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The largest of the Sporades, low-key Skyros has a more Cycladic feel than its richly forested siblings and often seems like two entirely separate islands: small shimmering bays, rolling farmland and swaths of pines (plus an air-force base) speckle the north, while the south features arid hills and a rocky shoreline. In Greek mythology, Skyros was the hiding place of the young Achilles, who is thought to have ridden a Skyrian horse into Troy: these endangered small-bodied horses can still be seen in the wild, if you're lucky.

These days, the island has a subtly fashionable yet off-radar vibe, largely thanks to the alternative arts and wellness courses run by the British-owned Skyros Centre, but it's also increasingly popular among holidaying Greeks from Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as birdwatchers seeking the slender Eleonora's falcon. Skyros Town, perched almost magically on its high rock, is the easy-going capital.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Skyros.