Thursday, 7 May 2009
If you love the Greek Islands and fancy yourself as a bit of a film buff, you might want to visit Skiathos and Skopelos and spot the locations where Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth filmed scenes for this summer's feel-good movie, MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE
The most westerly island in the northern Sporades archipelago, Skiathos (between Magnesia and Skopelos) is so-called for its location in the 'shadow of Mount Athos'. Skiathos Town's old harbour is dotted with fishing boats (and the occasional yacht) and there's a picturesque harbour-front lined with bars, cafes and traditional tavernas. The harbour is also where Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and Harry (Colin Firth) miss the ferry in MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE.
The old town of Skiathos is wonderful for relaxed meandering with its atmospheric streets and unusual shops. For great views over the town, head up to the church square outside St Nikolaos Bell Tower which overlooks the new port from its hillside location. It's worth heading over to Bourtzi, a small peninsula and former Venetian citadel which divides Skiathos harbour in two.
As well as 13th-century walls and canons, Bourtzi is great for watersports on Megali Ammos beach while the open-air theatre hosts summer concerts and Greek dancing. For shopping, head to Papadiamantis Street, Skiathos Town's main thoroughfare and shop for souvenirs, leather belts and jewellery. Active types can walk to the Monastery of Evangelistria, north of Skiathos Town. Home to a number of birds, dogs and cats, the resident monks also make their own wine, which is well worth sampling.
Pretty pine forests dot much of the island, but its beaches are the real gems. Skiathos might be just 46 square kilometres, but its 70-odd beaches include the fine sands of Koukounaries, considered one of Greece's best beaches. Koukounaries means pine forest and the beach is so-called for the pine trees which stretch along the coast to the lagoon on the other side. Vromolimnos, Tsougria and Troulos in southern Skiathos are also winners.
For fewer crowds, you should head north and relax at Mandraki, Elias, Lalaria (renowned for its unique hole rocks and white sands) and Kehria beaches. Banana beach is one of the island's few nudist beaches.
A great way to explore Skiathos' coastline is to book an island boat trip. A must-see is the abandoned clifftop city of Kastro, once a fortress against 14th-century pirates. A challenging climb leads to the town itself where views across the mainland and of northern Skopelos Island are spectacular.
When it comes to nightlife, Skiathos' old town is always buzzing and clubs are mainly located on the Disco Trip near the new harbour towards the airport. The busiest streets are Polytechniou Street and Bar Street while Koukounaries also boasts some lively spots.
Do you want to experience your own Mamma Mia-story? Go to www.medestino.com and book your hotel in Skiathos!