Trip to Skyros: Exploring the hidden gem of the Sporades
Α 4-day adventure in July
When we were in search of a summer holiday destination this year, the idea was to spend a few days in the least touristy Greek island possible. And by picking Skyros... we nailed it! With its ultra authentic character and unspoilt beauty, the hidden gem of the Sporades did not disappoint us a bit.
Diverse landscapes, magical beaches, exciting boat tours, sustainable activities, tipsy afternoons, and unbelievable food are only some of the highlights of our 4-day vacation in Skyros in 2023. Wander around the island with me, and find out all about what makes it so special!
Approaching Skyros: heart skips a beat
Skyros day 1
Our journey to Skyros starts with a 2.5-hour drive to the port of Kymi in Evia from Athens. After enjoying some iced coffee in the quaint port town, we catch the 11:30 ferry to Skyros. Relaxing on the deck for 1.5 hours, we can't get enough of the vast sea views to the Aegean and really hope to see seals or dolphins living in the area –but we stood unlucky.🙁
Reaching the port of Linaria, we are excited to finally begin our adventure on the island and we admire the scenic seaside village. We head straight to our room in the tiny settlement of Kalikri and are happy to find out that we can enjoy an awesome sea view from our terrace.
The quaint Linaria seaside village
Bathing suit: on. Off to the beach!
First swim in Aspous beach
Desperate to shake the heat off, we head to Aspous, the nearest beach from our room (5 minutes by car) and the first glimpse to the shore proves that “the quiet Skyros” is no myth. There’s barely 15 people across the beach, relaxing calmly under the afternoon sun, and there are no amenities or noise, just a few locals’ houses nearby.
We take a swim in the shallow waters and feel refreshed after quite a long trip. The sandy shore is welcoming, the landscape stands still, and the serene atmosphere is perfect for a good book session under the shade.
Evening in Chora town
Quick shower in the apartment, and we are ready to explore Chora, the main town of Skyros. Built on a hill and hosting a magnificent castle on top, it definitely has a majestic vibe.
We take a short tour around the narrow paved alleys, enjoy the views in the hidden corners, and admire the unique Skyrian architecture. Chora is one of these places that have that special vibe like you are in some central part of the earth.
Spoiler: unfortunately, we never climbed the stairs to reach the castle due to Katerina’s injured foot.
The imposing castle of Skyros, offering panoramic views
Skyros by night is pretty lively yet chill. It’s mostly families, couples and small companies (including locals) enjoying dinner in one of the restaurants at the center of the village, or having drinks at the bars around the town square. The ones who are looking for more “sophisticated” spots, usually opt for the bars inside the alleys.
We decide to try the famous meatballs (vegetarian zucchini balls and trahanopita for me) at the Barba Giannis and Maritsa winery, and we were pretty satisfied –and very very full. In search of a cool cocktail bar, we really like the vibe in Rodon (beautiful terrace), but the jazz music and frozen margaritas in Kalypso bar win us over after all. Special thanks to Kimonas for the shots!
A beautiful alley in Chora town at night
Skyros day 2
Travelers who have done their homework on the best secret spots in Skyros, know that Agalipa beach is probably the best one on the island. And we are excited to visit it first thing in the morning!
The beach is only accessible by a steep trail (around a 30-minute hike) or by boat. I am a big fan of hiking, but since my companion is injured, we decide to hire a boat to take us there.
Boat excursion in Agalipa beach
Starting from the Kyra Panagia beach, we board the Lykomidis fishing boat that would give us a small tour in the western and greener part of the island, and then take us to Agalipa beach where we would stay for a few hours.
The landscape is breathtaking: dramatic cliffs, sea caves, green hills, and transparent blue waters at the edge of the island. And Agalipa is the icing on the cake. Consisting of 2 beaches in a beautiful cove surrounded by pine trees, it is completely untamed and full of treasures to be unearthed.
Time flies in this idyllic scenery. We take a swim to the second beach to see the wooden shipwreck that’s been washed on its shore a few decades now, explore the rich seabed for hours, and lie on the beautiful white pebbles to relax. We also chat with our fellow 4 boat passengers (hey girls!) and agree to join them for late lunch after we're back.
Amazing rock formations and turquoise waters on the way to Agalipa beach
Afternoon in Agios Petros
Back to the small harbor in Kyra Panagia, we head to the taverna of Agios Petros. The scenery is amazing: the place is isolated and hidden in a pine forest. The local vibe is pretty strong and we have a very good feeling about the flavors we are about to taste.
As it’s mostly a meat tavern, Katerina and the girls dig in large plates of ribs and goat stew, the local speciality. I, on the other hand, am starstruck by the ladopita (deep-fried dough topped with soft white cheese and honey) and the fava with caramelized onions.
But what unites us all is the tsipouro that we keep pouring in our glasses until midnight, when the owners have to finally kick us out. 😄 Let me tell you, there is nothing like a (slightly drunk, not driving) summer night ride with the windows open and a starry sky on this island.
Skyros day 3
Hangover day, you all saw it coming. But that wouldn’t stop us. A good coffee, and some bougatsa (phyllo pastry filled with semolina cream) and cheese pie from the historic Mitsos bakery in Chora would get us back on our feet.
Boat tour to Sarakiniko islet
Second boat tour in a row, this time with Skyros Sea Tours and the beautiful Ydrovatis boat departing from Pefkos beach. This tour gives us the opportunity to explore the southern side of the island, which is mainly uninhabited and mostly used for goat and sheep pasture. It is also where the wild horses of Skyros spend the winter.
The route includes 1.5 hours of admiring tall cliffs and rocks, unspoilt hills and deep-blue waters, as well as a stop for sea-cave exploration. Diving from the boat and swimming inside the caves was actually the most exciting part of the tour for us!
Approaching the sea caves to take a dive
Tip: the Skyros Sea Tours boat tour is at €25. However, there is also a lunch-on-board option, which usually includes seafood pasta dishes and other local delicacies and is at around €40.
The boat continues its route to the small island of Sarakiniko, at the southern tip of Skyros. With light-blue shallow waters, golden sand, tiny hidden coves around, and short vegetation, this wild beach has a true exotic beauty. The crew sets up umbrellas for us and the exploration begins.
The unbelievable waters and natural beauty of the beach in Sarakiniko island
Chilling in Pefkos beach
After a few hours of joy, we are back by 16:00 and we can’t get enough of the water and the sun. We decide to stay and have a second swim in the verdant Pefkos beach, surrounded by pine trees, which has a long coast and a small bar for drinks and snacks. We reach a remote spot on the right side of the beach, and explore the rocks and the beautiful seabed.
The pine-surrounded beach of Pefkos
After a long day, we reward ourselves with a mouthwatering (and very large!) dish of shrimp pasta, one of the island’s specialties along with fresh lobster dishes, at Stefanos taverna in Molos.
Skyros day 4
Time to get to know the miniature Skyrian horses and catch the return ferry.
Visiting Mouries Farm
We kept one of the most anticipated activities that we wanted to try in Skyros for our last day on the island: a horse-grooming course. For this, we have booked a visit to Mouries Farm, a Skyrian-horse breeding and conservation center whose work on the island is essential, as the rare Skyrian horse breed (living almost exclusively on this island) has been facing extinction threats in the last decades.
During the course, we get to meet all the super-cute miniature horses in the farm, friendly or shy, such as Zeus, Hector (my buddy), Gaea, Paraskevi, and… Beyoncé (a snobbish doll)! We take a tour of the farm and learn about the horse behavior and habits, and are each assigned a pal for grooming. 🥰 The instructor (thanks Maria!) also shows us how to guide a horse around the open-air farm.
An intimate moment between me and Hector
Important: find out more about the Mouries Farm work and volunteering opportunities. Note that volunteers are very important to the farm, which provides them with free accommodation and meals for helping with day-to-day farm maintenance. It is also a great opportunity for sustainable tourism in the Greek islands.
The horses taking lunch in the Mouries Farm field
After spending 2 happy hours with our new friends, we head to Mouries restaurant right next to the farm, and enjoy probably our best meal in Skyros. I have totally fallen in love with the eggplants cooked with cheese and tomato sauce, and say goodbye to my new favorite food, ladopita with xinotiri cheese. Manolis, the farm and restaurant owner, treats us with some tsipouro (of course) and wishes us a good trip.
Return to Kymi port
Before catching the afternoon ferry from Linaria, we take a small detour to Chora because we can’t leave the island without buying fresh traditional amigdalota (sweet almond biscuits) from the Chiotis pastry shop. Now that we have enough to feed 5 families, we are ready to leave.
Tip: for the best handmade horse-themed souvenirs, we recommend visiting Horse's Home in Chora.
Blending in the heartwarming scenery of Skyros
Top reasons to visit Skyros: the aftermath
If by now you feel jealous and are thinking about picking Skyros for your next holiday, here are some of the best reasons why you should do it:
- The island is a unique mix of Sporades and Cyclades landscapes: part of it is super verdant, while the other part is more dry, stony and sunkissed.
- The food is incredible and very affordable (for example, you can have fresh lobster at just €50 / kg). Dishes are made of quality local ingredients and you always get that “homemade” feeling.
- Tsipouro + starry sky + sea view.
- The warm and friendly locals (and visitors, I would say).
- The diversity of the beaches and their tranquil atmosphere.
- The authentic vibe: the island hasn’t lost its special character at all and has not been touched by the Greek mass-tourism phenomenon.
And remember: every good trip to the Greek islands starts with ferry tickets on Ferryhopper with no hidden fees!
Ahoy! My name is Amalia Kokkoliadi and I’m a copywriter / translator, but my friends call me Chandler Bing because they don’t really understand what I do for a living and I make too many puns (sometimes cringey).😅 From bank-product descriptions to film reviews and ancient-Greek texts, I have worked on any kind of writing you can imagine. No wonder they also call me “know-it-all”; indeed, over the last year, I have been trying to know everything about the ferry market and deliver delicious content to you, guys, so you can get the best travel experience possible!
PS: even though I easily get nauseous on board, I put on a brave face and enjoy a ferry ride once every few months. 💪⛴️