Located in the western Aegean Sea, Skopelos belongs to the Northern Sporades and in fact, is the second largest island -after Skiathos- of this island complex. Skopelos traces its history back to the Neolithic period. During ancient times, this area was named Peparethos, after the half brother of the Cretan ruler of the island, King Stafylos. Notably, Thucydides,the father of history, mentioned Skopelos as Peparethos in his scripts. The mythical King Stafylos, who was the son of Dionysos and Ariadne, was the first to introduce viticulture on this beautiful and fertile island.
# What to see
The unspoilt beaches of Skopelos and its emerald green and virgin pine forest were the main reasons why this lovely island was selected by the producers of the famous Hollywood film “Mamma Mia”. In 2008, when the film was released, everyone had the opportunity to witness the hidden beauty of Skopelos and the island became world-famous; thus, its tourism grew even more.
Skopelos has three main settlements: Glossa, Palio Klima and Neo Klima. In the Neo Klima settlement, there is the amazingly beautiful beach of Hovolo and elegant hotels, such as Hovolo Hotel Apartments, that can indeed live up to your expectations. There are many options available for those who wish to spend their vacation in this idyllic place.
Ai-Yiannis Chapel (Kastri), is probably one of the most famous chapels in Greece. Beautifully built upon a steep rock, it offered a spectacular and ideal scenery for the shootings of “Mamma Mia”. In fact, a key scene of this movie was shot there and after the movie was released it became a famous choice for couples that want to get married. The view from the chapel is mesmerizing! Bear in mind that you should ascend 106 stairs, which are carefully carved upon the steep and solid rock.
Given Skopelos’ long religious tradition, there are plenty of monasteries, churches and chapels. The Monastery of Evangelistria on Skopelos, located only at a distance of 3,5 km away of Skopelos’ maintown, constitutes a significant post-Byzantine monument. During the 18th century, the Monastery was renovated thanks to a local family of noble ancestry named Deponte. You should also visit the Monastery of Agia Varvara which is the oldest monastery on the island, built in 1648. Well-preserved and having frescos of rare beauty, the Monastery will captivate you with its architecture. Plus, the view is absolutely gorgeous!
If you want to take a closer look to Skopelos’ folklore tradition, visit its museums that clearly depict its long and rich tradition. In the Museum of Cultural Heritage, there is a lovely collection of folklore items that people used to use in their daily life and also, there is a collection of beautiful traditional costumes. The Mansion of Vakratsa opened its doors to a public that wishes to witness a real example of the way people used to live in Skopelos in the 18th century. Festivities and presentations take place in there and, if you are lucky, you may have the opportunity to attend one.