With 60 beaches on Skiathos, you might think you don’t need any more ideas of things to do in Skiathos with kids. And it’s true that unlike some bigger island such as Kos or Corfu, this lovely Greek island in the Sporades doesn’t have as many big name attractions.
ad/review visit: contains affiliate links*
But do drag yourself away from your lounger a couple of times. With five days on the island, we managed a day out in Skiathos Town, as well as a day on the water with a Skiathos boat trip that also visited Skopelos, not to mention a quick wander around Koukounaries, near our hotel Elivi Skiathos.
If you’re in the area, make a stop at Alamar restaurant for some fabulous calamari, Greek specialities and pizza, one of our favourites from the trip. And if not? Here are my top tips for the best things to do with kids in Skiathos.
Exploring Skiathos Town with kids
Wandering the streets of little Greek towns is something I could do for hours on end – and as either my maps or my sense of direction was playing up, we found ourselves doing that even more than I had planned in Skiathos Town.
But when it’s so picturesque, who minds?
We hopped onto a little water taxi from Koukounaries beach near Elivi Skiathos which whisked us around the headland in about 20 minutes to the old port at Skiathos Town – all for 5 Euros for adults, 2, 50 Euros for children aged under 10.
Even the boats bobbing around on the incredibly clear green waters looked like they had come straight from a postcard. Restaurants line the waterfront, bars with brightly coloured cushioned seats in between and the occasional little shop or art gallery. Further along, the Bourtzi, a small fortress sitting right out on the water is also now a gallery.
If you’re after a proper castle, you have to head to the northern end of the island, to the Kastro, where the island’s inhabitants fled in the 14th century to avoid pirate attacks. It’s right next to Lalaria, one of the island’s best beaches, so perhaps it’s no surprise it took them several hundred years before Skiathos Town became the capital once again.
The twisting whitewashed alleys seem entirely timeless though: occasional splashes of colour from flowers and taverna signs brighten the quiet streets, steps climbing up to the clock tower near Agios Nikolaos church for a fabulous view down over the red-tiled roofs and out to the sea.
In the distance, as well as some of the uninhabited small islands of the bay, you can see neighbouring Skopelos on the horizon.
Having caught our breath there, we browsed along the souvenir shops of Papadiamanti Street – my daughter and I both emerged with bracelets, although I coveted quite a bit of the beautifully glazed ceramics as well. She coveted a huge number of things, but was distracted with ice cream…
The street is named after Skiathos’s most famous son, novelist Alexandros Papadiamantis, whose home has been converted into a museum.
Closed when we strolled past, I’ve got to admit my knowledge of his work is pretty well zero – but instead we headed to another little museum, equally tucked away down a side street, that’s an unexpected gem and one of my favourite things to do in Skiathos with kids.
Skiathitiko Spiti was once a family home and we were greeted by a fourth and fifth generation descendant as we arrived, who then showed us around the house frozen in time from the early 20th century.
Downstairs, you can almost trace the passage of time through the pieces decorating the room: a gramophone from 1910, and opposite it a radio from the 1920s. Brought to the island from the USA by a family member who lived for a time in Boston, it still plays today.
The lights, which would once have used candles or gas have been converted to electricity, but otherwise look just as they would have done.
There are traditional dresses on show, with unexpectedly heavy fabrics for this sunny spot and intricate golden embroidery, not to mention plenty of deep wine and burgundy colours, the traditional shade of the island. Upstairs, we walked past a loom which might have been used to make some of the similarly deep red rugs.
In the bedroom, a bride’s wedding chest is filled with some of its original treasures, while photos of the family stare down from the walls – joined in the landing by a portrait of King George I of Greece and his queen.
According to family legend, this royal pair helped save the house from being burned down during the Nazi occupation, when German soldiers were taking revenge for the death of one of their own.
Seeing the portrait of the German-born monarch, assassinated decades before, they saluted – so the story goes – and moved on.
True or embellished, I don’t know, but happily the old house did survive and is very worth looking round for a few euros, with wartime memorabilia also on display (including a letter of commendation from the British to one former inhabitant for his help to the Allied forces) and old possessions.
My daughter’s favourite discovery? The family of tortoises which live out in the garden, full too of huge containers for olive oil, as well as some of the tools and machinery used over the years, including to crush the olives.
And as we wandered back down to the harbourfront, for lunch at Kabourelias – one of the string of restaurants lining the port, have the halloumi and orange jam with a cold Mythos – it was a fascinating peek at life here over the decades, and the stories which hide behind those whitewashed walls.
Check out my complete guide to Greece with kids here
The best Skiathos boat trip
There’s something special about the water of the Aegean. Incredibly clear, even close in to the island towns, and every shade from clear emerald to sparkling turquoise to the deepest velvety blue, I can’t imagine a holiday on a Greek island without the sea being at the heart of it.
Even if you’re not trying a Greek island hop, there’s always a boat trip to try. And if you’re looking for a Skiathos boat trip, you’re spoiled for choice.
There are day trips which take you around the island, including to Lalaria beach (accessible only from the water), there are the water taxis to whisk you in to Skiathos Town, and there are day trips which combine some of the best of Skiathos with a jaunt to Skopelos.
Skiathos’s bigger sister is known most for its Mamma Mia links (although a few bits of the film were shot on Skiathos too, for any die-hard fans exploring the Sporades) – you don’t have to stay there to visit, although there are plenty of things to do in Skopelos to tempt you.
With more crystal clear water, deserted coves and the chance of spotting dolphins between the two islands, we were at the front of the queue to sign up for a boat trip.
Diamanti Sailing was recommended by Elivi Skiathos – and our two fellow passengers for the day, who visit the island twice a year, told us they’d tried half a dozen boat trips and now return for a day out with Captain Babis every time.
I can see why – and not just because he’s very liberal with the chilled white wine over snacks and lunch.
Commandeering the two beanbags at the front of the sundeck, as well as one of the cushions nearby, I don’t think I could have felt more relaxed – watching Skiathos Town recede and the little islands in the bay go past as Minnie settled down with her book, I could have sighed for sheer contentment.
The sun was shining, the sea was every shade of blue and green, we had swimming and more hours chilling out ahead – and then there were the dolphins.
My six-year-old is something of a dolphin good luck charm: so far she’s seen them on a boat trip in Florida, splashing around the Gulf of Oman on another boat trip from Muscat and even briefly on another boat tour in Langkawi.
But I hadn’t counted on having a glimpse in the Aegean. The pod – perhaps a dozen strong – was certainly determined to put on a show, leaping through the water, several darting under the boat to emerge the other side, circling around us in ones and twos, and finally a synchronised jump by three dolphins as a final farewell flourish before they sped off into the waves.
I defy anyone not to feel as joyous watching as the wild dolphins were swimming.
Reaching the west coast of Skopelos, I suspect I was rather less graceful in the water – which in May, in these northerly Greek islands, was definitely on the cool side.
Toasty from the morning sun, I even managed to persuade Minnie in to the water with me, and we swam over to the tiny beach, water clear enough to see the seabed and a sunbleached tree lying on the sand.
Alas I hadn’t thought to bring my phone’s waterproof case.
That set the scene for our day: we’d anchor off shore, take the chance to swim or snorkel, or simply drink in the views over plates of bread with taramasalata and tzatziki.
There are noodles and snorkels to borrow (although not towels, so if you only bring one thing, make it that) – wary of the sea urchins spikily covering the rocks, I pulled on my own mask to float over tiny silver and black fish into a little cave.
A final treat – after fish pasta for lunch with bread and salads – was being pulled along behind the boat on its own little float, where Minnie and I lounged (and ate Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts) before racing across the waves.
The day trip cost us 100 Euros each including transfers from our hotel, though you would almost certainly pay less if you book direct. You can also hire the boat exclusively for the day if you’re travelling in a bigger group.
To check ferry prices to Skopelos or other Greek islands, check here
PIN FOR LATER: THINGS TO DO IN SKIATHOS WITH KIDS
Disclosure: Our accommodation in Skiathos was courtesy of Elivi Skiathos, but we paid for flights, our boat trip and all our activities ourselves. Contains affiliate links: any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission.
Images copyright MummyTravelsLIKED THIS? SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL NEWSLETTER