Agios Ioannis Church

You could not come to Skopelos and not visit Agios Ioannis. Once you reach the top, the amazing views will make worth the stairs you have to climb.

2,3 km off the bus route
198 steps carved into the rock lead to the chapel
Not suitable to people with walking difficulties

The chapel of Agios Ioannis sto Kastri –dedicated to Saint John– is on the top of a barren sea rock with spectacular panoramic views, at a height of 100 meters; it is incredibly picturesque from both the bottom and top. An amazing landscape via an interesting drive at the northern side of the island, and a good chance to see typical flora of the Aegean. There is a small secluded beach below the church with crystal clear water to refresh you after the climb down, which  worth the stay if it is not windy; ideal for both swimming and snorkeling.

There is no record of when it was actually built. Local history says that a resident saw a glow on the top of the rock one evening; at first he did not give particular significance to this but it was repeated many times, and then in a dream he saw a woman who told him to go to the top of the rock with the other residents and search for an icon there. Next day the whole community of the island went there and he related what had happened. Then they all began to carve steps into the rock to the top. Once there, they found the icon of Agios Ioannis (Saint John), which was transported to a nearby chapel. The next day they discovered that the icon was not in the church, but back where it had originally been found. They decided to build a chapel on the site to house the icon, because they believed that the Saint wished to be there.

“Every step that it takes to climb up is well worth the unbelievable experience you have once you get there!! Words cannot do it justice. Go see it for yourself!”, Nick L. says.

Sophie’s wedding at Aghios Ioannis chapel

This minuscule and modest church became famous all over the world, since it was the setting for Sophie’s wedding in the “Mamma Mia!” movie, back in 2007. Also here was performed the most moving scene of the film, when Meryl’s Streep character Donna sings the emotional ballad “The Winner Takes It All” to Pierce’s Brosnan character Sam.

Location Map and Directions

Getting to the church itself means first going down a steep hill, and then climbing up the 200 steps, carved in the side at the large rock outcropping. The steps are well constructed and solid but pretty steep and there are safe hand rails to help with the climb. Make sure to wear good shoes and bring a bottle of water and sunscreen. There is no public transportation to the site, which is 2,3 km off the main bus route. You may get the local bus, get off two stops prior to Glossa and then walk down the road which is signposted. You can also rent a car which will cost you about the same money as to hire a taxi.