We are making an effort to explore Greece as much as possible. It is an amazing country and the more we explore the more we discover. We have decided to start a new series on the blog documenting these explorations!
Our most recent trip was to Skyros island, part of the Sporades archipelago. Skyros is a 25-minute flight from Athens which makes it a fantastic location for a weekend getaway! We were also fortunate enough to be there for Orthodox Easter! Easter is one of the biggest celebrations in the Greek calendar and brings out a number of great traditions!
Where we stayed
Anemonisia Suites – fantastic little apartment with a full kitchen, including a coffee machine! Owned by a lovely family and directly opposite the town bakery!
What we did
We arrived in Skyros on Saturday evening, just in time for the Anastasi service at Agios Giorgos Monastery (dodging fireworks!)
For the Greek Orthodox faith, Easter is the most important holiday of the year. The preparations and traditions, including customary foods and large feasts, are still an important part of modern Greek life.
The main church service of Holy Saturday is held at midnight. Everyone attends church with a candle (also known as a labatha) When the clock hits midnight, the Priest calls out "Christos Anesti" ("Christ is risen") and passes the flame to those closest to him. The flame is then passed from person to person until the whole church and its courtyard are glowing with flickering candlelight. As soon as Christos Anesti is called out the church bells are rung and this is often followed by small or large displays of fireworks. This was the first time I had been to Skyros and there was a fairly phenomenal fireworks display following the service!
Hiking with Rediscover Skyros http://www.rediscoverskyros.com/walk-8/
Before going to Skyros, we had contacted Panos at Rediscover Skyros to organise a hiking tour. This was a fantastic experience and comes highly recommended to anyone planning on visiting! We chose a walk that included a couple of beaches so that we could have a little dip! Our hike was in the North of the island, in the heart of the pine forest. We were taken on beautiful paths, with expansive panoramic views of the island and visited Shipwreck beach, Agalipa beach and Agios Petros beach. Panos also kindly arranged for some incredible local honey to be brought to us in Athens by his lovely sister!!
Yoga on the beach we found a perfect little spot of grass just on top of a beach with just enough room for our two mats!
Skyros town The main town in Skyros is breath taking. Beautiful white houses and churches are perched on the slopes on a hill, beneath an impressive Byzantine Castle. It is a lovely place to go for a stroll and get lost in the little streets!
Where we ate
Anemomilos café a fantastic little café in a converted windmill on the beach. This is an extremely picturesque spot.
Manna café trendy little café in town with great nibbles. The owners mother and grandmother make delicious home-made jams and sweets.
O Pappous kai Ego A sweet little taverna in town. They also have a larger restaurant by the sea which we plan on trying next time!
Agios Petros located in the middle of the pine forest with fantastic views! We had an incredible meal here! All produce is locally sourced and from their own farm.
Mouries Farm Taverna is a lovely little taverna in Mouries Farm. We sat outside under mulberry trees watching the Skyrian horses run around the surrounding fields! Be aware that their portions are enormous!!
What we want to visit next time
· Southern part of the island – Panos from Rediscover Skyros had recommended that we visit the South of the island however we unfortunately didn’t make it. The Northern part of Skyros is predominantly covered by a pine forest, whereas the South is much dryer and more barren.
· More of the beaches! We went for a stroll on Molos beach which was beautiful and the beaches we visited on our hike, but we did not have time to visit any other beaches unfortunately.
· Palamari Archaeological Site – a settlement was discovered that dates back to the Copper Age (2500-1800 B.C).
· Kavos Bar Linari hovering on the edge of the cliff with fantastic views over Linari bay. We drove past this amazing spot and very much look forward to having a sunset drink there next time!