Skiathos, a gently rolling wooded island, lies 2.5 nm east of the Peninsula of Magnesia and is the most westerly island of the Northern Sporades. It is also the most important island boasting the best ferries connections, a smallish airport and serves as the prime starting point for sailing holidays in the north Aegean. With its equable climate and beautiful sandy bays it is a popular holiday destination, particularly favoured by Greeks. Skiathos’ main source of income apart from the tourist trade is its 600,000 olive trees.
The capital, and indeed the only town on the island, is Skiathos, on the south-east coast. Founded in 1830, it occupies the site of the ancient city, on two low hill ridges flanking a small sheltered bay.
The ruins of the islands’ medieval capital, Kastro, are located along the west coast on an impregnable cliff. The remaining stretches of town walls and the drawbridge can be visited by boat or over land by beautiful winding dirt roads. The lush and fertile inlands as well the monasteries are indeed the most appealing part of Skiathos.
Skiathos was never a place of any importance in ancient times. Herodotus mentions the island in connection with the naval battle off cape Artemision (480 BC), reporting that the men of Skiathos conveyed information about Persian naval movements by means of fire signals.