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THE ISLAND OF SKYROS IN THE SPORADES IN GREECE: THE PEACEFUL ONE WITH THE FRIENDLY PEOPLE

Nederlands map of Skyros Greece, plattegrond van Skyros Griekenland, copyright Mealos Apartments A visit to the island of Skyros had been on my wish list for a long time. One day I wanted to go, but on that day that I made my plan, the ferry company stopped going to the island. And so instead I just sailed by it and saw the shores without setting foot on it, but now we finally visited the island May 2018.

We thought the island of Skyros was absolutely fantastic. The people are terribly nice and it is really a place for people who seek peace and quiet. There is hardly any traffic and there are no discos. People who are looking for a busy nightlife can therefore better look for a different destination. In May when we were there, there was still a lot of places closed. On Magazia beach there was a beach bar / restaurant which also had sun loungers and parasols for rent and there was another tavern opened, and also on Aspous beach was a tavern that was open. The port town of Linaria and Skyros Chora offered more possibilities and here you will find restaurants, bars and shops, but nothing noisy (at least not in May when we were there).

From most countries there are no direct flights to this island, but there is a daily connection between the town of Kimi on the island of Evia (accessible by car or by bus from the mainland via a bridge) and the small harbour of Linaria on Skyros, and there is a plane three times a week from Athens to the island of Skyros that goes up and down (this was in May, so maybe the frequency in the high season is still increasing, I have no idea).

We chose to book a flight from Athens to Skyros island at Olympic Airways and back (60 euros in 2018 for a return). The plane departs late at noon from Athens airport (5:55 pm) and also returns again late (7:00 pm). The flight takes about 40 minutes all together and seated on the right hand side of the plane you get a nice overview of the island itself: the rugged, rather barren and mountainous south of Skyros and then suddenly the fertile north with a few tiny villages and pine forests.

If you check the schedules out a bit, you can probably book a morning flight to Athens and fly on to Skyros the same day, and on the way back you might as well, but as for us on the way the Skyros we have spend one day at arrival and than two more days on the way back in the port town of Rafina where we always stay in a hotel. They have an excellent transport service that picks you up and brings you back to the airport and the town of Rafina itself is also very nice (just look at my page there). In Skyros we stayed at a wonderful hotel in the main town, the Nefeli Hotel.

Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros
Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros

Skyros has always played an important role in history. In mythology it was the place where Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War, was hiding. He was dressed as a girl, but uncovered when Odysseus offered him a sword. His clothes fell off and everyone could see he was not a woman. Theseus, the hero that killed the Minotaur of Crete (a monster, half human half bull) was banned to the island and thrown off a cliff here by the king of Skyros, Lykomedes. Strangely enough for these two heroes there are no statues on the island of Skyros, but there is one for the English poet Rupert Brooke, who died here after he was bitten by a mosquito. The statue is not a portrait of Rupert Brooke himself but it depicts the "eternal poetry". His grave is located in Tris Boukis Bay, the former pirate bay in the southwest of the island, and his statue stands on the square Plateia Rupert Brooke, at the top of the Chora. The statue is controversial because it is (inexplicably) a nude.

Skyros was once an Athenian colony island and primarily wealthy Athenians found their way to the island. During Byzantine times it was a place of exile for rich Byzantines. It was occupied by the Byzantines, Venetians and Turks, and now it is an important basis for the Greek navy and air force.

Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros
Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros

Skyros is 208 km2 in size and has about 3000 inhabitants. It is one of the Sporades islands (along with islands such Alonissos, Skiathos and Skopelos). Skyros is the most southern of the Sporades Islands and it lies at 35 km distance east of the large island of Evia. Skyros is surrounded by many small islands. Skyros itself is the largest island in the group of Sporades islands and from the inhabited islands it is the least touristic. This is partly because in Skyros there is a limited number of good beaches that are farther apart like for instance on Skiathos. Besides that the island is a little bit more out of the route for the ferries. In high season there are connections between Skyros and the northern Sporades and the village of Kimi on Evia island. I do not know whether things have changed, but there was at that time also a connection to the Cyclades. Because the routes of the ferries seem to change every year you must find out by yourself on the internet.

The island of Skyros is very nice and it has a very attractive Chora (capital) that is called Skyros Town. This village lies on the east side of the island. All ferries however come to the west of Skyros in the port of Linaria. Between the two villages there is a bus that will make the trip in about 20 minutes time. The Chora has retained much of its original charm as most tourist accommodations are situated just outside Skyros Town on the beach in the villages Magazia and Molos. Moreover, the small village of Skyros Town is car-free, mainly because the streets are so narrow.

Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros
Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros Skyros

Skyros Town is built on a hill and is crowned by a castle from the Venetian time (the castle of Lykomedes), which is built on a Byzantine fortress. In the ancient time there was an acropolis on this spot. From here you have a magnificent view of the Chora and the island. Inside the castle is a small archaeological museum. Just outside the walls of the castle stands the monastery of Agios Georgios, originally from the 13th century, but where at the end of the 16th century, a large church was added. Inside the monastery special frescoes can be seen. Amongst them is a beautiful painting of Saint George killing the dragon. During an earthquake in 2001 the monastery was severely damaged and it closed some time for restoration. Now the monastery is reopened for visitors. Nearby are the remains of two Byzantine churches and three chapels with a colourful pink and blue pastel interior.

The south of Skyros is mountainous and the north is flatter and more fertile. There is little tourism on the island and it makes an unspoiled impression. The trees on the island make an ideal island for walking. In the southwest of Skyros lies the Tris Boukes Bay (translated: the bay with three entrances), with two small islands (Sarakino and Despoti) off the coast. In earlier times the island Despoti was a pirate base (one of the largest in the Aegean Sea).

THE BEACHES AND NATURIST BEACHES OF THE ISLAND OF SKYROS IN GREECE

Molos Magazia and two villages with a beautiful sandy beach. This beach is not far from Chora on the east side of Skyros. On this part of Skyros you find most accommodations of the island. It is also the only beach with a bus connection from Chora. To get to the other beaches of Skyros it's helpful to have your own transport.

Tou Papa Homa Beach to just south of Magazia Beach, not far from Chora, is the local nudist beach. The beach is only accessible via a path on the north side of the beach. You need to go through a fence next to an old house that is situated along the main road and follow the path downwards.

Gyrismata Beach is a long sandy beach just north of Molos and Magazia. During high season it can be quite busy here. There are several taverns where you can have something to eat and there are different kinds of accommodation for rent. There are no other facilities on the beach.

On the north coast there are several small beaches. The best known beach in the north of Skyros is Palamari Beach, next to the ruins of the old city is Palamari (Bronze Age, from 2500 to 1800 BC). This city was quite large (20,000 m2), but a part of it is now in the sea. Palamari Beach is a beautiful and large sandy beach, located 19 km away from Chora. It is quiet and there are no facilities. It is necessary to bring your own water and something to eat and take a good sunblock. The beach is not far from the airport (no international flights so you have absolutely no noise from airplanes) and a military base.

Atsitsa Beach is located on the northwest side of the island. It is set in the Bay of Agios Petros and it is a sandy beach with a number of pine trees around it (but still it can be difficult to find shade here). There are not many facilities and there are no umbrellas and sunbeds for rent. There is something of a tavern in the neighborhood, but perhaps it is still advisable to bring water if you go to this beach. The distance from Chora is about 19 km.

Aspous Beach is located on the northeast side of the island of Skyros, about 5 km away from Skyros Town / Chora. It is a sandy beach in a beautiful bay. Aspous Beach is quieter than the beaches that lie a short distance north of the Chora. There are a number of taverns, and there are some houses along the coast, but there are no other facilities such as parasols and sunbeds. There are a few trees along the beach for some shade, but it is recommended to bring an umbrella or a good sunblock with you. Along the coastline are some rocks, the sea is shallow there.

Next to Aspous Beach is Achilli Bay, where the hero Achilles stepped on the boat towards the Trojan War. Again there is a sandy beach, but there is a large marina built here which destroyed much of the charm of the beach. Currently there are mainly fishing boats. A large part of the enclosed circular bay is now occupied by the marina. From the beach you can see Aspous in the distance and castle of Chora on the top of the rock. It is a quiet beach with little waves and there are no umbrellas or sunbeds for hire. On the beach stands the pretty chapel of Agios Nikolaos.

Agios Fokas Beach is located in the west of Skyros, southwest of Chora, just west of the beach of Pefkos and south of Astisa Beach. It is a beach with sand and pebbles, surrounded by pine trees. The last stretch to the beach (about four kilometers) is over a dirt road. Take the exit to Pefkos and then take the dirt road you will see here (so not all the way to Pefkos). During high season there is a tavern on the beach, but there are no other facilities. The beach is one of the destinations for naturists. On the north side of the beach, behind the tavern is a path to another beach where there is a place for naturism. The distance from Agios Fokas Beach to Chora is about 13 kilometer.

To see more beaches and naturist beaches on Skyros - click here

Hotels on the island of Skyros - Hotel Nefeli - Skyros Chora
Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros
Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros Nefeli Hotel, Skyros

Here in Hotel Nefeli we have stayed five days in May 2018. The hotel is located on the edge of the center of Skyros Chora within walking distance of a very good and large supermarket and all kinds of shops and taverns, and 25 meters away is also one of the best restaurants of the island (Almathia) where you can eat very cheaply and where the service is very friendly. The people at the reception are extremely helpful and nice and the rooms we reserved were fully equipped, with a bath and an extra long bed (2.20 meters). It was very clean and there was a daily maid service. There was also a lot of cupboard space, but we always carry around 4 or 5 kilos of luggage ... The breakfast at the hotel was very good, with fresh coffee, orange juice, fresh bread, yoghurt with honey, delicious jams, feta, warm Skyrian cheese pies, cake and biscuits and an omelette. There was a breakfast room but you could also take your breakfast outside by the pool.

Hotel Nefeli is the quality choice for vacations in Skyros island. Recently renovated,with decoration based on eco friendly materials, has created a model of high level hospitality, with perfect service and distinctive luxury. Hotel Nefeli is situated at the entrance of Skyros town. Nearby you can find the main square of Skyros and a lot of shops, restaurant, cafe. It consists of three buildings each one with a distinct decorative style. There is a range of rooms, standard, executive, suite, studio, traditional and antique, separated to smoking or not smoking. The facilities are spacious and comfortable with a feeling of escape from home.

Seawater swimming pool of 220sqm pool bar with view towards the castle and the monastery of St George, swimming pool for children, separate children play area ,garden, parking, room service, internet access.

Breakfast is served a la carte at all hours and consists of mostly local home made products.

The restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine cooked with local organic products free range meet and poultry and fresh fish catch of the day.

Send an e-mail to the Nefeli Hotel in Skyros. - Telephone: +30 2222091964 / +30 9206091481
www.skyros-nefeli.gr.

Check availabilities and prices & book Hotel Nefeli on Skyros - click here.

Hotels on the island of Skyros - Lykomides Studios & Apartments in Linaria
Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros
Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros Lykomides Studios & Apartments, Linaria, Skyros

This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Located in Linaria Port of Skyros, the family-run Lykomides offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea. Restaurants, bars and mini markets can be found within a short walk.

Decorated with dark-wooden or wrought-iron beds, the rooms of Lykomides are equipped with air conditioning, TV and a fridge. Each unit includes a private bathroom stocked with a hairdryer.

Skyros Town lies within 12 km from Lykomides, while Skyros National Airport is at 25 km. Staff at the front desk can arrange car rental to explore famous beaches, such as Molos at 14 km and Atsitsa at 17 km. Free public parking is possible nearby.

This property also has one of the best-rated locations in Skyros! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area. Couples particularly like the location - they rated it 9.5 for a two-person trip. This property is also rated for the best value in Skyros! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

Check availabilities and prices & book Lykomides in Linaria on the island of Skyros - click here.

Hotels on the island of Skyros - Mealos Apartments - Aspous
Mealos Apartments, Skyros Mealos Apartments, Skyros Mealos Apartments, Skyros Mealos Apartments, Skyros Mealos Apartments, Skyros

Mealos group of apartments is located in the sandy bay of Aspous at the northeast side of Skyros Island, surrounded by a 2500 square meter private lot ending at the beach. Mealos consists of four single room and two double room apartments all furnished in the traditional Greek style. Each apartment has its own fully equipped kitchenette, air-condition , W.C., TV and balkony with view. Each studio apartment accommodates up to three persons. The double room apartments are ideal for families of four members.

Send an e-mail to the Mealos Aparments in Skyros. - Telephone: +30 210-6128173 / +30 22220-92372 / +30 22220-92372
www.mealos.gr.

To see more hotels, apartments and studios on the island of Skyros in Greece - click here.

THE SIGHTS OF THE ISLAND OF SKYROS IN GREECE
Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel
Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel Skyros,  Nefeli Hotel

The Chora of Skyros with its narrow cobbled streets, its monastery, the statue of the poet Rupert Brooke, churches and castle. There are nice squares and pretty houses that are typical for the island of Skyros. The Archeological Museum of Skyros has a collection of findings on the island dating from 2.800 BC up to the Roman times. Many of the finds are from the ancient town of Palamari in the north of Skyros. The museum is next to the The Manos Faltaits Museum, the local historical and folk art museum.

The ponies of Skyros - because of its isolated location of the island there lives a unique kind of pony here. This pony was already around in the ancient days when the breed was quite common. Because these ponies have never been crossed with other kinds of horses they are unique and they only live on the island of Skyros, mainly in the mountainous south. They are an endangered species and are mainly in the winter is very hard for them to survive. Some farmers give extra food to these ponies. The ponies are very small and they have different colors such as brown, reddish brown or gray. The areas where they can graze are slowly getting smaller because of the increase in the number of sheep on Skyros.

The grave of Rupert Brooke is situated in a remote area in the southwest of the island of Skyros, in Tris Boukes Bay. Previously you could get there by boat from for instance Linaria, but the route was closed by the Greek Navy and the grave can now only be to reached over land. From Chora take the road south to Linaria and than take the exit on the left that says "Achili. This road eventually leads to Kalamitsa. After Kalamitsa the road becomes unpaved and here the island is virtually uninhabited. You have to drive to the south. There are signs that say that you are entering a miltaire zone but the zone starts after the grave of Rupert Brooke as the road descends to the bay. The grave is on the left side approximately 45 meters from the road in a field of olive trees. The grave was made by a Greek sculptor and inscribed on the grave is Brooke's most famous poem.

The Ancient site of Palamari is situated in the north of Skyros at 13 kilometer distance from the Chora. This ancient town dates from 2500 to 1800 BC and it was a large city that was important for the island and the whole area. The city had a port and which connected it to other islands in the Cyclades, the North Aegean and the mainland of Greece. There are remains of houses, large buildings, roads and fortified walls. A large part of the city has vanished in the sea. Artefacts that have been found on Palamari are on display in the Archeological Museum in Skyros Chora.


Hans Huisman, Pegasus Travel Agency, Stavros Souyannis of Mealos Apartments, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2018
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