SKYROS | GREEK ISLANDS | SPORADES
An island that seduces the senses of its visitor, enchanting him with crystal clear waters, small sandy bays, emerald forests, rocky hills and white cubic houses.
Skyros can almost be considered two islands, its two halves being so different. Most of its 3,000 inhabitants live in the northern half, which is wooded and fertile, while the south half is barren, mountainous and wild.
This least developed island of the Sporades is famous for its traditions — carved wooden furniture, delightful pottery, embroideries — and its miniature ponies (only 1 m high).
As you wander round the main town, Horio, take a peek into any open door you come across for a glimpse of the famous Skyrian decorated living room and hearth; perhaps an elderly occupant will stop knitting on her stoop and invite you in for a sweet, if it’s not August which is the only time Skyros is crowded. The architecture in Horio resembles that of the Cyclades with its clusters of small, white cubic houses and flower-filled courtyards, picturesque squares and dozens of old churches. As you walk up to the Venetian castle, which shares the top of the hill with the ancient acropolis of Lykomedes, the houses become larger and more impressive and the view is superb.
The island’s port, Linaria, midway between the two halves, has a number of good fish tavernas, while the best beaches are to the south-west and north-east, though the latter can be windblown. Those on the north-west are pineshaded but stony.
The most cosmopolitan beaches on the island are Magazia and Molos with sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars and restaurants.
Skyros is also known all over Greece for its Carnival traditions, which may have their origin in Dionysiac revels. The men dressed in goatskin masks and shaggy cloaks dance through town with an infernal clanging from the sheepbells worn around their waist. Must be seen to be believed.
HOW TO GET TO SKYROS
Skyros can be accessed by boat from the port (T. 0030 22220 22522) of Kymi in Evia.
The boat ride lasts approximately one and a half hours and during the summer the itinerary is quite frequent.
By air from Athens International Airport or Thessaloniki International Airport, with Aegean Airlines.
The duration of the flight from either Athens or Thessaloniki is 25 minutes.
Skyros is also connected by boat with Skopelos and Alonissos, its neighboring Sporades islands.