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Thasos island, made in northern Aegean!

Greek Islands - Coastal Tourism
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A few words with a fisherman, a walk in the shops of Limenas and the waiting time for the bus has passed quickly. I arrive at Skala Potamias, where a rental jeep cabrio is waiting for me. I look around trying to answer the big question of the moment: "Where do I choose to go?"

Behind me dominates Ypsario, the highest point of the island, at 1.203 meters. Around the rocky peak, everything is covered in green, while the coast of Potamia bay extends in front of me. The decision is difficult...

The bay of Potamia.

40 minutes by airplane to Kavala from Athens, 10 minutes taxi to Keramoti and another half hour ferry boat to Limenas. Thassos is not a far distant destination!

First excursion, Panagia site

I start my excursion from the traditional village of Panagia. The houses are built among the trees on the slope and overlook the whole bay. After Panagia, I head to Akrotiri to find the dirt road that leads to the only point of the island where you can see the open sea, the wide bay and the mountain. As there are no signs, I follow the instructions of the locals: "You will arrive at this house and then you will not take the first but the second dirt road." Eventually, I do not know if I took the right path but I made it to arrive to a point with amazing views, and the musical background of the wild bird tweets.

The village of Panagia.

Beachfront


The next route is a coastal tour. Almost in every bay, I stop to take a photo, thinking that this is the most beautiful bay on the island. From all the beaches I distinguish Paradise, which, apart from the golden sand and the deep blue sea, assets of all the beaches of the island, is bounded by tall rocks full of vegetation. Here, the vegetation is touching the waves. In the middle of the beach there is a refreshment kiosk and the last end of it is given, informally, to the nudists.

Paradise beach.

A few kilometers away, is the peninsula of Alyki, where the ruins of an ancient settlement are bordered by the sea. Next to the archaeological site the quarry is submerged. The semi-finished works show that the construction site was unexpectedly abandoned by a violent event, probably due to the great earthquake of 365 AD or that of 1509 AD. 

The white marbles of Aliki.

There, you can swim seeing white marble on the bottom of the sea.


Next attraction, is the Monastery of Archangel Michael, at the entrance of which, there is a sign with the order: "... men to wear long pants and a hat and women to wear a skirt and a scarf". When you pass the gate, if you are a woman and you do not wear a skirt, someone in the monastery lends you one, for as long as your visit lasts. The other clothing rules are not required.
The monastery was built in 1024 AD. Inside, as it is rumored, a part of the nails used at Christ`s crucifixion are kept.


Information: Since ancient times, Thassos was known for its rich subsoil in iron, gold and white marble. The mining has ceased since 1964, while today's main income sources of Thassos are timber, tourism, oil, olives and honey.

The Monastery of Archangelos of 1024 AD.

The coastal tour of the island continues to Psili Ammos, Pefkaria and Limenaria, three beaches that, besides of their beauty, offer the possibility of water skiing, jet skiing, paragliding, sailing and surfing. 

Psili Ammos

Mountain villages, soil and peak

There are many routes to get to the top of the island, but they need time and a four-wheel drive vehicle. Starting from Skala Marion or Limenaria, the road passes through Maries, a small mountain village of 100 inhabitants built in a ravine. The lack of transportation and the low touristic activity, make Maries the ideal place for those who seek mountain tranquility.

The "waterfalls" of Lake Marion

Just passing by the village, under the huge shade of a plane tree, there is a family that sells, for many years, honey of its own production. From that point, the path that ends at the lake and the small waterfalls begins. On the way to the peak, you can also stop at the shelter. A hunter, who killed his son by mistake, began to build it in order to dedicate it to the Virgin Mary. Though he died before ending it, the work was completed by the mountaineering club. Pine trees, firs, oaks, cedars and chestnut trees make up the green of the landscape, which slowly is stripped off till the rocky peak where you can see the panoramic view over the whole island. There was a radar base that was put by NATO, but it was taken down by the Thasians. For the equally time-consuming descent, I chose the route that passes by from Prinos. At the village square there are two taverns behind the plane trees. It is a good opportunity for a stop. As there are three roads leading up to the mountain and I had to miss one and I decided to try it the next day. From Potos, the asphalted road reaches Theologos, the old capital of the island, which is characterized as a "traditional settlement". In the square, the locals, who were drinking tsipouro (traditional appetizer drink) since the morning, told me: “You saved Theologos for last? You should come here first. Anyway, what do you want us to offer you to drink?”.  Unlike the rest of the mountainous villages, Theologos is a lively village with many inhabitants.

Northeast forests

My friend Vasilis, who lives in Thassos, had kept two surprises for me. The first was a visit to his stable, where his white Arabian horse, the brown Quarter Horse and a one-year-old foal, were galloping leisurely. We rode on these beautiful horses and Vasilis led us to the forest area above the villages of Potamia and Panagia. All we could hear throughout our ride were the tweets of the birds. As Vassilis explained, in Thassos, the international Bird Life program for the rescue of wild birds is being implemented.

Vasilis Kastrinos with his white Arabian horse

The second surprise was the tour to the woodlands of the eastern part of the island. With our four-wheel drive vehicle (and some necessary stops in order to remove the stones that winter had brought to the road), we reached a point which was overlooking the entire mountain slope. A little further, we made a stop for a snack. We sat near a spring and ate cheese, tomato, olives, eggs and bread. However, unfortunately I had to force myself to return because the time to get back had come. 

The tops of the northeastern forests

Post Scriptum
In the beginning, the green mountains reminded me of the Alps, while the sandy beaches reminded me of the Caribbean. In the end, these so different landscapes, coexist in my mind by the name, Thassos...

Farewell to Thassos...

 

 

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