Thassos Island. At the beginning of July, I decided to go to some Greek Islands from the northern Aegean Sea for three weeks. At the end of the first day, I stopped overnight at Calafat (at the border between Romania and Bulgaria). The following day, I crossed Bulgaria (passing Sofia) and entered Greece in Kulata. From there, I went directly to Camping Batis Multiplex in Kavala. At the campground, I made a bed in the back of my car and asked the receptionist for information about the ferries to Thassos Island. In the evening, I could hear cicadas singing in the trees and a swarm of mosquitos inevitably showed up.
The first day on Thassos Island
Short Description: I took the midday ferry from Kavala Port (mainland Greece) to Skala Prinos (Thassos Island). Then, I went to the camping site in Ormos Prinos, and in the afternoon, I enjoyed my first bath in the Aegean Sea.
The ferry from Kavala Port to Thassos Island was gigantic. I almost got lost driving the car from one parking level to another until I parked it. After that, I climbed up to the deck where a warm breeze was blowing. Flocks of seagulls followed the ferry all the way to Thassos, and the passengers fed them with bread and biscuits.
The ferry docked at Skala Prinos, a small harbor, full of terraces, accommodations, and shops. There, I ate fried sprat at a terrace along the seafront. Surprisingly, the menus were written in Romanian almost everywhere. As soon as I left the shade of the terrace, the sun burned me right away. Further on, I went to the campground in Ormos Prinos, where I sunbathed and endlessly floated with the blow-up pool float on the water.
The second day on Thassos Island
Short Description: From Skala Prinos, I drove up toward Rahoni and Agios Georgios villages. When I came down from there, I stopped at the Olive Oil Museum. From Prinos, I went up to Moni Agios Panteleimonos Monastery and then went back to Mikros Prinos. I came back to the seaside in Skala Sotiros, went to Skala Kallirachis, then drove up to Kallirachi. Eventually, I returned to the Aegean Coast in Skala Marion. In the evening, I stopped at the campground in Pefkari.
In the morning, I sat on a bench on the seafront in Ormos Prinos and ate biscuits. I passed again through Skala Prinos and continued to drive among olive orchards toward mountain villages. I went up to Rahoni village, which sat right at the foothills of the mountains and had whitewashed houses made of stone.
Further, I came down to Agios Georgios village, situated on the opposite hill. The village developed on the steep slopes of the countryside hills and had a sloping square. The traditional Greek taverna was still closed but the tables and chairs lined up along the street waited the opening hour. Most of the houses had a shaded terrace covered with vines, where skinny cats rested away from the heat. An elegant old woman wearing big earrings smiled when she saw I was taking photos of her village. I could understand only some country names in her speech and I answered her “Romania.” She smiled and nodded, then left the square and walked toward the church.
From Agios Georgios, I went down to the road that surrounded Thassos Island. I stopped at the Olive Oil Museum that displayed old tools, used once to extract oil from olives. After that, I drove to Prinos, which had a main street with accommodations and shops as well as narrow streets with steep stairs to a white-blue church on a hilltop. I finally found the road that steeply went up to the Moni Agios Panteleimonos Monastery, but when I arrived, they had just closed for their lunch break. When I came down, I stopped in the Mikros Prinos village for a while and walked along the streets. The village had the typical narrow, sloping streets with houses made of stone and shaded with vines. The main square was full of lively tavernas, carefully arranged in the shade of bushy old trees.
I returned to the ring road of Thassos and drove to Skala Kallirachis. There, I stopped to eat fried sardines at a taverna near the seafront, with palm trees lining the beach. From the main crossroads of the village, I headed up toward the mountain village of Kallirachi. The sloping streets of the village were flanked by stone houses but were almost empty at midday.
From Kallirachi, I came back to the coastal road, which became more and more rugged and picturesque. I often eyed beaches hidden in small, sometimes inaccessible bays. Next, I stopped at Skala Marion, organized around a squared bay with pristine water and colorful tavernas. Drained by the heat, I continued toward Pefkari and went to a huge large campground, which had its own beach and restaurant. When I said at the front desk that I planned to sleep in the car, they charged me the price of a campervan.
The third day on Thassos Island
Short Description: I went from Pefkari to Limenaria and then stopped at Moni Karakallou Monastery on the road going uphill to Maries. I came back to Limenaria, and from Potos, I drove up toward Theologos village. In the afternoon, I went back to the campground in Pefkari.
In the morning, I relaxed for several hours and enjoyed a long breakfast. A short time later, I headed to Limenaria, the second town of Thassos Island. For a while, I walked among the tall buildings lining sloping streets. After that, I continued my walk along the seafront crowded with tavernas that had blue tables and chairs as well as the typical tablecloths with blue-and-white squares.
When the heat was at its peak, I left Limenaria and stopped at Moni Karakallou Monastery on my way toward the mountains. The monks’ rooms were painted in white and a vine shadowed the main walkway to the church. A cat ate Eucharistic bread in the church where a stream rippled under an orthodox icon.
While I was walking in the monastery’s garden, the Father asked me if I was from Germany. When I told him I am from Romania, he invited me into the guest hall and offered me rose jellies. I tried to talk to him, but he was not very talkative. I did, however, find out that he had been living in the monastery for twenty-six years. He was the only monk, and the church dated from 1813. He also told me that people from the nearby village came to help him with gardening, cooking, and cleaning.
I continued toward the mountain village Maries, where I found the typical main square full of tavernas with blue chairs and tables. A Greek man stood up right away and welcomed me to sit at his taverna, but I turned him down. The whitewashed houses with blue window frames shined in the sun. The village’s stone church had a big garden shaded by trees. From the village, I tried to go to the Maries Lake and Waterfall, but I turned back after driving a bit on the unpaved, bumpy road. Next, I returned to Limenaria and went toward Potos, then I headed toward the mountain village of Theologos.
I hardly found a parking lot in Theologos village (very touristic because of its former title of Ottoman capital of the island during the Middle Ages). The village had narrow and winding streets, lined by stone houses and pink oleanders. Wandering around, I spotted several churches built of stone and a dozen white-and-orange cats, too.
Famished and sweating, I returned to the campground in Pefkari. My German neighbors had moved their campervan on another pitch and occupied a place for my car, too. They had been coming to this campground for over thirty years. She was always knitting something, and he told me the latest news about the Turkish riot. They had a small dog, which always played with me, and they offered me wine or beer, but I refused them as I don’t drink alcohol.
The fourth day on Thassos Island
Short Description: I left Pefkari and drove along the rugged coastline of Thassos. I stopped at Moni Archangelou, and then at the archaeological site in the small bay of Aliki. From there, I continued along the coastline passing through Loutra and Kinyra. I went up to Potamia and Panagia and then stopped overnight at the Golden Beach camping site in Chryssi Ammoudia.
In the morning, I left the Pefkari campground and went to the Moni Archangelou Monastery. It was very touristic though, and I could hardly find a parking spot. A woman checked to make sure I respected the dressing code of the monastery, and she better re-wrapped the shawl around my waist. The monastery was full of visitors (including many Romanians) and pink oleanders. The monastery’s shop was pricey, but the panoramic view of the bay with bright blue water was tempting and comforting.
I continued the tour of the island and stopped at Alyki, a small bay where the pristine water literally hypnotized me. First, I explored a small archaeological site, which had a few monuments. I walked among a paleo-Christian basilica with tombs, the old marble quarries, and the place where the ships loaded the marble. The site had a thematic route passing through a pine forest that created a pleasant shade. At the end of the route, I went directly to the small, quiet bay to swim a bit before I dared to enter the hot car that was probably 41 Celsius degrees inside.
After one hour of swimming and sunbathing, I left Alyki bay and continued toward the other half of the island. I passed Loutra and Kinyra and drove up to the mountain village of Potamia. The main square had the traditional tavernas arranged in the shade of some trees, but all of them were empty. The streets flanked by stone houses with wooden balconies were deserted as well by midday. From there, it was possible to hike the highest peak of Thassos, Ipsario, but it was too hot for that. Eventually, I drove down toward Panagia village, which, surprisingly, was alive and full of tourists. The smell of food from the tavernas tempted me along the picturesque streets. I climbed some stairs along a water canal toward a white-blue church, where I had a panoramic view of the Golden Beach bay.
From Panagia, I drove down toward the seaside. In Chryssi Ammoudia, I went to the Golden Beach camping site, where I had a hard time finding a place to stay overnight. I tried a fish soup and fried pumpkin balls at a nearby taverna, where they also offered red watermelon on the house. The beach of the camping site faced the east and got shaded quite fast in the evening.
The fifth day on Thassos Island
Short Description: I went to Thassos town, and then stopped at the Marble Beach and returned to Chryssi Ammoudia.
In the morning, I went to Thassos town (or Limenas), the main town of the island. It was a stylish small town, with a shopping street, a small touristic bay with yachts, a beach with pristine water, and a seafront animated by terraces at any hour of the day. A few archaeological sites were scattered throughout the town. Most of them were deserted, invaded by vegetation, and some of them were even difficult to find. I managed to discover the sanctuary of Heracles, the Gate of Zeus and Hera, the ancient Agora, and the Sanctuary of Dionysos.
By midday, I searched for the antic theater in vain. By mistake, I went up through a pine forest to the akropolis, where a former Genovese fort stood, deserted and badly preserved. From there, I spotted a footpath with stairs dug in the rock and wooden handrails, marked with a red dot from time to time. I took this path and went down to the historic center, where I ordered the menu of the day at Taverna Alexandra’s (a huge Greek salad and moussaka).
On my way back from Thassos town to Chryssi Ammoudia, I chose the off-road that passed the Marble Beach. The road was full of a fine, white dust. It continued along the coastline until it reached the bay of the Golden Beach. Driving slowly along the dirt road, I noticed some exposed parts without a parapet but continued ahead. A bit further, I discovered the beaches of Saliria and Porto Vathi hidden in two small bays. The beaches had pristine, azure water and white sand, with small stones from the former marble quarries. The white environment shined in the sun, and the quarry at Porto Vathi still had big blocks of white marble. On the last evening, I came back to the campground in Chryssi Ammoudia and listened the cicadas singing in the trees.
The sixth day on Thassos Island (and the last one)
Short Description: I took the ferry from Thassos town to Keramoti, situated in the continental part of Greece. After that, I went again to the campground in Kavala. I stayed there for one day and set up my departure to Lemnos Island.
I went to the big port in Thassos town, where an agent guided me to board the ferry to Keramoti right away. On the way to Keramoti, I tried to feed the seagulls with bread but gave up after they bit my fingers several times. Nonetheless, I tried a new method and challenged them to fetch the food on the fly without beating each other.
When I entered Kavala, I stopped at a local taverna where the cook displayed different sorts of fresh fish in front of me. I had a wide range of options to choose from: sardines, calamari, crayfish, shrimp, octopus, and so on. Eventually, I ordered fried sprat with onion. Afterward, I headed toward Kavala port, where I asked how to get to Lemnos Island. In the evening, I went again to my favorite campground in Kavala. I stayed to relax there for one day, to swim, sunbath, and take down my notes from Thassos.
Thassos Island – pristine waters, marble beaches, authentic villages is my first travel diary from a three week trip to the Greek Islands of the northern Aegean Sea (find the version in Romanian at ‘Insulele Grecesti, Thassos‘). And here are all my Travel Diaries from the Greek Islands (x3).
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