Skopelos Island

Greece / isl. Skopelos

Skopelos is a magnificent mountainous island in the Northern Sporades group of islands in Greece, which belongs to the prefecture of Thessaly. The island boasts a unique natural beauty and wonderful beaches. The name of the island is connected with the large number of reefs and shoals along the coast. It was first mentioned in II century BC, replacing the previous name of the island - Peparethos. According to the legend, the first king of the island was Staphylos - the son of the god of wine Dionysus and Ariadne. That’s why Skopelos became famous as the place where the wine is born.

The first signs of habitation on the island date back to the Neolithic period and refer to Asia Minor. In the VIII century BC Skopelos has been under the control of the city-state of Chalkida. Later, it was conquered by the Athenians, Macedonians and Romans. During the Byzantine conquest the island of Skopelos was a place for those living in exile. In the XIII century the island belonged to the family of aristocrats of Venice. The Venetians were the owners of the island before the Turkish occupation. In 1821, residents of Skopelos took part in the Greek revolution. In 1830, Skopelos became a part of the First Hellenic Republic.

During the 2nd World War, Skopelos was occupied by the Italians and the Germans. With the end of the war in 1944, Skopelos has been liberated along with the rest of Greece. After 1980 Skopelos was seen as one of the most attractive places in Greece, especially after the famous “Mamma Mia” movie with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. The island attracts many tourists both from Greece and from abroad thanks to its undeniable beauty and the fact that it is the greenest island of the country.

The island has a total of 360 churches, which is really impressive taking into account the size of the island. Only its capital (Chora) has 123 churches! Among the most impressive churches there should be noted Evangelismos church, built on a rocky cliff above the sea. You can visit the following monasteries outside Chora:

Episkopi Monastery - located about 2 km west of Chora. The monastery is surrounded by stone walls, which resemble castle walls with carved animal figures.

Evangelistria Daponte - it was founded by monks from Mount Athos. The monastery holds many Orthodox saints images and pieces of furniture covered with gold.

Monastery of Saint Reginos - this is the saint protector of Skopelos. This church is built in Byzantine style, surrounded by a big yard, which houses the tomb of the saint Regina. The main block was built in 1728, replacing the old church of the V century. Behind the church, there are the ruins of a temple built in the Doric style.

You should also visit the Monastery of John the Baptist, the monastery of Saint Barbara (the oldest one on the island), the Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ, and others.

Chora

Chora or Skopelos is the capital of the island. It is built around the bay in the form of an amphitheater. The old town is considered a monument of architecture, where all the new houses should be built in accordance with certain rules. Among the beautiful architectural elements of Chora you will find wooden balconies, traditional stone roofs and white walls of the houses. In addition to the churches, the Old Town has a castle, picturesque paths and stairs, as well as squares with stunning views.

Glossa

Glossa is one of the most beautiful villages because of its narrow streets and traditional houses of Macedonian type (houses with two floors, wooden balconies and tiled roofs). This mountain village was hardly affected by modern lifestyle. Visitors may even see local women wearing traditional dress called “foustanes”. The inhabitants of Glossa even have their own local dialect.

Klima

This is a historic village surrounded by pine forest, which used to be divided into 2 parts. People of Klima were fond of dancing, singing and organizing traditional festivals in the main square of the village. Here you can find an old abandoned oil mill. This village, located about 16 km from Chora, has only 50 inhabitants.

Loutraki

Loutraki is the second largest port on the island of Skopelos, about 25 km from Chora. There are four small islands covered with pine trees right at the entrance to the port, which protect the town from the wind and create amazing scenery. In the western part of the village you will see the ruins of the ancient Selinounda acropolis.

Skopelos hides some of the most beautiful beaches in the Sporades, offering tranquility and unique landscapes. The water surrounding Skopelos is crystal clear, with incredible color shades - from green to deep blue. The most popular beaches - Stafylos, Velanio, Limnonari and Milia - are closest to the capital.

Limnonari

This beach is located in a very beautiful bay surrounded by high mountains. The sand is mixed with pebbles, while big underwater rocks occupy almost the entire coastline. There are several traditional taverns at the beach.

Stafylos

The most popular beach on the island is located in a beautiful bay at the foot of the hill among pine trees. This sand-and-pebble beach is located in a well protected picturesque place.

Milia

The beach is located close to the tourist resort of Panormos. Many argue that this is the best beach of Skopelos. It is a well-maintained beach with white sand mixed with pebbles. By the way, it is the longest beach on the island.

You can find everything on the island of Skopelos - picturesque harbors, golden beaches of the Aegean Sea and the wonderful local flavor. Holiday in Skopelos is a real fairy tale!

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