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A Guide To Thassos Island, Greece
Still relatively unknown and off the beaten path, the Greek Island of Thassos is a beautiful summer destination. The island remains somewhat isolated from the rest of the islands in the Aegean, offers no direct connection to any Greek Island, and it’s also hard to reach directly from Athens. All these traits make it an ideal place if you want a tranquil experience.
If you are in the mood for a relaxing holiday in a remote place where it is possible to disconnect and completely forget the everyday routine, then Thassos is the answer. This complete guide to Thassos Island is all you need to make it happen.
Where Is Thassos
The island of Thassos is in the North Aegean Sea, under 10 kilometers from the port of Keramoti and about 25 kilometers from Kavala, a well-known city in northern Greece, which is also the most important seaport of eastern Macedonia.
What Is Thassos Famous For?
You might have heard of a few famous traits about Thassos. For instance…
In ancient times the island was quarried for its marble -; there are stunning statues you can admire at the Archaeological Museum of Limenas.
The island’s name is often Latinized in two different ways: Thassos and Thasos, so you might find it written with alternative spellings. If you were wondering, it’s written double S in Greek.
Due to its geographical position, Thassos has a shorter summer than the rest of the Greek Islands; however, the average temperatures all year round are pretty pleasant, and winters are not so harsh.
How To Get To Thassos
The easiest way to get to Thassos is by ferry since there are two ports on the island.
The port in Limenas, the capital of Thassos, receives ferries traveling the route Thassos-Keramoti daily, and the trip lasts about 25 minutes. Especially in summer, there are connections to the mainland every 15-30 minutes. Ferries departing from Kavala arrive at the port of Skala Prinos. This trip is about 1.5 hours.
If you’re considering traveling by plane, keep in mind that this could prove more complicated than you expect. The island of Thassos doesn’t have a commercial airport. However, it is possible to get to the airport of Kavala and, from there, board a ferry. Kavala airport receives daily flights from Athens and some international flights from the rest of Europe in summer.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Thassos?
As we have mentioned, the summers are not as long in Thassos as they can be in other Greek destinations. Therefore, the best time to visit Thassos are in the summer months, from June to September, if you want to enjoy a seaside vacation.
Suppose you prefer to visit before the beginning of summer (April-May) or at the end of the season (October). In that case, you will undoubtedly enjoy the island’s even more relaxed atmosphere, its gorgeous landscapes, and more availability when it comes to accommodation. You’ll just need to remember that packing an extra light jacket is not a bad idea.
How To Move Around In Thassos
Thassos is a reasonably small Greek Island where road travel can be rewarding and, at the same time, not tiring. There is one main circular road that takes you around the island. As common with most Greek Islands, the best way to visit every corner of Thassos is to rent a car and avoid depending on bus schedules.
If you prefer to go about Thassos with public transport, buses are frequent but hours are limited. Taxis are another affordable option as long as you agree on the trip’s price beforehand.
To visit isolated beaches and remote coastal villages, taxi boats are the best alternative to moving around the island’s coast.
Top Things To Do In Thassos
The island of Thassos is a fantastic place for a relaxing holiday; however, that does not mean there are no things to do on the island… On the contrary! Thassos is a unique place to enjoy beautiful and lively towns, discover ancient ruins, or taste great seafood, everything closely connected to nature.
Thassos is an excellent place to visit if you enjoy walking paths, hiking, and trekking. The routes and trails on the island will take you to unexpected corners with marvelous landscapes, including lakes, waterfalls, pinewoods, and stunning beaches. Here are some of the best things you can do in Thassos.
The capital and main port of the island is Limenas, also known as Thassos Town. This important settlement features a breathtaking mountainous background dotted with pine woods and olive trees.
Inhabited for hundreds of years, many archaeological sites are of interest all over the island. Particularly in Limenas, you can spend some time exploring Thassos’ Agora. The ancient market of the island makes for a great visit, and if you really want to learn more, then the Archaeological Museum is there to fill in the gaps.
Limenas is also a good destination for shopping. It is the island’s main commercial center, therefore perfect for purchasing local crafts, souvenirs, and typical products such as olive oil and honey.
Archaeological Museum Of Thassos
The Archaeological Museum of Thassos, situated next to the ancient market (Agora), features an essential collection of important objects that have been found on the island in the different archaeological sites. These include traditional pottery, sculptures, ancient coins, and even intricate jewelry pieces.
Ancient Theater Of Thassos
Maybe the most important and best-preserved archaeological site to check on the island is the Ancient Theater. It is built inside a natural cavity on a hill in Limenas, and it can be visited as you make your way up to the Acropolis.
The marble structure changed over the centuries to accommodate different types of exhibitions; for instance, the orchestra area was made into an arena during the first century AD to host duels.
The theater is known for its excellent acoustics, and today, it hosts different summer concerts and local festivals and can accommodate an audience of up to 2000 people. The views from the theater are remarkable too.
Acropolis Of Thassos
The ancient Acropolis of Thassos, surrounded by armored marble walls, is located on a hill overlooking the ancient market. The remains of the imposing wall of Thassos’ Acropolis were used to secure the town, its inhabitants, and its treasures.
To reach the Acropolis, you need to ascend a hill. If you do it in summer, remember to carry water and to wear comfortable shoes for the hike. The way up offers stunning scenery made of lush woods and the blue of the sea. Among the remarkable things to check are the Sanctum of Pana and a fifth-century temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Convent Of Archangel Michael
The most popular and visited site in Thassos is the gorgeous Monastery of Archangel Michael. The place stands on a privileged location on the slope of a cliff offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and Mount Athos in the distance.
The monastery is located a few minutes from the village of Theologos on the southeastern part of the island, about 33 km from the capital of Limenas. The monastery was probably built sometime between the eleventh and the twelfth centuries, and today it functions as a nunnery.
There are dozens of fantastic villages to check in Thassos, starting with Limenaria, the second largest town in Thassos. Limenaria is a bit less than 40 km from the capital and displays a mining past that started at the beginning of the past century by a German mining corporation.
Nearby, you can check out the small settlement of Kalyvia, about 2 km from Limenaria, a small wealthy village that expanded and financially grew, especially during the mining boom in Limenaria.
Above the hilly Thassos terrain, at 220 meters above the sea, the small village of Theologos was the island’s capital during the Turkish occupation (between 1455-1883) and way beyond that until 1902, when the Egyptians left the island. The picturesque village is filled with narrow paved alleys and constructions influenced by Macedonian architecture. Theologos is also famous for an ancient stone bridge. The village has its own characteristic cuisine, several small chapels, and a folkloric museum located in an old mansion.
Potos is a more modern seaside village, popular among tourists. The coastal village is located on the southern coast, about 40 kilometers from Limenas. Potos was also the main harbor of Theologos. There are several beautiful beaches in the area, and it is a great place to stay if you want to experience some nightlife during your vacation. Also, remember that it’s in this area of the island where you can enjoy some of the most amazing sunsets in Thassos.
If you enjoyed the settlement of Theologos, another gorgeous village you cannot miss is Panagia, a picturesque mountainous village about 8 kilometers from Limenas. It also held the privilege of being the capital of Thassos back during the Greek Revolution in 1821. The village features gorgeous narrow stone alleys and houses with small balconies and wood verandas. Several streams and channels cross the village, producing a constant, calming, watery sound.
One of the most beautiful villages on the island is Kazaviti, about 20 kilometers from Limenas, and the settlement is divided into Small (Mikro) and Big (Megalo) Kazaviti. The mountain village is mostly pedestrian as cars can only arrive as far as the main square. This region of Thassos is a must-go destination for foodies, with its organic meat, vineyards, and several traditional taverns.
Natural Pool Of Giola
One of the landmarks of Thassos is Giola, a natural rocky lagoon in the region of Astris. Rocks surround the pool about 10 meters high, from where it is possible to dive into the pristine emerald waters of the natural pool.
How to reach Giola: The best way to reach Giola is to drive from Potos, follow a dirt road that leads to the beach, and ascend on foot. Many signs in the area indicate the right direction to get there.
Hiking In Thassos
Being in close contact with nature is easy in Thassos. The natural surroundings of verdant hills and mountain paths offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy a walk surrounded by unforgettable views.
The island has dozens of mountain paths where it is also possible to enjoy bicycle rides or tranquil walks.
The island is a unique hiking destination all year round, while many local travel agencies will be happy to offer hiking excursions around Thassos to learn about a huge variety of wildflowers, shrubs, herbs, olive trees, pines, and chestnuts, but also stunning birds such as owls and eagles.
Several trails cross the island and take walkers through different inland villages. One of the most imposing treks is the one that takes you to the summit of Mount Ipsarion (1294 meters) with incredible views of the island.
Best Beaches In Thassos
There are plenty of magnificent beaches to visit in Thassos, some of them sandy beaches, others with pebbles, but certainly all of them feature a unique deep green sea, perfect for long summer swimming sessions.
Near the modern village of Skala Potamia, Golden Beach features a two-kilometer shore made of golden sand with well-organized facilities, including bars, restaurants, and hotels.
This is one of the most popular beaches on the island and is more crowded than other seaside areas.
One of the best beaches on the island is Paradise Beach, near the small village of Kinira.
The main characteristic of this shore is the stunning surrounding scenery made of a shallow coast, fine golden sand, and dozens of fragrant pine trees.
Another famous shore in Thassos, Marble Beach, is a pebbled beach with incredibly beautiful small white and soft pebbles, crystal clear waters, and a quiet atmosphere.
If you enjoy exploring, visiting one of Thassos’ largest marble quarries right next to the beach is possible.
Skala Kallirachi Beach
The best corner to enjoy the characteristic quietness of Thassos is the beach of Skala Kallirachi, a traditional fishing village.
This sandy and pebbled beach features a shallow coast, which is ideal for snorkeling.
This shore in the southern area of Thassos is a popular tourist destination. It features white sand and clear blue and calm waters.
Most of Tripiti Beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while several bars are also around.
The most unique feature of this beach is a cave with a small sandy beach where you can go for a relaxing swimming experience.
Perfect for families, this Thassos beach lies on a wide and shallow bay near the traditional village of Skala Maries.
Platanes Beach is a perfect place to admire the sunset over the Aegean or to soak in the imposing mountain views. The beach is organized and home to an organized water playground that children love!
Also family-friendly, thanks to the rows of pine trees offering shade and cooler temperatures, Arriba Beach is located in the area of the Skala Rachoni village. The sandy beach features some organization, including a pleasant beach bar perfect for snacks or a cocktail at sunset.
Top Thassos Hotels
There is a good range of accommodations on the island, from budget-friendly hotels and family-run guest houses to more high-end resorts and seaside hotels. These are my top picks for places to stay in Thassos.
Budget Places To Stay In Thassos
Anassa Blue Boutique Hotel is an exceptional place to stay in Thassos that, despite its boutique status, provides excellent and convenient accommodation in Limenas.
The hotel features rooms and suites with balconies or ample terraces and a huge pool in the center of the complex. The hotel also serves its guests a delicious and vibrant buffet breakfast.
Krista Hotel is in the small but gorgeous village of Prinos, about 15 kilometers from the capital of Thassos and only 20 meters from the Blue Flag Dasilio Beach.
Featuring a terrace and a bar, the hotel has beautiful guest rooms with coffee and tea facilities and private balconies overlooking the lush garden or the courtyard. Breakfast is served on the terrace.
Mid-Range Places To Stay In Thassos
Beach Hotel Kapahi is located only one minute from the beach, in a prime waterfront location, opposite the blue flag beach of Pefkari. This is a family-friendly hotel with comfortable air-conditioned rooms with balconies overlooking the Aegean Sea or the garden.
Guests love its seaside restaurant that serves both lunch and dinner, while morning breakfast can be enjoyed in the privacy of the room.
Kohylia by La Scala Beach is a hotel located meters from the private La Skala Beach, set within lush gardens and olive trees. Perfect for families, the hotel features rooms with sea-view balconies and a swimming pool with a separate outdoor hydromassage and a children’s pool.
The hotel is located 3 kilometers from Limenas, while free private parking is available near the hotel.
Luxury Places To Stay In Thassos
Kinira Beach Hotel is a beachfront hotel built on a green hill of pine trees, just seconds from the sea. It features an on-site restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool with a sun terrace, and a poolside bar, while rooms open to a balcony with a garden or mountain view.
The island’s main town is approximately 21 km away.
Thassos Blue Apartments is located in Prinos and offers exclusive properties only a 1-minute walk from the beach. Pine trees surround the complex. The apartments offer self-catering accommodation overlooking the Aegean Sea. In the nearby area, there are restaurants, bars, and shops.
Each of the apartments has a well-equipped kitchen and a living area. The hotel is about 15 kilometers from the main town of Thassos, Limenaria.
Best Places To Eat In Thassos
These are some of the most popular places to eat on Thassos Island.
Pefkospilia is one of the best places to eat on the island. The traditional tavern on Pachis Beach serves a good selection of fresh seafood, and it also features a beach bar.
Taverna Giannis is located in the Kazaviti village, on the side of a cliff, with imposing views of the mountains and the sea. Perfect to dine at sunset; the restaurant is famous for its goat meat dishes.
La Skala Beach Bar
La Skala Beach Bar is the place to go for a full-day experience by the sea. This upscale beach bar near Limenas offers delicious dishes you can enjoy at the restaurant or from the comfort of your beach lounger.
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