Floating in the Aegean between Thessaloniki and Athens, the Sporades Islands are sweet little gems and if you haven’t discovered them yet, they come highly recommended by the experts at Visit Greece for your next family holiday.
Beachy, drenched in sunshine and on the sheltered eastern side of the mainland, as well as being lovely they’re all easy to reach and incredibly family-friendly – one even played a major part in the movie, Mamma Mia. Keen to know more? Then take a look at the starriest Sporades: Skiathos, Skópelos, Alonissos and Skyros.
Direct UK flights to Skiathos take from just over three hours. That could be the reason why the best known of the Sporades scores well as a family holiday island. Though the fact that it’s ringed right round by more than 60 lovely beaches and is a bit of a star when it comes to water sports and outdoor adventuring, might work in its favour too. And then there’s the way it balances the lively party reputation of Skiathos Town with family-friendly resorts and hotels along the sunny south coast, and an almost totally undeveloped north that’s as easy to explore as it is to fall in love with. So yes, Skiathos is quick to get to from the UK, but that’s far from the only reason to go.
Skiathos family holiday highlights
Skiathos has over 60 clean and beautifully cared for beaches. Some are packed with water sports. There are plenty of quiet coves for younger kids and sweet nooks of sand trimmed with tavernas. You’ll find party beaches and peaceful beaches or dramatic beaches like Lalària with its astounding sun-bleached white rocks.
Koukounariés Beach has been named the third most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean. A prize it earns for sitting at the edge of vast and mysterious Koukounariés Forest on the south-west coast – white sand, natural shade and pine fronds touching the sea also add to appeal.
Skiathos Town has a bit of a party reputation, but visit during the day and you can stroll around cobbled streets and admire traditional townhouses with pretty gardens; hop onto ethereal Boúrtzi Peninsula to explore the ancient Venetian fortress and get pleasantly lost in green, crowd-free lushness for hours; test town taverna for great local cooking or go check out the amazing views and pirate tales at the Kástro fortress.
Unspoiled, often dramatic and remarkably accessible, Skiathos is an island where families are actively encouraged to walk. Well-marked trails cover an astounding 200km, taking in the stunning coastline and delving deep into the island interior. And with hikes ranging from an easy one hour stroll to more challenging six hour-plus treks, saying toddlers to teens can stride out here is no exaggeration.
If kids are a tad too young for the relentless party vibe at famous Banana Beach on the south-west coast, family-friendly Mikri-Banana (little banana) beach, is right next door: pleasantly uncrowded and just as much fun in its own way.
On top of its many, many beaches, Skiathos is also one of the greenest Greek islands and building a reputation for mountain biking. Another activity made easy for families with well-marked trails and challenges, good bike hire and achievement certificates if you manage to walk or bike 12 trails or more.
Head to the natural harbour in Skiathos Town and have a look. Apart from the smart yachts vying for attention all summer, the four little islets surrounding the harbour make up one of the prettiest views in the entire Sporades archipelago.