The island of Kalokairi in Greece is familiar to anyone who has watched the movie Mamma Mia! which was wildly successful. The film, released in 2008 and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, was a resounding success inspired by the eponymous musical of 1999, which covers the songs of one of the greatest pop groups of all time: ABBA.
We recommend calling attractions and restaurants before your visit to confirm current hours of operation.
The island of Kalokairi instantly captured the hearts of film viewers with the beauty of its waters, surroundings and architecture, with many charming Greek houses and picturesque narrow streets. In reality, the island of Kalokairi is called Skopelos. It is located in the western part of the Aegean Sea and is part of the Northern Sporades Islands. As well as being the name of the island, Skopelos is also the name of its main port and town, where much of Mamma Mia! was filmed.
Tourism on Kalokairi Island
Kalokairi Island is a name completely made up by the film’s producers, but the word “kalokairi” is a real Greek word that translates to “summer.” As this island is simply so beautiful and picturesque, it has always been a great tourist destination, with tourism actually being the main driver of the economy of Skopelos.
Since the release of the movie Mamma Mia!, more and more people have become aware of the existence of this magnificent Greek island and have wanted to visit it to experience their own little version of the musical. In the past, most tourists to Skopelos were Greeks, but it’s not uncommon to see Americans, Brits and many other nationalities strolling the streets and relaxing on the beaches of this stunning location.
Kalokairi Island tour
Visiting the island of Kalokairi or Skopelos is a little more difficult than you might imagine, as the island itself does not have an airport. There Greece has many islands different and tries to preserve them as best as possible, so it is rare to find airports in places like Skopelos in general. This means that boats are the only real way to get around the Greek islands.
One of the best ways to get to Kalokairi Island is to fly to Athens, which has the largest and best-served airport in the whole country, and then connecting to Skiathos, an island in the Aegean Sea that serves as something of a gateway to many other Greek islands. From Skiathos you can take boats to go to Skopelos.
things to do on Kalokairi Island
There are loads of great places to stay on Kalokairi Island or Skopelos, including hotels and local accommodation, as well as the option of simply renting a villa or apartment on the island using various booking sites . If you love the movie and want to stay somewhere that really has special meaning, it’s important to note that the legendary Villa Donna hotel from the movie doesn’t actually exist.
You can, however, stop by the Skopelos Village Hotel, where some of the film’s stars, like Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, spent much of their time between sets. You can even check out the guestbook and read the messages they wrote before you go, and there’s a special “Mamma Mia” suite that can be booked for an additional fee. Villa Metochi and Villa Pyrgos have also been used by film stars and can be booked as holiday accommodation.
Once you’ve decided where to stay, you’ll want to get out there and start exploring the island itself. Skopelos, like many other beautiful Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, is quite small and simple. Visitors should therefore not expect to find dozens of attractions or things to do, but rather a sublime environment in which to unwind, relax and de-stress.
Mamma Mia Fans! will enjoy heading to Kasteri beach, where many key scenes of the film were shot, and you will also find the small chapel where part of the wedding scene was shot. These places are truly magnificent and will also appeal to non-cinema fans, just like the rest of the island as a whole.
All in all, Skopelos is a very attractive and welcoming place that can be just plain joyful to explore. Special events like live music, dance and theater are sometimes held here, including on February 25, which celebrates the island’s patron saint, and during the Loizia festival in August. Finally, when it comes to food on Kalokairi Island, expect to eat plenty of fish and seafood, caught directly from the waters off the coast of the island.