Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Olympic Airways has service daily (twice daily in Apr and May, five times daily June-Sept) from Athens; contact the Athens office (tel. 210/966-6666) for information and reservations. At this time, Olympic does not maintain an office in Skiathos town, but can be reached at the nearby airport (tel. 24270/22-049). Public bus service to and from the airport is so infrequent that everyone takes a taxi; expect to pay about 6€ ($7.80) depending on your destination.
By Boat -- Skiathos can be reached by either ferryboat (3 hr.) or hydrofoil (1 1/2 hr.) from Volos or Ayios Konstandinos. (Volos is at least a 4-hour bus ride from Athens, Ayios Konstandinos a 3-hr. bus ride.) From Kymi on Evvia, there is also hydrofoil service (50 min.) and ferryboat service (4 hr.). In high season, there are frequent hydrofoils daily from Volos and from Ayios Konstandinos, as well as service from Thessaloniki (3 hr.). Hydrofoils also link Skiathos to Skopelos (30-45 min.), Alonissos (60-75 min.), and Skyros (2 1/3 hr.).
In Athens, Alkyon Travel, 97 Akademias, near Kanigos Square (tel. 210/383-2545; www.alkyontravel.com), can arrange bus transportation from Athens to Ayios Konstandinos as well as hydrofoil or ferry tickets. Alkyon will not accept phone reservations -- you must appear in person. The 3-hour bus ride costs about 15€ ($20) one-way.
For hydrofoil (Flying Dolphins) schedules and information, contact the Hellenic Seaways, Akti Kondyli and 2 Aitolikou, Piraeus (tel. 210/419-9000; www.hellenicseaways.gr). For ferryboat information, contact the G.A. Ferries line in Piraeus (tel. 210/458-2640; www.gaferries.com). Ferry tickets can be purchased at travel agencies in Athens or on the islands. During high season, I recommend that you purchase your boat tickets in advance through the boat lines. While you may purchase tickets at Alkyon in person, they will not reserve ferryboat or hydrofoil tickets for you in advance, and these often sell out.
The town maintains an information booth at the western corner of the harbor; in summer, at least, it's open daily from about 9am to 8pm. Meanwhile, private travel agencies abound and can help with most of your requests. We highly recommend Mare Nostrum Holidays, 21 Papadiamandis (tel. 24270/21-463; email@example.com). It books villas, hotels, and rooms; sells tickets to many around-the-island, hydrofoil, and beach caique (skiff) trips; books Olympic Airways flights; exchanges currency; and changes traveler's checks without commission. The staff speak excellent English, are exceedingly well-informed, and have lots of tips on everything from beaches to restaurants. The office is open daily from 8am to 10pm.
By Bus -- Skiathos has public bus service along the south coast of the island from the bus station on the harbor to Koukounaries (3€/$3.90), with stops at the beaches in between. A conductor will ask for your destination and assess the fare after the bus starts moving. Buses run at least six times daily April through November; every hour from 9am to 9pm May through October; every half-hour from 8:30am to 10pm June through September; and every 20 minutes from 8:30am to 2:30pm and 3:30pm to midnight July through August.
By Car & Moped -- Reliable car and moped agencies, all on the paralia (shore road), include Avis (tel. 24270/21-458; firstname.lastname@example.org), run by the friendly Yannis Theofanidis; Aivalioti's Rent-A-Car (tel. 24270/21-246); and Creator (tel. 24270/22-385). In high season, expect to pay 70€ to 95€ ($91-$124) per day for a small car. Mopeds start at about 25€ ($33) per day.
By Boat -- The north-coast beaches, adjacent islands, and historic kastro are most easily reached by caique; these smaller vessels, which post their beach and island tour schedules on signs, sail frequently from the fishing harbor west of the Bourtzi fortress. An around-the-island tour that includes stops at Lalaria Beach and the kastro will cost about 30€ ($39).
The Flying Dolphins agent, Skiathos Holidays, on the paralia, is open from 7am to 9:30pm; in high season there are as many as eight high-speed hydrofoils daily to Skopelos and Alonissos. (We feel the extra cost for the hydrofoils is worth it for traveling among the Sporades islands.) There are also daily excursions to Skyros in high season. Call tel. 24270/22-018 for up-to-date schedules. Note that even if you have a ticket, you must appear at the agent's ticket office at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing to get your ticket confirmed and seat assigned. Vasilis Nikolaou (tel. 24270/22-209), the travel agent at the corner of the paralia and Papadiamandis, sells tickets for the ferryboats to the other islands.
The official American Express agent is Mare Nostrum Holidays, 21 Papadiamandis (tel. 24270/21-463; email@example.com); open daily from 8am to 10pm. There are many banks in town, such as the National Bank of Greece, Papadiamandis, open Monday through Friday from 8am to 2pm and 7 to 9pm, and Sunday from 9am to noon. The hospital (tel. 24270/22-040) is on the coast road at the far-west edge of town. For Internet access, try Internet Zone Cafe, 28 Evangelistrias (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A self-service laundry is at 14 Georgios Panora (tel. 24270/22-341), 85m (279 ft.) up Papadiamandis, the street opposite the National Bank; or you can drop off a load at the Snow White Laundry (tel. 24270/24-256) one street up from the paralia, behind the Credit Bank; both are open daily from about 8am to 2pm and 5 to 11pm. The police station (tel. 24270/21-111) is about 250m (820 ft.) from the harbor on Papadiamandis, on the left. The tourist police booth is about 15m (49 ft.) farther along on the right. The post office (tel. 24270/22-011) is on Papadiamandis, away from the harbor about 160m (525 ft.) and on the right; it's open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 2pm. The telephone office (OTE; tel. 24270/22-135) is on Papadiamandis, on the right, some 30m (98 ft.) beyond the post office. It's open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm and 5 to 10pm.