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Cheap Skiathos Holidays | Skiathos Holiday Deals

Skiathos

Possibly the most popular of the Sporades islands, Skiathos boasts more than 60 beautiful beaches and was the setting of the popular film, Mamma Mia. The island is only four miles (6km) wide and seven miles (11km) long, but has its own airport and each year attracts thousands of tourists to its busy and beautiful coastline.

Away from the resort areas along the south and east coast it is relatively undeveloped with shady woods, olive and walnut groves and quiet beaches that can only be accessed by boat. The seafront in Skiathos Town is lined with local tavernas, cafés and some excellent seafood restaurants that look over the lively marina. From here boat trips leave to take tourists around the island to swim in the sparkling blue-green waters and see the sights. The island offers a satisfying combination of modern amenities, resort attractions and unspoiled natural wonders for visitors.

The most famous beach on the island, and perhaps in all of Greece, is Koukounaries, a one mile (2km) strip of fine golden sand and crystal clear water set in front of a thick pine forest. It attracts many visitors, especially during July and August, and offers all sorts of watersports facilities.

Aside from the stunning coastline, Skiathos attractions include the ruins of a 12th-century Venetian fortress, and a visit to the deserted medieval town of Kastro is a sightseeing must. There are also a number of monasteries to visit, including the 17th-century Moni Evangelistria (the Monastery of Annunciation) and the Monastery of Agios Charalampos, where the local writer of short stories, Alexander Moraitidis, spent the remaining years of his life. Other interesting buildings include Bourtzi Fortress, and churches like Ayios Nikolaos and Trion Ierarchon.

Skiathos enjoys hot, dry summers and mild winters. Temperatures in July and August, the hottest months, average from 82ºF (28ºC) during the day to 72ºF (22ºC) at night. It is frequently much hotter than that in summer though. Rainfall is unlikely in summer but showers can be expected between September and May. Skiathos differs little from most other Greek islands in the sense that it has an almost typically Mediterranean climate, but all of the northern Sporadic Islands are subject to a strong wind blowing from the north; as a result, most of the beaches on these islands are found on the sheltered southern sides.

The sea temperature is lovely and warm from July through to September but it is a little chilly early in the tourist season in May and sometimes June. While May is usually a great time to visit the Greek isles this slight chilliness may be off-putting.

The best time to visit is September, when the water is still warm but you can avoid the throngs. Summer remains the most popular time to visit Skiathos and the weather is glorious, though some find the crowds frustrating.

Language

Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

Travel Health

There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Greece, but visitors who plan to walk through forested areas are advised to consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required for those arriving from infected areas. A hepatitis A vaccination may be recommended by some doctors for extended travel in rural areas.

Medical facilities in Greece vary: those in major cities are excellent but many of the islands are some distance from a decent hospital. For this reason, it is best to take along any prescription medication you may require. Food and water are safe, but those visiting for short periods should consider sticking to bottled water. UK nationals are entitled to a refund on emergency hospital treatment under a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Greece, and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should be taken on holiday for this purpose. Despite this, all visitors are advised to take out medical insurance.

Tipping

A service charge is often included in the bill at restaurants in Greece; it is best to see if this is the case before tipping. If no service charge has been included, leave between 10 to 15 percent. For drinks at cafes, round the bill up to the nearest euro. Taxis expect change as do cloak room attendants and porters.

Safety Information

There is a safety risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks and visitors are urged to be vigilant in public places, including tourist sites. Recent austerity strikes have been widespread and can bring the country to a halt - transport networks particularly suffer during strikes. Thus far, strikes in Greece have inconvenienced travellers without turning violent; however, tourists are advised to stay away from political gatherings as there have been clashes between police and protesters. Greece is otherwise considered a safe destination, but the height of the tourist season does usually see an increase in petty theft cases, particularly in crowded areas. Visitors are advised not to carry valuables on them and to make use of hotel safes for valuables. Do not display conspicuous wealth and make sure your valuable possessions are not easily accessible to pick-pockets. Violent crime is infrequent, but there have been incidents on some Greek islands and lone visitors are advised not to accept lifts from strangers.

Local Customs

Indecent behaviour is not tolerated and the police will not hesitate to arrest or fine offenders. Some form of official identification should be carried at all times.

Business

Business in Greece is conducted in a similar fashion to Italy or Spain rather than their northern European counterparts. A formal dress style is adhered to: dark, conservative suits for men and women are best. Punctuality is not often practiced in Greece and often hosts arrive late to meetings. A firm handshake with eye contact is the norm for greeting men and women for the first time. Business cards should be printed in both Greek and English, although there is no ritual surrounding the exchange. Greeks like to get to know their business colleagues before conducting any serious business so don't expect to close a deal at the first meeting. Greek culture adheres to a hierarchical structure and respect should be shown accordingly. The giving of gifts is common in social circumstances though not necessarily in business. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday.

 

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