Skopelos was inhabited as early as the Neolithic age, founded, in myth, by Staphylos, son of Dionysus and Ariadne, who named it Peparethos, and who named the bay and modern settlement of Stafilos, where relics from the Minoans era were discovered in the 1936s. Its less godly early settlers were probably explorers from Crete, bringing vines and other crops with them.

 

The island shares the region’s history of centuries of settlement by Macedonians, Romans, the Byzantine Empire, Venice, the Ottoman Empire and the declaration of the First Hellenic Republic in 1832. It was occupied by Axis forces in the Second World War and , since 1944 , has been part of Magnesia in the administrative region of Thessaly. It is a matrilineal society, with a population of just under five thousand and many customs and festivals unique to the island.

 

Its architecture, of tall and narrow stone houses, with wooden balconies and roofs of grey Pelion slate, was awarded the status of Traditional Settlement of Outstanding Beauty status in 1978 and the island has over three hundred Byzantine churches.