Skiathos is a popular Greek island destination for package holidaymakers and youngsters from the mainland. But what’s it like for solo travellers?
In all my island wanderings in Greece, the Sporades islands were an unexplored zone. Mainly because they’re harder to reach from Athens (there are no direct ferries from Piraeus).
So I pounced when I saw some cheap flights on Skyscanner. Flights from the UK to Skiathos are not usually the cheapest as it’s mainly the charter airlines that flight there, rather than budget giants like Ryanair or Easyjet.
It turns out Skiathos is, in fact, a natural paradise – and perfect for a solo trip to relax and recharge.
Skiathos is a compact island – small and easy to get around thanks to its frequent bus service. Everything centres around Skiathos Town, with the bus running frequently and late enough into the night to go out for dinner.
This means no pricey car hire is necessary, and you needn’t miss out on any of the sights. You might want to hire a scooter or quad to visit the more remote beaches in the north, but they are by no means the only good beaches on the island.
Because Skiathos is home to some beaches are amazing – wide crescent golden sweeps, some of the best in Greece.
WHAT’S THE VIBE?
I’ve always found lots of other females travelling solo in Greece as it’s so safe and friendly.
Skiathos doesn’t have a backpacker vibe but there are plenty of solo travellers here (including older ones, no need to be concerned about age). It’s primarily a beach holiday destination, and solo beach holidayers are not uncommon. It’s such a small place that it has a real community feel. It must be particularly ideal for single parent families.
In the summer it gets much busier with Greek tourists coming over from the mainland. The clubs in Skiathos town open up in July, and booming beach bars pop up on some of the beaches.
WHERE TO STAY FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS
There are no hostels on Skiathos so I went flashpacker-style at Atlas Hotel, which is a super comfortable and friendly hotel in Skiathos Town. It’s centrally located and amazingly good value.
Atlas run by a really friendly team who will immediately make you feel at home and will help you out with anything you need. It’s on the main commercial street (Papadiamantis) so I reckon it’s particularly good for solo female travellers – no dark backstreets which can be spooky on your own.
It’s worth noting that there’s no real communal area except a few tables in the central courtyard. And I recommend getting one of the rooms with outdoor access as the cheaper rooms have no exterior window.
The showers and orthopaedic mattresses are amazing though, and rooms are cool and quiet given the location. I slept like a baby. There’s a hairdryer and small mini fridge in your room too.
There’s no breakfast, but you do get a discount at popular Foodie Cafe just a few steps away (I recommend the fruit and yoghurt).
If you don’t fancy being in town then Angeliki Beach Hotel in Megali Ammos was recommended to me by other solo travellers for its direct beach access and friendly beach bar.
HITTING THE BEACH SOLO
I visited early in the season (May) when the beaches were quiet and I had no worries leaving my stuff on the beach whilst I went in for a quick dip even – on the popular beach Koukounaries (pictured above). I’m not sure I’d feel the same in summer when main beaches get very busy though. I didn’t see any lockers.
But it is the kind of place where I’d feel comfortable asking someone else on the beach to keep an eye on my stuff.
If you’re still feeling unsure about this, have a read of my post What to Do With Your Valuables At the Beach for some ideas.
MEETING OTHER TRAVELLERS
Skiathos has a very devoted bunch of returnees who call themselves the Boomerangers. There’s a FB group (look up Skiathos Single Boomerangers) if you want to see if anyone’s around for a drink.
It’s also really easy to get chatting to people on the bus, at the beach, in the bars on the harbourfront, etc.
ACTIVITIES FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS
The main activities on Skiathos are boat trips and enjoying the natural scenery. Oh, and the frequent showings of Mamma Mia! at the open air cinema on the Bourtzi. Thankfully it’s easy to join boat trips as a solo traveller.
I took the Mamma Mia! boat trip with Poseidon – you can read about all about my trip here – but there are a few others available, including visiting the famously beautiful Lalaria beach, the uninhabited islets off the coast of Skiathos, and Alonnisos Marine Park.
And Nikolaki’s Swimming Trips can take you out on a traditional fishing boat for a day of swimming in remote coves and eating delicious freshly caught seafood (sadly the weather prevented me from going – one of the downsides of a May visit – but it looks amazing).
I’ve never felt weird or awkward dining alone in Greece. In fact, I think it’s one of the easiest countries to do so. I’ve never felt any animosity for taking up the table space of two or more people. Quite the opposite, staff often go out of their way to make me feel at ease.
For dinner, I recommend meat eaters head to the very entertaining (and not at all expensive) Koziakos grill house. And for quick and simple gyros meal go to No Name on Papadiamantis Street. In Koukounaries I really liked Under the Pine Tree grillhouse.
For something a bit swankier, the cafe-restaurant at the Bourtzi has a tapas-style menu of tasty modern things like flatbreads, Greek wine and kaimaki ice-cream with sour cherries and roasted almonds underneath the pine trees. It’s open all day. In a similar vein is fancy Marmita restaurant and, next-door, Artesanal.
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