Fans of the 2008 movie ‘Mamma Mia!’-- the delightful musical romantic comedy featuring the songs of ABBA--will no doubt have noticed the beautiful surroundings where the film takes place. Set on a gorgeous Greek island (fictionally named Kalokairi), the setting is without a doubt one of the stars of the show.
The good news is, visitors can see this spectacular island for themselves by visiting Skopelos, one of the real-life settings of the film. Because of this, the island has grown in popularity as a tourist destination for both fans of the movie and travelers looking for a relaxing vacation that is a little off the beaten path.
Learn All About Skopelos
The Greek Islands are known for their stunning, picturesque beaches, crystal clear waters, and awe-inspiring backdrops that are every traveler’s fantasy vacation— and Skopelos is no exception. Located in the Sporades, an archipelago nestled snugly in the middle of the Mediterranean, it has quickly gained popularity as a tourist destination due to being one of the on-location filming spots for ‘Mamma Mia.’
Located between the Greek Islands Skiathos and Alonissos, Skopelos does not get as crowded as other, more famous Greek Islands like Crete—making it the ideal destination for vacationers who want to escape reality for a bit and surround themselves with some of the world-famous beauty of the Greek Islands.
There are two main villages on the island: Skopelos Town and Glossa. Located on the apex of a hill, these areas are just one spot where visitors can bask in the beauty of the Aegean Sea. There are also several, smaller villages throughout Skepalos, so don’t forget to take a stroll and explore the surroundings. Beach bums will also rejoice as the island is known for its pristine sand and is perfect for sunbathing or taking a swim in the aquamarine waters.
A Sight To See
With its beautiful beaches and startlingly green pine forests, Skopelos has no shortage of breathtaking scenery. However, there’s also plenty of other sights to see for visitors who want to go exploring.
The Monasteries And Churches Of Skopelos
In the center of the island, visitors can find several hiking paths that lead to several of Skopelos’ chapels and monasteries. These are definitely worth checking out as they are a great way to learn about the history of the island.
Monastery Of Agia Varvara
One of three monasteries in a nearby cluster, the Monastery of Agia Varvara is the oldest monastery on the island (built in 1648). Built like a fortress and with lovely frescoes, Byzantine icons, and a lovely view this monastery is definitely worth a visit.
- Location: Approximately 6 km north of Skopelos Town
Church Of Agios Ioannis Kastri
Fans of ‘Mamma Mia’ will recognize this church, as many wedding scenes were filmed here. A small church perched on top of a rock (and the former site of a castle), it’s definitely worth the trek for the views alone. And the rock where the church sits isn’t just any rock—this one is linked to the rest of the island via a path, and has a cozy beach just below.
- Location: Approximately 7 km east of Glossa Village
Monastery Of Metamorfosi
Take a break from the beach and surround yourself with greenery at this 16th-century monastery. Translated as The Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ, here visitors can catch a glimpse of several rare books and religious icons.
- Location: About 3 km east of Skopelos Town
Other Notable Sights
Take a break from the monasteries with a side trip to any one of these other quaint Skopelos attractions.
Museum Of Cultural Heritage
Embrace the cultural history of the island at this museum in Glossa Village. Located in a lovely stone house that was renovated in the ‘20s, the museum is a great place to learn about local history. There’s also a balcony where visitors can get a spectacular view of Glossa and the surrounding area.
Located in an 18th-century mansion in the center of Skopelos Town, this small museum reflects the island’s folk tradition. The museum was once the residence of the influential Nikolaidis family, who donated many of the items.
Museum of History
Located in the residence of Greek writer Pavlos Nirvanos, this museum was built in the early 19th century, and it’s worth a look while you’re exploring Skopelos Town.
Max And Relax
There aren’t a ton of things to do in Skopelos—and that’s why it's the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. While there are many trails to hike that lead to churches, monasteries, and other cliff-top views, many visitors will be content to just sit back and absorb the laidback vibes of this quiet island.
There are a number of beaches on Skopelos, each with its own distinctive landscapes, views, and backdrops. For those who prefer seclusion, be sure to check out Limnonari Beach (9 km south of Skopelos Town) and Perivolou Beach (30 km NW of Skopelos Town) on the northernmost part of the island. Because of their distance from Skopelos Town, these beaches are less frequented than some of the others.
If you don’t want to venture too far from Skopelos Town, take a walk down to Glyfoneri Beach to be surrounded by lush, green hills facing the water, or stay the day at the Town Beach, known for its varied shoreline of mixed rocks and sand.
Whatever your reason for visiting Skopelos, you can be sure to find plenty of breathtaking views and relaxing surroundings that soothe the soul. Bask in the sun on one of the beautiful beaches, take a hike to the historic monasteries, or learn about the area in a local museum. Either way, you will leave Skopelos feeling rejuvenated and glad you visited this small gem in the Mediterranean.