Koukounaries, the fabulous pine grove after which the region is named. It fringes a long stretch of golden sand for 1,000 metres, and most of its 30 metre width is shaded by pines and shrubs. There are hotels, restaurants and refreshment stalls. You can get there by bus from the town (12 kms), or by motor launch. Behind the grove there is a lovely lagoon, wheat fields and olive groves. From Koukounaries you can walk to the beach of Agia Eleni, which faces the southern shores of Mt. Pelion. It is splendidly isolated and offers good fishing. Also from Koukounaries, it takes 40 min. on foot to reach a quite unspoilt strip of coast, Mandraki, also known as the port of Xerxes. Lalaria, is another famous beach with large pebbles on the N.E. side of the island, accessible from town by boat. The Kastro, or ancient walled town, lies two hours to the north of the town on foot. Accessible by motor boat as well. In the 16th century, the whole population moved to the impregnable rock which rises to the northeast of the town of Skiathos and built their Kastro. It stands on a rock projecting into the sea and overlooking a wild and jagged coast. A drawbridge was its only link with the rest of the island in the old days, but today it can be approached by climbing up some steps. Its walls once enclosed 300 houses and 22 churches. None of the houses remain, and of the two churches the Church of Christ is worth a visit for its icons and carved wooden screen. Excursions are organised in summer daily to the nearest island Skopelos and to Alonissos. There are also organised tours round the island by boat.