Lay like an emerald jewel in the Western Aegean Sea, Skopelos is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. Such is the immense natural beautiful of the island that is was propelled to fame as the location of the Hollywood movie Mamma Mia.
With rich vegetation, principally of pine trees tumbling to the water’s edge, Skopelos is an immensely beautiful island. Skopelos’s periphery is scattered with stunning beaches, known for their crystal-clear water, white pebbles and remarkable vistas.
The beautifully scenic island of Skopelos is steeped in culture, heritage and history. To celebrate and preserve Skopelos’ unique traditions, the island is home to a thought-provoking folklore museum.
Glossa is the second largest town on Skopelos, which lies to the north of the island. The pretty little town has been built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hillside. With whitewashed buildings topped with red roofs and surrounded by fragrant-smelling almond and pine trees, Glossa really is a delightful place to visit.
The wonderful beaches of Skopelos are renowned for crystal clear water and the surrounding green landscape that often stretches right down to the water’s edge. There are numerous beaches to choose from on this beautiful Greek island, but here are five that come highly recommended…
Skopelos is a wonderful island that is blessed with beautiful beaches, kissed by translucent water and framed by a backdrop of dense forests enveloping craggy rock faces. With atmospheric taverns and pretty towns and villages, Skopelos is the perfect place to become immersed in traditional Greek life.
With two ports at each end, transport links are fairly comprehensive on the island of Skopelos. Two main roads run across the length of the island, from the towns of Chlora to Glossa. There is also a network of minor roads, which take you high into the hills.
In Skopelos’ highlands you will stumble across many isolated hamlets and sleepy villages. Though it has to be said, being the greenest of the Aegean islands and also one of the smallest, Skopelos is a haven for cyclists. It is via the mesh of trails lined with lush and wild overgrow that is perhaps the best way to explore and discover this magical Greek island.
Better make it a mountain bike
Pedalling along the island’s old roads and unkempt tracks at your leisure is a great way to become acquainted with this enchanting island. As the trails can be bumpy, undulating and take you off the beaten track, the use of a mountain bike would be much more appropriate than a racing bike.
As cycling in Skopelos is a popular way for people visiting the island to get around, there are several well-established cycling routes. One common route starts at Skopelos town, taking cyclists through the pretty fishing village of Agnondas, along winding coastal roads and long mountain trails that climb through thick green forests up to the hillside town of Glossa.
The old road that runs from Panormos to Stafylos is also a popular route. Apart from the odd goat-herder or fellow cyclists you are likely to not meet another person on this peaceful track. Rhythmically pedalling listening to the gentle sound of goat bells in the distance whilst taking in the sweet aromas of the myriad of wild flowers and pine trees you pass puts you directly in touch with Skopelos’ unrivalled nature and beauty.
The Delphi Devil
In fact so popular is cycling on Skopelos that an annual cycling event takes place on the island. Known as the Delphi Devil, the event comprises of a 77 kilometre cycle, with an ascent of 1,600 metres over nine categorised climbs. As you can imagine, the descent is when the real fun starts, with cyclists reaching speeds of up to 85 kilometres an hour. As you can also envisage, the views that accomplish the 77km ride are spectacular.
As temperatures typically soar on Skopelos during the summer, it is not uncommon for cyclists to dismount and cool themselves down with the refreshingly cool water from one of the many natural springs the island is home to.
Cycling on Skopelos sounds blissfully idyllic.
Located just a short walk from the UNESCO world heritage of Skopelos Town, the white-washed villa known as Prasina Vista boasts a prime spot one of Greece’s most stunning islands.
As well as being a stone’s throw from the architectural and cultural delights of Skopelos Town, Prasina Vista is close to a beach and a taverna, meaning swimming, sunbathing and experiencing delicious local cuisine is all attainable on foot.
Skopelos Town has a rich architectural heritage. With intricate cobbled alleyways and picture postcard white-washed houses, you could spend a whole day exploring and photographing this historic old town. Having said this, you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to discover more of Skopelos. This green and mountainous island is shaped somewhat like a saxophone. Skopelos was the main shooting location for the 2008 blockbuster film “Mama Mia”, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnen. With its carpet of green trees, spectacular mountains soaring high above and coastline cliffs plunging directly into the inviting Aegean Sea, it is quite easy to fall in love with one of the greenest and scenic of the Aegean islands.
As its name suggests, Prasina Vista sports great views of the rooftops of other villas on the periphery of Skopelos Town and the lovely countryside beyond. The villa in Skopelos town’s interior does its scenic exterior the justice it warrants. The kitchen/dining room is a light and airy open-plan area with a huge white pillar, open fire place and open stairway. “Open” is the operative word in Prisina Vista as you find yourself in a world of light and space. They say that Greek natural light is the best in the world and in this villa you could believe them. Convenient patio doors lead out into the poolside terrace and garden, landscaped tastefully with natural stone.
Prasina Vista can sleep up to six people in three light, cool and elegant bedrooms. One double bedroom is downstairs whilst the other two are on the first floor. All three have en-suite facilities and direct access to a balcony or terrace. Amazingly the villa has five bathrooms. There is a further roof terrace with great views for that early morning coffee or night cap. Out side there is a small yet pretty pool surrounded by an array of interesting flowers, trees and shrubs. A built-in barbecue makes outside dining a must in this superb family villa.
Apart from the delights of Skopelos Town the nearby beaches at Glysteri and Glifoneri provide all you need for a great day at the beach. Cliffs dominate the coastline but there are plenty of hidden coves with beaches waiting to be discovered. Down at the harbour in Skopelos Town you can enjoy fresh fish in any number of quayside tavernas. Life is laid back and unhurried here, just as it should be on holiday.
For photographs, more information and to check availability and to book Prasina Vista, click HERE.
Millions of people worldwide loved the 2008 blockbuster movie, ‘Mamma Mia’. Many of the scenes of the popular movie were shot on the Greek Islands of Skopelos and Skiathos under the pretence that the story was set on a totally fictional island called Kalokairi.
In fact so popular was this big hit of a movie that some people deem it necessary to go on a ‘Mamma Mia’ pilgrimage, visiting as many Mamma Mia film locations as is possible. To stand in the footsteps of Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan and to drink in a bar where the great actors perhaps had a shot of ouzo or an Alpha beer is certainly an attraction of this unusual pilgrimage!
You might want to visit Kasteri Beach where many of the scenes were shot but don’t expect to see the jetty still standing. That was a temporary piece of “prop” engineering and has long gone along with the film crew.
The village of Damouchari in the Pelion area is a key spot to visit on Skopelos and this is where the film crew and entourage stayed. Many of the locals were extras in the film, which must have created some excitement, as well as improving their finances! In fact it is probably a good idea to ask the locals – with a few Greek words under your belt – some questions relating to the movie. Maybe you could find out which bars and restaurants the star-studded cast ate and drank in.
The initial influx of die-hard ‘Mama Mia’ pilgrims of the movie has faded slightly now but apparently 2009, the year following the film’s release, was a very busy time for the island. Although five years later the island is still confidently cashing in on their Hollywood connection and the ABBA-based musical tours show no sign of abating.
One of the best-selling ‘Mamma Mia’ tours is onboard the ‘Odyssey’ which visits many of the Mamma Mia film locations. These popular walks and tours can be booked when on the island and for fans of the movie, retracing its footsteps has to be a must.
It has to be said that with high levels of unemployment, high costs of living and an inability to get on the property ladder, it is often younger generations that tend to suffer the most in an economic crisis.
Any move to lift the spirits of youths and encourage them, therefore has to be considered as being a positive step. Despite the harsh austerity measures and financial predicament which has burdened Greece in recent years, it’s good to know that this beautiful country is trying its utmost to encourage, educate and motivate its young.
Part of Greece’s commitment to inspiring young people can be found on the Sporadic Island of Skopelos, which is still attracting plenty of tourists, for the simple reason that natural beauty is unaffected by the unnerving instability of the economy.
From July 28 – August 4, 2013, Skopelos will host ‘SIFFY’ – the Skopelos International Film Festival for Youth 2013. SIFFY was launched in 2009 in order to give Greek students some additional education in the arts, which is widely left out of the curriculum. The main objective of the festival is to give Greek students the opportunity to learn about filmmaking.
Several international film directors are being flown in to assist the youngsters with their filming and movie making skills and to help them reach their objective of making ten movies by the end of the week.
Each year this popular festival has a movie theme and this year’s theme will be ‘clay’. The reason clay has been chosen is that once upon a time many items on Skopelos were made of clay and there was a tradition that stated that water, olive oil and wine could not be moved anywhere without being in a clay container of some description.
As a consequence traditional clay vessels can be found in abundance on Skopelos. Asides learning filmmaking skills, students involved in this year’s SIFFY will learn all about pottery on the island and will visit the old pottery workshop of Nikos Rodios.
If you are lucky enough to be on this stunning Greek island during the last week of July and first week of August, you may feel inclined to support this forward-thinking venture, either by simply showing up and watching the movie making unfold or by simply making a donation.
If you are looking for the very best villas in Skopelos, click the link!