Skiathos Island’s Magical Faraway Tree Forest Walk

Typically, when you think of Greek Islands, you think of endless beaches and chilled drinks with miniature umbrellas in them and you wouldn’t be wrong. Skiathos is such an island but it offers much more, including an extraordinary woodland adventure that’s more than just trees.

This magical forest walk as it’s aptly and popularly known by those in the know, starts just below the 18th century Kechria Monastery, which is worth a visit in its own right. In fact the four water and olive mills, the ruins of which can be seen along the walk, outdate the monastery by more than a thousand years.

So what makes it magical?

Imagine an enchanted wood with hollowed out ancient trunks and gnarled mystical tree roots. In fact some of the trees are so gnarled and hollow you can climb right into them. The ferns are especially tall and you can’t help but feel a little like Alice and the oversized chair in a forest wonderland.

Now picture the sun peaking through a virtually impenetrable canopy of lush foliage, nature’s little creatures whizzing past or fluttering gracefully about, patches of moss, lichen and floral groundcover. Add to this the fresh aroma of herbs growing wild in their bunches as you descend deeper into the hedgerow and you’ll have a fairly accurate image of what to expect. Note the emphasis on the word “fairly”. This is one of those rare occurrences where even the most beautiful photography cannot capture the special quality of the place.

Getting started To get started, head off to Kechria Monastery in the early morning. It’s approximately eight kilometres from Skiathos Town. Best to go by vehicle and not on foot. The sun warms up quickly and blazes by late morning. It can get scorching in the open forest areas and incredibly humid in the dense woodland in spite of the latter’s shady canopy.

Need to know

Make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Trainers will do. Take some bottled water, a sun hat and sunblock. There are no ablutions en route but the forest eventually opens out at Kechria Beach, where there is a taverna to have some lunch and rest your weary legs.

The walk can be quite taxing if you’re not moderately fit and takes approximately five hours at a leisurely pace. The path is marked every so often and generally cleared so that you can see where to go. While you might pass one other couple or a handful of nature enthusiasts, this walk is known for it’s unusual quiet tranquility so the sounds of the gurgling brook and nature are noticeably amplified. This makes it even more intimate. Skiathos Island’s magical faraway tree forest walk really is Elysium (Greek heaven) and should be top of the must do nature list.

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