While not completely essential, it's worth renting a car in Skiathos if you like to visit places on your own schedule and go where public transport on the Greek island can't take you.
How Do You Get Around Skiathos?
Skiathos, a compact yet enchanting Greek island, is growing in popularity year after year. It attracts a variety of travelers, some who stay on the island for the duration of their vacation, and others who also include Skopelos and Alonissos as part of a Greek island hopping trip in the Sporades.
Unlike some Greek islands, you can reach a lot of the ‘must see' places in Skiathos pretty easily by public transport. This is especially the case if you are staying in Skiathos Town. For example there are regular buses that connect the main town with Koukounaries Beach, which is one of the most famous places in Skiathos to visit.
Taxis are another option for getting around Skitahos. I've included a photo here of prices for rides from Skiathos Town to various places.
This was taken in 2022, so don't expect these prices today! Still, I think it gives a good indication, and if you are two people or more, using a taxi in Skiathos could work out well.
In addition, due to the relatively small size of Skiathos, you could cycle many places (especially if you rent an e-bike). There is also an extensive network of hiking trails if you're looking to save money or want a more active holiday!
Find car rentals in Skiathos at: Discover Cars
Is a rental car needed in Skiathos?
Of course, buses won't get you everywhere, and in the summer, those buses can be pretty packed! Also, the cost of taxis does mount up after a while.
For that reason, I'd say renting a car in Skiathos for a day or maybe two of your stay would be beneficial in terms of seeing more of the island.
Find Skiathos rental cars at: Discover Cars
Why I think having a car in Skiathos is a good idea
The last time I visited Skiathos, Vanessa and I took our own car. (Actually getting it there from our house in Athens was probably more expensive than renting one. But that's a different story!).
I always find that being able to drive around a Greek island at my own pace and own schedule is the better way for me to travel. This was definitely true of Skiathos!
One of the best places we visited was Paralia Kastro, which is on the northern tip of Skiathos. This probably gets missed out by people without their own wheels, which is a shame.
It was a real highlight of visiting Skiathos. So I'd suggest hiring a small car in Skiathos for a day would be worth it for this alone.
Car vs ATV
Now you will see a lot of ATV rentals in Skiathos. These can also be a good way to get around the island, and many people feel more comfortable renting them than a car. They are also pretty handy on the dirt roads.
By the way, no you can't take them on the beach so please don't try that!
I think the reason is, that people consider ATVs to be more robust, and less likely to get dented and scratched during the hire period.
I personally think that quads or ATVs have a couple of downsides. One being that they can be easy to tip over if you are not used to them. The second being that you'll be very exposed to the sun, especially if renting an ATV in Skiathos in July and August!
The plus side, is that they are easy to pick up, and make a good choice for just one day's hire on a whim.
Is It Easy To Drive in Skiathos?
Driving in Skiathos is on the right side of the road like the rest of Greece. You're not going to find any major highways in Skiathos as the island is far too small for that.
Instead, there are a series of main roads which are all asphalted. Minor roads may or may not be asphalted. These will be a mix of gravel or dirt racks.
Greek roads tend to have a lot of twists and turns in them. Seeing other vehicles coming from the opposite direction stray over to your side of the road is not unusual, especially around corners.
Traffic is a lot busier in the summer months with many cars being hired out. Parking can be an issue in Skiathos main town. Road signs can be small and hard to read. Make sure you have data so you can use Google maps to navigate!
My Final Thoughts On If You Need To Drive In Skiathos
Skiathos, with its unique blend of easy-to-navigate urban areas and challenging rural landscapes, offers a distinctive driving experience. More importantly though, you get to visit those out of the way places harder to reach by other means. I'd suggest renting a vehicle for at least one day during your time in Skiathos.
- How to get to Skiathos
- How to get from Skiathos to Skopelos
- Mamma Mia Church in Skopelos (not Skiathos!)
Dave is a travel writer from the UK who's been living in and writing about Greece since 2015. As well as writing this guide to whether or not you need a car to explore Skiathos island, he's also written hundreds more Greek travel blogs about other destinations in Greece. Follow Dave on social media for more Greece travel ideas: