Thassos Island – pristine waters, marble beaches, authentic villages

02 Aug

Thassos Island. At the beginning of July, I decided to go to some Greek Islands in the northern Aegean Sea for three weeks. At the end of the first day, I stopped in Calafat (a town at the border between Romania and Bulgaria) overnight. The following day, I crossed Bulgaria (passing Sofia) and entered Greece at Kulata. From there, I went directly to Camping Batis Multiplex in Kavala. At the campground, I made a bed in the back of the 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.

Thassos Island - Kavala: Batis Multiplex Camping by the beach

Thassos Island – Kavala: Batis Multiplex Camping by the beach

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 the first bath in the Aegean Sea.

Long Description.

The ferry from Kavala Port to Thassos Island was gigantic. I almost got lost driving the car from one parking level to another level until I parked. 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.

Reaching Skala Prinos small port in Thassos Island

Reaching Skala Prinos small port in Thassos Island

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 my skin 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.

Thassos Island - Skala Prinos: the first fish dish – sprat

Thassos Island – Skala Prinos: the first fish dish – sprat

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 to Mikros Prinos. I came back to the seaside in Skala Sotiros, stopped in 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.

Long Description.

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.

Thassos Island - Rachoni Village: olive trees everywhere

Thassos Island – Rachoni Village: olive trees everywhere

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 were waiting for 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.

Thassos Island - Agios Georgios Village: colorful street

Thassos Island – Agios Georgios Village: colorful street

From Agios Georgios, I went down to the road circumnavigating Thassos Island. I stopped at the Olive Oil Museum displaying old tools once used to extract oil from olives. After that, I drove to Prinos featuring the main street with accommodations and shops as well as narrow streets with steep stairs leading to a hilltop white-blue church. I finally found the road steeply going to the Moni Agios Panteleimonos Monastery, but when I arrived there, they had just closed the monastery for their lunch break. When I came down, I stopped in Mikros Prinos village and strolled down the streets for a while. The village had the typical Greek 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.

Thassos Island - Mikros Prinos Village: traditional houses with stone and white walls

Thassos Island – Mikros Prinos Village: traditional houses with stone and white walls

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 to the mountain village of Kallirachi. The sloping streets of the village were flanked by stone houses and were almost empty at midday.

Thassos Island - Kallirachi Village: traditional stone houses

Thassos Island – Kallirachi Village: traditional stone houses

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 in 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 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.

Thassos Island - Skala Marion: tavernas everywhere by the beach

Thassos Island – Skala Marion: tavernas everywhere by the beach

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.   

Long Description.

In the morning, I relaxed for several hours and enjoyed a long breakfast. A bit later, I headed to Limenaria, the second town of Thassos Island. For a while, I walked among tall buildings lining sloping streets. After that, I continued my stroll along the seafront crowded with tavernas with blue tables and chairs as well as typical tablecloths with blue-and-white squares.

Thassos Island - Limenaria: tavernas everywhere

Thassos Island – Limenaria: tavernas everywhere

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.

Thassos Island - Moni Karakallou: the cat is calling everybody to prayer

Thassos Island – Moni Karakallou: the cat is calling everybody to prayer

While I was strolling 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.

Thassos Island - Moni Karakallou: a new friend – the small cat

Thassos Island – Moni Karakallou: a new friend – the small cat

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 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 headed toward the mountain village of Theologos.

Thassos Island - Maries Village: the main square with tavernas

Thassos Island – Maries Village: the main square with tavernas

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. As I was wandering around, I spotted several churches built of stone and a dozen of white-and-orange cats, too.

Thassos Island - Theologos Village: a small square

Thassos Island – Theologos Village: a small square

I returned famished and sweating 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, who 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 at the Golden Beach camping site in Chryssi Ammoudia.

Long Description.

In the morning, I left the Pefkari campground and went to the Moni Archangelou Monastery. The place 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.

Thassos Island - Moni Archangelou: on the sea terrace

Thassos Island – Moni Archangelou: on the sea terrace

I continued the tour of the island and stopped in Alyki, a small bay where the pristine water hypnotized me. First, I explored a small archaeological site with 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 creating 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.

Thassos Island - Alyki bay: one of the most blue-green water ever seen

Thassos Island – Alyki bay: one of the most blue-green water ever seen

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.

Thassos Island - Panagia Village: the main church

Thassos Island – Panagia Village: the main church

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 Marble Beach and returned to Chryssi Ammoudia.

Long Description.

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. In the city center, I discovered the sanctuary of Heracles, the Gate of Zeus and Hera, the ancient Agora, and the Sanctuary of Dionysos.

Thassos Island - Thasos town: the small port

Thassos Island – Thasos town: the small port

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 wooden handrails and stairs dug into the rock, 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).

Thassos Island - Thasos town: old remains of the Genovese fort

Thassos Island – Thasos town: old remains of the Genovese fort

On the way back from Thassos town to Chryssi Ammoudia, I chose the off-road passing Marble Beach. The road was full of fine, white dust. It continued along the coastline until it reached the bay of Golden Beach. Driving slowly along the dirt road, I noticed some exposed parts without a parapet but I continued to drive. 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 in Porto Vathi had big blocks of white marble. On the last evening, I came back to the campground in Chryssi Ammoudia and listened to the cicadas singing in the trees.

Thassos Island - Marble Beach: Saliria

Thassos Island – Marble Beach: Saliria

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.

Long Description.

I went to the big port in Thassos town, where an agent guided me to board on 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.

Leaving Thasos Island by ferry to Keramoti small port

Leaving Thasos Island by ferry to Keramoti small port

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 – Batis Multiplex. I stayed to relax there for one day. I swam, sunbathed, and wrote down some notes from Thassos.

Thassos Island - Kavala: Batis Multiplex Camping by the beach

Thassos Island – Kavala: Batis Multiplex Camping by the beach

You can find the version of this post in Romanian at ‘Insulele Grecesti, Thassos‘. If you want to read more about the road trip through the Greek Islands, here are all the Travelogues from the Greek Islands (x3).

Have you been to the Greek Islands or plan to go there? Leave a comment below this post and tell me what you liked about Greece or what you want to see there.

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26 Responses to “Thassos Island – pristine waters, marble beaches, authentic villages”

  1. LaiAriel R. Samangka ( Thelittlelai: Beyond limits) September 18, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    What a great and cool journey that you have owned in Thassos Island. I like the chronologically this travel of yours being written as I seemed to like travelling with you. I haven’t heard about this Island yet and will surely include this on my bucket list. I also like how you’re trying to be concise in giving guides to get to the place. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Iuliana September 18, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      It is so much easier for me to write the facts as they happen. I am happy it has helped you.

  2. Subhashish Roy October 12, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Wow. Thassos Island looks just amazing and it reminded me of my last trip before the pandemic to Goa, one of India’s sought after sea destinations. One look at the fish plate made me hungry. Beaches have always fascinated me and my spouse and we try and visit those places first which are on sea.Marble Beach,Saliria reminded me of one in Dubrovnik with the similarities.

    • Iuliana October 12, 2016 at 11:35 am #

      Thassos is much more affordable than expensive Dubrovnik, so I prefer to go there anytime instead of Croatia.

  3. Joe Ankenbauer October 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Thassos looks like a really fun place! I would love to explore the old remains of the Genovese fort! I could spend a lot of time on the beach, especially with all the Tavernas that are so close by.

    • Iuliana October 21, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      Tavernas have such a special food, I miss the octopus in vinegar a lot.

  4. Linda (LD Holland) December 11, 2016 at 1:11 am #

    I love the Greek Islands. But we have never visited Thassos Island. Great to know that there s a car ferry from Kavala to Thassos. I do love all those villages built on the side of hills. If not the walk to explore them! We would definitely want to visit the seafront in Limenaria. Fresh seafood is always a big draw for us in coastal towns. I too would want to spend some time sitting beside the pristine waters at Aluki. But I would want to hit the water for a swim. It looks like there is certainly a lot of things to keep you busy for a visit for a week. Will add it to our list of Greek Islands to explore.

    • Iuliana December 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

      Greek villages are also my favorite places to explore. The island is not big, you can drive it withing one hour, but there are so many places to explore that a whole week is not enough if you are an adventurous personality.

  5. Vibeke March 29, 2017 at 12:41 am #

    Thassos looks like a very charming and beautiful island. I am sure places like Santorini would be so packed. I would prefer to visit less touristy places. Marble beach looks amazing 😀 I really want to visit Thassos now 😀

    • Iuliana March 29, 2017 at 9:37 am #

      The problem is that Thassos is very crowded too. The Marble beach was very packed – I had to go to a nearby beach, less packed.

  6. Sarah Kim April 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

    I have such a short attention span so thanks for writing out short descriptions and long ones lol! The Agios Georgios villages looks so pretty. That and the Olive Oil Museum sounds like a great half day for me! Thanks for sharing.

    • Iuliana April 6, 2017 at 10:34 am #

      I don’t know how those short descriptions have appeared, but it looks more like a travel diary for me. I guess this is the answer.

  7. Candy May 13, 2017 at 2:15 am #

    I have been to the Greek Island of Skopelos and this post reminded me of that island so much. The ferry ride and driving (well, I was driving a scooter) around the towns looked so similar to your adventures. That Marble Beach is gorgeous! I could spend all day there enjoying that gorgeous blue water 🙂

    • Iuliana May 13, 2017 at 9:39 am #

      Make sure to take an umbrella when you sit on the beach all day long.

  8. blair villanueva June 21, 2017 at 2:51 am #

    We haven’t visited Greece yet although it is in our dream destination, especially my partner is part-Greek. Thassos Island is genuinely beautiful and unique. I like those cottages, those tables near the beach a perfect place to enjoy the breakfast, ahh it feels marvelous! Thanks for virtually taking us to the island!

    • Iuliana June 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      Yes, those tablecloth with white-blue squares are so customary for Greece.

  9. Amy Chung July 15, 2017 at 3:06 am #

    Wow you covered so much ground in a few short days! Looks absolutely idyllic and looks like you had amazing weather too. I would have loved going to the olive oil museum as I eat a lot of salads and use copious amounts of olive oil. And I also love sardines. Seeing those dishes made me hungry! And that water at Marble Beach is so clear and stunning! I have never been to the Greek Islands. One day, I’ll get there!

    • Iuliana July 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

      The Marble Beach is absolutely stunning. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to watch the sunset from there.

  10. Ha August 3, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    It’s great that you could visit many places within a short time. I always want to visit Greece and Thassos Island seems like an amazing destination. The Marble Beach is so stunning. I love the color of the sea there. The pristine color of Alyki bay is also fantastic. I’d love to dine at Limenaria and exploring the beaches like you did. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Iuliana August 3, 2017 at 10:59 am #

      Thassos is very touristic for Romanians, yet it is so beautiful and the Mediterranean is so different (especially in color) than the Black Sea.

  11. Bhushavali N September 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Those huge ferries that hold hundreds of cars are always so fascinating, aren’t they!
    They don’t feel like a mode of transport, they actually feel like a huge building on the land….
    The traditional Greek villages are adorable. We’ve stopped at a few on our roadtrip in the main land.
    I can see that they are all the more beautiful in the smaller islands.
    Those white buildings & sea-side tavernas are all so picturesque!

    • Iuliana September 21, 2017 at 10:26 am #

      The remoter you go, the prettiest villages you find.

  12. Clarice October 2, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    What a wonderful experience! This place is charming and love how simple things seem at Thassos Island. The blue-green water in Alyki bay is so inviting and the fish dish looks so delicious.

    • Iuliana October 3, 2017 at 10:24 am #

      When I go to the seaside, I always eat only fish dishes.

  13. Agnes December 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

    Thassos Island looks excellent. I like the Theologos Village, and its small square. I love taking pictures of tiny white houses, I love Greek cuisine and music, so I would like to see some Greek islands. I like the Limenaria taverns, would like to eat there! You had so beautiful holidays!

    • Iuliana December 27, 2017 at 10:23 am #

      This was a few years ago, so long time, no see. I miss Greek atmosphere too.

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