An amazingly beautiful island, Skyros is the largest, but quietest, of the
Sporades islands. It is the very idea of a traditional Greek island, and
its hospitable people and pretty surroundings will enchant you.
This is an excellent island for couples and families with young children, but also for people who in general just want a really relaxing holiday.
Skyros has probably been inhabited since prehistoric times, and it is
mentioned by Homer. It was here that Thethis hide her son
Achilles when the Greek armies were preparing to fight in Troy.
Achilles' wife Deidameia was from here, and the hero
Theseus fled to Skyros when his rival had taken the throne in Athens,
only to be murdered by the treacherous king Lycomedes of the island. General
Cimon of Athens came here in the 5th century to retrieve the bones of
The kastro in Skyros town was an ancient acropolis in the Bronze age, but has been rebuilt many times since then. It was used by the Venetians in the 13th century when they had conquered most of the Greek islands. Because the Greek islands were constantly attacked by pirates during ancient and medieval times, the acropolis was used as a hiding place for the locals.
The Turks invaded in the 16th century but years of attacks had prepared their arrival. The island was ruled by them until 1829.
What to see
: Skyros capital is
dominated by its kastro, which is open to visitors. There was probably
an acropolis here already in the Bronze age, but the current
fortification dates back to the Venetian rule.
There is an archaeological museum here, as well as folklore museum which both hold interesting finds and objects from the island.
You can also visit the monastery Agios Georgios Skyrianos (St. George of Skyros) which is situated below the kastro. It was built in the 10th century.
In a pretty olive grove in the south part of Skyros you can see the grave of the British poet Rupert Brooke who died here during World War I.
The archaeological site of Palamari is a fascinating remain from the Bronze Age worth a visit.
There are also a very unusual kind of small horses on the island.
What to do
:At Magazia beach there are usually watersports, but the island also has some great sports for snorkelling. You can take daytrips around the island, and if you are lucky, you might see dolphins or even seals..
Skyros has some really nice sandy beaches, and since it is not a very touristy island you'll get a lot of peace and quiet. There are beaches close to Skyros town, but also some amazing little spots around the island, best to discover on your own..
: This island is by no means a party island, but there are a couple of bars in Skyros town.
Since fishing is one of the traditional sources on income here, you'll find many nice specialties from the sea here. Most taverns are in Skyros town, and if you do not want Greek food you can find Italian places.
The locals make wooden furniture in a very special style that dates back to Byzantine style. You can also get textiles, art, jewellery and ceramics.
There is a local bus and a few taxis, but the best way to get around is to rent a vehicle. Little excursion boats can also take you to some of the beaches.
You can either fly to Skiathos and take the ferryboat from there. Another option is to fly to Athens, and then go to Ag, Konstantinos or Kimi on Evia, where there are ferries to Skyros.
Facts about Skyros
Size: 209 sq.km
International code: 0030
Population: about ca.3000
Local code: 22220
Cash machine: Yes
Port Police 91475
Highest Mountain: Mt. Olympos 903m
Airport: Yes, domestic flights only
Price rate: average
Telephone company (OTE)