Day1 Caught the Wednesday 6:10 am thomas cook flight into skiathos so a very early start for me. After a touch of turbulence on the way over a smooth landing and a few deep breaths saw me come back to earth safely – well done mr pilot. Swiftly through to get my bags and quickly hailed a taxi to take me to my digs in Megli Amos staying at the Hotel Aria – first impressions great view 2nd impression rubbish room – ah well its basic and cheap so what do I expect for the price I paid. I am hoping to spend hardly any time in the room anyways. Weather roughly 26 degrees so nice and pleasant – off to the supermarket on the ring road the carrefour to pick up some snacks and of course lots of Alfa Beer. Supermarket trip done and down to see Nicos to hire a quad bike for the time I am here. I hope my trusty green quad is not out on hire or maybe they have a shiny new one for me ? Arrived and after the welcome backs were over a negotiation ensued – finally agreed a price of 15 euros per day including insurance – let’s hope there are no punctures this time. Bike sorted back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes and trusty green filled up with petrol. Whilst getting ready I argue a while about where I am going to eat tonight – Selini or To Pauloki – I fancy meat so its the latter for me. Waiter and boss remember me from last time – nice to be remembered and made to feel very welcome. Ordered rocket and pine nut salad with added feta followed by fillet steak medium well- pepper sauce and 3x mythos – delicious 34 Euros and a bit extra for tip. Had a stroll through the back streets and stroked a few cats – must get them some treats for tomorrow I thought to myself as my head hit the pillow
Day 2 Woke up at 10:00 Skiathos time after a long sleep and feeling refreshed after my shower I walk up to see if there is a breakfast option – The view from this hotel is fantastic over the pool and out to the crystal blue/green waters of bay. There are people on the beach already enjoying the morning sunshine. Breakfast was breads, jams a few pieces of meat that were probably 2.4% meat, some orange juice, coffee and tea. Fortunately I never eat breakfast on holiday as I can’t stomach eating first thing. I am fine at home with my marmite on toast or a jam crumpet. Morning walk to start me thinks dressed in my shorts flip flops and t-shirt I head to the kiosk at the side of the road by bus stop 4 to get a bottle of water. Hydration is the key when on holiday keeps the hangovers at bay too. After wandering round the back streets I pass numerous old ladies dressed in black sweeping round my feet as I walk past their beautiful little blue shuttered houses with array of bougenveila lots of pinks, and purples – they have other flowers but as I am no keen horticulturalist, their names escape me. I did notice a tree with yellow fruits on so quickly learnt lemons grow on trees as do limes and all other fruits I can think of except tomatoes and Pineapples and maybe lots more like gooseberries, blackberries sorry I am rambling or do they call them brambles? Anyway enough of me going on and turning into a basket case about the origins of fruit. Eventually found myself on the peninsula more commonly known as the Bourtzi and the cafe at the back of it. There is a municipal building where weddings are held and also an outdoor theatre. Legend has it that Goldie Horne and Kurt Russell are often seen here doing side-line performance sketches from their previous films such as Tango and Cash, Overboard, The House Sitter and Big Trouble In Little Skiathos. Finishing my coffee I left Goldie and Kurt a tip and requested they stop pestering me for my autograph any more. The rest of my afternoon was spent between Megli Amos beach and Swell Bar for a few cold beers. Very relaxing music right by the beech and the snacks that were coming out looked great too. I was thinking of wearing my slim fit shirt tonight so I decided against snacking so a liquid lunch it was. Back at the room looking like a well-cooked tomato I was regretting the factor 10 sunscreen. I would recommend 20 minimum for adults and shade for children. For the ladies I would recommend they would need a bit of the x-factor. Feeling a little tired I thought I would eat local so Greek it was at Taverna Thessaloniki – What a lovely setting right on the beach just up from Sewell Bar – food was awesome ordered a greek salad followed by Mousaka and cheesecake for afters – shirt not so slim fit now.
Day 3 Had a terrible night of sleep after being chased through the back streets of Skiathos town by a pack of wild stray dogs and cats. As luck would have it the Bazooki player at Alexandros stepped in and managed to entice the snarling dogs away before they had chance to savage me. Not the first time I have been affected by the feta dreams. Off on the quad bike to tour the island today. Strapped on my helmet and looking like a younger version of Wallace without his Gromit I set off on the coast road to see what I could find. Kanapista beach was my first port of call – nice taverna on the beach surprisingly named Taverna Kanapista. Speaking to the owners they said there were hours of deliberation about what to call their fine establishment finally settling on the name of the beach it sits on. Quick coffee and a bit of people watching i set off again past the taverna on my left and heading round the coast along the dirt roads. There are some fantastic villas up here with wonderful views out to sea. I had a moment on a bench that was at the top of the headland. Weather today is beautiful at 27 degrees with blue sky and the odd cloud passing by. Paradise I thought. As I continued I ended up at another beach called volorominos – Please excuse my spelling however I can’t pronounce it either – Another nice flat beach with fine sand and another taverna. I thought I would try a frappe as the person sat opposite me seemed to wolf theirs down. A sweet iced coffee which was very creamy and refreshing indeed. Back on trusty green and heading towards Troulos on the coast road – a sharp right at the Skiathos Premier hotel and there are lots of nice places to eat here – Salt and Pepper and Ratatouille looked nice here – Please note that there are no small rats cooking at this Restaurant for the Disney lovers out there. Heading out of Troulos I hit a sports bar and hotel called Chrstakis – popped my head in and looks a fine establishment for a game of pool, dip in the pool or watching any sport that is shown via Satellite tv. On this road you hit a junction – one way towards a beach – the other up a steep hill – steep hill then. After a 5 minute climb on the quad I arrived at the dog shelter. Perhaps these were the dogs chasing me last night ? Lots and lots of dogs are looked after by the Skiathos Dog shelter people here. They do a fantastic job so if you get chance pay them a visit and walk a dog. You never know you might fall in love and bring one back with you ? If you can spare a few euros make a donation as your money goes a long way towards feeding and medicating these poor pooches. Back at the hotel I am booked into a place called Taverna Selini in town up the steps by the bar with all the bean bags at the top of the old port. After running the gauntlet of restaurants I reach my destination. A table is waiting for me overlooking the Bourtzi and the boats moored in the harbour. Tea was prawn saganaki followed by beef stifado and a carafe of white wine. 22 euros and tip extra – food very fresh and meat tender and very tasty. Free yoghurt with honey to finish went down a treat. Fed cats on the way back to the hotel tonight too.
Day 4 Got up, sunbathed all day, felt ill, went to bed Day 5 Part 1 After too much sun yesterday I woke up refreshed after a good sleep. Today I am going to Kechria Beach on trusty green – First up Kechria well it would be wouldn’t it – after studying the map you can pick up at the airport on arrival I decided on a route of attack. I noticed 2x tavernas on the map in the mountains Taverna Platanos and Panarama – I will check out one of them or both time permitting. After a long uphill drag on the quad I finally arrived at a crossroads with a small wooden sign pointing me in the right direction. The road soon turned into a dirt track at another crossroads right for Kastro (the old Capital of Skiathos) and left for Ketchria – I arrived at a small place to park quads and jeeps with what looked like the steepest declines down to a beach i have seen on the island. A vertical cliff face would have been easier to navigate down on a quad bike. I got off the quad and inspected the terrain and noticed tyre tracks in the dirt. I wondered if these were the tracks of previous hapless tourists who have met an unfortunate decline? My confidence took a turn for the better and I put my brave face on. I remembered I had packed a spare pair of swimmers in the back of the quad and with brakes starting to smell like they were about to catch fire I made it to the bottom of the track and through a stream that flows into the sea. There were no dead tourists or rusting carcases of Jeeps and quads to my delight there was a beautiful taverna on the beach and a large grassed sunbathing area to the side of it with views out to sea. The taverna sold cold drinks and snacks and I decided upon a fanta lemon and a paddle in the sea. A wonderful location to relax and listen to the sea crashing onto the beach. Speaking to a couple in the shade they said they had not driven down the same route as me and had come in the other way on the flat. I recommended they try going back the way I came in and head to Kastro getting up the hill – or hill of death in their aging white suzuki vitara. Do Greece have MOT’s ? I did check Astra news later back at the hotel after feeling guilty at the perils of the hill that awaited them. There were no reports of anything untoward so they must have survived the Kastro hill of doom too. Panarama was my next destination for lunch – Arrived and was swiftly taken to my table on the way in there is a wood fired oven and lovely grape vines and more flowers above your head. The waiter showed me to my table and plopped a menu in front of me. The view down to Skiathos town from here is AMAZING _ like eating in the clouds and planes are below you coming in to land at the airport. I had extra spicy peperoni pizza with sweetcorn. The waiter advised to add tobasco and chilli flakes to the pizza and it went down a treat. The dough infuses the smoke from the oven and probably the best pizza i have had outside of Italy. Was offered free desert but declined as wanted to get back for a few beers on my balcony.
Day 5 Part 2 Relaxing back at the hotel with a few cold Alfa beers and listened to some tunes on the ipod reading the day old copy of the daily mirror. That evening I went to a restaurant called Amfiliki which is located close to bus stop 4 by the Medical Centre – I had a light tea of dolmides followed by giant grilled prawns and a bottle of red wine. Sloshed I staggered back to my hotel and managed to end up in Cafe Del Mar moon bathing and relaxing to their ambient tunes.
Day 6 Kastro today – Amazingly woke up without a hangover – never mix red wine, beer and ouzo on the same night. Feeling like I had a mouth like an abandoned flip flop I stopped off at the kiosk to pick up gallons of water for my journey today – walked to town and grabbed a gyros from No Name. This is a great kebab place in the back streets by the old port and No Name really is the name of this gaff -good cheap basic food to set me up for the day. Heading off at 2:00 I was happy the alcohol was out of my system. I arrived at Kastro which is the old capital of Skithos and my first impression was this place was not ideal for wheelchair access or the flip flops I was wearing. I would recomend a good pair of trainers or even better walking boots. No high heels ladies. – Walking round Kastro there was a real feeling of history with some of the ruins still standing. At the top of Kastro is the Greek Flag and an old cannon which was used to defend the island from invaders. Sheer clifs on all sides make it the perfect location to defend an attack. I half expected to see Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl on the horizon at this place. I walked down the cliffs to the taverna on Kasto beach and ordered another water and a greek salad – the guy who served me had the most weather beaten face I have ever seen and he uses his donkey to get all his supplies down to it – lovely fresh food. The taverna owner said his family had built it from drift wood and anything else that floats up onto the beach. Boats come into the bay quite often and I wished him all the success in the world as I trooped back up the cliffs to where my quad was parked. The evening was fast approaching and my next decision was food for tonight – I decided on Plakes which is a taverna on the far side of skiathos old port looking at the rocks which jut out round the bay from Bourtzi. I arrived and was deflated to see this place had closed – perhaps they knew i was coming? A shame really as previous visits had enjoyed fantastic food and a wonderful atmosphere. Undeterred I walked into town and hopped on the bus to Troulos. My destination was Byzantium to see a band called Groom Therapy and a BBQ. Food was great grilled chicken, pork and plenty of fresh salad. The chaps playing managed a fantastic entertaining performance and took requests from the audience – not a Mama Mia song in sight which was fine by me.
Day 7 Bus stop 23 and 24 was my destination for today to check out the famous Little Banana and Big Banana beach - On one section of the beach there certainly was evidence of small bananas and big bananas on show – literally. If you want to know more head down there yourself to see what I mean. Lots of people walking about in mirrored shades and perhaps a bowl with numerous room/car keys somewhere for the “raffle” later maybe ? I am not a massive fan of bananas anyway so i headed back to a place called Souvlaki under the pine tree for a spot of lunch – On par if not better Gyros than No Name in town. Lovely people running this place and excellent service. From here I left my quad bike and wandered into the forest towards Mandraki Beach. A 20 minute stroll through beautiful Pine forest the smells were awesome and chirping crickets I am assuming providing the soundtrack to the walk. Mandraki is probably my favourite beach on the island a long sweeping beech with beautiful white sand. 8 euros, a sunbed/parasol and a book was my spot for the rest of the afternoon. My evening consisted of a film under the stars at the cinema in town and before you ask it was not Mama Mia ! The cinema is open air and with director chairs in rows on the gentle slope of the floor so no problems for the vertically challenged traveller. The cinema roof was destroyed after a technical issue during a Mama Mia show. The film stopped and the hundreds of disappointed women in the audience vented their frustration on the venue claiming they had not had enough valium and wine so decided to run amok for not getting their Abba inspired fix. The owners have reluctantly continued to show Mama Mia in fear of a public backlash and have decided not to replace the roof. It was a lovely evening watching a film under the stars with beers and snacks available from the bar.
Day 8 Sad news am off to the airport today – Fortunately or unfortunately for you folks reading this I am not going home just yet. I am going to Mylos Taverna and to the start of the runway to watch the planes coming in to land and take off. Some people may call it plane spotting but it is so much more ! The Taverna has a list of all flights due in on the day – usually a Wednesday or a Friday being the busiest – The taverna serves lovely food and your seats and feet are almost in the water. Planes come into land quite frequently and if you stand in the “blast zone” it feels like the planes are going to land on your head. Fair play the pilots are skilled to land them here or the computers are brilliant these days if the pilots are having an afternoon snooze. The runway expansion is still ongoing but the works are far from finished. If the pilot misses the large tarmac section on the runway don’t worry as they can always pull up, circle around and try again. After plane spotting headed over to Punta area past the boatyard and the other side of the bay from the new port. Nothing much happening over here apart from a few villas and small hotels. I did not see anything in terms of bars or tavernas but there is a few beaches that are accessible on foot if you fancy somewhere quiet for a sunbathe. Maybe as Skiathos gets more popular this part will be developed more or some cheap deals on hotels to be had on this side? Tonight tea was enjoyed at Praxenos in town at the main crossroads half way up Pap Street on the left hand side. The taverna is set in a courtyard and I had Beef in tomato sauce with rice – very tender chunks of meat with a lovely balance of herbs and the tomato sauce complemented the dish nicely. Starter was GIANT BEANS – like heinz beans only 10 x the size in a rich tomato sauce with fresh herbs tomatoes and carrots– delicious but filling all washed down with a carafe of local greek wine and very reasonable at 22 euros plus tip. Popped in to Big Bobs bar for a quick drink before bedtime. A shout out to the couple from Manchester obliterating Alice and Holiday by Madonna on the Karaoke.
Day 9 Not much to report today as another lazy day by the pool and hired a pedalo from Megli Amos beech – I chose the car with the slide on the back and it was ace apart from my bum getting wedged at the bottom of the slide and also getting cramp in my leg trying to get the thing back onto the beach. I suggested next time they should give me one with an outboard on the back of it to which they looked rather bemused. Cramp reminds me of some of my friends on a night out back home when at the bar. Some of them are as tight as blooming cramp I can tell you. That evening I decided to try a little taverna in the back streets up towards la piscine art hotel. Pass the hotel on your right up the hill turn left at the school play area and you will see it eventually. Thinking about it.... its at the back of the cinema parallel to pap street oh and its called Taverna Cuba. No Cuban food available and they have no Mojitos to speak of. I was tempted by the “lamp in the oven” and after discussions with the rock chick waitress she confirmed it was actually lamb for main and spicy feta in the oven for starters. The location is great lots of lovely plants and a real buzz as bikes and locals pass constantly. Lamb was tender and potatoes really tasty – Feta in the oven was amazing although not one currently in favour at the British Heart Foundation. I am sure they will start a campaign to get these type of dishes banned. A huge block of feta with elemental type cheese on top with red onion fresh tomato lots of olive oil and fresh herbs and lashings of tobasco– delicious enough to cancel the lamb and order another 2 fetas – I used the free bread sorry ...1 euro bread added to the bill on every meal I have to mop up the rest of the olive oil and feta and juice that a fork simply could not handle. I was tempted to pick up the dish and finish it like a dog – Dogs don’t have thumbs so maybe not plus it would be terrible manners to sit at my table lapping up the remainder of the dish. Enjoyed a bottle of Amstel and 2x Mythos before getting back to bed.
Day 10 I am going home tomorrow so spent the day getting gifts in pap street and some last alfa beers on the balcony. Packed my cases and not ready to go home yet. Last meal was eaten in En Plo on the harbour – prawn spagetti feast which could have fed a family of four off the specials board. Lovely restaurant although I have probably said that about all the tavernas I have encountered. Honestly did not have a bad meal on the island.
Thanks alfatime, lovely report. Just read it after what seemed a very long day at work! Brought back memories of my recent holiday. I spent a lovely relaxing afternoon at Kanapitsa beach and taverna, just chilling with a big glass of red and my kindle! Wish I was back there! :-):-)