There is no greater sense of freedom than watching the coastline of the mainland disappear into the distance whilst an uneven green hump arising from the ocean comes closer into vision. Feeling the fresh, salty, Mediterranean breeze on your face the excitement builds as the lure of a new adventure beckons, promising the staples of a fantastic Greek holiday – great weather, food and hospitality, complimented by a stunning backdrop.
Greece has had a hard time recently, shrouded by a dark cloud of doom and gloom, plunging deeper into financial crisis with not even the recent elections lightening the mood. With the natural beauty and charm the country possesses, it seems a great opportunity to take a holiday and start pumping some euros back into the faltering economy.
If you want to discover a Greek island that lacks the neon lights and raucous noise of a long tourist strip & instead want to relax in a luscious, tropical utopia, enjoying wonderful food and warm Greek hospitality, look no further than the Greek island of Skyros.
Being slightly less accessible than other Greek islands, Skyros has retained that small-town, local village feel that Greece does so well. With only 3 flights a week from Athens, the best way to access the island is by a coach journey from the capital to the coast, followed by the daily ferry. The effort spent to reach the island is quickly forgotten on arrival, as the ferry pulls into the pretty port, dotted with faded fishing boats and a handful of yachts.
What could have been a coincidence but most likely not, we encountered the same taxi driver every time we travelled on the island, indicating there was just the one, enjoying his monopoly there by charging exceptionally high prices. But the island is hilly and worth exploring so it’s worth putting aside some euros for this. There are also a couple of companies that provide tours of the island in a 4×4, taking in the sights and finishing at the highest point, where the panoramic view of Skyros is stunning. The islands main body stretches further into the ocean with sprawling peninsulas, fringed with white and yellow sandy beaches. The surrounding hills host scatterings of those signature white houses, crawling up their sides, creating postcard perfect scenery.
The town is centred around a small buzzy square, which comes alive at night when the locals gather to drink ouzo and eat souvlakia. During the day is a great time to explore. Although it may feel somewhat of a ghost town, you can climb the narrow cobbled streets and admire the charming crumbling buildings in relative peace, your only hindrance- the blazing sun.
What the island lacks in pristine white sand and an overactive nightlife, it makes up for in rich culture and a beautiful inland tapestry of greenery and rolling hills. There is a lot to be enjoyed on the island and in such an easy paradise any consciousness of the recession slowly starts to slip away.