Greece Travel Guide logo

Greece Travel Guide


 Greek Island Guide


Hotels of Greece



Matt's Greece Travel Blog

The Road to Agios Konstantinos

Agios Konstantinos Ferry to SkiathosYesterday I drove my mother to Agios Konstantinos to take the ferry to Skiathos. I thought about going with her. It's been decades since I have been to Skiathos and we have some very good friends who live there, the reason my mother was going to Skiathos in the first place since my mother is not the type of person who would normally go to Skiathos. The truth is that I don't have that much of a desire to visit Skiathos, though I would love to see Bruce and Marcia Hunt who were our best friends in the USA and then they moved to Greece right after we did when my father got Bruce a job at the American Community School in Athens. Bruce Hunt was my favorite teacher. He was many student's favorite teacher. He taught social studies, civil liberties, US Government and other contemporary problems types of courses in a very liberal, friendly and easy-going way, trying to get us to question the way things are and maybe turn a few of us into people who actually care about the poor, or who grow up with a desire to fight injustice or poverty and maybe change the world. I liked him because he was the least demanding of any of my teachers.

Skiathos is an island I thought I needed to return to in order to keep up with the demands of the people who use my website. The popularity of the movie Mamma Mia, has increased their interest in Skiathos and its neighboring island of Skopelos. There were scenes filmed on both islands as well as on Pelion which all have that pine covered hills to the sea look that some tourists prefer to the rock-barren Cyclades look. You would probably have a hard time finding your favorite Mama Mia scene in Skiathos or Skopelos but that does not keep people from wanting to go there and find that blue sea, pine mountain world where everybody runs around singing ABBA songs. But I remember Skiathos in 1973 and though it was very beautiful, it was obviously in the beginning phases of its incarnation as the Mykonos of the Sporades and from the photos I have seen of the quiet beaches we once went to, as they look now, a visit might set off waves of nosatalgia and make me pine for a place that no longer exists.

That's all just an excuse of course. The reason I don't go to Skiathos is because it is such a pain in the ass to get to. If you are not lucky enough to catch the one flight a day, which seems to be booked full for whatever day you request on the Olympic Website, then you have to go to the Lliosion Street bus station in the nowheresville neighborhood of Kato Patission and take a two and a half hour bus trip, (not the ninety minutes they tell you in the guidebooks) to the port of Agios Konstantinos to catch the ferry which leaves sometimes at 10:30am and usually at 5:30pm. Most local people though go to Alkon Travel on the corner of Kanigos Square (97 Akademias Street) for a special bus that connects with the ferry at Aghios Konstantinos usually at around 7am but it depends on the ferry schedules.

The early boat is a passengers only flying dolphin and the later boat is a highspeed which takes cars. The ferry trip is only a couple hours and it continues on to Skopelos and Alonysos, both islands less developed than Skiathos. Skopelos is famous for its plums and Alonyssos for the endangered monachos-monachos seals. So lets just count the hours. Since it will take most tourists at least an hour to get to the Terminal B Lliosion Street bus station, (take the X93 if you are at the airport-anywhere else take a cab),and the buses leave every hour and don't sell advance tickets so you will want to get there early for a seat, you may spend four to five hours just to get to Ag Konstantinos. Once you get there though the rest is easy. You buy your ticket, which you should get well in advance if you are taking the flying dolphin or going on the Friday evening boat in the summer or holiday weekends, go hang out at the many cafes and restaurants around the big tree shaded and grassy platia, and wait for the boat to start loading. We ate at Kotsanis which was a very good working class place, just to the left of the bus station which  looks like a cafe, and in fact is a cafe, across the street from the giant church of Agios Konstantinos.

The best way to go to Agios Konstantinos is to take a taxi from the airport which should take about two hours unless he drives like a maniac. Even street taxis are free to charge whatever they want so it is best to contact a professional transfer-tour taxi like George the Famous Taxi Driver who will have a set price so you will know what you are paying before you go and if you don't like it then at least you will know what he costs and not pay more for a street taxi, should he agree to take you there.

We drove and even without the usual getting-out-of-Athens traffic it took at least two hours just from the outskirts of the city on straight highway where you could drive 120kph and often had to just not to antagonize the other drivers who wanted to go even faster. Its not an exciting trip in terms of scenery, passing through farms and factory towns mostly on Thessalian plains, and just as the landcape gets interesting you are there in Agios Konstantinos.

We wandered around, there was a festival going on because this week was the Agios Konstantinou saints day, and the town was full of gypsies and carnival types who sold stuff at the booths or worked at the small amusement park, the kind that follow all the religious festivals. We had lunch, then left my mother at the cafe closest to the boat and gave the owner instructions to make sure she gets on it. "Leave it to me" he said with pride, like he had done it a thousand times before for other sons who left their mothers because they wanted to get back to Athensbefore dark on a more interesting route than the one they had come up on.

Ferry to Edipsos, EviaThe thought of driving back on the National Road with all the giant trucks and construction was too stressful so we drove to the next town of Arkitsa where the ferry was just leaving for Edipsos in Evia. There was not even time to get a ticket or even back the car onto the ferry like everyone else. I drove right on the boat and actually bought my ticket from the Captain who made sure the ship was going in a straight line before he left the wheel to give me change.

When I returned to Andrea sitting on the back of the boat I bought her an espresso and myself a capuccino-fredo and sat down to talk about my mother's visit and other weighty subjects, but decided to open the conversation with a little light humor and relate my experience on the bridge with the Captain, since I thought it was kind of funny that he left the wheel to give me change in an anecdotal way that is meaningless and not even worth mentioning unless your relationship is so frayed that the safest thing to do is talk about something so silly and meaningless that you can't possibly get in an argument. Wrong.
"How much were the tickets?" she asked.
"22 euros". I lied. They were 26 for 2 people and the car but I anticipated this as a possible trouble spot so I reduced the price.
"What a ripoff!"
"How is it a ripoff? This ferry takes 45 minutes and costs 22 euros and the ferry to Kea takes 55 minutes and costs 40 euros." I was defending the ferry boat, don't ask me why.
"This is just a piece of shit ferry" she said.
"No it's not, it's pretty nice." (I had just come from the bridge and it was a pretty new modern ferry and clean too).
"God damn it" and she got up and left to drink her coffee by herself and left me wondering what happened and how did it happen so quickly?

Edipsos, EviaWe landed in Edipsos, I took a couple photos, got lost, found the road to Halkida and stopped for a swim at a stone beach along the way, all the while still not speaking. I had decided I was not going to say anything unless I was asked a question and then I would keep my answers short so as not to agitate her, even though I was doing the entire trip back in silent agitation. The road cuts inland and over pine covered mountains and then along a forested river valley past beautiful and spectacular scenery, since Evia, though barely known to tourists, is one of the most beautiful and interesting islands in Greece. But the trip was taking a long time and the silence was deafening and it was not fun, in fact it would have been easier just to go back the way we came on the highway and get it over with. But imagine sitting next to someone for 4 hours and having no conversation. OK, on an airplane with a stranger, that's normal, but with the person you have spent the last 17 years with? But for me the only thing to talk about was why she had exploded and since that would just cause another explosion, and since I did not feel like attempting to tell the cute little story about the ship's captain giving me change, what could I say besides point out live goats and dead snakes on the side of the road.

Anyway we are still not talking and it is the next day. I went out last night by myself. She thinks I went out for a drink. I actually went out for a walk and had a mineral water. Sometimes you need a clear head to know whether or not you have a problem or if you are the problem.

E-mail me with questions and comments or join my Greece Travel Facebook Page


Return to Matt-Blog Index