Skiathos is truly spoilt when it comes to beaches. It counts over 60 which is amazing for such a small island (it’s just 12km long).
And one bonus of being such a small island is that many of the beaches are easy to reach, with a regular bus frequently trundling along the south coast and linking most of Skiathos’ beach resorts.
The best sand is found at the south-west end of the island around Koukounaries, as well as in some delightful hidden beaches on the north coast.
The most geographically interesting of all of the beaches on the island, Lalaria has a wild kind of beauty with memorable colours – the water is a striking shade of turquoise and the beach a blinding white.
This is thanks to the small white pebbles formed from the steep limestone cliffs that surround the beach. There are also some rock formations around the beach.
You can only access Lalaria by boat – there are plenty of trips available except when strong winds are blowing.
Skiathos’ biggest and best sweep of fine golden sand is at Koukounaries. It’s right at the end of the bus line and easy to reach from Skiathos Town (the bus takes about one hour).
Set amongst fragrant pines in a protected natural area that also has wetlands and a few black swans and white geese which have taken up residence. No access to the beach is allowed after sundown (so no beach parties, sorry folks).
There are a number of beach bars joined by a shaded wooden boardwalk, and many sun loungers available for rent, plus watersports available at the east end of the beach.
Big Banana beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
Previously a party beach (and home of Bananistas beach bar), Big Banana is now flanked by a luxury resort which has brought some serious swanky vibes to this end of the peninsula.
By law, the beach is still accessible to the public – however it’s worth noting there’s no vehicle access. Instead take the road up the hill from the last bus stop in Koukounaries – it’s a 10-minute walk. There are rumours of the hotel providing a shuttle bus in high season.
These west-facing beaches get maximum sunset and have lush soft sand. Let’s hope the change in crowd brings less litter as well as softer sounds to Big Banana.
Little Banana has traditionally been the favoured nudey beach on Skiathos.
You can climb along the rocks from Big Banana (although I didn’t try), or take the road that forks right from the traffic barrier and follow the signs.
A beach bar run by the luxury resort has popped up, providing expensive sunloungers and banging tunes. Will this drive away the nudists?
Only time will tell.
Maratha beach is the little sister of Koukounaries, tucked away around the corner underneath the Skiathos Princess Resort hotel.
Get off the bus at stop 22 and follow the sign down some (steep and uneven) stairs and you’ll pop out at this gem of a beach. The beach bar is run by the hotel and the tunes are good.
It’s narrower than Koukounaries, and quieter – although sunloungers are usually all taken up by hotel guests.
Achladies is a small and popular resort with accommodation right on the beach, and a jetty for the water taxis. The main strip of beach near the tavernas and jetty is nothing to write home about – it’s narrow and fairly gritty, and a bit sharp underfoot.
But keep going towards the northern end of the beach which is a delight for swimming. The sand gets sandier and the water is a beautiful emerald green at this end.
The beach at Agia Paraskevi is one of the biggest sandy beaches on the island. It gets busy enough in the summer as there’s plenty of accommodation in the wider area, though the development doesn’t reach as far as the beach itself (except for a few abandoned buildings).
At the north end of the beach is Skiathos Princess Hotel with comfortable sun loungers and day beds (unfortunately for residents only) so head to Bamboon beach bar is in the middle if you’re looking for loungers.
The next beach along from the Bananas, Agia Eleni is facing dead-on west for amazing sunset views over the mainland.
It’s an extra 5-minute walk from the Banana beaches through the pine forest (though there is a small car park you can reach through the trails).
Over the summer months the beach bar morphs into a lively hangout with chillout music, cocktails and bean bags.
Tucked away down a long winding road and behind a small lake, Vromolimnos has some of the best sand on Skiathos – as well as an incredible scent of marine pine, eucalyptus and sea mint.
There’s a small watersports shack at the east end and a small jetty at the west. There are a few beach bars and tavernas to serve the summer crowds.
But in shoulder season it’s fairly quiet as there are only a few apartments in the vicinity and its a bit of a walk from the bus stop.
If you want to get your walking shoes on then make tracks for Mandraki, one of the main beaches in the north-west.
It requires an atmospheric walk through Skiathos’ beautiful Mandraki Forest – another protected biosphere (or else you can drive down the off-road tracks but really I recommend doing the walk from Koukounaries if you can).
This north-facing beach is a nature lover’s favourite and has with a small amiable beach shack, a few sun loungers, and unique sandstone cliffs which give the beach its reddy-golden colour.
This pretty little gem is the first beach of Kanapitsa Bay that you come to from the main road. It’s a quiet and sleepy area with lovely scenery and beaches that are linked to Skiathos Town by water taxi.
The beach is a quiet stretch of coarse golden sand, but the main appeal here is the setting and the excellent fish taverna.
Sklithri is accessible from the main road. Just hop off the bus at stop number 11 (there’s a car park opposite the taverna too).
The main beach at Tzaneria has great sand and a well-placed taverna with sun loungers. It’s a 5-minute walk from the main road and there’s good parking available, as well as the water taxi.
You can walk around the bay to Kanapitsa or Sklithri, and there are walking trails crisscrossing the peninsula (which is called Kalamaki).
If you’re looking for more beaches to explore on Skiathos then check out the following:
Lalaria: © Cara-Foto / Adobe Stock
All other photos © The Mediterranean Traveller