1. Skopelos (Chora)
Amphitheatrically built around its perfect horseshoe harbor, Skopelos Town is a maze of narrow flower-filled cobbled streets between white washed houses with red tiled roofs, wooden balconies and bright-blue or deep-red window shutters. And if you’re after quaint churches, there are more than 120 of them here to explore with some of them, tucked away between houses. Among them, is the 17th-century basilica of Agios Athanassios, one of the island’s biggest attractions. The town’s traffic-free streets hide innumerable photogenic treasures and picturesque scenes in every corner.
Head up to the remains of the 13th century Venetian castle at the top of town and enjoy the stunning view over the port. As you wind down back towards the harbor, stop off at the Folklore Museum, housed in an 18th century mansion, to come closer to the culture of the island and see local costumes, traditional embroidery, lots of wood-sculpted furniture and many more objects of the past century. Right next to the church of the Three Hierarchs in the center of the traditional settlement, stands the house of Pavlos Nirvanas. The house is an excellent example of local architecture and the place where the famous Greek novelist, spent his childhood years.
During your exploration of Skopelos Town, you will come across tempting tavernas with vine-covered yards, bougainvillea that adorn white-washed walls, tiny churches and a plethora of boutiques and little shops, selling handmade products, jewelry and crafts. The harbor side with its port is the busiest and active part of the whole town. Ferries, hydrofoils and yachts come and go all day long while tourists and locals enjoy relaxation moments in the cafes and the tavernas behind the mulberry trees, that line the waterfront. Skopelos Town has only a little beach close to the port, more popular among the locals. Most holidaymakers head out of town where there are plenty of gorgeous and well-organized beaches.
In 1978, the town of Skopelos was honored as a Traditional Settlement of Outstanding Beauty. This reflects to strict building regulations and preservation orders in order to keep Chora, beautiful and tidy. As well as offering a really relaxing holiday in a friendly and attractive environment, Skopelos Town and its surroundings offer excellent walks, several intriguing monasteries and lovely beaches.
Glossa is the second largest settlement in Skopelos. It is located at the northwest of the island and is built on the hill above the port of Loutraki with magnificent views. It is the tall village mentioned by Alexandros Papadiamantis, in the narrative of Nostalgos, the vineyard area according to Alexandros Moraitidis. It is 32 km from the town of Skopelos and has 1195 inhabitants (census 2001). Many try to explain the etymology of her name.
Others attribute it to the tongue-shaped cobweb that exists in the sea area of the settlement, and others link it to Knossos, the city that built at that point, the first inhabitants of the island, who were Minoans. There is, however, a more humorous version of the name of the Glossa, since, according to its inhabitants, the language comes out to go up the many steps of the village. Glossa and its wider area is rich in springs and has many olive trees, plums and almonds. Its houses, with Macedonian influences, are two-storeyed with ceramic roofs and wooden balconies, the front of which is covered with iron railings. Throughout the steps of her cobbled streets, she will meet even women with local costumes, dresses and inhabitants who maintain their traditional lifestyle, customs and linguistic idiom.
The settlement seems to have existed since ancient times and was probably a colony of the Cretans of the Minoan era, because traces of prehistoric residence were discovered. The surrounding area, both in Glossa and Loutraki, is of great archaeological interest, since in many places there are ancient towers, palaces and buildings of various ages of antiquity. In Platana, north of Glossa, in the monastery of Agios Taxiarhis, there are buildings of an Early Christian temple (single-aisled basilica with a dome, built in 672 AD) in the courtyard. This is the oldest temple of Skopelos.