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WHY IONIAN ISLAND HOLIDAYS?
AWARD WINNING HOLIDAYSWe are delighted to have been voted at the prestigious British Travel Awards "Best Small Holiday Company to Hellenic Europe" in 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014, as well as Runner Up for "Favourite Specialist Tour Operator" in the 2013 Telegraph Travel Awards.
EXPERT ADVICEOur team of experienced and knowledgeable advisers are here to make your holiday to the Greek islands memorable - and for the right reasons!
Where the pine forests end, the olive groves begin and where they end the orchards begin! Virtually every fruit tree can be found on Skopelos, although plums are an island speciality. In fact the great Aristotle was moved to state that the wine of Peparethos, the island’s name in antiquity, after its king, a son of Ariadne and Dionysios, was renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities, although he didn’t record whether he had personally put the claim to the test!
In the early Christian era, the island’s patron saint Riginos succeeded in slaying a dragon, which had been terrorising the island, by driving it to a cliff between Stafylos and Agnondas, which miraculously broke apart, with fatal consequences for the dragon. The spot is known to this day as “The Dragon’s Schism”. The infamous Ottoman pirate Barbarossa, actually of Greek birth, put the island to the sword in the 16th century.
Then the Venetians introduced not only political stability but a graceful architecture, much of which survives to this day. Despite its obvious natural attractions of beaches and coves, Skopelos is remarkably undeveloped.
The island’s eponymous capital is a bustling small port and harbour on a spectacular bay, with a maze of narrow paved streets, the ruins of a Venetian fortress and nearly 125 old churches. There are over 360 churches scattered about across the island some say there are enough for one for each day of the year.
Within a few minutes’ drive (a little longer if you choose to explore the network of traditional paths and tracks on foot) any urbanisation is left behind. Rural Skopelos reveals itself in scattered hamlets of stone built houses with distinctive silvery grey slated roofs surrounded by woods and orchards to rival any in Greece.
The unbroken pine forests and olive groves that stretch along a major part of the west coast is one of the island’s crowning glories. The magical drive to the other main village, Glossa on the north west tip of Skopelos, passes through this forest.
The island has a number of beaches, mostly quiet, like the kilometre stretch of tiny white pebbles at Milia, where the pines grow right down to the shore, or the fine sand of Limnonari further down the south coast. Many of these beaches can be visited by motor boat.
Eating out on Skopelos with fresh local produce, imaginative cooking and friendly service is highly recommended. Fish tavernas in spectacular locales and ‘ouzeries’ specialising in local ‘meze’ are a speciality of the area.
Walking on the island is possible much later into the peak summer months than on other islands, due to the shaded nature of many of the paths and plentiful springs and fountains. With no water shortage, a deep cool bath or long refreshing shower after a walk or beach session is not the over indulgence here that it might be on other drier islands! After all that, heaven might just be a slice of Skopelos cheese and vegetable pie straight out of the oven, fresh local plums (or even the delicious prunes!) and a glass of ice cold Retsina beneath an ancient pine with the sparkling Aegean beyond!
Skopelos Town: Tranquil small squares with quaint churches and marvellous views. Its traditional architecture is unique amongst the Greek Islands. Narrow flower filled cobbled streets climb the hillside between white washed houses with slate or red tile roofs and bougainvillea cascading down their walls. The old town is a designated preservation area, any new building must retain the old style. Explore the 120 Byzantine churches with the carved temples or the ruins of the 13th century Venetian fortress. A bustling waterfront of cafes and tavernas is sheltered by huge plane or mulberry trees and behind these, boutiques, jeweller’s and souvenir shops reflect the more sophisticated side to Skopelos.
Glossa: The northernmost village on the island. Glossa is a hillside town with magnificent views looking across to Skiathos. A traditional village with elegant, whitewashed, town houses and narrow cobblestone streets, it has a selection of tavernas, bakery, shops and a café bar. Glossa is linked to the coast by the small harbour and pebble beach of Loutraki, five minutes drive away.
Panormos and Agnondas: Panormos has one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, a peaceful village with waterside tavernas. Agnondas has a beautiful bay and four excellent tavernas with a speciality of fresh fish.
- Boat trip to the Marine Park, home of the endangered Monk Seal
- Explore secluded coves in your own motor boat from Panormos
- See the many monasteries on the island including the Convent of Prodromos at Agios Ioannis or the Venetian Monastery of Episkopi
- Enjoy the islands many beaches including the sandy beaches at Limnonari and Milia
- Sailing lessons through the local sailing club
- Half day “Town Walk” through the old part of Skopelos Town led by a knowledgeable guide
- Hiking in the hills around Skopelos
- Scuba diving around the Sporades
- Mountain biking in the hills around Skopelos
- Food festival where local ‘delicacies’ are presented and local musicians & singers perform (August only)
Direct flights from London Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester
Gatwick to Skiathos outbound flights are direct, Inbound flight operates via Volos.
Stansted to Skiathos outbound flights are direct, Inbound flight operates via Kavala for refuelling only.
Onward sea crossing from Skiathos to Skopelos on our chartered boat, by sea cat or ferry. Where applicable hire cars will be waiting at the port. Approx transfer time: 45 mins to 1 hour 15 mins
PRE-BOOKING YOUR AIRCRAFT SEAT
To pre book your seat please contact the airline directly quoting Ionian Island Holidays as your tour operator, your booking reference number, flight number, date of departure and specific flight request. Payments for these seats are direct with the airline.
AIRLINE CONTACT DETAILS
Small Planet Airlines:
Thomas Cook: 0844 855 0515
20kg for checked baggage, 5kg hand baggage.
Security restrictions may apply, please contact the airline, the airport or ourselves before departure.
We are able to offer a limited number of flights direct to Kefalonia, Preveza and Corfu. Contact out UK office for further details on 020 8459 0777.
Please also fully inform us of any disability or walking difficulty you may have, so we can provide assistance at the airport. This must be made at least 7 days before departure.