Greece (Skopelos) Photo Friday

Photo Friday: The blue waters of Skopelos, Greece

Crystal clear Aegean waters frame these rugged rocks just offshore the beach below Panagitsa Tower in Skopelos Old Town on Skopelos Island in Greece’s Northern Sporades Islands. To read more about our three weeks in Skopelos, check out this post. 
Greece (Skopelos)

The Flying Dolphin: A Need for Speed


Riding Aegean’s Flying Dolphin high-speed passenger ferry

When we booked our return ferry tickets from Skiathos to Skopelos last week, the woman at the ticket office confirmed our booking by asking, “There’s a Flying Dolphin you could take. Would a Flying Dolphin be okay?”

That’s strange, I thought. Of course, a Flying Dolphin would be fine, I wanted to say. After all, we just need to get from Skiathos to Skopelos, and why not get there as quickly as possible?

But then the next morning, bags in hand, standing at the Skiathos port, we saw the Flying Dolphin pull in. Or should I say float in. Or ski in. Or jostle in. From a distance, this vessel flew fast above the water. We could actually see daylight between the bottom of the hull and the surface of the water.  Yes, the name “Flying Dolphin” described this vessel perfectly.

above water
Photo: Aegean Flying Dolphins

The Flying Dolphin is a hydrofoil passenger ferry operated by Aegean Flying Dolphins in Piraeus, Greece, a port city near Athens. According to the company’s website, it “offers daily service with two modern high speed flying dolphins from the port of Piraeus to Aegina and from the port of Volos (Thessaly region) to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos all year.”

Because of its speed, taking a Flying Dolphin will be a bumpier ride. (Ahhh… that’s why the ticket clerk made sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into.)

In addition, a Flying Dolphin will cost more than a traditional ferry, such as ANES Ferries’ Proteus or Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat. (But then again, like us, you may not have a choice: only one morning ferry left for Skopelos on our travel day.)

A more traditional passenger ferry, ANES Ferries’ Proteus

Don’t expect a lot on the inside of a Flying Dolphin (and there’s no sitting outside either, by the way). Yes, it’s perfectly clean and adequate, but doesn’t have the top-rate feel of other ferries… no coffee shop, no lounge seating at tables. No flat screen TVs or fancy lighting.

Fairly basic seating. Nothing fancy. A tray table if you need it. 


Seating includes a large center section of rows and and a single column of double seating along each side.

However, what the Flying Dolphin lacks on the interior,

it makes up for with one thing: speed.

Once the Dolphin reaches full speed, it coasts across the surface of the water, skimming along on fin-like hydrofoils that lift the hull out of the water.

And with that speed, expect a bumpy ride… especially if there are higher than average winds on the water.

We saw the “flight” attendant, who also took our tickets as we boarded, deliver two paper bags to seasick riders about halfway through our fifty-minute ride, which made a stop in Glossa (another town on Skopelos) on our way to Skopelos Town.

Notice the hydrofoils that become the “wings” of the Flying Dolphin, allowing it to go faster than other vessels. The tires provide a cushion for the vessel when it meets up to dockside.

The water splashes continually onto the windows of the Flying Dolphin as you ride.

At one point, a turn in the water and an especially strong gust of wind caused our boat to tilt right, surprising several riders on board. A few passengers called out with a holler when that happened.

This photo shows the hydrofoils more clearly.


The crew attaches a walkway to the Flying Dolphin as passengers wait to board.

We leave Skopelos Island tomorrow morning and are taking a ferry to the island of Skiathos where we will fly to Athens. There are winds forecast for the morning as a cold front is coming in. Passengers taking a Flying Dolphin should take warning (or even prepare for a cancellation, we’ve been told).

flying cat
The Flying Cat, a catamaran.

Luckily, we’re not one of them. We’ll be taking Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat, a catamaran ferry, instead.

Thanks for reading! I’ve been really surprised by the variety of ferries— and watercraft in general— on our Greek tour.  Feel free to click “like,” leave a comment or follow my blog for more.


Greece (Skopelos)

A Quick Getaway to Glifoneri Beach

Glyfoneri Beach is referred to as Agios Konstantinos Beach on the road signs around Skopelos.

We downsized our Sunday afternoon with a walk to this nearby beach

We had planned to go to Stafylos Beach, about one mile away across Skopelos Island. However, that would require a bus, and we didn’t know if there would be buses running on a Sunday, since Greek Orthodoxy does play a major role here in Sunday activities.

In fact, every Sunday morning, you can hear Greek Orthodox monks chanting via loud  speakers throughout the “bowl” that is Skopelos Chora (the main town).

At one point, our walk down to the Glifoneri Beach followed this concrete road. 

From my vantage point high up on the hill overlooking the harbor and town, however, I would say that yes, the buses do run on Sundays, since I don’t see any down below parked at the bus station on the main street. I’m assuming they must be out and about. Oh look, one is pulling in right now, in fact.


So instead, we walked down to Glifoneri Beach. We passed houses (some beautiful, some ramshackle),  chicken coops, and abandoned stone sheds along our way.

The beach is about a half-mile walk away, all downhill. It’s named after the small “taverna” that operates across the little street from the beach; however, it’s also known as Agios Konstatinos Beach for the church that is on the hillside above. I haven’t seen the church, but there are so many (around 123) on the island of all shapes and sizes that it’s possible I’m just not seeing it.

On the outcropping on the far right in the photo, you can barely see the white churches that overlook Skopelos Harbor. The most prominent of these is Panagitsa Tower, the Church of the Virgin Mary.

When we arrived, the water was quiet. It was stunningly aqua in color, but quiet and serene. Approximately thirty people were there. Kids played in the waves, middle aged couples lounged and slept in the sand, and young twenty-somethings ventured out further into the waters.

A Hellenic Seaways ferry makes its way into the Skopelos harbor.

Around 1:30 p.m., however, a procession of waves began rolling in. First, the waves were small, but then they gradually built in size to the point where I turned around to see if the water was reaching our backpack and beach bag.  It wasn’t, but it was only about a foot away.

We sat at the edge and watched the water roll in, bringing with it bits of leaves, sand, tiny stones and sand. Eventually we decided to dog paddle over a narrow band of larger rocks to where Mitch said the bottom was covered with a fine, white sand. He was right. The bottom was soft to walk on and firm.

And, of course, our return meant we had to do it all again… only going up. This photo shows just a short part of the trip. There were several more escalating hairpin curves to arrive at our studio apartment that overlooks the town and harbor.

We swam out about twenty feet and felt the mixture of currents rolling in from the Aegean. Distinct layers of icy cold waters mingled with warm. We didn’t know whether to relish in the sensation or climb back onto the beach.

Stella Taverna is in the lower part of the large white house in the photo. It’s a little oasis with incredible views.

We saw a Hellenic Seaways  ferry glided around the island from the south and entered the Skopelos Harbor, disappearing from view around Panagitsa Tower, the Church of the Virgin Mary. As it chugged into town, four bright white streams of seafoam trailed behind it, vivid against the inky blue Aegean waters. Ten minutes later, it emerged again and continued on to its next stop, probably Glossa (the next largest town on the island) or Skiathos Island next door.

Stella Taverna was quiet in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Just two more couples were there.

After spending about an hour and a half at Glyfoneri, we began our walk home back up the hill to Mayorca Studios, where we are staying.

Fresh, fried squid. We usually call it calamari.

On the way, we stopped at Stella Taverna and ordered some fried squid (calamari) and two Cokes.

Look at these super cute little ice cream bars. The perfect touch!

Sesame-encrusted bread was served alongside the squid and complimentary miniature chocolate-covered ice cream bars were given to us after we paid our €12 bill.

And, yes, there was even this picturesque boat anchored nearby.

We interrupted our steep walk back home with several breaks to enjoy the view and rest our aching knees and calves. Skopelos terrain will challenge anyone!

Alonnisos Island, the third of Greece’s Northern Sporades Islands, sits in the distance. 

Thanks for reading! My husband is serving an artist’s residency at Skopelos Foundation for the Arts on Skopelos Island, Greece. I’m writing as much as I can about our trip and working on some other projects as well. On the agenda for tomorrow: securing ferry tickets for my trip on Thursday to Venice, Italy to see my daughter, who is serving an internship at the Venice Biennale U.S. Pavilion. I have a direct flight out of Skiathos and plan to stay there for five nights.