Skiathos has a long-running reputation as an excellent beach destination in the Aegean. Wedged between Skopelos and the end of the Pelion peninsula, the island’s many coves and bays range from picture-perfect sweeps of golden sand to remote inlets dashed by pebbles and pine trees. Some are lively affairs, with rows of sunbeds up for rent. Others promise to make it just you and the Aegean Sea, with craggy cliffs looming over snorkelling spots.

    The main arrival point on Skiathos is the harbour town of Skiathos itself. There are loads of beaches within easy reach of cosy tavernas, stringing along the shore to the south. For something more isolated, you can venture to the north coast and its scrub-dashed cliffs. Further west, you'll encounter shallow bays that are great for swimming and sunset watching. Read through our list below and see which beach in Skiathos is right for you.

    1

    Koukounaries

    Find the pristine sand beyond the pine forests

    Koukounaries Beach stretches in a long arc of honey-coloured sand by rows of shore pines. Behind it is a sloshing sea lagoon, which drifts inland from the extreme southwest of the island. It takes around 30 minutes in the car to get here from Skiathos Town, which means trading the happening harbour for rows of sunbeds right on the sand.

    The most attractive aspect of Koukounaries is surely the surrounding forest. Green and lush, it sways in the light shore breezes; rows of cypresses and eucalyptus going this way and that. At happy hour, look between the trees. They hide the occasional beach bar, where tables await in the shade gazing across the Aegean.

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    2

    Lalaria

    Sail out to a white-sand bay under high cliffs

    At Lalaria Beach, the water gleams turquoise and the cliffs shimmer white under the sun. It surely is one of the most dramatic beaches in Skiathos. It's not the easiest to get to, though. In fact, no roads head down to the pebbles. Instead, you'll have to hop on a boat at Skiathos Harbour and whiz north around the headlands. 

    Lalaria enjoys some of the clearest water in the region, thanks largely to the rocky shores that surround it. Talking of rocky shores, there's also a rugged stone arch poking out of the east end of the beach. It's a great spot for snorkellers to meet zebrafish and schools of sardines.

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    3

    Agia Paraskevi

    Sunbeds await on gold-tinged sand

    Agia Paraskevi is some 6.4 km to the southwest of Skiathos Town, situated in the heart of the most popular area for holidaymakers. A good mix of beach hotels and little island tavernas meet where the sleepy village of Agia Paraskevi joins the sea. Families get clean swimming waters and sunbeds, and there's even a watersports outfitter with pedal boats and jet skis.

    For those after a little more adventure, the rising mountains to the north of Agia Paraskevi offer loads of hiking trails. Some start near the beach itself and link up to rustic Kechria on the north coast, weaving through aspen groves and over limestone crags as they go.

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    4

    Big Banana Beach

    Laze under an umbrella with a cocktail in hand

    Big Banana Beach is shaded by rocky hills on the extreme western edge of Skiathos. Just as the name implies, it's a crescent-shaped run of bright yellow sand. Rows of scented plane trees and pines rise and rise above each other overhead. The water is green-blue and see-through. The occasional villa pokes out from the forests to gaze down at the strait and the Pelion peninsula.

    Banana Beach has become a real favourite for those in search of classic Greek island R&R. It's around a 30-minute drive from Skiathos Town, which keeps the crowds small. What's more, there's an upscale vibe, so you can expect to pay over the odds for a sunbed. To the north, Little Banana Beach is a secluded and nudist-friendly option.

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    5

    Vromolimnos

    Where green olive groves converge on taverna bars by the Aegean Sea

    Sandy Vromolimnos Beach is where the light slosh of the Aegean Sea mixes with summer chillout tunes. A gleaming run of gold-tinged powder framed by wooded coastal hills, it's a mere 8 km from Skiathos Town, and within walking distance of the nearby resort area of Kolios.

    The location ensures there's always a buzz about Vromolimnos. Cocktail glasses clink from midday onwards courtesy of the clutch of beach bars. People chatter and gather tans on the sunbeds that pepper the sand. There's also a boat rental and watersport outfitter right on the shore, offering day charters and water-skiing.

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    6

    Achladies

    Bobbing boats in an azure bay

    Achladies is the first beach you come across after the golden mile of hotels and bars running southwest of Skiathos Town. The journey from the harbour takes around 15 minutes on the coast bus. Then, you'll find yourself in a sleepy spot that's a half resort, half-island village, where local Greek delicatessens mingle with sweet-smelling bakeries. 

    The beach at Achladies is almost 500 metres in length. It's got rows of sunbeds that cost around €8 for a couple per day. Use those to drop your stuff and then hit the water. It's famously clear in this corner of Skiathos, with plenty of tide pools around Cape Achladies for budding snorkellers.

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    7

    Agia Eleni

    Catch the last rays of the sun

    Agia Eleni, a gorgeous little inlet on the far western side of Skiathos, gets some seriously awesome sunset views. Getting there involves a pleasant 20-minute walk over scrub hills and through pine groves from the resort of Koukounaries. You'll be greeted with a scythe of biscuit-coloured sand and shallow waters that roll over reefs.

    Stick around for the later hours, when you can watch the sun dipping low over the Pelion headland on the opposite side of the Aegean. It's a stunning sight, as the waters glow ochre and orange against silhouettes of mountains.

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    8

    Kanapitsa

    Escape to a narrow sliver of sand with sleepy Greek tavernas

    Kanapitsa, one of Skiathos’ hidden beaches, lies on the rugged Kalamaki peninsula. Poking out from the southern coast on the way from Skiathos to Koukounaries, it's connected to the main town by public bus and water taxi. The rhythm of life seems to slow on this remote corner of the island, where fishing boats bob on the wind swells.

    In essence, Kanapitsa is a place to kick back and unwind. Grab a book and drinks after scoring yourself one of the few loungers lining the beach. For lunch, you can visit a beachside taverna for souvlaki and cold beers. If things get a little busy, make for Tzaneria Beach over the headland, where more swimming and sunbathing opportunities await.

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    9

    Mandraki

    Crystal-clear waters and breezy beachcombing

    Mandraki Beach dashes along the north-western end of Skiathos under sheer cliffs of mud and pine forest. It's one of the most remote strands on the island, where you can head to escape the rows of sunbeds and cocktail-sipping holidaymakers.

    Dominant onshore winds in the summer months bring warm breezes across Mandraki bay. They churn up the sea and move the trees to and fro, making the place a doozy for beachcombers. When the wind subsides, Mandraki’s still waters are great for swimming. Come evening, the sunset is sure to get the camera a-clicking – think red-orange hues dancing over the Aegean Sea.

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    10

    Plakes

    Gleaming pebbles framed by whitewashed tavernas

    Plakes is the closest beach to the bustling Skiathos Town. You could almost throw a breaded saganaki cheese from the terrace of a taverna onto its pebbles – but don't do that. Instead, try to discover the narrow steps that lead down to the bay. A couple of paint-peeling fishing boats and shallow swimming waters offer a welcome respite there.

    Plakes is an excellent place to take a dip in the Aegean before or after exploring Skiathos's historic heart. It's tiny, so don't expect to find anywhere to lay down your towel. A high-perched taverna on the cliff above has gorgeous views and seating for when it's time for dinner.

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    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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