Skopelos Island: A Hidden Gem Despite Hollywood Fame

By Ivan PetrenkoJun 24, 2024 13:30 PMNews
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Red flowers in bloom in front of the old Chapel on the Greek Island Skopelos
Red flowers in bloom in front of the old Chapel on the Greek Island Skopelos. Source: Photo by Evgenia Stergioula on Unsplash

Skopelos, a captivating Greek island known for its pristine beaches, traditional Pelion architecture, and delectable cuisine, gained global recognition over 15 years ago thanks to the 2008 film "Mamma Mia!" Despite its fame, Skopelos remains relatively untouched by mass tourism compared to its more renowned neighbors.

Located in the western Aegean Sea among the North Sporades islands, Skopelos and its cinematic counterpart, Skiathos, starred prominently in "Mamma Mia!" Glysteri Beach featured prominently where iconic scenes like Sophie and her fathers jumping off rocks after a sailing trip took place, while the Chapel of Agios Ioannis hosted the film's memorable wedding and Meryl Streep's solo performance.

Despite the film's influence drawing some attention, Skopelos retains its serene allure, unlike bustling tourist hotspots like Santorini or Mykonos. Its historical roots date back to ancient Greece, initially known as Peparithos, associated with Dionysus and Ariadne. Later named during Ptolemaic times in the 2nd century AD, Skopelos spans over 37 square miles, larger than many popular islands.

The island boasts 42 miles of coastline, with accessible beaches such as Staphylos, Limnonari, and the nudist-friendly Velanion. Beyond sunbathing, visitors enjoy hiking, cycling, kayaking, and diving, facilitated by professional centers like the highly regarded dive school praised on Tripadvisor.

Due to its rugged terrain, Skopelos lacks an airport, relying on nearby Skiathos for international flights. Travelers can reach Skopelos via direct ferries from Thessaloniki or short sea taxis from Skiathos, enhancing its exclusivity.

Skopelos is a treasure trove of Pelion architecture, showcasing structures from the 18th-century Turkish occupation. Its cultural heritage includes the Venetian medieval castle, perched dramatically on a rocky cliff, and the serene Panagitsa of Pyrgos chapel, overlooking the old port.

Unearth history at the ancient Roman Sendoukia Graves on Mount Delfi's slopes, adding to Skopelos's allure as an unspoiled destination for travelers seeking both tranquility and cultural richness.

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