We might be heading into winter here in SA, but it’s springtime in the sunny Greek Islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. We caught up with avid traveller Mandy Walker to find out more about what makes this kind of Mamma Mia-style holiday so special – and, what you need to pack for your trip!
What do you absolutely have to pack for this kind of trip?
Think bare minimum but stylish. Bohemian, relaxed resort-wear works well. You want to leave plenty – I mean plenty – of space to shop woven espadrilles, Greek linen pants, kaftans, basket bags, hand-made jewellery and more. This is what was in my suitcase:
- Denim shorts, in blue and black – with numerous cool tops in light colours to pair with them.
- Black espadrilles. They go with everything, they’re comfy to walk in over the cobbled streets, and they work for day or night.
- Light dresses in turquoise blues, greens and yellows.
- An anorak. I took my light Uniqlo lavender waterproof jacket that folds into a light bag and is weightless.
- A small cross-body leather bag with a small purse. Wear it with everything, even on a night out, or pop it into your backpack if it’s not needed.
- A pair of trainers in case you venture into wine farms or onto rocky hillsides. Must be in a funky, bright colour.
- Bikinis and cozzies. I always travel with at least 4 as they serve as strapless bras under vests, and can be layered under shorts – you never know when you may encounter an opportunity to swim.
- Simple wedge heels. They’re easier over those cobbled streets.
What tips would you give to someone travelling to Skopelos and Skiathos?
- You don’t need to book ferries between islands before you arrive. Just ask at the airport and officials will direct you to tourist offices on your first island.
- Fly direct to Skiathos and stay over for two or three days, but make sure you travel further to the more remote Skopelos. If you can, I’d suggest visiting Alonnisos, too.
- Large ferries between islands can be noisy and quite claustrophobic. Wherever you can, rather go for smaller ferries (called Flying Dolphins). Use water taxis, rather than buses or taxis, between the beaches. They’re reliable, incredibly fun and the best way to see islands from a slight distance to get perspective of how big it is and all it has to offer.
What are the top six things you need to do when you’re there?
- Sail to Kastani Beach. The church from the first Mamma Mia movie is perched on the hill above the beach and exploring the area is magical. An absolute must!
- Dine at Ergon restaurant in Skiathos. Amazing food – try dolmades, kleftiko and anything with bringal the way the Greeks do it. And try their halva.
- Pop into a small side-street café shop and see what you can buy. Beers are so cheap and you’ll find delicious cherry juice, crackers, grapes, cherries and more.
- Shop at the small side-street jewellery shops in Skopelos – explore them all and set aside enough time to browse thoroughly before you buy. Shop assistants are friendly but can be pushy – and some things are very similar, so only buy after checking everything out.
- Find the quaint restaurant up the hill in the Skopelos Town called Alexander’s Garden Restaurant. It has a 200-year-old well and is in such a lovely setting.
- Enjoy dinner and cocktails at a bakery or restaurant on the portside. Preferable one with comfy hanging chairs.
Want to book something similar? This Greek – Skiathos and Skopelos – holiday package from Thompson’s holidays is the perfect 8-night break. See below for details…
Return flights to Skiathos from Johannesburg, taxes and transfers, 3 night’s accommodation in Skiathos and 5 nights in Skopelos in charming 3* hotels with breakfast daily, return ferry from Skiathos to Skopelos.
Valid 25 March to 31 October – high season supplements may apply.
Ts & Cs apply
Price: R27 208pp sharing
Thompsons Holidays www.thompsons.co.za
By Features Editor Stephanie van der Plank
Avid writer, dedicated journalist and now Features Editor of Woman&Home magazine. She’s sure to tell you about the latest online shopping deals and what THIS celeb said on The Graham Norton Show. She has a slight TV series addiction and can often be seen watching movie trailers in her lunch hour. Also firmly believes that the road to heaven is paved with MacDonald’s chips.