The Rough Guide to the Greek Islands calls Glossa ‘a quite beautiful, totally Greek town’. Correct! (Although with a thousand inhabitants it is really a village.) But it is out of date in one important detail. Glossa now has excellent water pressure year-round since the drilling of new boreholes.
In ancient times, boats were beached in Loutraki, but when pirates were spotted the people retreated up the hill to Glossa. Glossa and Loutraki remain two sides of the same coin today.
Glossa is …
… a traditional Greek village where visitors are made welcome
… the balcony of the Aegean with some of the best views of any Greek island
… the starting point for beautiful country walks – some ending at deserted beaches
Glossa has …
… three supermarkets, several mini-markets, three bakers, two butchers, fresh fish sellers every morning
… a clothes shop, a flower shop, a haberdashers, a little post office and an information centre
… several restauarants and tavernas – including some famous ones – plus cafés and loads of Greek village life just happening around you
Glossa is 20 minutes’ walk or five minutes’ drive down to Loutraki, where there are several places for a swim in the Aegean.
Loutraki is …
… the port of Glossa, your gateway to Skopelos Island and the starting point for a mini-cruise to Skopelos Town
… a pretty little fishing village and yacht mooring
…beaches and swimming within seconds walk of the local accommodation, and watching the boats coming and going in the harbour
Loutraki has …
… a supermarket and a baker and you can buy fish straight from the boats
… two specialist fish restaurants and three cafés all with waterfront dining
… the ferry ticket office and car / motorbike hire office
… a secret nightclub in high season
Don’t be misled by the well marked street names, nobody ever uses them. Nor by the fact that many houses are numbered – sometimes with different numbers issued under different authorities. Everybody in Glossa-Loutraki has the same address – Glossa, Skopelos, 37004, Greece. Leave the post office to sort it out.
Part of the great charm of Glossa-Loutraki is that it doesn’t try to be charming or traditional. It just is. It is large enough to have a life of its own and to absorb the visitors in the summer. As almost all of these are Greeks from the mainland, there is nowhere offering an English breakfast or even a foreign newspaper – you must go to Skopelos for that. Local people are welcoming and very happy to exchange a polite ‘kali mera’ in the morning or ‘kali spera’ in the evening as you pass in the street.
Luckily the narrow cobbled or paved streets were made for donkey traffic; they are bordered on both sides by traditional buildings, and so there is no prospect of the village ever becoming a standard tourist haven as cars in most of the village simply cannot be accommodated, and to get around many of the bends you simply have to be a local!
In the eateries, the staff speak good English and in some other places a little, but always enough to be able to order food and drinks easily. A few words of Greek will go a long way to supplement smiling and pointing.
Everything in Glossa is within walking distance – a walk which will probably involve going up or down at some point. Even if you have a car, you will probably have to park it some short distance from your house, although you may be able to drop things off at the door. Most of the time you can do very well without a car. The bus leaves from the school for Skopelos in one direction and Loutraki in the other. The trip from one end of the island to the other takes about an hour – a bit more in the busy season. The scenery is stunning (sit on the right hand side of the bus going towards Skopelos for the wonderful coastal views) and the bus stops close to all the beaches on the way. You can pack a bag with beach towels and a book, head off in the morning, and spend a day on gorgeous beaches like Milia or Kastani, where scenes for Mamma Mia were filmed. You’ll find beaches with all the amenities you’ll need, like the fabulous restaurants-on-the-sand at Panormos, and secluded beaches are available for those with good legs!
Exploring further afield
Loutraki is where your ferry will arrive, but don’t expect to see “Loutraki” on the ticket. As far as the ferry companies are concerned, the port is called Glossa, just like the village above. In Loutraki you can buy ferry tickets, hire a car or try one of several tavernas and cafés. Here is also the nearest beach stretching along behind the harbour wall. You can walk down from Glossa to Loutraki in about twenty-five minutes, but not advisable in the heat of the day until you’re acclimatised. There is a steep path which will leave your legs feeling like jelly until you get used to it.
If you want to explore beyond the bus routes, hiring a car is easy and there are many lovely uncrowded beaches you can find, or a journey through the pine woods to Mount Delphi, the highest point on the island which, though 681m high, is still covered in fragrant pine and herbs (and welcome shade).
There are many great walks to be had on the island, several starting from Glossa, and we provide a pack of picture-maps so you can take one exploring with you. Also check out www.skopelos-walks.com
The island of Skopelos also has many fascinating birds, animals and plants, which attract specialist visitors. Spring and autumn are the time for the wild flowers. Poppies, anemones, irises, lilies and orchids are among the dozens of species to be seen. Wild fennel and several other important caterpillar food plants are abundant. As a result, there is a good population of butterflies including both the Swallowtail and the Scarce Swallowtail, Cleopatras, Painted Ladies, Red and White Admirals and Two-Tailed Pashas.
Eleanora’s Falcons are a common sight in Glossa, particularly soaring over the cliffs at the western end of the village. Buzzards, Short-Toed Eagles, Kites and Kestrels are among the other birds of prey present in summer. The beautiful Bee Eater is another summer visitor alongside the Golden Oriole, Little Egret and the Hoopoe. In the evenings you can hear the steady “bloop, bloop” of the Skops Owl.
Overall, Greece’s greenest island of Skopelos is a delight, and Glossa its jewel. We hope you will come and see for yourself what makes it so special.
You might like to see Glossa out of Season
Read this travel article – Is Skopelos the Perfect Greek Island?