Skopelos has gained unprecedented fame as the site of much of the filming for Mamma Mia. However, although unusually busy, the indications are that it has not significantly affected the island's nudist beaches.
Velanio is acknowledged as the island's nudist beach on the "official" Skopelos web site and also in numerous promotional leaflets about the island.
One Barefoot reporter, visiting this beach in 2006 for the first time, described it as the best he had been on and recommended it for everyone - with a rating of 100%!
The Captain re-visited in June 2001 and was delighted to discover that Velanio beach, one of our favourites in the Aegean, retained much of its old character, with the section after the rocks predominantly nude. New sunbeds are in use before and after the great divide.
You can get there by bus: get off at the stop for Stafilos and walk down the hill past the Ostria Hotel. Don't be tempted to pass the taverna at the bottom of the hill: it has smashing views and it's well worth taking some fluid on board.
Some Barefooters also recommend Babi's taverna at the top of the hill opposite the bus stop. Perfect place for a beer or two after the gruelling return climb up from Stafilos.
To reach Velanio, walk to the other end of (textile) Stafilos beach and then up the path over the headland. Steps have been newly (Spring 2001) fashioned out of concrete on the approach to Velanio which makes the steep descent (and ascent on the way back) somewhat easier.
There is a rocky outcrop about a third of the way along Velanio. The beach is mostly (but not exclusively) textile before that; and mostly (but not exclusively) nude beyond. There was a beach bar which also hired sunbeds and parasols for use either side of the great divide; unfortunately it was swept away in a storm (apparently the guy who owned it didn't have enough money to rebuild it and got a job in Skopelos Town). A new beach bar, at the bottom of the steps at the textile end, is now open.
The beach is composed of sand and fine shingle and has some of the clearest water and best swimming I know of. Highly recommended: easily rates 95%.
Some reports suggest that on windy days the waves can be quite big and entry to the water difficult because the seabed shelves quickly.
The textile invasion does seem to be creeping further and further up Velanio, notwithstanding the island's clear acknowledgment that this is the nudist beach. The Captain's advice: stick with it - the textiles have plenty of places to go and we have relatively few. This beach is too precious to be lost to the unenlightened ones.
The Captain hears that a "nude beach" sign has now appeared on the beach itself. The beach is invariably predominantly nude in the area beyond the rocks.
One complaint I have heard about Velanio is aggressive hornets and bees. This may be a seasonal phenomenon. The Captain hears that they are most abundant after the plum harvest.
Further along the beach is another small rocky area after which the beach bends around to the left. Here it is wild and beautiful and if you walk far enough you will find a natural spring on the cliff, which provided water for my correspondents who were "wild camping". The taverna near the textile beach provided other necessary amenities.
The beach faces south-east, so the sun goes over the cliff and shadow builds from about 5pm onwards, depending on the time of year.
A report from July 2003 says the beach was spotless with new sunbeds and brollies but beware 2 beds plus brolly is 8 euros/day and the guy comes around collecting till about 3 in the afternoon and still charges full price. You can buy a brolly in the supermarket for around 8 euros!
In July 2005 it was reported that the rocks and small bay beyond the rocky outcrop at the end of Velanio was 100% nudist too. This area seemed to be popular with single males.
Various reports confirm that even in late July 2007, although the peak period, Velanio beach was uncrowded and peaceful. No more than 20-30 people on the beach that stretches for a couple of hundred metres. 80-90% nude. Mostly couples (surprisingly half of them Greeks) and small companies of locals and tourists in their thirties. Clear and deep waters - just perfect. There are umbrellas and chaises-longues in the nude section of the beach for 7 euros (run by the nearby beach bar located on the clothed section). Sadly during this time of the year this proved to be the only suitable beach for naturism on the island.
In June 2008, as before the first half of the beach was exclusively textile, the second half, past the painted "Nude Beach" sign was pretty much 100% naked. The beach bar had yet to open but a friendly chap wandered over twice a day to collect the 7 euros for the sunbeds and umbrellas.
2009 and 2010: Sunloungers and parasols on 1st (clothed) section and past the rock in skin section all nude. Probably 20 couples and a few singles, male and female. Beach clean and no seaweed.
2011 end June beginning July, no loungers or parasols (not even on Stafilos on the the way in). Very quiet with 10 couples (50/50 Greek and ex-pat). Beach lovely and clean.
February 2012: Great news for nudists regarding Velanio beach. The municipality of Skopelos has decided to make Velanio "official"!!
July/August 2012: two correspondents have been several times in Velanio between the last week of July and the first of August. No more parasols and other facilities either in the nude and textile sections (take all you may need! The nearest facilities are now in Stafylos beach, not very far, but not a pleasant walk in the hottest hours). The beach is very often 100% nude after the rocks (and sometimes mixed before the rocks), and never crowded except on weekends. There's a lot of space for everyone, anyway, and if you like being alone, you just have to walk. Water is always clear and clean with lots of different small fishes. No water sports (thank God!). Just the sound of waves and cicadas. Wonderful.
Beware: since the sand and shingles are dark it can get really hot in the hotter days of the season. Don't underestimate your need for shade or refreshment.
As the Beach faces SE and is surmounted by a hill, the sun disappears a couple of hours before sunset. In the afternoon, from 4pm on, there is plenty of shadow.
The first week of September 2012: 8-10 nude couples and some single people. Plenty of space for everyone. But no sign to say Velanio is an official nude beach.
One year later, first week of Semptember 2013, nothing seems to have changed. Still no facilities, either in the naturist and textile section (the closest being in nearby Stafylos); no parasols nor sunbeds. Still 90 to 100% nudes after the rocks. The core of beach users is quite stable, with people occupying their favourite sites day after day. Occasional comers on Skopelos-beach-tour often take advantage of the beach's relaxed atmosphere to strip off too.
September 2013: Just back from the Sporades. Velanio beach on Skopelos island is just a fantastic place to be. Fairly quiet now with about 10 - 12 couples soaking up the warm sunshine. so relaxing.
Although the main beach by the road is strictly textile, a number of much smaller coves and beaches (mostly reached by boat or a scramble over rocks) seem to be de facto 'clothing optional'. The coves and larger bays to north of Panormos are also known as Andrina. They can be reached by following a path over the rocks from North end of Panormos beach or walking down from the coast road by Andrina Hotel. The coves are all shingle and many have some natural shade from pine trees, clear water and are very beautiful. My correspondent is very reluctant to submit this report as he would hate to see the place overrun but feels it is his duty to fellow nudists. (The Captain understands the dilemma but thinks it important that these places continue to be visited by genuine naturists and are not lost to textiles).
Unfortunately, in high season at any rate, it is said that these beaches are overrun by textiles, with nudism rarely possible after 11am. Various reports from 2003 confirm this.
The bays are also excellent anchorages for boats. This can be a real nuisance for those on the beach during high season but is never a problem otherwise. And some of those on the boats are among the enlightened …
The other downside is that the larger bays are popular with locals and at weekends in high season you can get large family groups of strict textiles. This can make the main beach uncomfortable, but it is usually possible to find a smaller cove unoccupied. However, be warned, if one of the big gin palaces decides to leave, its wake can totally inundate the smaller coves - keep your books high up on the rocks. Again no such problems outside of July and August.
The tone of the beaches is usually set by the first arrivals. Some people are cagey about being the first to strip off but will do so if others already have. Therefore, fellow nudists, get to the main beach early, strip off and encourage the textiles to see the errors of their ways.
A really lovely beach with good swimming that certainly does not warrant clothing.
Reports from 2003 suggest quite a lot of textiles but, almost as bad, quite a lot of sea urchins too.
In the late season (October) of 2005, the little coves at Andrina, to the north of Panormas, were certainly suitable for naturism. Having said that, Barefoot reporters saw one other (nude) couple in two or three visits. There is one longish beach (60 metres), which is a bit of a scramble to get to, and a couple of small coves nearer to the headland. These are really only big enough for a couple/family in each cove and are easily reached down the path beside the Hotel Andrina, through the pines and across some rocks. The beaches are shingle, the sea was calm and clear and altogether it was an idyllic spot.
This beach is described by a recent correspondent as "nice", with crystal clear water and small pebbles. Although when the Captain visited some years ago the beach seemed textile, it would seem some coves suitable for clothes-optional use are to be found at the left, or south western, end. Reports in July 2000 confirm this although suggesting that the nude portion can be crowded. A report from summer 2002 says that this particular section would be crowded if there were two people sitting in it.
A report from August 2002 accuses the Captain of under-rating Milia. The southern part of this beach and the coves beyond this southern part are clearly a "nude section", where you are not at all bothered. The water is very clean and swimming is great, because of the enormous amount of fish in the water.
In late August 2005 there was no "nude section". The "coves" appear to be tiny areas of the beach where you could hide your nudity behind a rock; if there are real coves further on, you would need rock-climbing boots to get there.
In early October 2005 it was easy to park in the beach car park at Milia and stroll along the shingle past the parasols and sun loungers to the south western end. Although there were a few textiles using the sunloungers, Barefoot reporters didn't have to go far beyond them to feel comfortable about stripping off. There were a handful of other naturists at this end of the beach but only one tiny cove there if you wanted to tuck yourself away. However, out of the main holiday season an air of live and let live seems to prevail on Skopelos and Milia seems a very relaxed place for naturists to go for peace and quiet.
2011 (July): No nude section unless it is well to the south outside the crescent bay or north of the northern beach.
2012 (last week of July): Small nude section at the south end of the beach. Except on weekends, the beach is never so crowded as to make you feel uncomfortable being nude, and no-one seems to care if you are, anyway. I guess it is a kind of who-comes-first-sets-the-standard situation.
2012 - First week of September: Small nude section at the North end of the beach.
2013, first week of September: small nude section at the South end (left facing the sea), used mainly by a small German naturist community plus occasional visitors on beach hopping.
Mid September 2013, a breezy day, the waves were just great, we were the only couple at the south end of the beach. We enjoyed endless nude fun and freedom playing in the surf and tennis on the beach.
2014 It's a regular nudist place to the north of the beach but in high season there are mama mia tourists being dropped off on the beach and they walk through to get to Kastani beach..
Barefooters who visited in July 2004 offered interesting reports about this beach. Kastani is the next beach to the north of Milia. It can be reached easily from the signed turning off the main road and you can park very near the beginning of the beach. The beach is fine shingle with clean waters and good for snorkelling.
The north part of the beach is clothes optional but the south part of the beach is also visited by families that tend to invade the area after 11 am making nudism "uncomfortable".
2011 (July) appears to be all clothed, with a new beach bar for this year.
2012 (August) very developed beach bar with a "garden" (!?), that is an area with lawn and gazebos where you can forget you're at the beach. Nudism out of the question. It's crowded and impossible to be nude here now (2014) except in April and October when the beach bar isn't working.
Turn off the main road into Elios (keep left) and park in the large car park on the left by the beach. Then walk along the base of the cliffs to the furthest large cove. (It requires walking through knee-deep water round a couple of rocky outcrops). The large cove at the end of this beach, in early September 2000, was a relaxed mixture of textile and nude. It was not crowded, there were no insects and the beach was litter-free. Recommended by my contributor!
But a summer 2002 report says Chovolo was strictly textile. But at the end there is a large rocky outcrop. Some climbing required and walking through thigh-high water. There: a deserted beach, shady. Perfect. Although: on one day invasion by textile Greek families taken there by water-taxis. Still: large enough to be outside direct visibility. To be recommended.
A report from September 2003 says there were three or four couples, all naturist, and plenty of space.
In July 2005 Chovolo was entirely textile. But a pair of Barefoot reporters who visited at the end of the tourist season in 2005 say that the resort village of Elios was pretty much closed up and Chovolo beach, stretching to the south, was almost deserted. They walked along to the large outcrop - this could be a little tricky over the loose stones on the beach, although there was no need for wading. However, nearer to the outcrop there is more fine shingle and groups of rocks to settle in. They tried to get around the outcrop to explore the tantalising glimpse of empty beach they had earlier glimpsed, but their rock-climbing skills weren't up to it and the sea was too choppy and deep to get around by swimming or wading on that day. In any case, they were very happy where they were. They only saw one (topless) couple and another nudist group on the entire length of the beach. Swimming was good, especially if you walked along to where there was a shingle patch to gain entry to the sea. Highly recommended.
2012: Strictly textile beach. It is possible to strip off depending on where you are (some coves are more suitable than others) and who else is around, but it is not a naturist beach at all.
Kalives beach is the next beach south from Almyropetra, it's reached from the turn signed 'Almyropetra-Kalives'. Take the turn, park in the olive grove where it forks and walk down the left-hand fork (it looks driveable but only a jeep could get any distance). This weaves downwards past some more small buildings and comes out at the end of Kalives beach. (About 10 minutes walk from the top.) In the rocky outcrops at the southern end of the beach are little patches of shingle beach which are totally secluded, sheltered and the snorkelling is excellent. As Kalives beach was totally deserted at the time of my contributor's visit (September 2000), the walk down was well worthwhile. The buildings which overlook the northern end of the beach appeared to be unoccupied anyway.
A report from summer 2002 says there were rarely more than four or six people on the whole beach, always strictly nude, even the wild campers. However, the owner of the olive grove complained about the campers leaving all their … I'll leave it to your imagination what … under his olive trees and he wanted to complain to the police, understandably. He didn't mind people being nude at all. To be recommended.
A report from September 2003 said the beach was deserted but mostly covered in unappetising dry seaweed, and some litter.
In late August 2005 there was no seaweed and no people. Other reports from 2005 suggest that naturist opportunities on Armenopetra and Kalives may vary depending on the season. A couple of lovely and peaceful beaches, and it is possible to swim around the little headland between them.
2011: Not a single person on beach, lots of seaweed and driftwood.
2014: early and late season go to the east end of Armenopetra and it's OK.
North of Elios. The entrance towards the beach can be found just before the gas-station (coming from Skopelos-town). Down at the sea is a nice car-park and an almost deserted beach behind the bushes. In the past this beach has been reported as being suitable for naturism but more recent reports suggest it is something of a haven for Greek families and a no-go for nudists.
Reports from 2005 suggest that Armenopetra and Kalives may both vary depending on the season. In late August 2005 it was a question of whether naturists or textiles got there first. Not many of either. A couple of lovely and peaceful beaches, and it is possible to swim around the little headland between them.
2011: Not a single person on the small beach, lots of seaweed and driftwood.
Pethameni or The Dead Woman
The Captain's first report about this beach was provided by the webmaster of a Skopelos web site under the name Kanalaki. This beach is situated between Perivoliou and Hondros Yiorgos, 4.5 Km from Glossa Village and 28.5 Km from Skopelos Town.
Follow the newly macadamised road from Glossa to Perivoliou Beach. 100 metres before that beach at the T-Junction turn right to Chondroghiorgiou. It's a dirt road now. Follow that for quite a while. In the forest there is a signposted turn-off to the left - still direction Chondroghiorgiou. Take that for another 300 metres. After a bend to the right - you can see the sea now - you will pass beehives on your left. Park your vehicle. Walk to the front of the beehives, and take the track to the left of them (which is initially parallel to the road you have just driven down). After a few minutes, when you come to a padlocked garden gate, take a barely visible footpath to the right through some shrubs. 20 metres on, the path becomes better visible, and after following the cliff edge to the left for a short while you can walk down to the beach. It is the most secluded and remote beach on Skopelos Island and maybe the nicest one. Accessible by foot; fine shingles, clear water and shade from impressive rocks. A report from August 2002, confirmed in September 2003, agrees with this report and describes the beach as totally deserted and "a great find".
A report from August 2003 says initially only one other couple there and nude, later some probably local people arrived and stripped off to giggles and to display very white areas. Only problem is access. My contributor would recommend that people do not attempt unless sure-footed, it involves quite a scramble down rocky cliffs which felt quite unsafe.
September 2012: One Couple. The trail is overgrown with vegetation, bring a machete… Very nice beach, but some crap on the beach (bottles, trash) from the sea. (I think the right word for this is jetsam!). It is a wild beach and you do have to rock scramble to get to it (May 2014) Perivoliou is also nude-possible in May and September especially in the mornings.