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Skyros. Sporadic yet curated and cozy
Skyros . An island in Greece, is located in the archipelago of Northern Sporades . It is situated along the eastern side of the Greek state. The name of this group of fourteen island territories corresponds to reality. “Scattered” (sporadic) are scattered across the sea like stars in the sky when you look at them even through a telescope.
Skyros among the islands of Greece
And let’s look at the islands on a map of the Aegean Sea. From east to west, only three islands are more or less in line: Skiathos (47 sq km), Skopelos (95), Alonizos (64); just below Skandzouras is the north-south reference (6.2), below it Skiropoula (3.8); to the right and below is Skiros (209 sq km). The smallest islets, Adelphi (1 sq. km) and Tsungria (1.2), must be sought far away from the nearer group to the mainland.
Only four islands are inhabited, namely Alonizos, Skiathos, Skyros and Skopelos.
Skyros. Top view
Skyros, an island (Greece), can be seen in the photo as “floating” in this geographic point in the Aegean Sea, from which there is the same distance in all directions. And the neighboring, the second largest among the Greek islands, Evia, is two dozen miles away. Ferries run to the ports of Kimi, Thessalio and Volos (Evia). Skiros has an air terminal, though it is a military one, but civilian planes of the island airlines arrive there as well.
Skyros. View from the sea
Like on several other islands in the Aegean Sea, north and south seem to have swapped places. Forests grow on the northern mountains of Skyros, up to almost eight hundred meters above sea level. The southern cliffs are bare.
The main town of the island is Skyros. The locals call it Chora . But it is not a proper name. The capitals of several Greek islands have second names. The fact is that the Chora was an area with a radius of five to six kilometers in the ancient polis. Beyond the city streets it was distributed among the inhabitants on land plots for mainly agriculture. Even by today’s standards, they were large plots of four to five hectares. Which contributed to the development of agrarian business near the large polis, the full occupation of its inhabitants.
Cattle breeding was especially developed, in particular goat breeding. They are the main wealth of the island. After all, natural resources in the territory bounded by the sea run out at some point, others are not added. And goats are self-reproducing. And the rocks are eternal, and the trees grow after the raids of the four-legged and horned.
Goats produce wool, milk, and meat. The processing of milk increases a number of other foods, such as bryndza, cheeses. Goats are extraordinarily productive. There have been legends about these “wooden cattle” for centuries. They are so called because goats are animals that prefer mountainous areas around the world. And these areas are poor in grassy meadows. Therefore, goats are adapted to eating the leaves of trees, leaning on them with their front legs. Home care for them is quite simple.
The Skeros pony breed
There is a reference to a certain tyrant ruler who, when conquering new lands, took for himself the most valuable things. From the island of Skyros he took away an amazing breed of goat, to which odes were dedicated. As the goats of Saannes (Switzerland) were widespread in the former Soviet republics, so the Scyros goats scattered over the continents.
But not only goats, but sheep as well, are the pride of the Skeros. A unique breed of horses, named after the island, is bred here. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from the ponies.
The height of the Skyros horse breed is no more than one hundred and ten centimeters. The color is dark bay, sorrel, or gray. Have a good constitution, only weak croup. The head and mane are magnificent. Russian tourists will recall from their childhood the well-known fairy tale by writer Peter Ershov “Konyok-Horbunok”: the mini horse was copied exactly from the skeros.
No one knows how the horses got to Skyros. Most likely, they were brought here by accident. But now there are about a hundred and fifty of them. Not so long ago, horses were grazing on the slopes, rushing around the island in semi-wild herds.
Myths and realities of Skyros
There is no other European country where so many myths, legends have been created. Today, you read some ancient authors about Achilles (Achilles), Centaur – and almost identify them with real personalities or well-known events. For example, the battles of Achilles or Perseus, other mythological characters, collected even in the encyclopedic collections of myths of ancient Hellas.
Here, Skyros is also associated with the name of Achilles, saying that he lived here for a long time. Here he had a son, let us not mention his name. After all, Achilles himself, as evidenced by the same mythology, was born of a mermaid. Yes, yes, the character of the myths of Rus.
And Achilles’ mother, with a woman’s head and a fish tail, was thought to be the daughter of either a real couple, or a half-horse-half-man (centaur). And she was the consort of a mortal man; from them Achilles was born. The name of this woman was Thetis (Thetis).
The Greeks believe that Thetis also lived on the island of Skyros. Trying to make children as undying as herself, she dipped the babies in water. But the children died. Immortality never came. Then she tested the flames. The result was the same. But Achilles survived.
Not wanting to give her son to the army at Troy, Thetis hid Achilles on Skyros. But Achilles was still killed by an arrow. Professional soccer players know what an injury would be if the Achilles muscle is torn by a blow from behind. Therein lies the reality: Achilles is the name given to the spot above the heel where the mythological arrow hit. Conclusion: read Homer’s Iliad and you’ll understand why the mythological role of Thetis on the continent has faded over the centuries.
The coastline of Skyros.
And over the centuries, literary and musical works and examples of fine art have been created around the world about the “son” of Thetis, and indeed about her. Joseph Brodsky wrote a poem with the title word Skyros, and the Polish-Russian pop singer Anna Herman loved to perform an aria from the Italian composer’s opera about Thetis.
Choose accommodation to your liking on the island
The island – not an exception among “fellow” in the sea abyss: on the island of Skyros hotels can be found for every tourist. In our opinion, here are a few hotels, where everything is ready within 12 months for travelers.
You stay there for a week or two, and then you realize: the hotel can only be admired. Everything is concentrated around the pool, which occupies the hotel courtyard: tables with coffee pots and cakes, with tea of all colors and flavors, arbors, sofa, roses. At night you don’t want to go into the room, the hotel is so beautiful outside.
The city’s surroundings complete the picture of architectural and natural elegance.
Visitors book rooms with a view of the village more often than the sea. They also ask for a view of the local monastery of Agios Georgios: illuminated at night, it creates unique colors. The hotel is ten minutes from the stores and restaurants of the island’s capital, Skyros. The grounds of Nefeli are away from the noise of the town and in the tranquility of nature.
Periyali Suite. Located by the beach with a beautiful lodge, it has its own swimming pool. Rooms, service – according to the five stars assigned. 200 meters to the beach is not a problem for young people, and here the main arrival is young people. To the hotel takes a bus from the airport.
Mealos-Apartments – a piece of the primordial world: a stone fence, a wooden gate leads apartment residents straight into the sea. Under the canopy you spend the sunset, meet the Mediterranean sunrise in the morning and go to the comfortable beach Aspous for swimming and sunbathing. There are two restaurants with highly trained staff and reasonable prices. The apartments are spacious, the kitchen is filled with modern appliances necessary for cooking specialties. And for a reasonable rent.
You’ll recognize the island of Skyros in Greece from afar. As you fly over the area, a piece of land in the shape of a butterfly is sure to catch your eye. The island is nestled in the heart of the Aegean Sea. Only 2 800 people live on 209 square kilometers, so Skyros is not a tourist-infested island. Until recently, foreigners have not even heard about this corner, but now the situation is gradually changing. Residents of Western Europe, tired of the noise and bustle of megapolises, look here in search of solitude. The island of Skyros, wild at first sight, can help you regain composure and be alone with nature.
Skyros belongs to the archipelago of the Northern Sporades, and is the largest of the group. Its coastline stretches for 130 kilometers. The area is divided into two parts. The northern part is called Mero: it is distinguished by the abundance of vegetation (mainly pine forests). The southern part of the island is called the Vuno: it is dominated by rocky landscape, the soil is not very fertile, but the special color it gives the crystal clear springs.
The rich mythology of Greece has left its mark on Skyros. Young Achilles, who did not want to go to the Trojan War, found a shelter on this island. Here was the palace of King Lycomedes, who generously gave the young man permission to hide himself while dressed as a girl. But later Achilles was discovered by Odysseus and he set out to the place of the battle after all. And there he set off on a Scyrian pony – these miniature horses still inhabit the wild shores of the Vuno. According to another legend, Theseus was exiled to Skyros.
The mentioned king Lycomedes gave his name to the castle, which to this day rises above the capital of the island. You can reach it by underground passage, which leads from the monastery of St. George, where the world famous miraculous icon is kept.
The climate of Skyros is perfect for a beach holiday. No one complains about the lack of sun in summer: this season on the island enjoys an abundance of hot sunny days. The period from July to September is the most recommended for travel. In winter, however, Skyros is often struck by winds, which can cause the temperature to drop and the sea to become very chilly. Another surprise that the weather in Skiros can give you is the abnormal heat. Sometimes the thermometer can read more than +40. In general, the average summer temperature does not exceed 33 degrees. In winter, it may cool to +10, but by April the heat will overcome the 20-degree mark. Water in the summer gets as warm as +25, but in winter swimming is not recommended because of the threat of storms.
Skiros resorts and beaches
The capital of the island of Skyros, according to the official version, bears his own name, but the locals call the town of Chora. It is the main resort of the city, where the best of its hotels are concentrated. Chora itself fascinates with its unique silhouette. The town is amphitheatrically nestled on a steep mountain slope. In the distance you can see the beautiful harbor landscape, and if you climb to the top of the mountain, from the observation deck of the castle you can see a panorama of the entire city. Chora has preserved the traditions of Cycladic architecture. Between the mesmerizing buildings pass winding alleys that lead to the two central squares of the city – the Upper (it is also called Pano Piazza) and Lower.
The holiday villages of Magazza and Molos are linked by a common beach, which is famous all over Skyros. It is not just the largest on the island but also has an unusual horseshoe shape. Finally, the beach is very picturesque, clean and well developed. Vacationers are always welcome to visit the numerous cafes and bars and taverns and small stores.
Palamari is one of the best places for rest, and a rich historical site, famous for the eponymous archaeological area. A tour of its expanse will take you to the Manu Faltaits Cultural Museum, where you can explore the ancient finds. And after this fascinating journey, it is worth relaxing on the picturesque beach, near which the sea is very clean and calm.
Popular beaches are also Kira Panaya and Kalogria. They lie near the village Afitsa, where you can rent cheap accommodation and eat at the local tavern. There is also the Skyros center, where tourists can learn the folk crafts of the island and sign up for appropriate courses, as well as scuba diving, windsurfing and yoga.
The Byzantine castle was built on a high cliff in the town of Chora. It is surrounded by the majestic Kastro Fortress, which can be entered even today only through the underground tunnels that were dug by the monks of the monastery of St. George. Beneath this fortress – on a rock – are several churches, which attract the eye with their colorful carved iconostases.
On Brook Square in Mero stands a monument to the British Romantic poet Rupert Brooke. The monument, which was created by sculptor M. Tombros, is called “Immortal Poetry”, and the epitaph to it was written by Winston Churchill himself. The square itself is no less interesting: it offers an expressive view of the surroundings of the entire island. The poet is buried in an olive grove near the harbor of Tris Bouquets, formerly used by pirates and now dazzling with numerous moored yachts.
At the beginning of spring it is worth enjoying the colorful spectacle – the Skyros street carnival. The carnival is a great event for all the locals who have been used to it since they were little. The tourists, however, find themselves on this huge stage, and get an unforgettable experience. For days and nights the population of Skyros, consumed by a wild passion, partying in the attire of half beasts-half men to specific music.
How to get to Skyros
The island has its own military airport. It regularly receives domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as international flights from some European countries. For Russian residents, a flight to Athens with a connection is recommended.
From the mainland you can also reach Skyros by ferry. Twice a day he departs from the coast of Evia from the port of Kimi, and after two hours to the island port of Linaria. You can reach the port of Kimi by bus from almost anywhere in mainland Greece. You can also take a ferry from the port of Piraeus to Skyros.
Skiros itself has very good transport links and the roads are of high quality.
Welcome to Skiros which is a seemingly quiet and full of excitement!