Last August we chose to visit the wonderful island of Skyros. There was no particular reason that guided us there, but the low popularity made us feel that it’s a god fit. We arrived in the island from the port of Kymi, when the sun had set. After conducting a small research and collecting information from friends, we headed directly for Aghios Petros (Saint Peter).
Aghios Petros is located at the Northwestern side of the island, next to the airport. It is a wonderful pine forest that doesn’t really feel like you are on an island anymore. The pines go all the way down to the beach, often actually touching the sand. That is one of the reasons that any kind of construction is forbidden inside the forest (which has clear boundaries and protection). It is a very popular place among campers and visitors of the island.
Of course it’s important to remember that it is a very delicate place (especially against forest fires), as it is very dense and full of people during the summer months. Such a place deserves our respect, and our caution. After all, the signs of a devastating forest fire back in 2012 are still very visible – and very real.
It was nighttime by the time we reached the forest, so without further delay we picked a spot, prepared a quick meal and went straight to bed.
With the first light of the day we witnessed the vast beauty of this place, as if it was revealed to us. The first thing we did was to move our car to a more flat surface (it’s not fun to sleep in an inclined bed), and decided that we would spend the rest of our vacation in that very place.
We begun our journey through the island, taking advantage of some inside information from friends. As we were headed towards the side of the island that is south of Aghios Petros, we took the road that leads you to the entire western side of the island. This side is the greenest part of the island, stretching all the way to Linaria, which is the port. For us it was a truly unique experience, compared to other islands. If you want to live outdoors, experience the forest or gaze over the Sporadian Sea, this is the best place for you to stay at. Atsitsa, Kyra Panagia and Pefkos Beach are some of the beaches that are bound to please everyone! If you love walking through the woods there is a special path through the Aghios Petros forest that leads to the Agalipa beach. That beach is accessible in two ways: either from the main path that leaves Aghios Petros and has a lot of signs in the way (1:30 hour of walking), or by a rather capable four-wheel drive car that can take you really close to the beach (and then walk for another half hour). That particular beach is one of the most beautiful and most secluded in the island, with the pine trees literally hanging above the sea. It would be wise to have provisions with you, as there are no local stores in the area.
We spent most of our nights at Aghios Petros, and our explorations led us to the discovery of a picturesque and lonely beach at the western side of the island, called Fokiada beach. This beach lies slightly to the north of the famous Acherounes beach, but also across – and far away – from the main port. In order to access this beach you definitely need an off-road vehicle and a lot of patience, because this is a very rocky road. So we decided to spend a few days in Fokiada, because it was a very peaceful and secluded place. Again, it is very important to bring all your necessities, because any sign of civilization is quite far.
On the other side of the island, towards the east we visited the beautiful capital town of Skyros. The town is by far the most densely populated region of the whole island. It is built in a slope and is facing westward, and we were delighted to see that it has kept its own unique character and its own special features. Its own cuisine, its own tradition and even its own ice-cream. It’s a wonderful thing when a place keeps its own unique character and is not sold out in the name of tourism and profit.
In the eastern side and much closer to the capital, one might find a bit more crowded places but more organized and with better infrastructure than the western side. But always without being overcrowded like most islands. Another great spot to visit in Skyros is the Pouria beach near the capital, with its rocky boulders that really are works of art.
Having visited a lot of islands we really did enjoy Skyros, because we didn’t expect to see such a beautiful and natural place and such a pure culture. We travelled there in early August, which is right in the middle of the high season and it was a bit crowded. We spent most of our days in our camper van and some of them in our tent. We even brought along our two dogs, Melina and Markos. We should also note that we didn’t encounter any problems regarding our pets, especially since we were coming from Crete (which means an extra boat trip). All in all, there is nothing negative to say about Skyros. It is definitely worth a visit, so that one can discover its beauty and uniqueness.