Koukounaries is the most famous beach on Skiathos and has won many awards as the one of the finest beaches in Greece, if not the whole Mediterranean. The beach has a long gently curved crescent of fine golden sand and is well shaded along its whole length by pine trees and shrubs. There are tavernas offering the basics, watersports centres and several small wooden kiosks.
Behind the beach are woods and a small lake, now designated a protected area for birds and wildlife. There were plans for a golf course here once but these were thankfully dropped by the Greek Tourist Organisation. Also found behind the beach is the Skiathos Riding Centre which offers pony trekking along local hill trails.
The lake is connected to Koukounaries bay by a narrow channel at the eastern end of Koukounaries beach which is crossed by a small wooden bridge near an enclosed harbour.
Bus stop 22 is found at the eastern end of Koukounaries beach and close to the neighbouring Maratha beach, a small, shingle strip with a decent beach taverna.
Further west, at bus stop 23, there are dirt tracks leading off north through the forest to other north coast Skiathos beaches at Elias and Agistri.
At bus stop 24 there is anorther dirt road to beaches in the northern Mandraki area, notably Xerxes Beach. At bus stop 25 is a paved junction for Aghia Eleni beach and tracks off this road lead to the Banana beaches
The main road at Koukounaries runs around the lake before reaching the car park bus terminus and along the roadside are several small hotels, most with swimming pools and restaurants.
At the final bus stop 26 there is a large car park with marked paths through the pines to the western end of Koukounaries beach.
Whether you are an experienced diver, a beginner, or just a snorkeler, Greece has a seabed for you. Andy Cornish swims in one of the world's best aquatic park.
Mandraki is off the beaten track in the westernmost part of the island and cloaked in thick pine forest. Fortunately trails have been hacked through the forest to provide woodland walks.
One look will tell you why Koukounaries beach is voted one of the best in Greee with a kilometre long crescent of golden sand sweeping around the bay backed by a tree-lined lagoon.
Excursion boats on Skiathos leave the harbour daily throughout the summer holiday season to take visitors across the bay to the trio of islets at Tsougria,Tsougraki and Arkos.