Skopelos is a series of semi-submerged mountains, few above a thousand feet, formed as long as 145 million years ago, of both volcanic rock, such as granite and marble, and sedimentary chiefly limestone. Its shape today was carved by erosion and the occasional jolt in this mildly active tectonic zone. Winter rains have covered this greenest of Greek islands with a mantle of pines, oaks, olive and fruit trees.


Prehistoric settlers built homes on protected beaches such as Panormos and Stafilos, but today the chief settlements are Skopelos Town, with a population of around three thousand, and Glossa, with a population of just over one thousand. Between them are dozens of tiny inland villages and hamlets, and the smaller ports of Agnondas, Elios and Loutraki. Island dynasties can go back centuries, but some have origins across Greece and beyond.