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Skopelos: The Tranquility of Greece’s Mamma Mia Island

Skopelos_Kastani_Mamma Mia
A beach on the stunning island of Skopelos, where the blockbuster movie Mamma Mia was filmed. Credit: Greek Reporter

Belonging to the Northern Sporades group of Greek islands, Skopelos is one of the many places across Greece that have never failed to enchant visitors throughout the decades.

With its hilly, verdant landscapes and sparser crowds compared to more popular Greek spots, it is a persistent draw for travelers from all over the world.

The charming island of Skopelos

Located a bit off the beaten path, in the Northern Sporades archipelago, Skopelos can truly be described as an unspoiled Greek paradise. A natural landscape which has remained untouched for centuries is one of the most valuable assets visitors discover there.

Skopelos Harbor
Sailboat in Skopelos Harbor. Credit: Patricia Claus/Greek Reporter

Skopelos Town is the main village of the island; it surrounds the harbor in a crescent shape, offering wonderful views to newcomers as the ferry approaches the island. The port is located on a spectacular bay, which is always busy with ferries and yachts, while the waterfront promenade is home to dozens of bars and tavernas.

White-washed buildings on the island of Skopelos. Credit: Greek Reporter

In contrast, the scenery in the upper town consists of tranquil lanes and alleys full of flowerpots, mazes ending in small squares and ancient Byzantine churches.

The island is full of the traditional architecture of Greece, with whitewashed houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, blue-painted shutters and wooden balconies. Built on a steep slope, the old town is mostly inaccessible to vehicles — which only adds to its tranquility and allure to visitors.

Cliff guarding the entrance to Skopelos Harbor. Credit: Patricia Claus/Greek Reporter

Filled with natural beauty

One of the must-see places on Skopelos is the Sporades National Marine Park, which, in addition to its unspoiled beauty, also has endless numbers of sea creatures for visitors to admire.

Skopelos is also an island with breathtakingly beautiful beaches, all of them sharing the character of other Greek beaches around the country — minus some of the excessive crowds.

Among the loveliest beaches are Kastani, Stafilos, and Panormos, which are easily accessible from Skopelos Town. Agios Ioannis is another favorite beach, located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the island’s capital.

The stunning rocky terrain of Skopelos features a chapel atop this craggy hill, the site of the wedding in Mamma Mia. Credit: Greek Reporter

Agios Ioannis is one of the most picturesque areas of the island, boasting unique turquoise waters and a stunning landscape.

The church of Agios Ioannis is located high on the cliffs surrounding the area, overlooking the small bay and offering spectacular views of the island itself as well as of nearby isle Alonissos. Both the church and the beach of Agios Ioannis have become famous since it was the location where many scenes from the movie “Mamma Mia!” were filmed.

The local cuisine of Skopelos represents the rich tradition of the area, and a few popular dishes are hard to find in other places. Lobster is the undisputed rock star on the island, and astakos giouvetsi, served with orzo pasta, is the must-try lobster dish. Other seafood typical of Skopelos includes sea urchins and grouper fish.

The church that featured heavily in “Mamma Mia!”, Agios Ioannis, is perched high on a rocky outcrop along the western side of the island of Skopelos. Credit: Greek Reporter

“Mamma Mia!” movie catapults Skopelos into international fame

This stunning Greek retreat of Skopelos was also the setting for one of the most engaging films of the last few years, “Mamma Mia!”

The universally beloved movie, with an iconic soundtrack by the band ABBA, turned Skopelos into the fictional island of “Kalokairi” for the original film in 2008. However, the successful sequel, released in 2018, was mostly filmed in Croatia for tax reasons.

Skopelos shared the spotlight with the neighboring island of Skiathos in the film, although the iconic wedding sequence was filmed at Agios Ioannis church, perched atop a seaside cliff on Skopelos.

A video showing some of the sights on Skopelos which were featured in the movie can be found below.

Your idyllic island vacation awaits you on Skopelos!

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