
  • 12. Apokries

    Festival–Sight

    This pre-Lenten Carnival revelry relates to pre-Christian Dyonisian fertility rites and is famous throughout Greece. Young men dressed as old...

    This pre-Lenten Carnival revelry relates to pre-Christian Dyonisian fertility rites and is famous throughout Greece. Young men dressed as old men, maidens, or "Europeans" roam the streets teasing and tormenting onlookers with ribald songs and clanging bells. The "old men" wear elaborate shepherd's outfits, with masks made of baby-goat hides and belts dangling with as many as 40 sheep bells.

    , Skyros, Greece
  • 13. Archeological Museum of Skyros

    Museum/Gallery

    These two small rooms (on the way to Magazia Beach as you begin to descend from the town) contain rare weapons, pottery, and jewelry, mostly...

    These two small rooms (on the way to Magazia Beach as you begin to descend from the town) contain rare weapons, pottery, and jewelry, mostly from graves dating from Neolithic to Roman times. Especially alluring are the pony motifs and the vase in the shape of a horse.

    Rupert Brooke Sq., Skyros Town, Skyros, 34007, Greece
    22-2209–1327

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2, Closed Mon
  • 14. Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Local finds from the region's rich history are displayed in this neoclassical building from 1909. Artifacts like jewelry, pottery, clay statuettes...

    Local finds from the region's rich history are displayed in this neoclassical building from 1909. Artifacts like jewelry, pottery, clay statuettes, household utensils, and agricultural tools dating back to the neolithic period are presented in eight halls. The most popular items are entire tombs transported from nearby excavation sites, which include both skeletons and grave offerings. A few neolithic dwellings from Dimini and Sesklo have been reconstructed outside the museum.

    1 Athanasaki St., Volos, Thessaly, Greece
    30-24210–25285

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, Closed Tues.
  • 15. Bourtzihos

    Other Attraction

    This lovely presence on Skiathos harbor stands on a small, pine-covered peninsula that divides the main port. It was built in 1207 by the Venetian...

    This lovely presence on Skiathos harbor stands on a small, pine-covered peninsula that divides the main port. It was built in 1207 by the Venetian Gyzi brothers to protect Skiathos from pirate attacks. Not much remains of the original fortress (also called the castle of St. George), but a cultural center at the site hosts concerts in the summer, as well as art and antiquities exhibitions. Many tranquil, refreshing spots provide views over the busy waterfront.

    Skiathos Town, Skiathos, 37002, Greece
  • 16. Episkopi Church

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Take the vaulted passageway from St. George's Monastery courtyard to this ruined church, the former seat of the bishop of Skyros, built in AD...

    Take the vaulted passageway from St. George's Monastery courtyard to this ruined church, the former seat of the bishop of Skyros, built in AD 895 on the ruins of a temple of Athena. The complex was the center of Skyros's religious life from 1453 to 1837. You can continue up to the summit from here.

    Skyros Town, Skyros, 34007, Greece
  • 17. Folklore Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    For an impression of how upper-class Skopelians lived 200 years ago, step into this 18th-century mansion (1795) with hand-carved period furniture...

    For an impression of how upper-class Skopelians lived 200 years ago, step into this 18th-century mansion (1795) with hand-carved period furniture, decorative items, paintings, and embroideries. Don't miss the display of the elaborately sewn wedding dress in the bridal chamber.

    Hatzistamati, Skopelos Town, Skopelos, 37003, Greece
    24-2402–3494

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3, Closed weekends Oct.–May
  • 18. Goritsa Hill

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The east side of Volos butts up against the pine-forested Goritsa Hill, which rises about 650 feet above the town, is accessible by hiking trails...

    The east side of Volos butts up against the pine-forested Goritsa Hill, which rises about 650 feet above the town, is accessible by hiking trails, and provides panoramic views. At the top is the church of Zoodochos Pigis, erected atop of a temple on what was the summit of the ancient city's acropolis. But it's the church of Panagia Tripa di Gorista at the bottom, built inside a natural cave thought to be sacred since ancient times and once dedicated Zeus, that remains the favorite.

    Volos, Thessaly, Greece
  • 19. Kalamitsa

    Beach

    The windy beach of Kalamitsa is 4 km (2½ miles) along the road south from Ahilli, and popular with windsurfers for obvious reasons. Nevertheless...

    The windy beach of Kalamitsa is 4 km (2½ miles) along the road south from Ahilli, and popular with windsurfers for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, this also means that the clean sands can be whipped up into a skin-cleansing frenzy on certain days, so whether you're a surfer or bather, check the winds first. It's known for its clean waters. There are three decent tavernas at this old harbor. Amenities: food and drink; parking (free); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; surfing; swimming; windsurfing.

    Kalamitsa, Skyros, Greece
  • 20. Kechria Monastery

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Just southwest of Kastro is this romantic, deserted monastic compound, where the 18th-century church is embellished with frescoes and surrounded...

    Just southwest of Kastro is this romantic, deserted monastic compound, where the 18th-century church is embellished with frescoes and surrounded by olive and pine trees. Be warned: the road to Kechria from Skiathos Town and to the beach below is tough going; stick to a four-wheel-drive vehicle or a sturdy motorbike.

    , Skiathos, Greece

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