Skopelos (Greek: Σκόπελος) is a Greek island in the western
Skopelos is one of several islands which comprise the
Sporades island group, which lies east of the Pelion
peninsula on the mainland and north of the island of Euboea. It is
part of the
Skopelos is also the name of the main
port and the municipal center of the island. The other communities of
the island are Glossa and Neo Klima (Elios). The geography of Skopelos
includes two mountains over 500 m (1,640 ft); Delphi
(681 m/2,234 ft) in the center of the island, and Palouki
(546 m/1,791 ft) in the southeast. With an area of 96 square
kilometres (37 sq mi)
Skopelos is slightly larger than
Mykonos (85 km2/33 sq mi) and Santorini
(73 km2/28 sq mi). The nearest inhabited islands are
Skiathos to the west and
Alonissos to the east.
3.1 Local food production
4.2 Water resources
4.3 Alternative energy
5.5 Domesticated animals
6 Architectural heritage
10 Notable Skopelitans
14 External links
According to the legend,
Skopelos was founded by
Staphylus (Greek for grape), one of the sons of the god
Ariadne of Crete. Historically, in the Late Bronze Age
the island, then known as Peparethos or Peparethus (Ancient Greek:
Πεπάρηθος), was colonised by Cretans, who introduced
viticulture to the island.
Perhaps because of the legend of its founding by the son of the god of
wine, the island was known throughout the ancient Greek cities of the
Mediterranean Sea for its wine. The play Philoctetes (first performed
Festival of Dionysus
Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC) by
Sophocles includes a wine
merchant lost on his way to "Peparethos, rich in grapes and wine".
Pliny the Elder, in his book Natural History writes:
The physician Apollodorus, in the work in which he wrote recommending
King Ptolemy what wines in particular to drin—for in his time the
wines of Italy were not generally known—has spoken in high terms of
that of Naspercene in Pontus, next to which he places the Oretic, and
then the Aeneatian, the Leucadian, the Ambraciotic, and the
Peparethian, to which last he gives the preference over all the rest,
though he states that it enjoyed an inferior reputation, from the fact
of its not being considered fit for drinking until it had been kept
In 1936 excavations in the area of Staphylos/Velanio uncovered a royal
tomb of the era of Mycenaean Greece. The island was briefly under the
control of the city-state Chalcis,
Euboea since at least the 8th
In turn the island would come under the political influence or direct
the Kingdom of
Macedon (338–146 BC)
Roman Republic (146–27 BC)
Roman Empire (27 BC – 395 AD)
Byzantine Empire (395–1204)
Latin Empire of Constantinople
Latin Empire of Constantinople (c. 1204–1277)
Byzantine Empire (1277–?)
Ottoman Empire (?–1403)
Byzantine Empire (1403–1456)
The Republic of Venice; known as Scopelo (1456–1538)
Ottoman Empire (1538 until the Greek War of Independence)
Skopelos became part of the
First Hellenic Republic
First Hellenic Republic under the London
Protocol confirming its sovereignty (3 February 1830). During World
Skopelos fell under Axis occupation. At first it was occupied
by the Kingdom of Italy (June 1941 – September 1943) and then by
Nazi Germany (September 1943 – October 1944).
Skopelos and the rest
Greece returned to democratic-style government in 1944.
Satellite image of Skopelos.
Skopelos has the shape of a saxophone, with the "neck" pointing
northwest, and the "bell" lying on the east. There are not many bays
and natural harbors, and cliffs steeply fall into the sea in the
greatest part of the coast. Mountains dominate the western and eastern
parts of the island. There are several plains; in Staphylos, Ditropon,
and Panormos. The main port of
Skopelos can sometimes be closed due to
northerly gales. The smaller bays of Staphylos,
Agnondas on the south
coast and Panormos on the west offer better protection. The
municipality has an area of 96.299 square kilometres (37.181 square
The main port and municipal center of the island (
Skopelos or Chora)
is situated in the bay on the northern coast. It is noted for its
architectural heritage. On the census of 2011, it had 3,090
The second largest settlement is Glossa village, situated on the
northwestern tip of the island, just above Loutraki harbour, with an
elevation ranging from 200 to 300 m (656 to 984 ft). It is
25.4 km (15.8 mi) from
Skopelos town. It is a tranquil
village with traditional houses, with 993 residents.
Neo Klima or "Elios" is a purpose-built village constructed after the
great 1965 earthquake to resettle the displaced residents of the
severely damaged village of (Old) Klima. It is situated by the coast
on the west side of the island. The village had 463 inhabitants in the
Other settlements include Stafylos, Agnondas, Panormos, Ananias,
Klima, Atheato, Loutraki, Kalogiros, and Myloi.
View of Chora
The economy of
Skopelos is now fully dependent on the tourism
industry, which supports construction and other development related
industries. Though tourism is greatest during the summer months,
Skopelos is also a year-round retirement destination for Northern
Europeans. Some residents expected an increase in tourism due to the
filming of Mamma Mia! on the island in September 2007.
Agriculture, once a staple of the local economy, is in decline. Plum
and almond orchards exist but are less extensive than in the past.
Wine production from local grapes is minimal ever since the phylloxera
blight of the 1940s destroyed the vineyards. Though there is local
small scale wine production using local grapes, most wine produced on
the island is for home use and much is pressed from grapes imported
from Thessaly. Herding of domestic goats and domestic sheep continues
and a local feta type cheese is produced from these stocks. Beekeeping
and honey production have increased in recent years.
a small fishing fleet which fishes local waters.
The island once had a vital wooden shipbuilding industry and
contributed many ships to the
War of Greek Independence
War of Greek Independence (1821–1831).
Shipbuilding began to decline after the introduction of steamships.
Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911) stated "Almost
every householder in both islands (
Skopelos and Skiathos) is the
owner, joint owner or skipper of a sailing ship." Today the art of
building ships and boats in the traditional style is virtually
nonexistent and is seen only in the repairing of small wooden vessels.
Skopelos cannot support its population with locally produced food and
goods. Most of what is used and consumed must be imported by ship from
the mainland. Prices for food and consumer goods reflect the added
expense of transportation. By law the Greek government collects less
Value Added Tax
Value Added Tax for food and drink purchased on the islands (8% - 16%)
than for similar items purchased in mainland
Greece (11% - 23%).
Still, purchases of food and drink run 10 percent higher in Skopelos
than on the mainland. Most building materials, including sand, must
also be imported.
Gasoline or petrol costs are, at minimum, 15 percent
higher than on the mainland.
Skopelos is a matrilineal society. Wealth is passed on via the female
line. By custom, the parents of each Skopelitan bride provide the new
couple with at least a house and some property. The house and property
remain in the bride's name. This custom is particularly insular as in
most other parts of Greece, especially on the mainland and Crete,
wealth is patrilineal.
Local food production
Olives and olive oil: Olive oil plays a role in the
being the basis of all recipes of traditional cuisine. The most
prevalent olive is the "Pelion" variety, larger and rounder than the
"Kalamata". For eating the olives are cured both in the unripened and
the ripened stages.
Feta: A semi-soft, crumbly, well-salted white cheese made from goat
milk. Used in
Skopelos cheese pie and other vegetable pies, added to
salads and served with meals.
Cheese Pie: Not by definition a real pie, but a tiropita, a deep fried
spiral of cheese stuffed phyllo dough. The pie is generally about
15 cm (6 in) in diameter and 3 cm (1 in) high.
Honey: Honey in
Skopelos is mainly pine honey from conifer trees and
flower-honey from the nectar of fruit trees and wild flowers.
Prunes: Oven or sun dried Blue or Red Plums.
Traditional narrow streets of the island.
Skopelos is one of the greenest islands in the Aegean Sea. The island
has a wide range of flowers, trees and shrubs. The local vegetation is
chiefly made up of forests of Aleppo Pines (Pinus halepensis), Kermes
Oaks (Quercus coccifera), a small forest of Holm Oaks (Quercus ilex),
Oleo-Ceratonion maquis, fruit trees and olive groves. The pine forests
Skopelos have replaced oak species that predominated in the past;
this is due to a preference for pine trees, since their timber is
widely used for ship construction.
As "The Green and Blue Island",
Skopelos lags behind urban
rubbish recycling and sewage treatment. Currently there is no rubbish
recycling program in Skopelos. Solid and hazardous waste is deposited
in a landfill or dumped unofficially on untended public or private
land. Periodically families of
Romani people come to
collect scrap metal from areas around the island where trash has been
illegally dumped. The scrap metal is removed from the island by lorry
and sold on the mainland. Beer and bulk wine bottles are recycled by
the distributors. There is a deposit collected for each bottle at time
of purchase which is redeemed upon return.
The sources of the municipal water supply are various spring fed tanks
located around the island. The three island communities supply water
within a limited but expanding part of their jurisdictions. Homes
outside the municipal water system use wells or cisterns to collect
rain water. There are plans to construct an artificial lake in the
area of Panormos to supply water to farmers. Private water wells
supply some agricultural needs and water from these wells can be
transported by lorry to outlying areas to refill cisterns or swimming
pools. The municipal water is good quality. As most natural source
water in limestone environments, the water has a high calcium content.
Over the past 30 years residents have begun to use solar collectors
for hot water. With about 2,400 hours of sunlight per year, Skopelos
has the potential to increase its solar energy use and to develop
alternative sources for energy which make use of a frequent and steady
northerly wind. Major construction and mass tourism development
projects for hotels and tourist housing have not yet embraced the
concept of alternative resources. Most recently built projects rely on
electricity generated on the mainland, even for hot water.
Skopelos has a variety of fauna - including about 60 species of wild
birds-native and migratory. There are several birds of prey, most
common being the
Eleonora's falcon (Falco Eleonorae), the European
scops owl (Otus Scops) and the common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Also to
be seen are kestrels, eagles, and vultures, and very obvious
throughout the island is the hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Occasionally
grey herons and kingfishers and, more commonly, the great cormorant
(Phalacrocorax carbo), the herring gull (Larus argentatus) and the
yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) are seen along the coast.
Severe winter weather can temporarily introduce rarely seen mainland
birds. In March 2007 the Municipal Authorities cleaned a wetland
habitat near the town beach at the outlet to the sea of Skopelos' only
permanently flowing stream. The area had been home to frogs and the
birds that fed on them.
Sporades are one of the prime breeding areas of the
Mediterranean monk seal
Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) an endangered species. The
main threat to Monachus monachus is man and his activities. Often
deliberately killed or accidentally caught in fishing equipment, its
food sources are declining also. In addition, marine pollution and
uncontrolled tourism are causing the destruction of The seal's natural
habitat. The establishment in 1992 of the National Marine Park of
Sporades was an effort to protect this species by
restricting human encroachment on seal breeding areas. Wild land
mammals include pine martens (Martes martes), brown rats (Rattus
norvegicus) and mice, the southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus
concolor), bats and, though declining in numbers, European hares. A
mating pair of fallow deer (Dama dama) have been privately
reintroduced to the island. A population of feral cats exists in and
around areas of human habitation.
The island is home to a variety of reptiles. The Balkan terrapin
(Mauremys rivulata) can be found near fresh water along with the Greek
marsh frog (Pelophylax kurtmuelleri), though this habitat is slowly
disappearing due to development. The Balkan wall lizard (Podarcis
taurica) is seen regularly in daylight in warm weather and the
Hemidactylus turcicus at night. A larger lizard is the Balkan green
lizard (Lacerta trilineata). Several varieties of snakes can be
observed: the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus), the leopard
snake (Elephe situla), the large whip snake (Coluber jugularis), the
grass snake (Natrix natrix), and a species of viper.
In or near fresh water there is sometimes found the Balkan frog
(Pelophylax kurtmuelleri) and the
European tree frog
European tree frog (Hyla arborea).
Near or away from water there are common toads (Bufo bufo).
The island has its own acknowledged breed of goat, named after it. The
Skopelos goat is one breed in the southern multicoloured group. It is
a relative of the wild goat of the island of Gioura. The main
occurrences of this species are in Skopelos,
Skiathos. Sheep herds on the island belong to a distinctive group
called the "
Skopelos Sheep" breed.
A house of
Skopelos town renovated within the guidelines of the
Presidential Decree of 1978.
The town of
Skopelos was honoured as a Traditional Settlement of
Outstanding Beauty (19/10/1978 Presidential Decree 594,13-11/78,
signed by President of
Greece Konstantinos Tsatsos). This is the Greek
equivalent of a site of Outstanding Architectural Inheritance. The
building code for new construction and renovation within the village
reflects some restrictions due to the Traditional Settlement decree.
Some restrictions stipulate that no new buildings shall be of more
than two stories, there must be a sloped cermamic or stone roof in the
traditional style, and doors, windows and balconies be made of wood.
The island has more than 360 churches and chapels. Most are closed
through the years except for the feast day of to whom or whatever the
church has been dedicated, and the majority have been privately built.
The oldest existing ecclesiastical structure is the basilica of Agios
Athanasios, built in the 11th century and located in the Kastro area.
All except one of the churches on the island observe the Greek
Orthodox faith. The remaining church hosts a small enclave of
Jehovah's Witnesses. Christianity was formalized in
Skopelos by the
appointment of the Bishop
Riginos in the 4th century. Under the Reign
of the Emperor Julian the Apostate,
Riginos was martyred in 362 AD.
The saint's feast day is February 25 —- a holiday on the island.
Car ownership in
Greece between 1990 and 2004 increased by 121%
Skopelos reflects this trend and the local
authorities are hard pressed to deal with the increased traffic and
parking issues. Along with the resident population of cars, the burden
of tourist and summer resident vehicles and the availability of rental
cars and motorbikes has created problems for which solutions have not
yet been found. The construction of a large asphalt parking area along
the waterfront in the late 1990s has done little to address the
parking problems facing the town of Skopelos. During the summer the
population of the island increases from about 5,000 to between 15,000
and 20,000 (est. 1993). The island is served by commuter hydrofoils
and ferryboats from the ports of
Volos Magnesia and Agios
Phthiotis on mainland
Greece which also allows
connections to and from
Alonissos and Skiathos. In summer there is a
ferry to and from Kymi in Euboea.
Skopelos has one main road which
links the three main villages by coach several times daily. In the
mid-1980s the mayor's council voted to apply to the Ministry of the
Interior for the construction of an airport. The application was
denied. There is a heliport in case of medical emergencies.
The province of
Skopelos (Greek: Επαρχία Σκοπέλου) was
one of the provinces of the Magnesia Prefecture. Its territory
corresponded with that of the current regional unit Sporades, and
included the islands Skopelos, Skiathos, Alonnisos. It was
abolished in 2006.
Beach in Skopelos.
The length of the coastline of
Skopelos is 67 km (42 mi).
Due to the island's mountainous terrain most of the coast is
inaccessible. The following are beaches accessible by road or trail:
Staphylos, Velanio (official nudism beach since 2011), Agnondas,
Limnonari, Panormos, Adrines, Milia, Kastani, Elios, Hovolo,
Armenopetra, Kalives, Glyfoneri, Glysteri, Perivoliou, Keramoto,
Diocles of Peparethus - (late 4th-early 3rd century BC) was a
historian from Peparethos.
Fani Palli-Petralia - Former Minister of
Employment and Social
Security 2007-2009. Former Minister of
Nikolaides family : Nikolakis Hatzistamatis, the founder of the
Nikolaides family was born in the island of
Skiathos around 1770. He
Skopelos where he served as one of the island's highest
officials. Nikolakis Hatzistamatis is mentioned by the Greek author
Alexandros Papadiamantis in the novel "Hatzopoulo". His only son
Jannios (1800–1885), changed the family name to Nikolaides. Jannios
also served in high offices. Descendants of the above are the present
donators of the Folklore Museum of Skopelos.
Cat Cora (Katerina Karagiozi) - a Greek-American professional chef
best known for her featured role as an "Iron Chef" on the Food Network
television show Iron Chef America.
Ivan Rebroff, the German singer, owned a villa on the island and
became an honorary citizen.
Skopelos and its neighbour
Skiathos were the filming locations of the
2008 film Mamma Mia!. The wedding procession was filmed at the Agios
Ioannis Chapel near Glossa.
Film locations, photos and videos
Agios Ioannis - The chapel where the wedding scene was filmed.
Held, Marc (1994). "
Skopelos - the Landscapes and Vernacular
Architecture of an Aegean Island"
Parsons, Heather (2004). "
Skopelos Trails - A Nature and Walking Guide
^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011.
ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical
^ Stuart Rossiter, Greece, 4th ed. (E. Benn, 1981), p. 383: "Ancient
Peparethos had become
Skopelos by Ptolemaic times."
^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History, book XIV, 9, 2
^ Skopelos: A Guide to the Island
^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average
elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of
Skopelos Goat, by EEAAP / Animal Genetic Data Bank
^ Prolific dairy sheep breeds in Greece
^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). (39 MB) (in
Greek) (in French)
Cat Cora in Chania". Cretegazette.com. 2007-02-07. Retrieved
The Hellenic Ornithological Society
Skopelosweb.gr Travel Guide since 1999
Subdivisions of the municipality of Skopelos
Municipal unit of Skopelos
Islands of the Northern Sporades
Administrative division of the
14,037 km2 (5,420 sq mi)
732,762 (as of 2011)
25 (since 2011)
Regional unit of Karditsa
Regional unit of Larissa
Regional unit of Magnesia
Regional unit of the Sporades
Regional unit of Trikala
Konstantinos Agorastos (el) (reelected 2014)
Thessaly and Central Greece
Küçük Tavşan Adası
Agios Georgios Skopelou
Former provinces of Greece
Grouped by region and prefecture
East and West Attica
East Macedonia and Thrace
Note: not all prefectures were subdivided int