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Skiathos, sandwiched between the Greek mainland and neighbouring Skopelos, is a tiny isle in the Aegean Sea. What it lacks in size, Skiathos more than makes up for with its pristine natural environment which features 60 gorgeous beaches and an interior that looks as though it was painted by a celebrated artist. Uncrowded roads make car rental the best choice for getting between beach resorts, into Skiathos Town and to historic sites such as Evaggelistrias Monastery and Panagia Eikonistria.
Who to Book With
International rental suppliers on Skiathos include Budget and Avis. A number of local firms also operate on the island. Among these are Skiathos Hire and George Rent a Car. Some of the local firms are affiliated to global suppliers. It is best to book online beforehand to source preferential daily rates.
Best Time to Go
The weather is conducive to enjoyable holidays at any time from early May right through to the end of September. In July and August, temperatures average 33°C, but this is also the peak holiday season and accommodation and roads are busy. There is a corresponding surge in the prices of hotels and car hire at this time of year.
Need to Know Essentials
When picking their rental vehicles up, hirers will be asked to produce:
- A current driving licence or International Driving Permit
- A passport or other photo identification
- The credit or debit card used to reserve the vehicle
- The rental voucher or its serial number
Apart from peak holiday season, parking in Skiathos Town is not much of a problem. There are a number of car parks and some hotels offer free parking for guests. Town roads are not ideally suited to cars and it is better to use rentals to reach the more remote beaches or for excursions. A few of the inland routes are dirt tracks and drivers should look out for potholes.
There are no railway lines on Skiathos and visitors have a choice of bus, taxi and hire car for getting about. The public bus company on Skiathos operates on three different routes. Taxi drivers wait at the port for arriving passengers. Having your own vehicle saves waiting around for buses or haggling over taxi fares. There are a number of water-taxi companies which provide services on Skiathos.
Skiathos Town to Koukounaries is the busiest of the three bus routes on the island. Buses depart from each terminus every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 23:30 and take 30 minutes for the 10 mile (16km) trip. Fares between the two locations are £1.55. The other two routes are to Xanemos and Evaggelistrias. These services are less frequent and stop running at 19:00.
There are taxi ranks at the port and the airport. Travellers can also attempt to flag taxis down. A typical fare from the airport to Skiathos Town should be around £7. Skiathos Taxi is a two-car operation that offers luxury service in Mercedes C-Class cars and accepts online reservations. Other taxi companies provide phone reservations services.
Skiathos Water Taxi offers bespoke transfers to some beaches and other islands in the Sporades, as well as to the mainland. The company website gives information about approximate trip durations and the telephone number to make a reservation.
After exploring the vibrant streets of Skiathos Town and taking in the ruins of the old port castle and the Alexandros Papadiamantis Museum, many visitors take advantage of the pristine location to do a spot of sightseeing in a car hire. The southern coastal route to Koukounaries gives access to beaches such as Agia Paraskevi (Platanias) and Vromolimnos. In other locations, historic churches and monasteries are the main draws.
Koukounaries Beach - Rated by many as Greece’s finest. A kilometre-long stretch of golden sands is lapped by translucent seas. A verdant backdrop of pine trees completes this picture-perfect scene. The beach gets packed in high season and as a consequence, most of the morning and evening buses to and from Skiathos Town suffer from congestion.
The ruins at Kastro - These are all that remains of one of the biggest towns in the region in medieval times. One of the churches is in reasonable condition and a fitting testament to this history. Kastro’s cliff top location provides panoramic views over the Aegean. The road does not go all the way up to Kastro so visitors have to make a short hike to complete the trip.
Evaggelistrias Monastery - This is in a hilly inland area and dates from the late 18th century. Rounded domes, intricate frescos and an interesting museum make this a must-visit site for history buffs. The museum houses items ranging from old weapons to Byzantine religious icons.