Skyros is one of the Sporades group of islands found off the east coast of the Greek mainland that also includes Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
Skyros has an airport that takes domestic traffic and a few charter flights but there are, unfortunately, very few direct ferry links with other islands of the Sporades which lie to the north.
Most visitors make their way south from Athens to the small mainland port of Kymi on the island of Evia which has regular ferry sailings to the island.
The largest of the Sporades group, Skyros is an island of contrasts. The northern half is mountainous and densely wooded while the south is barren and rocky.
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 the downmarket demands of tourism.
The result is a traditional Greek island full of character where local customs hold sway.
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 on Monday when it closes all day.
In the summer months, Aegean Airlines have scheduled flights from Athens around three times a week with a flight time of about 40 minutes. In recent years, Aegean has also provided 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 takes passengers to Chora, Magazia, and sometimes Molos. There are also taxis at the airport to greet flight arrivals.
Many visitors fly to Athens then travel down to the port of Kymi on the east coast of Evia to catch a ferry. There is no point in flying to Skiathos as the ferry services to Skyros from this or any other of the Sporades islands are long and problematic.
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.
The summer months of July and August also see sailings between Skyros, Alonissos and Skopelos three times a week, normally Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Unfortunately, the route is via Kymi so it can take up to seven hours, for example, to get from Skopelos to Skyros.
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 be happy to drop you off at Magazia beach.
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 1 pm 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 are on hire in Chora and Linaria and the rates are standard, but always agree on the price before setting out.
Skyros is also a decent island for walking. An island map is available in local shops with several excellent 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 precautions. It can get very desolate here and very few people live in the area.
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 an embroidered skirt and yellow headscarf. Island travel agents have lists of accommodation.
The main beach between Magazia and Molos has hotels and apartments and there is usually a room available, although these can get block-booked in the high summer, so it is best to make arrangements before arriving on Skyros.
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 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 some 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.
Climate of Skyros
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 usually 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.
|Size||215 sq km|
|Season||May – Oct|
|Time (GMT)||+2 hrs|
|Coast Guard||Dial 191|