After an amazing time in Leonidio and taking a bus back to Athens for a night, we hopped on yet another bus and rode to Volos where we caught the ferry to the island of Skopelos. We spent 7 days (8 nights) in a wonderful apartment in Skopelos Town on the island of Skopelos. We try to stay in apartments when we can, as being able to cook for yourself (at least one meal a day) is a great way to save some money and keep the diet under control at least a little. Cara had booked this apartment a very long time ago (March? Maybe earlier…) based on the fact that Mamma Mia was filmed on this island. Supposedly she read that it isn’t super touristy and it’s the greenest/lushest Greek island too, but I’m wary that the research went past Mamma Mia haha. Cara's note: 'Skopelos' means rocky. It is the greenest of the Sporades. I did NOT book this apartment based on it's association with the movie. It was just a convenient benefit. And you're welcome because now ABBA will be stuck in your head all day. Photos of Skopelos Town:
Regardless of her research, the apartment is nice and the island has been great to us. We have tried most of the restaurants that are either recommended in guidebooks or highly rated on TripAdvisor (which we use all the time, and recommend for finding places internationally, seems more consistent than Google reviews), spent plenty of time at the beach, walked a ton, went scuba diving for the first time, and rented a four wheeler to see more of the island.
One of our last nights on the island we headed out to dinner and had planned on going back to the first restaurant we visited, as the food (mainly the pork and prune dish) was fantastic, but we walked up and found it to be closed. We definitely caught the tail end of the tourist season, and it seemed that each day another shop or restaurant was closed for the season and another tour boat wasn’t tied up at the pier anymore. Since our first choice was closed, we began wandering our way down through the windy streets of the village looking for another option. We ended up in a little square eating under a tree. The food was still great and we realized that we hadn’t had a bad meal since arriving in Greece.
We have also fallen in love with eggplant salad, which is usually either diced and sautéed or pureed eggplant with olive oil, bell peppers, and loads of garlic. Each place does it a little different, but they have all been delicious. That night the eggplant was good, but not our favorite, but the fresh (and we mean FRESH) pita that it was served with was amazing.
We had hoped to do a sailing trip and maybe some snorkeling, but we waited too long to try to book anything and the tour boats had all closed up for the season by the time we tried. We were looking for something else to try instead and decided to give scuba diving a shot. The local company gave us a pretty good deal because it was after October 1st and I think they were just happy to have any business at all. After some basic instructions on hand signals and what all the equipment we would be using was, we drove over to a beach on the other side of town and got into the water. We had to do 3 basic tests before diving, and these were clearing the regulator, recovering our regulator if it got knocked out of our mouths, and clearing our masks of water. After that we set off to explore a rocky area and spent about 40 minutes swimming around. Cara loved it and thought it was extremely relaxing, while Jeff didn’t really enjoy any part of it.
Another day we rented a 4 wheeler and drove all over the island. We had planned on renting scooters and touring around, but the rental companies wanted us to have motorcycle endorsements in order to get them. Instead we rented the quad and it worked out way better as we took quite a few “roads” that would have been very difficult if not impossible on scooter. We got to see nearly the entire island, passing through pretty much every other village and making quite a few stops, including the light house at the northern end of the island and the little chapel out on a rock that is in Mamma Mia. One bonus of being here past the normal tourist season is that we had the stops all to ourselves. Also, we were extremely grateful for GPS and offline Google maps, as we took all kinds of back roads/trails to get from place to place and would have been really lost without it.
We really enjoyed Skopelos, and it is very different from the other parts of Greece that we have been to. It is definitely worth the long trip out to if you are visiting this country, and a gorgeous place to see.
Random note on visiting Greece: Always be nice to your waiter/host at a restaurant. We have gotten spontaneous dessert on the house multiple times and the only thing that seems to set us apart from other tables is our smiles and desire to make conversation and learn something from the staff. Might be something small like the sweet prunes above, but its a nice touch when you don't know anyone else in town.
Oh, and how could we forget? Skopelos is also the place we got our fist gyros in Greece! And we had to try the local delicacy of Skopelos Pie (fried dough filled with cheese)