Skiathos Beaches Guide, Greek Islands

Skiathos, Koukounaries Beach, Greece

Koukounaries Beach pictured in late September, Skiathos.

Why holiday on Skiathos?

This is the most popular of Greece’s Sporades islands, even if it just 12 kms long and about 6kms wide.
It’s a cheap holiday destination close to the Greek mainland so requires only a short flight or ferry ride, it’s well-developed but not over-developed, with plenty of good value rental apartments and hotels, packed with excellent beaches (65) of all shapes and sizes but mainly coated with foot-friendly sand; the best sand is found in the island’s southerly half. Skiathos is much favoured by British sun seekers so locals are comfortable speaking English.

Koukounaries Beach

Big and busy, Koukounaries has clear reasons why it’s one of the island’s best beaches and arguably one of the best beaches in Greece.
It’s at the end of a bus route, it’s long, the sand is unusually soft, the water’s warm, shallow and Blue Flag clean and a good variety of watersports are on offer. There are several tavernas around, kiosks for drinks, snacks and cigarettes, hotels too within easy walking distance and the whole caboodle is embraced by a pine forest that offers a cool retreat in the middle of the day (photo below).

Skiathos, nature reserve beside Koukounaries beach, Greece

Koukounaries backs onto a pine forest reserve which offers shade, alternative activities or quiet time, but note that allergy sufferers may have problems with pine pollen in Skiatos and some other Greek islands.

Banana Beach

Banana Beach bar, Skiathos, Greece

If the crowds and activities of Koukounaries are not to your liking, ten minutes walk southwest is the more relaxed Banana Beach, and just around from Banana is Little Banana beach (below), a popular place for nudists to hang out.

Fine sand in a pretty little bay, backed by pine trees, Banana is near the last bus stop for the #24 bus, has clear water and a couple of tavernas, one of them (pictured above) being the funkiest establishment we came across on any island in Greece. This is a brilliant place for sunset drinks, popular with younger, non-family visitors and also supposed to be the best windsurfing spot on the island as there is a regular breeze offshore, though getting boards down to the beach is not easy.

Little Banana Beach

Little Banana Beach nudists, Skiathos, Greece

Just around a little rocky headland lurks Little Banana beach where naturists are in the habit of saluting the passing of the daily round-the-island-ferry boat.

Little Banana beach at sunset, Skiathos, Greece

Little Banana beach, also known as Spartacus beach. Hard core Banana nudists as well as gays roam free a little further along the bay.

Skiathos beaches map, Greece

A satellite map of Skiathos with approximate location of the best beaches. Reference sources are contradictory!

Lalaria Beach

Lalaria beach, Skiathos, Greece

Over-hyped Lalaria beach, on the island’s north shore is accessible only by boat.

This smooth pebble beach has super-clear turquoise water, but no taverna, no sand, little shade and frequent landings by shiploads of packaged people who scrunch around and paddle for 10 minutes before shipping off again in a cloud of marine diesel.
So pretty, yes. Comfortable, no.

Aselinos Beach

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Aselinos beach, on the west coast centre. Desperate tourists get a quick roasting during a brief stop-over on a round-the-island trip.

Aselinos is not a bad beach on the centre-west coast of Skiathos, walkable from Troulos in 40 minutes or 10 minutes by road, it houses a decent bar/restaurant and plenty of rather harsh sand but also can have a dangerous undertow when there are waves. It’s another stop on the round-island ferry route which is not a good thing.

Elias Beach

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 Elia (Elias, Ilias) beach, with a distant taverna roof just visible and home-made sun shades scattered around.

With a desire to walk up to an hour or personal transport such as a scooters, the more isolated and laid-back beaches on the Skiathos west side become accessible and offer long stretches of fine sand with far fewer neighbours, or facilities though there’s always a taverna within staggering distance if you need one.

Elias and Mandraki on the southwest coast are the best choices if isolation and perhaps even a mini-adventure getting there are your thing.

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Home-made sun shelters on Elia beach.

The island boasts of 65 beaches – though some of them are smaller than my sofa – and the east and south coasts are packed with beach freaks, but the west side is at least partially a DIY beach colony.

Mandraki Beach

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Mandraki beach is a bit more sorted and very relaxing, with an excellent taverna and shallow protected water but still has a rough approach road, seen on the right.

Vromolimnos Beach

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Vromolimnos beach.

Vromolimnos is a Blue Flagged beach generally ranked #2 after Koukounaries for sand quality and size, with superb sunsets and varied water sports on offer. Water skiing is especially renowned here as the water surface usually goes glassy-smooth in the late summer afternoons.

One upside/downside depending on the likes of the visitor and the season is that one of the beach tavernas has a tradition of playing music extremely loud for much of the day. This may appeal to teens and twenties but unlikely to be enjoyed by other age groups or families. Then again the volume may be more controlled or entirely absent next season.

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Troulos Beach

Troulos beach, skiathos, greece

Troulos beach.

Troulos is yet another fine, Blue Flag beach, though smaller than Vromolimnos or Koukounaries. It’s family friendly with all the usual water sports, tavernas, snack bars nearby. What makes Troulos a bit different is the great selection of accommodation very nearby in the Troulos Valley, ranging from rental villas, apartments and studios to small family hotels or big resort hotels with swimming pools. Non-residents can generally use the pools for the price of a drink.

Walks: Several pleasant walks fan out from Troulos, such as a 40 minute hike to Mandraki beach or a flat 55 minutes to Aselinos.