My seven-day stay on Skopelos had passed blissfully free of reminders of Meryl Streep, Abba, or Mamma Mia! – the saccharine musical shot here almost a decade ago. But then our coach driver, who was taking us to the ferry terminal for our journey home, intervened. Fifty grumpy holidaymakers — with just a day’s travelling standing between them and a return to work — were subjected to the entire soundtrack blasting out over the coach PA system. Faces never looked so thunderous.
So completely at odds was the unrelenting awfulness of the music with the low-tempo week that preceded it, it was hard to believe that film had anything to do with this island. Far from becoming home to themed bars and overcrowded beaches, Skopelos has maintained a refreshing authenticity. For many visitors it epitomises the appeal of Greece as a holiday destination — unspoilt island life; unpretentious food and accommodation; quiet beaches; walks through green, mountainous interiors; and a complete removal from the stresses of modern life.
Is it the perfect Greek island? There are finer beaches and more characterful villages to be found elsewhere, but Skopelos ticks most of the boxes.