Skyros

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Getting to Skyros

Sporades map

Where is Skyros? It is one of the Sporades group of islands found on the east coast of the Greek mainland that also includes Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.

Skyros has an airport that takes domestic and a few charter flights but there are, unfortunately, very few direct ferry links with other islands of the Sporades.

Most visitors will make their way south from Athens to the small mainland port of Kymi on Evia which has regular ferry sailings to the island.

The largest of the Sporades group, Skyros is mountainous and densely wooded in the north but barren and rocky in the south.

Accommodation of Skyros is limited. Tourism beds number only about 1,000 and there is a strong, local movement to keep the island independent of tourism. The result is a much more traditional Greek island where local customs hold sway.

Updated for 2016

Skyros flights: travel by air

Skyros Airport (SKU) is mainly used by the Greek military although it does take a few charter flights, mostly from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, as well as weekly domestic flights from Athens.

The airport is about four kilometres north of the island capital at Chora, near the village of Trachy, and is only open for civilian flights in the mornings, except Monday when it is closed all day.

In summer Olympic Air can have scheduled flights from Athens around three times a week with a flight time of about 40 minutes. Aegean Airlines now also flies a Sunday service to the island.

Sky Express also operates flights to Skyros from Thessaloniki Airport on Wednesday and Saturday.

A bus meets most flights and goes to Chora, Magazia, and sometimes Molos. There are also taxis at the airport to greet flight arrivals.

Many visitors fly to Athens then drive down to Kymi on the east coast of Evia to catch a ferry. There is no point flying to nearby Skiathos as there are no ferry services from other Sporades islands.

Skyros ferries: travel by sea

The Skyros Shipping Company runs the only ferry service to Skyros. The company's stockholders are all islanders. In summer, the Achilleas ferry runs twice daily from Kymi on the east coast of Evia to Linaria on Skyros, and twice daily back again.

The sailing takes just over two hours. In winter there is one daily ferry each way, leaving Skyros early morning and Kymi late afternoon. Details of sailings are on the website at or from company offices at Kymi (22220 22020) or Skyros (22220 91790).

The company also sells connecting bus tickets to Athens, a three hour journey. In Athens, Alkyon Travel (210383 2545) can arrange bus transport to Kymi and ferry tickets to the Sporades.

Those trying to include Skyros in a tour of the Sporades will find it difficult. There are no direct ferries from Skiathos or Skopelos although, occasionally the Achilleas will call in at Alonissos.

Ferries from the other Sporades islands to Kymi rarely synchronise with the Skyros ferry and visitors usually have to contend with an overnight stop in Kymi.

On Skyros, ferries dock at Linaria, on the opposite side of the island from Chora. The island bus usually meets the boat. If you ask, the driver will drop you off at Magazia beach.

 

Skyros map: getting around

Skyros is the southernmost of the Sporades archipelago off the east coast of mainland Greece along with Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos

At 209 sq km Skyros is the largest in the Sporades group with a population of about 3,000, most living in the capital town of Chora and the main Magazia beach area.

The north area of Skyros is lush and covered in forest and it has the island's highest point at Mount Olympus (792 metres). The roads are relatively poor, especially in the south which is mostly dirt track.

The southern area of Skyros is barren and rocky, very dry in the centre although there are a number of freshwater springs along the coast. In the east the rocks rise sheer from the sea and there are many sea caves, the most noted at Diatrypti, Pentekali, Yerania and Spilia.

Winter rains from November to February and a profusion of underground springs help to keep most of Skyros abundant with water during the summer months.

Winter storms can be ferocious but generally die out in April. By the end of May the days on Skyros are hot and settled although August usually has an occasional summer storm. Exposed beaches in the north and west can suffer from strong winds in high summer.

Skyros transport: travel on land

Car rental

Those travelling overland to Skyros can catch the bus to Kymi and Agios Konstantinos from Terminal B (260 Lission bus station) six times a day. If you leave later than 1pm you are unlikely to catch the ferry connection.

The trip takes three to four hours and from Kymi and travellers can catch a local bus to the harbour at Paralia Kymi. Ask the bus driver about ferry times as it could save a wasted journey

The only scheduled bus service on Skyros is the Chora to Linaria shuttle bus. It runs four to five times daily, usually timed to arrive in Linaria the same time as the ferry.

Cars and mopeds can be rented in Chora. The island has a relatively well-developed network of roads with the best roads in the north, where the main road roughly follows the coast and dirt tracks lead off to the various beaches.

Signposting is not a strong point and visitors are well advised to buy a local map. Taxis can be hired in Chora and Linaria and the rates are standard, but always agree the price before setting out.

Skyros walks

Skyros is also a good island for walking. An island map is available in local shops with several good walking routes. The most popular walking trails are in the north-west of the island which is covered in dense pine forest. Those hiking in the south of Skyros should take good precautions. It can get very desolate here and very few people live in the area.

Skyros rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Skyros has a fair selection of hotels, apartments and self-catering studios but many visitors prefer to stay in traditional houses in Skyros Town. Many locals open their doors to visitors and some of the typical homes on Skyros are a joy to enter, full of hand-made copper pots, exquisite embroidery and hand-carved furniture.

Room owners usually greet arrivals off the bus from Linaria and often include elderly women dressed in the traditional local costume of embroidered skirt and yellow headscarf. Island travel agents have lists of accommodation.

The main beach between Magazia and Molos is lined with hotels and apartments and there are usually room available, although these can get block-booked in the high summer so its is best to make arrangements before arriving on Skyros.