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 www.shootingstock.blogspot.com where you will find details of my agents. Comments are welcomed but reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Skopelos (Northern Sporades):

Skopelos is one of the group of Northern Sporades islands which also include Skiathos, Alonissos and Skyros. I spent a day on Skopelos in June 2013 whilst staying on Alonissos. It's a short journey of 30 minutes or less and as I had caught the 06.40 Flying Cat fast catamaran I arrived in Skopelos Town (Chora) around 07.00 as the sun was starting to rise.
This proved good light for photographing the harbour from all angles. If you follow the quay to the far right (looking inland) of the harbour you are in a good position to photograph boats and ferries coming and going -just be aware that the larger ferries create some wash which is likely to splash over the end of the quay.
Also on the right is the photogenic church of Panagia tou Pyrgou (pictured) which you can access via a number of steps from the harbour front to get good views over the town. Carry on from the church a little way and there are the ruins of an old castle. 
The old town itself is a maze of narrow alleys and steps with numerous churches and chapels to be seen. The usual adage applies here -if you get lost just head downwards and you'll reach the harbour front sooner or later. 
Skopelos is, of course, a draw for fans of the 2008 film Mamma Mia! Most of the location filming was done in 2007 mainly at Kastani beach on the West coast. Don't bother looking for the long wooden jetty that features so much in the film  -it was built especially for the film and then dismantled. The other location that fans head for is that church used in the wedding scenes of the film. This is Agios Ioannis at the North East end of the island. Of course, if you are just on a day visit you're probaly not going to have time to get to these but worth noting that there are a number of excursion boat tours that will take you to the various locations. These also operate from Skiathos as well.
There are plenty of tavernas and shops along the harbour front but not so many as to make it feel overly touristy. Whilst having lunch I had a Greek island first when a funeral procession came past - priests, mourners in black and a grieving, elderly widow. Nobody told us what to do but I was pleased that out of natural instinct every person in the taverna respectfully stood up whilst the procession went past. Needless to say my camera remained on the table. It was one of those moments when getting a picture wasn't important and would have been totally inappropriate.
So Skopelos then, a very pretty old town with lots of churches and interesting buildings and, by all accounts, lots of nice country walks to be had inland. It is certainly well worth a day trip if you are staying on Skiathos or Alonissos and very worthy of consideration as a holiday destination in itself. Regards, David.