This blog aims to give a personal and totally biased view of the Greek islands I have visited. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the islands. Two aspects of Greek islands that I love are seeing goats wandering around and the dawn chorus of cockerels crowing. Accordingly, each island I have stayed on will have a Cockerel Count and Goatiness rating.
Unless otherwise stated, all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Should you wish to purchase a license for commercial use of my images please follow the link to my stock photography blog where you will find details of my agents. Comments are welcomed but reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Skiathos (Northern Sporades):

The old harbour at Skiathos town
Not an island I have stayed on but for anyone heading for Skopelos or Alonissos there is a good chance that you will coming via Skiathos due to the presence of a commercial airport. The alternative route, of course, is taking a ferry from the mainland.

I transited through Skiathos in September 2012 and June 2013 - both times on route to Alonissos. The first thing you'll notice about Skiathos is the airport runway. Or, rather, the lack of it. One of the shortest commercial runways in Europe -with sea at either end- you're in for a quick landing. Expect vigorous braking, wing flaps fully down and jet engines roaring in reverse thrust (or combinations of these) before rapidly reaching the turning circle at the end of the runway. I must admit I loved it but can see that for nervous flyers it won't compare favourably to the sedate trundle when landing at Gatwick. Likewise, expect take offs to be fast and steep. Larger planes take off with limited amounts of fuel on board to keep the weight down and then make the short trip to the mainland (in my case Volos) to be fully fuelled.

Monarch Holidays jet descending into Skiathos
The chances are you'll have some time in Skiathos before your ferry departure and will have the chance to explore a bit. The harbour was where I started, getting photographs of the moored boats. The main front harbour is where the ferries dock and there are also a large number of private boats. Round to the left (looking from the sea) is the Old harbour where you will find fishing and excursion boats. This was the location for one of the early scenes in the 2008 film Mamma Mia!.
Agios Nikolaos clock tower on Skiathos
One of the local landmarks is the church of Agios Nikolaos and its stone clocktower. This stands high up above Skiathos Town and can be seen from the harbour front. Just work your way up a series of narrow steps and alleys until you get there  (there are some signposts here and there to help). What you get from Agios Nikolaos is a panoramic view over the town and harbour and it is well worth the few minutes it takes to get up there.

Aviation enthusiasts can stay on the harbour front and watch/photograph the planes coming in to land. In fact, Skiathos is a bit of a magnet for plane spotters due to the public road right at the end of the runway where planes pass low overhead. You can also expect to be waved at when taxiing before take off!

Certainly, from my limited time on Skiathos (and only in Skiathos Town)  it certainly feels bigger and busier than the other Sporades islands with a plethora of tavernas and shops and even an open air cinema showing, inevitably, Mamma Mia! Regards, David.

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