Random Musings

Skopelos Old Town – White, Blue and Everything Greek

September 9, 2015
Skopelos Old Town, Greece

Close your eyes and think of Greece, what do you see? The Acropolis in Athens? The pristine Greek beaches? Gyros? If you ask me, when I hear or think of Greece my mind immediately thinks of the whitewashed houses with blue rooftops like what you would see in Santorini which for me, is the most beautiful and the most popular island in Greece. A lot of people are mistaken though that you can only see these white and blue combination in Santorini or Mykonos or any other Cyclades islands when in fact, it is actually all over in Greece including Skopelos which was our next destination for this Greek holiday.

Alonissos, Greece

Lads in Alonissos port bidding us farewell. :p

As they say, some good things never last and so after a wonderful week I spent with the Greek family in Alonissos – we had to bid farewell to them as we continue on our Greek holiday to another Sporades island – Skopelos. My brother-in-law and his wife joined us for this leg of the trip – it was a last-minute decision for them before they head back to the UK to continue on their holiday. The ferry ride from Alonissos to Skopelos was only 30 minutes and as soon as we arrived in the island, we dropped our bags in our hotel and we went straight to Skopelos town to wait for The Greek Mister’s friend who was also going to join us for this trip. The more the merrier as they say which stands true to this holiday of ours. As soon as we were all reunited and reacquainted, we set off to explore the labyrinth of Skopelos Town. The hues of white and blue in the town reminded me of the very first time I was in Greece, when I visited Santorini. Good memories!

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

Welcome to Skopelos!

Why White and Blue?

I have been fascinated by Greece for many many years. I have always been drawn to look at the pretty pictures of Santorini whenever I see one in various travel magazines that I encounter. It’s funny though because all those times that I have been admiring its beauty on print, I have never told myself that one day I’ll go to Greece. If someone told me then that I will someday see the beauty of Greece with my very own eyes I would’ve thought that that person is crazy and does not have a full grasp of reality. It was a farfetched hope for a small town Filipina girl like me. At that time I thought, there was no way I will ever set foot in Greece so better be realistic and be contented by admiring it through photos. And yet, here I am now writing about my third visit to Greece and on top of that, I am married to a Greek! Who would’ve thought? Definitely not me!

Back in those days when I was but a mere admirer of Greece from afar, I have seen a documentary about it – most specifically about why the white and blue colors are very popular in this place. But because I have a memory like that of a goldfish, I have forgotten all about it. The only thing I remember though was that it has to do something with Greece’s climate.

Not a lot of people know that, not even The Greek Mister. “To represent the Greek flag.” is what he told me when I asked him about it over breakfast one day in Skopelos. That is actually somehow true but it was just a mere coincidence. Yes, I did my own research.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

Most of the buildings on the islands were made of volcanic stone due mainly because they didn’t have enough wood available to build houses. The color of these stones absorbed the heat which means it becomes an instant oven inside the house during summer. In this case, they have painted the outside walls of their buildings white to reflect the harsh sunlight – to make it a little more heat resistant.

The blue-colored roofs came from a blue tinted cleaning agent called “loulaki” which was used for washing clothes and a very cheap alternative to buying real paints. When these tablets are dropped into the mixture of limestone plaster, a blue-colored solution is the result. The whitewashing of the houses is done at least three times a year so this very cheap and readily available blue-colored solution is the most economical way for most of them so the buildings won’t be all-white which is quite hurtful to the eyes.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

It wasn’t during the military governance in Greece in 1967 that the white and blue combination became mandatory for all the buildings since it signifies a unified government and full support of people towards their political agenda. It was during the late ’70’s though when the Greek government realized that this color combination attracted tourists and brought tourism money to their country. It was this time when they finally made it a law that all houses must be painted white and blue. So there’s your little information and history as to why Greek buildings and houses in most islands are painted white and blue.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

It’s very pleasing to the eyes I must say, while all of the walls are whitewashed – some buildings have splashed this wall canvas with some other pastel colors. The plants and flowers which are abundant in the area makes it even more beautiful. It’s very easy to get lost in the small alleys of Skopelos Town but frankly, I wouldn’t mind getting lost here.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

A few hundred photos later taken around Skopelos Town, we decided to sit at a taverna somewhere around the area and have a beer. We found a taverna in a small square surrounded by trees – it looked very inviting for our tired feet so we decided to stay there to have a beer or 5.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

After the much-needed break, we walked towards the beach near Skopelos Town to look for a restaurant which has been regarded as one of the best on Tripadvisor only to find a very tourist-driven place with exorbitant prices which made all the Greeks in the group walk out from it. Us girls just followed along and took more photos.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

The brother-in-law called the owner of the hotel we’re staying at to ask for an advice as to where we can get great food with normal prices in Skopelos. He advised us to go to Agnontas which is what I’m going to talk about on my next Greek holiday post.

Skopelos Old Town, Greece

Not bad for a first day in Skopelos, yes?

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25 Comments

  • Reply Bumble Bee Mum September 13, 2015 at 18:33

    I’m not quite sure what to think if I close my eyes and think of Greece right now. Pretty sure it would be something to do with Greek crisis. Can’t get it out of my head because my country just had our elections and supporters of the current governing party kept telling everyone, “Vote wisely if you do not wish to end up like Greece!” Zzzz….

    Thanks for the lesson on why the buildings are white and blue! I never actually thought about it. I just assumed it was for aesthetic purposes since they look extremely beautiful.
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…{Travel Tuesday #10} Okinawa Nago Pineapple ParkMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 13, 2015 at 21:35

      Hahahaha! As they say, the Greeks were the first to invent everything and they will be the ones as well to destroy everything. Lol.
      I also thought it was purely aesthetic with some sort of a reference to their flag until I read more about it. :p

  • Reply Julie Small September 12, 2015 at 02:14

    Oh those photos take me right back to the 6 months I spent bumming around the Greek Islands a while backโ€ฆsighโ€ฆit was good timeโ€ฆI love Greeceโ€ฆthanks for evoking the memories.
    Julie Small recently posted…#trekNZ: A Backcountry Snowshoeing AdventureMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 12, 2015 at 15:34

      Six months!!! Wow! That’s fantastic! I would love to bum around Greek island for six months too!! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for dropping by.

  • Reply Anna September 11, 2015 at 13:28

    the town of Skopelos is very picturesque!! The white colored was actually dictated by an earlier dictator, Metaxas, in the 20s for practical reasons: the white color came from lime (from limestone, not the fruit) which killed the bacteria that called cholera (as people didn’t use bleach back then for cleaning purposes). There are islands that are more colorful like Simi in the Dodecanese for example (which in the 20s didn’t belong to Greece) or the Ionian islands!
    Anna recently posted…Crete Road Trip: Heraklion to IerapetraMy Profile

  • Reply Agness September 11, 2015 at 13:13

    In my opinion, this place is just a perfect honeymoon destination filled with love and beautiful corners!!! I can’t wait to revisit Greece. I’m currently staying in Dubai, one of Greek friend who is an awesome host!
    Agness recently posted…Top 10 Places To Visit In Paris For Those On A Shoestring BudgetMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 11, 2015 at 20:12

      Yes, I think Greece is either a party place or a honeymoon place as most of their islands would give you either of this vibe. ๐Ÿ™‚ How are you liking Dubai?

  • Reply Karen September 11, 2015 at 09:44

    Beautiful photos. Like you, I also think of the blue and white houses when I think of Greece. Thanks for the story as to why. I also love the photo of the red window.
    Karen recently posted…Universal Studios Singapore Family NightMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 11, 2015 at 09:49

      I’ve always thought that the blue and white colors are for the Greek flag representation, didn’t know that it’s more for practical reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Yvonne @ Lost with Yvonne September 10, 2015 at 23:30

    Oh Greece is the country I want to visit most! It always look so beautiful and those sunrises and sunsets I see look amazing! And white and blue really are beautiful colors to represent this Greek culture!
    Yvonne @ Lost with Yvonne recently posted…Custer State Park โ€“ A Loop Around Sylvan LakeMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 11, 2015 at 09:39

      Greece is a beautiful country, you should definitely visit it! It’s picture-perfect anywhere you look. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Suze The Luxury Columnist September 10, 2015 at 13:29

    Skopelos looks beautiful – I didn’t realise that the white and blue colours of the houses were to represent the Greek flag – very interesting
    Suze The Luxury Columnist recently posted…Camino Bankside โ€“ A True Taste of SpainMy Profile

  • Reply Packing my Suitcase September 10, 2015 at 11:12

    As you, the first thing that comes into my mind when I think of Greece, are the white houses with the blue ceiling. They are simply stunning!!
    I can’t wait to visit Santorini one day, I can only imagine how amazing it must be in person ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes
    Packing my Suitcase recently posted…Trip fail: MilanMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 10, 2015 at 11:28

      Santorini is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen so far, there’s just nothing like it. You will go crazy with your camera there. :p
      Thank you for dropping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Mitzie Mee September 10, 2015 at 01:02

    Sorry, but that gyros image will not disappear from my retina now. I used to go on party holidays to Greece when I was in high school, so it was only later in life that I learned to appreciate the beauty of Greece beyond vodka-drenched watermelon and boat trips with champagne dives. Lucky you, now you’ve even got your own Greek god:):)
    Mitzie Mee recently posted…According to Mitzie Mee: Blogger ReviewsMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 10, 2015 at 11:29

      Oh how I wish I could say that “I used to party in Greece when I was but a teenager”. Lucky you! :p

  • Reply Grace @ Sandier Pastures September 9, 2015 at 17:31

    I learned something new today!

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 10, 2015 at 11:30

      Haha! Glad to know that! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for dropping by.

  • Reply Lyndall September 9, 2015 at 13:52

    Skopelos looks so gorgeous. A friend of mine has been there and highly recommended it to us. Have been thinking about adding it to the next Europe itinerary. Your photos are lovely too ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lyndall recently posted…A visit to beautiful San Gimignano, TuscanyMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 9, 2015 at 13:58

      Skopelos is definitely one of the most beautiful Greek islands I’ve been to. You should add it up on your itinerary. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for dropping by.

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages September 9, 2015 at 13:31

    Greece, looking gorgeous as always. It must have been hard choosing just a handful of photos to share with us. I knew the white was to do with heat reflection but I never knew there was more to the story. Very interesting.
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust this week
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted…Wanderlust Hanoi VietnamMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 9, 2015 at 14:02

      Hahaha! Oh yes, you know the struggle – it was hard to choose only a few photos for the blog. I wanted to post everything! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Dani @ House in Tillford September 9, 2015 at 13:05

    How lucky you have been to Greece several times and not just to the super popular islands! And thanks for sharing why they are all white washed, Ive been but didn’t know!
    Dani @ House in Tillford recently posted…24 Hours in Brunei – My Trip ReportMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 9, 2015 at 14:03

      Thank you for dropping by Dani. I am bound to Greece next week again to another part of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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