The beaches sought by the thousands of visitors to the island are unparalleled
Skopelos is the island with a thousand faces, immersed in greenery with dreamy beaches, with 365 churches and with influences from land and sea. Its history begins with the ancient Peparithos and reaches our days. Allying with the Athenians, the Byzantines, but also the Venetians, it managed to adapt to the needs of each era, experiencing phases of upsurge and surviving periods of decline, barbarian raids and struggles for freedom.
It is the island of “Mamma mia!”, whose images are embedded in the hearts and dreams of millions of young people, hoping that one day they will visit it and relive what the protagonists of the world musical lived, which is still “breaking” box offices around the world .
Skopelos produced great captains and shipwrights, with a tradition in shipping and shipbuilding, with many shipyards in the past, but also economic prosperity since it was on the road to the Black Sea.
From the beginning of the 70’s, the first “foreigners” arrived, from places far away who did not speak the famous Skopje dialect, and tourism began to take its first timid, but substantial steps. It is an island with intense life, but also a lot of calm. For the little ones it seems like a huge place, for the grown-ups a small step, but it manages and encompasses everything and for everyone.
The center of the island is Chora, with its beautiful alleys, stone arches, cobblestones with steps and stone-roofed or tiled houses with colorful shutters that make it unique. Everywhere bougainvillea of every shade, basil in the windows and jasmine that smell of musk, set a tone that only Skopelos possesses. The settlement has been classified as preserved, by Presidential Decree, since 1978, so its unparalleled beauty has remained unchanged, despite the great tourist development.
The architecture of Chora with the island cuboidal houses, with the small windows and the stone roofs and the balconies with the forousia, has influences from Pelion, Macedonia and Epirus, with the main materials being stone, slate and wood. Characteristic is the Town Hall building on the waterfront with its blue-green windows, while a little above dominates one of the most beautiful mansions of the island, of the Petralia family.
The capital of the island was gradually built on the ruins of ancient Peparithos, which was in the Kastro area and is hidden and almost invisible from the sea. Later the Venetians repaired the castle and built the Episcopate which survives to this day. The amphitheater way of building was intended to protect the city, since Skopelos had been developed since ancient times and was a rich island. Scopelite wine, the famous peparisios, a kind of red brusch, was known from the shores of Marseilles to the Black Sea.
The pirates who threatened the island forced the inhabitants to live inside the castle, but over time and after the danger of piracy began to disappear, the Chora was built and extended towards the shore to create the Frangomahalas in its heyday with the large mansions and shopping streets, such as Sofadakia.
After the liberation from the Ottomans, Skopelos, together with the other Sporades, which was included in the first Greek state, began to develop. In Chora, Fragomachalas was created, the district behind today’s beach and around Agios Michael up to the parish of Panagia, where many scattered, old stone mansions are preserved, even with neoclassical elements.
There are more than 365 churches, with the oldest being Agios Athanasios, in the Castle, dating from the 11th century, while in the quarter of Christ, which was the first to be built outside the castle in the 17th century, there are even more churches dedicated by the families of seamen to protect their own people. These churches, by majority, are basilicas or basilicas with a dome, with the most characteristic being Saint Michael, where the remains of the ancient church, on which it was built, have been incorporated.
The beaches sought by the thousands of visitors to the island are unparalleled
The closest long beach to Chora that is flooded with people in summer is the famous Stafylos, which takes its name from Stafylos, son of Ariadne and Dionysus who was also the first king of Skopelos in antiquity. With steps, one reaches the wave and enjoys the Aegean.
Next to Staphylos, after a small embankment where the “neck” of the small peninsula is located, the tomb of Staphylos with the royal sword of the Mycenaean period was found in the 1930s, which is exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Passing this small hill is the much-loved Velanio, with its quietness, clear blue waters and, above all, isolation for those who love nature and nudism.
To the west of the island are the largest and most famous beaches, first and perhaps the largest of all, Milia, which offers all kinds of options, from the organized to the free section and overlooking the islet of Dasia, which looks like a forest in the middle of the sea.
Immediately after Milia is Kastani, smaller, but organized and cosmopolitan, also overlooking the islet of Dasia. Most of the filming of the movie “Mamma Mia!” took place here.
Limnonari is also a special beach which, on windy days, is an ideal place to relax since, as its name indicates, it is a closed windless bay with fine sand and crystal clear waters.
The beaches of the island continue with Panormos as the protagonist with its wonderful pebbly beach, deep blue waters, sheltered bay and dozens of taverns.
At a short distance, drowned in pine trees, are the famous “Andrines” with the luxurious five-star hotels that every year host world-class names looking for privacy and tranquility above the emerald waters. The Andrines got their name from the pirate Andrina who used the sheltered bay of Blo and Panormos to hide her ships, while legend has it that she hid her treasure in the area.
In Elios, another beautiful beach with the settlement of the same name just before Loutraki, the second port of the island and the port of Glossa, the architecturally excellent settlement, where great captains and sailors were born who travel to all the lengths and breadths of the Earth .
To the east and very close to Glossa, is the famous Ai Yiannis, in Kastri, where the famous wedding scene in “Mama Mia!” was filmed. and, as the locals proudly say, the filming of the film took place at sunrise, somewhere between six and seven in the morning, since the place is eastern and what we see is the sunrise and not the sunset as in the script in the musical. Ai Giannis with its incredibly beautiful little church is a huge rock in the sea, which has taken the name “Meteor of the Aegean”.
The mayor of Skopelos, Stamatis Perissis speaking to APE-MPE he stated that “without a doubt, Skopelos means experience, romance and Mamma Mia! Thousands of couples of all ages who choose the island to get married, renew their vows and live their love have “fallen in love” with the place of the timeless musical. In general, Skopelos has a quality that “magnetizes” travelers from all over the world, families, groups, couples, visitors with special interests in history, culture, hiking, cycling, diving, sea excursions and gastronomy. At the same time, accommodation options abound here in a range of accommodations and entertainment in restaurants, cafes, bars, and beach bars. The live music on the island, the authentic folk and rebetika music that can be enjoyed in excellent shops, as well as the rebetika music festival make the night entertainment on the island, a different experience! This year promises to be a very good tourist season with domestic tourism as well as many international markets, such as Great Britain and Scandinavia, showing us their preference early on and that is why we are waiting for the whole world in Skopelos to “star” in its own Mamma Mia !”
“We try to highlight everything special that our island has,” the president of the Tourism Promotion Department of the Municipality of Skopelos told APE-MBE Gianna Efstathiou. “Skopelos,” he said, “is an island that has incredible wealth in history, architecture, gastronomy and culture in general. Our concern is to highlight these singularities and let the people who seek this type of tourism learn about them. Every year we also improve the local infrastructure and this is also reflected in the positive opinions of foreigners and Greeks who visit our island. We have activities that interest visitors who want to explore Skopelos with hiking and cycling routes, but also with exploring the sea through diving tourism.”
But Skopelos is not only the blue of the sky and the sea, the green of Nature and the architecture, but also an excellent culinary experience that drives Greeks and foreigners crazy.
At the top of the flavors is the famous Skopje cheese pie, which is said to be the best breakfast, and is made with a rolled sheet, inside of which there is a very good quality feta cheese, and it is baked rolled up in the pan.
In the local dishes, famous is the rofos stifado, the Skopelli goat made from local goats of the island, the sweet pumpkin pie made from yellow pumpkin, as well as the onion pie with sweet cream.
Skopje sweets include marzipan and augato, which are spoon sweets made from a variety of white plums grown only on the island.
Even more famous are the rosettes and the hops, sweets based on almonds and flower water, which tradition wants to be the main treat at weddings, while the local honey, which is pine honey, is not missing from any traditional Skopje house.
The president of the Skopelos Hoteliers Union, Mary Diamantis, speaking to APE-MPE, does not hide her optimism about the course of this year’s tourism on the island, pointing out: “We are facing the best year, probably, since the numbers show through the bookings that we are doing well. The English, the Scandinavians and the Italians, who are traditionally our best customers, started showing up again this year and they are the ones who want the mildest and quietest form of tourism. The hotel infrastructure is at a high level, although we are a destination at reasonable economic levels. This year we also have better ferry connections that make it much easier for travelers, while the routing by SeaJets of the “Sporades Star” from Volos and the “SuperRunner Jet” directly from Thessaloniki has opened up new perspectives in recent years.”
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