Overshadowed by other Greek Islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, it's unlikely that many will have heard of Skiathos. This is, however, a positive for solo wanderers wishing to escape the hordes of tourists that frequent Greece and its islands in summer. Skiathos is located within the 24-island Sporades archipelago, just off the Eastern coast of Greece, and is convenient to get to thanks to its own little airport on the isle. White washed houses, clear turquoise waters, golden beaches (over 60 of them!) and lush greenery and woodland – Skiathos truly has all the makings of a wonderful beach holiday and an authentic Greek experience that can easily be enjoyed alone. This isn't a party isle (personally, a big plus in my book), but if that's your main Greek aim then better to go elsewhere. If not, then read on to discover more on where to sleep and eat, what to see and what to do on this piece of island paradise in the Aegean Sea:
OSTRIA HOTEL & APARTMENTS, AGIA PARASKEVI
Although its certainly not 'undiscovered', due to its small size, thankfully too many all-inclusive resorts haven't been able to take over the island in the same way as they have done in other parts of Greece. This leaves, instead, an array of quaint apartments, bed and breakfasts and small hotels to choose from when deciding where to stay. For female solo travellers, family-run Ostria Hotel & Apartments completely fits the bill. When going away for a beach break, an apartment is perhaps the most desirable choice because it offers flexibility regarding mealtimes (cooking and eating on your own terrace can be a real pleasure while away), and it's nice to get away from the soullessness of big beach hotels. The thing is though, as always, when travelling on your own staying solo in an apartment can seem a bit daunting and feel a little less safe somehow, even if where you are visiting is a calm and practically crime-free place. Ostria apartments completely remove that concern because the friendly family owners live onsite, which makes you feel instantly reassured. They truly take care of you too – when asking the best way to get from the airport when arriving at night, the family offered to pick me up for free. Furthermore, the lovely mother was even so concerned just about my cat allergy that on my second day she sent her daughters to move me higher up 'just in case' the cats came onto my terrace in my initial lower-floor apartment. Despite the cute cats roaming around the grounds though, the apartments themselves are absolutely spotless and have everything you could possibly need for a comfortable stay (including air conditioning). The buffet breakfasts are tasty and plentiful – perfect for setting you up for a day of sunbathing – and the apartment's kitchenette plus the local corner supermarket offer the freedom to nip back from the beach for a quick lunch. Add to all this that one of the best beaches on the island is a hop, skip and jump across the road, the coastal bus stops in front of the apartments, and the surrounding village has enough good places to eat to keep you satisfied the whole week, and Ostria can easily be crowned the winner of best 'place to stay for solos' on Skiathos.
EAT & DRINK
Enjoy authentic Greek food at the following Skiathos restaurants, all easy to get to by foot or by hopping on the local coastal bus:
1. EXANDAS BAR AND RESTAURANT, MEGALI AMMOS
Highlight: High-quality, modern Greek fare, frozen cocktails and chic surrounds
2. PORTO PARADISO, VROMOLIMNOS BEACH
Highlight: Beachside Greek dishes in a trendy locale
3. PLATANIAS, AGIA PARASKEVI
Highlight: Friendly, genuine waiters and great traditional Greek food
1. COASTAL BUS
The great thing about Skiathos for solos, particularly those who don't drive, is that many of its beaches along the south coast can be reached by hopping on the convenient and cheap coastal bus. It runs from Skiathos Town to Koukounaries beach and back, stopping many times at local beaches (such as this one, Kanapitsa) and villages along the way.
2. BOAT FROM KOUKOUNARIES TO SKIATHOS TOWN
The best way to see the Skiathos coastline from the water without paying out a considerable amount to sit crammed on a tourist boat? Head to Koukounaries beach and take the water taxi from there to Skiathos town. It's a short and scenic, but relatively inexpensive, trip.
3. COASTAL WALK
As well as the bus, there's also the opportunity to walk to nearby beaches. Unfortunately there aren't many coastal paths in Skiathos, meaning sometimes extra care has to be taken while walking along the narrow road shared with the island's buses and cars. However, for those beaches where it is possible to walk easily between them without always being on the road – for example from Kolios to Vromolimnos – then make sure to do so (just keep a map to hand so you don't get lost!)
1. SKIATHOS TOWN
Winding streets and whitewashed houses – Skiathos Town is well worth a day trip. For the best view, head towards the town's southernmost tip. Once there, in one direction you'll see picture perfect Skiathos through the trees, and in the other, the golden expanse of inviting Megali Ammos beach.
An easy day trip on the ferry from Skiathos Town, take the opportunity to see another of the Sporades islands: Skopelos. If arriving in Glossa – a breathtaking village situated on a hill – be aware that the ferry back to Skiathos goes from Skopelos town, so enough time should be left to take the bus to get there (just over an hour, but a scenic journey all the same).
With over 60 beaches, Skiathos is a swimming and sunbathing paradise. Even though your local beach may already be heavenly enough for you to drop yourself down and not move for a week, make sure you do. It would be a shame not to experience more than one of the sandy coves that Skiathos has to offer.