The other main tourist town of Skopelos is a picturesque hillside village of 1,200 people and views to die for. There are ruins in GLOSSA dating from 400 BC as well as Byzantine walls to poke about in. The houses in Glossa are mostly two storey with wooden balconies and the fields are full of plum and almond trees. Several dirt roads lead out of the port village to provide lovely walks to nearby sights of interest.
Other roads and tracks lead down to deserted beaches. On the northwest coast are MYRTIA and KOUTRIA, while to the east there are pebble coves to be found at PERIVOLI, PETHAMENI, HONDROGIORGI, KERAMOTO, MAVRAKI and SPILIA. Like all remote north coast beaches they are prone to collect debris and rubbish. Many are difficult to find and only Spilia and Perivoli have roads leading to them. Pethameni is at the bottom of a steep and precipitous path but has small beach and some good snorkeling. Hondrogiorgi has easier access and so is popular with locals at weekends.
At Spilia there is a cave and a chapel built on a spectacular headland above a double coved beach. The headland was created when the cliffs collapsed into the sea and the chapel featured strongly in the hit movie musical Mamma Mia.
The island's main beach at STAFYLOS or STAFILOS is popular with families, but only because it is the nearest to Skopelos town - about 5km directly south out of the harbour. Access to Stafylos is off the main road and 500m down a steep tarmac road to some ever steeper stone steps. Tavernas at the top and bottom of the hill are most welcome for those on foot. For those using cars and bikes there are good car parks.
The narrow strip of sand and shingle at Stafylos, mostly shingle, is attractive enough - basking beneath steep and high scrub-covered cliffs. Its popularity has grown recently and the sandy bits get snapped up early.
The steep cliffs behind can seem a little oppressive and the narrow Stafylos beach only allows for one or two rows of sunbeds that are put out in high summer. The water is shallow with stone underfoot so beach shoes are needed. On the road above, near the bus stop, there are a couple of tavernas and parking for cars. Small hotels and apartments are dotted about the Stafylos hillsides.
A rocky limb that juts out to sea is home to the tomb of the former Cretan general Stafylos, who gives his name to Stafylos beach. Among the treasures unearthed at the tomb were a 15th century gold-plated sword which is now housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Velanio beach is approached a short climb over the headland at the end of Stafylos beach. Velanio beach is bigger, steeper and deeper than its more popular neighbour. It is a mixture of stone and shingle and the further along the south-facing beach you go, the stonier Velanio it gets. The waters here are very clean and clear, ideal for swimming. The lovely beach at VELANIO is still a favourite with nudists though they now tend to stay at the far eastern end beyond a rocky outcrop that splits the beach in the middle. Velanio often takes the overspill from the family beach at Stafylos but it takes around 15 minutes to walk down from the bus stop on the main road, along Stafylos beach and over the headland. It has only a small cantina that opens in high summer. Lines of sunbeds occupy the more popular end of the beach; naturists make do with laying their straw mats on the smooth white stones. Velanio resort is said to take its name from old Roman baths 'valaneia' that were once reputedly sited here but locals say 'venanio' simply means acorn and dismiss the Roman link. There is a spring near the end of the beach. Pick your way through the naturists to get to it.
HOVOLO which is on the outskirts of Elios town and for me was one of the most beautiful beaches, not only because of the beautiful beach and crystal water, but even because of the plenty of natural shade provided by the high rocky mountain behind.
A few kilometre south of Hovolo beach brings you to the splendid beach of KASTANI. One of the island's sandiest beaches, Kastani was used for beach scenes in the hit musical movie of Mamma Mia. The approach is down a steep, pine cloaked and heavily rutted dirt track and there is not much room to turn at the bottom so take car with the car. A beach cantina with great music sometimes springs up in the summer but there are no other facilities. However, they had plenty of sun beds, umbrellas, baldachins and cushions all over the place and it was magical to just enjoy the natural shade under the pine and olive trees, drinking a coffee or juice:).