Thomson Holidays

Walking on Skopelos

Walking trails and tracks criss-cross the lush green hillsides of Skopelos

The island of Skopelos is enjoying a growing reputation among walkers and a holiday visit to the island will soon explain why.

The combination of winter rains and fertile soil has resulted in a green island of lush vegetation, densely coated in forest and pocked with olive groves, citrus orchards and vineyards.

The relatively small population means much of Skopelos is undeveloped and in the spring the island is carpeted in wild flowers of every description, from poppies to freesias and orchids to irises.

Wild herbs grow in abundance on the hillsides throughout the year, from chamomile in June to crocus in September while the growing and harvesting of plums have kept the island prosperous for many years.

Little wonder then that Skopelos offers the opportunity for visitors to enjoy some delightful walks through some of the most beautiful landscape in the Greek islands.

Walking groups have been active on Skopelos for a number of years and have done an excellent job in hacking back undergrowth along some of the most popular trails.

Aware of the rising popularity with walkers. the island council, in collaboration with the Greek National Tourism Organization, has recently pitched in with digger and bulldozers to lay paved walking trails with shady rest stops along several popular routes, notably up Mount Palouki to the south east of Skopelos Town.

The walks here can be strenuous in places but walkers can enjoy rest stops on the way, pay visits to some of the most interesting monasteries on the island and, at the top, enjoy some of the best views on the island.

The recently revamped and way marked trails up Mount Palouki to the Monastery of Archalegos and the church of Agia Anna are rather prosaically named as T1, T2 and T3 while other routes in the north of the island are named T4 and T5.

As well as these way marked routes there are as miles of old mule tracks that crisscross the interior of Skopelos weaving through forests and orchards.

However, tracks can quickly get overgrown in the summer so it's best to get a walking guide from one of the local shops before setting out.

There are a few organised walking groups on Skopelos with trekking tours especially laid on for the tourists throughout the summer and details can be found in Skopelos Town or on the blog Skopelos Trails.

As well as treks to the top of Mount there is a pleasantly easy scenic forest trail walk north of the bay to the rocky beach coves at Glysteri.

South of Skopelos Town is a cross-island trail to the pretty beach resort of Agnontas which only takes a couple of hours, although the going can be steep in places.

The spectacular white sands of Panormos can also be reaches along old donkey trails from Skopelos Town with dirt roads weaving through olive groves and forests of pine, chestnut and plane.

Popular walks along the island's south-west coast include trails from Panormos to Neo Klima and from Old Klima to the port resort at Loutraki (along the T4 way marked path).

Above Loutraki, the hillside village of Glossa can be reached along the steep T5 trail and Glossa itself boasts a number of excellent walking trails including a rough and challenging cross-island walk to the chapel of Agios Ioannis (it featured in the hit movie musical Mamma Mia!).

So many interesting tracks and trails wind their way around this beautiful and relatively unspoilt Greek island that's found among the Sporades group, a short ferry hop from Skiathos.

The lush, attractive scenery and lack of crowds make Skopelos a real gem for walkers and trekkers.