Skyros is the largest the Sporades Islands
although administratively it belongs to the island of Evia
. An interesting fact is that in terms of architecture and landscape, it resemble more an island of the Cyclades group with its cubical white buildings and the impressive capital village built on a high rock. Do not confuse with Syros
which is part of the Cyclades islands - it is not only the letter "k" to tell them apart.
Until recently Skyros was one of the undercover destinations in Greece because of the location and the lack of ferry connection with other islands. Although the island has a small airport which has been welcoming a growing number of foreign travelers in the last years, tourists are still predominantly Greeks and Skyros is not so popular like the rest islands of the group - it is suitable for relaxing holidays at the beach, calm evening walks and tasting local specialties like ladopita, spaghetti with lobster, goat cooked in lemon, fava and cheese.
The ferry to Skyros departs from Kymi on the island of Evia and arrives at the small port of Linaria
, as the trip duration is 1 hour and 40 minutes. There is also a seasonal ferry which connects Skyros with Alonnisos
but it runs only in the summer or in certain periods and its schedule needs to be checked in advance.
The population of the island is less than 3 000 inhabitants because its southern half is barren and not inhabited at all. The northern half has greenery and the few settlement are located there. Skyros Chora
is the main and largest village of the island. It is built on the slopes of a hill overlooking the sea, with ruins of an ancient castle atop and small white buildings spreading down toward the sea. The beach strip below Chora is long and wide, and the two resort settlements around it are known as Molos
, with plenty of hotels, some beach bars and view toward Chora. Other beaches can be found around the north half of the island, some of them with beach tavernas, others wild and empty most of the time.
On Skyros there is a special breed of horses known as Skyrian horses and their height is approximately 1 meter. They are found only on this island and considered one of the rarest horse breeds in the world. You won`t see them walk freely on Skyros (unlike the goats that seem to be everywhere) but you can visit the farm where they live and kids can even have a ride. The locals are also proud with their tradition in making ceramics with elaborate decorations in vivid colors - there are a couple of artisan shops in Chora where ceramics are displayed and available for purchase.
In Greek mythology Skyros is known as the island of king Lycomedes and the place where Achilles was sent to live when he was young, disguised as a girl for his safety. The English poet Rupert Brooke was buried on the island and the Brooke square in Chora was named in his honour.