Continuing our quest of 'The Top 7 Things to do in Skopelos' through my eyes as a local
In the 1st part of this mini blog series, we started our walk on the waterfront of Skopelos town. We then did our '300-meter Yacht Docking stretch' and started conquering the ascent of Skopelos Old Town.
We will continue our walk now and discover a few more places you shouldn't miss while you explore Skopelos town.
Here is an overview of the Top 7 Things to do in Skopelos Town - part-2:
Bonus: Map of Skopelos Town with '7 Things to do in Skopelos Town'.
4. The Venetian and Byzantine Castle (Kastro) of Skopelos town
Part of the ancient citadel of 'Peparithos' (the ancient name of Skopelos). It was used as a base for the 12th & 13th-century castle walls. Built by Venetians during the Byzantine era. The gigantic rocks are made mostly from limestone which was carried from the north side of town.
It's time to leave behind you the small square with magnificent views. Just a few more steps to conquer until you reach the very top of the 'Kastro' area. But before you start this final climb, take your left through the square.
Keep walking for about 70 meters, (260 ft) through the narrow street.
It will lead you straight to the castle's old entrance. Only its frame has survived through the ages and it is one spot that most people will miss. It's not mentioned in any guides either.
A lot of people will stop here and take a picture by the glorious bougainvillaea growing right next to this entrance. They may never realise, however, that thousands of people and many of the castle inhabitants have crossed this stone threshold throughout the ages.
Known as 'Palioporta' among the locals, literally meaning - 'Old door'. I never remember it being there, nor do my parent's generation or the one before that. It was probably demolished back in the ages and well before any living generation can remember.
Touch the long slab of stone that makes part of the door frame. Try to feel the vibes of history rushing through. Trying to reveal its past to you.
Now let's walk back to the SE square.
After the first few steps leading to the top, you will see a very traditional, tiny house.
Typical of the island architecture and a well-photographed spot.
As soon as you pass this, you'll be able to see the top of Kastro.
There is an Ouzo taverna here with lots of tables scattered around. It's a highly popular spot, especially among the Greek tourists.
Live Greek music here has been going strong here since 1982.
Walk past this place and head for the railings at the very top.
This is where your descent begins.
You immediately notice the imposing, surviving walls on this west side of the castle.
Walk inside where the almond tree is and reach for the railings on the opening of the walls.
Take in the panoramic views of Skopelos town and its architecture. It's equally impressive both during the day as well as during night time.
Having been raised here, inside these castle walls, (my parent's house is very close to this spot), I feel very strongly about this place.
I feel protective of it and as sheltered as my ancestors did during the pirate attacks.
Admire the limestone work of the walls as you walk further down the steps.
Go through the square (where another eatery with Live music has recently made this square their home).
You have just walked through and experienced hundreds of year's worth of history.
Taken in some amazing views and hopefully snapped some impressive pictures.
If you have some time in the evening, you should definitely revisit this area. The new light installation on the Kastro walls and the impressive night views of Skopelos from the lower, SE square, will certainly reward you.
5. Getting lost in the maze of Skopelos town streets
Yes, I know - should this deserve a whole number by itself while following my Top things to do in Skopelos Town?
Absolutely! You can discover some real gems while getting lost and walking through the alleys and streets of Skopelos Chora.
photography maniacs, (a little overboard on the selfie part)?
or simply social creatures who enjoy saying 'Kalimera' or 'Kalispera' to locals?
There's something in it for everyone and you'll be happy you walked under the scorching sun.
6. A Glimpse to the past - The House of Pavlos Nirvanas
Pavlos Nirvanas, (1866 - 1937), was one of Greece's most notable poets. His pen name was Petros Apostolidis.
Born in Mariupol, (today's Ukraine).
A doctor and a significant scholar and writer, among his many literal skills.
He got awarded, (and later became a member), for his Literature works from the Athens Academy of Literature and Arts in 1923, (source).
This beautiful building was his father's house where he loved spending many of his childhood summers.
You will get a fascinating glimpse of Skopelos' multi-dimensional history and culture. The building was renovated to serve as a Historic Museum.
Its classic architectural influence, (of the 'Macedonian' style - folk houses), was declared as a 'Historically preserved' building in 1965.
See Map - Point no.6
Not far from Kastro and right next to one of the main churches of Skopelos Town, (Three Hierarchs).
WHEN IS IT OPEN?
July 1st - 31st August
Every evening: 19:00 - 22:00
7. The 'Vakratsa' Mansion - 18th century Skopelos life
Antigoni Vakratsa, heir of the well-known Vakratsa - Rebaki family.
One of three daughters of this family, all doctors, donated this house to Skopelos Municipality back in 1995.
Her dream was to see this historic mansion turn into a museum.
Why visit this Skopelos Mansion?
An establishment that would portray how life during the 18th century Skopelos was like.
How the architecture of that era utilised interior spaces. How they valued the serenity of gardens and open areas.
Among the many displays and artefacts, you will see:
valuable paintings and traditional costumes.
These helped define the official Skopelos costumes we know today.
Many famous, public figures of the time walked through the mansion's doors and got entertained by the Vakratsa family.
Eleftherios Venizelos, (with 8 terms as Greece's Prime Minister during the first half of 20th century), and Army General Velissarios were a just few personas of the time.
The garden spaces are also used for cultural events such as Book presentations and speeches.
When is the Vakratsa Mansion Museum open?
At the time of writing this info:
Monday through Thursday
From: 10:00 - 14:00
and 18:00 - 21:00
MAP LOCATION - NUMBER: 7
Time to rest now. You've experienced 7 of the most important things to do in Skopelos town.
It's been an interesting experience writing this 2 part blog series.
As a local, I really had to fight hard with what to include or exclude from my list of things to do while in Skopelos town.
I had promised 7 places after all and it was really tempting to include more. But it would've defeated the title of both articles and I'd get really carried away and write more. They are definitely more beautiful spots to discover when exploring Skopelos town.
Including the 2 historic houses was a must. Without a visit to either establishment, your glimpse of Skopelos town would've been incomplete.
You have now seen the town through the eyes of someone who was born and raised here. Someone who has experienced this town throughout the seasons and has seen it evolve through the decades.
I may attempt a future post, covering more unknown, hidden treasures for you to discover. For now, however, you've seen a different perspective of Skopelos. An angle that not many visitors can claim to have seen or experienced.