INSIDER' S SKIATHOS

   History.......

Skiathos Island is the western one of Sporades Cluster, right across Mount Pillion, in central Aegean Sea.
   There are two versions of the history behind the island’s name. One is that it comes from the words Skia (shadow) and Athos (mountain in Halkidiki peninsula); the meaning is that the island is laid at the shadow of Mount Athos, which is considered to be a Holy Mountain. The second version comes from the Mythology and according to it the island was named after God Dionysos, also known as Skianthios.
   As you approach the island by the sea, you have this amazing view of the harbor, the Bourtzi Islet and Skiathos town. When you walk around, you see that this picturesque scenic is set by small white houses with red tiled roofs, beautiful gardens and stone paved narrow streets. Skiathos town is a sophisticated place, offering plenty of choices not only to dine and drink, but also to shop from souvenirs and clothes to unique paintings.

Beaches.....
   Skiathos is a green island with lush vegetation not only inland, but along the beaches as well, where you find trees near the waters providing generous shade and rest to the swimmers. There are more than 60 beaches practically for every preference and easy to reach by bus, since most of them are spread along the same route. The bus runs this route and the first stop is Megali Ammos, a sandy beach just 2 km from Skiathos Mystery. It terminates at Koukounaries, the famous long and sandy beach rated 7th best in the world and best in Greece. Other well known beaches are Lalaria only accessible by excursion boats, Small Banana the naturist beach, Big Banana known for delirious beach parties and so many more.

Skiathos Monasteries....

   Skiathos is a pole of attraction for visitors with religious interests. There are more than 50 churches and monasteries. All are orthodox. The most remarkable monument is Evangelistria Monastery, a 18th century monument built on a hillside 4 km from Skiathos Mystery. It is surrounded by a beautiful setting among trees and breathtaking views. It is still inhabited by monks, who apart from their religious chores produce theirs wine, which is worth trying! The monastery is a national historic landmark. Here the first Greek flag, symbol of the Greek Revolution for Independence, was woven in 1807. The initial flag had a white cross on a sky blue background. Visitors can see in the premises the Catholicon with preserved frescos from 18th century, two chapels with old icons, the library with precious documents and a folklore museum. Another sacred monastery is Panagia Eikonistria or Kounistra built in 17th century after the miraculous appearance of Virgin Mary's icon on a tree nearby. The Catholicon has remnants of really old frescoes. The monastery is located in a pine tree forest 8 km from Skiathos Mystery. 

Skiathos Town.....   

There are some unique places to see in Skiathos town, like Bourtzi the green peninsula that naturally separates old from new harbor. In 1207 a Venetian fortress was built there. Nowadays, you see the ruins of the castle and amazing views of the town and the blue sea. There is also an atmospheric cafe and an open theatre, where cultural events take place.  
   Bourtzi fortress was built to protect the island from pirates raids. But as this measure wasn't  effective, Skiathians  moved to Kastro. Kastro was the medieval capital of Skiathos climbed at the northernmost tip and surrounded by defensive walls for higher protection against potential invaders. The visitors can reach the beach underneath Kastro by boat and also wander around the ruins enjoying magnificent views of an endless horizon.
   Last but not least, the House of A. Papadiamantis is a sight to see, whilst you are in Skiathos. Papadiamantis was a famous author, born in 1851 in Skiathos. His novels were influenced by his deep love for the island and his religious beliefs and reflected the life and the agony of poor people. His house has turned into a museum exhibiting his personal items and an impressive collection of manuscripts.