This island, known as the "Greek Riviera", is located close to mainland Greece. It offers an airport and good ferry connections, which is why it attracts the most visitors from all of the Sporades. It is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, perhaps the loveliest in the whole of the Aegean Sea. Between 1538 and 1830, most of the inhabitants moved to the almost inaccessible rocky spur at the north of the island. The fort, known as Castro, was linked to the island by a drawbridge that could be raised in the event of danger. Most people now live in the capital city of Skiathos, which has been very noticeably influenced by tourism.
But if you leave the crowded coastlines, you will find a beautiful, forested and rugged inland, inviting you on romantic walks. You will also find here many beautiful monasteries. The most beautiful is most likely the one called Evangelistria. It dates back to the 18th century and is barely an hour’s journey from the city. Bourtzi Fortress is definitely worth visiting, separating both city harbours. There is even a restaurant there.
Just 15 minutes sail from Skiathos harbour, the main charter base on the Sporades, is the small island of Arko. On the western coast of the islet is a truly fairytale sandy beach with a bar. From the beach behind the bar, you can climb a steep sand dune, where you will have a lot of fun, especially with children. You can roll down the sand from the top of the hill right into the sea. Anchor in front of the beach, ideally bows-to anchor and stern-to using a long rope to the shore.
You will recognise this by the lighthouse on the island of Repi and by the noise from the surrounding islands. The new pontoon and most of the city's breakwater are dominated by charter companies. As a lot of spaces have long-term reservations, it is advisable to report in ahead of time. Anchoring here is stern-to and bows-to, a few moorings at the breakwater are also available. The old harbour to the south of the city is reserved for cruise ships and large sailing yachts. The eastern part of the harbour is superbly sheltered from the Meltemi, but you must be careful of the wind abeam while manoeuvring. The harbour offers a full range of facilities, but the water is allegedly not potable.
The airport is very close to the harbour and the runway starts right by the sea. Planes fly over the masts of the boats at anchor (anchoring along the line of the runway is forbidden and if you drop anchor there, you will have to move elsewhere) and when driving along the coast road, you feel as if planes are landing on the roof of your car. Watching planes landing from this road is an attraction that will particularly fascinate children.
Skiathos is the centre of entertainment in the Sporades and the nightlife here is lively, something making this harbour different to the rest of the Sporades. If you want to enjoy a quiet night on Friday or Saturday, you would be well advised to anchor elsewhere. Otherwise it may happen that you won’t get to sleep until 04:00 in the morning. The sound of the nightclubs travels a very long way over the surface of the sea.