Thassos is the 12th largest of 2000+ Greek islands, beckoning with ancient history, delicious food, and beautiful beaches!
Do you remember when going to the seaside meant good old-fashioned swimming, snorkeling, and lying on a sandy beach in the natural shade? A walk in the evening and savoring local dishes among souvenir shops? Imagine lively streets, shady olive groves, fragrant conifers, natural mineral springs, and breathing in history with every step you take …
There is still such a place in Greece, the cradle of European civilization. Its northernmost island Thassos offers you to explore its hidden small beaches and bays teeming with fish. The sea color varies from light blue to dark green, hence the name “the Emerald island”. It is perfect for couples, families with children, and senior citizens. Traditional old villages, pine and fir forests, and the biggest collection of ancient objects after Athens make Thassos distinctive.
Where is Thassos?
Thassos lies in the Aegean Sea. Its coastline is 115 km (71 miles) long and is only 18 sea miles from Kavala, a big port known for the tobacco industry and an oil rig. There are about 14,000 inhabitants on Thassos. The capital is Limenas (or Thassos town), and the other major towns are Limenaria and Potos. Thassos is rich in rocks and metals – marble, copper, and lead, and for this reason, it has been inhabited since ancient times. Its first iron ore mines date back to 13,000 BC.
Its taverns invite you to taste local olives and wine. We advise you to buy the most beautiful artistic objects in Limenas , and the well-known pine honey. The hillside villages display traditional limestone houses dating back to the 1800s, with stone chimneys, and wooden roofs and balconies.
The air is fresh, without tropical temperatures and strong winds thanks to the lush vegetation of “the Swimming forest” as they also call Thassos. Hippocrates, the founder of medicine, wrote about its temperate climate in the 5th century BC: “Here, winter is more like spring.”
Here, winter is more like spring.
How to get to Thassos
- The best option is to fly to Kavala airport. Then you have a mere 15-minute drive to reach a former little fishing village, now Keramoti port (7.5 miles away). Before you catch a ferry to Thassos, enjoy the appetizing fresh fish in one of the seafood taverns on the coast.
- The second option is to fly to Salonica (some 118 miles away from Thassos), which is a larger airport with more flights. Then take the train/bus to Keramoti (2 hours and 30 minutes) or Kavala (2-hour drive), where you will take the ferry.
Both airports have excellent roads connecting them to the seaports, so the journey will be simple and easy after a long flight.
One cannot buy tickets online or book them in advance. Tickets must be purchased at the kiosk in the harbor prior to the ferry’s departure. During high season, there is a ferry from Keramoti to Limenas every 30-60 minutes. The ride lasts 45 minutes. From Kavala to Skala Prinos the ferries sail for 1 hour and 20 minutes. They are more expensive and don’t go as often.
Plenty of buses drive around the island. The tickets are cheap, and rides are frequent. If you want to taste a local drink or save some money, this option is quite convenient.
In case you want to explore secluded beaches and remote areas, and not look at your watch for the last ride, rent a car.
There are various types of accommodation from 5-star hotels to camping sites. We suggest staying in Limenas because it is the biggest town, with the largest number of facilities, sights, and buses available to take you anywhere. Limenas’ sandy beach is of average beauty but packed with bars.
- High budget: the top hotels are A For Art Hotel, Alexandra Golden Boutique, Royal Paradise Hotel, and Alexandra Beach
- Studio apartments: see Villa Mandani, Green Sea Apartments, Mythos, Esperides Luxury Apartments
- Bungalows: check out Natura Bungalows, Katerina Studios Bungalows, Pelago Beach Bungalows, Villagio Scorpios Bungalows
- Camping: We advise you to choose Golden Beach because it is the biggest camping site.
Best time to visit
High season is July and August, and you’ll get the best of the warm summer weather. If you want to avoid the crowds, however, consider arriving in June or September when the sun is still hot, but you may need to carry a sweater in the evening because of the cooler forest air.
Low season travel can also be enjoyable, and easier on the budget, as long as you don’t mind bus and ferry services on a reduced schedule and maybe some seasonally closed restaurants. You’ll still be able to visit all the historical sites, and go on beautiful hikes without the high heat of summer.
Beaches on Thassos
The beaches are mostly sandy, some are pebbly and rocky. The sea bottom is sandy or rocky. Most of the beaches have sunbeds and parasols, and you usually need to buy a drink to use them.
Here are some of Thassos’ many beautiful beaches:
- Agios Ioannis is a secluded beach with pebbles and rocks. The water is transparent and ideal for snorkeling
- Alyki beaches, 20 miles from Limenas, are situated in 2 small gulfs: the first gulf offers a beach with fine sand and pebbles, and dozens of meters of shallow water. There are a few small taverns on the coast. The second gulf is windy, with fewer swimmers. There are historical remains nearby. It takes you 10 minutes to get from one gulf to another.
- At Giola beach, in the region of Astris, you will find a natural rocky sea pool into which the water flows below the rock from the dark blue sea.
- Glyfoneri, 4.3 miles from Limenas, is a sandy beauty adorned with the natural shade of pine trees. It is ideal for children.
- Golden beach, 7.5 miles from Limenas, is the longest beach on the island. It is sandy, with blue sunbeds and parasols. There are plenty of taverns, hotels, studios, and a camping site. It offers you a variety of water sports to choose from.
- Makryammos is just 2 km (1.2 miles) from Limenas. It is marked by white sand and turquoise water and belongs to a hotel resort which charges an entrance fee to visitors. You can visit a reservation of does and peacocks within the complex.
- Sandy Pefkari is in the south of the island (1 km / 0.6 miles from Potos). It is ideal for water sports. There are a lot of beach bars and taverns in Potos along the beach.
- Psilli Amos (3.1 miles from Potos) is a sandy beach with a restaurant, 3 bars, and showers. It is crowded with young people in July and August, and there is often loud music and accompanying parties.
- Only 3.1 miles from Limenas, Salaria, Marble beach looks heavenly with its white pebbles and turquoise water.
- Atspas / Sugar beach – You can often find an octopus caught by fishermen on this sandy beach. The sunsets here are marvelous.
- Wide, sandy Tripiti with its rocky bottom is uncrowded and peaceful. It is ideal for swimmers and divers.
Excursions, sightseeing and tourism on Thassos
The Archaeological Museum in Limenas
A MUST-SEE. Built in 1935, the museum is close to the old port and next to the ancient Agora. About 1700 objects (ceramics, coins, and sculptures) from the 7th century BC to the 7th century AD are exhibited in chronical order. At a height of 11.5 feet, a marble Kouros statue adorns the entrance of the museum. With few visitors, the museum’s audio tours can really take you back millennia.
Sites to see for free in Limenas:
- the ancient Agora (marketplace) with the sewage system
- the ancient theater in the forest above the beach
- the 19th-century Kalogeriko building
- Nikolaos church next to Agora
- the Zeus & Hera gate
The beautiful white harbor city can be reached by ferry from Skala Prinos. Kavala boasts a 15th-century Turkish castle, a 16th-century aqueduct, and Muhammad Ali Pasha’s house (the famous Egyptian vizier who grew up on Thassos), as well as the Agios Nikolaos church, the archaeological museum, old craft stores, taverns, and typical Ottoman houses. The city also has a tobacco museum and is famous for its leather jackets and coats.
This location (20 miles from Limenas) consists of an archeological site from ancient times, a former marble quarry, and two bays. The windy one is next to the remains of a temple from the 7th century BC and paleo-Christian basilicas, while the calmer bay is perhaps the most beautiful beach on the island.
Archangel Michael Monastery
20.5 miles from Limenas, and close to Alyki, there is a 13th-century nunnery on a cliff above the sea, overlooking Athos. The Holy Nail (from Christ’s crucifixion) is kept in here. There is a natural spring with healing water in a nearby cave (some say it treats infertility), and a steep road down the hill to it. Visitors are not allowed to enter the monastery complex in shorts and sleeveless clothing. The clergy gives them clothes at the entrance to cover up their bodies.
This jewelry factory near Limenaria specializes in silver and gold jewelry, where you can find beautiful jewellery on offer with a wide price range.
Honey house in Potos
Thassos is known for its unique pine honey. It is dark and thick, with a rich “iodine” taste, low sugar content and high nutritional value thanks to the trace elements and minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper), protein and amino acids.
The lovely village named after the Madonna is a quick 5 miles from Limenas. Here you can find some of the oldest Greek houses. Its narrow and steep stone alleys have channels with cold spring mountain water running down into the sea. The best-known is “spring of love”, below a church and close to a tree with a heart carved in. The flag from King Richard’s Crusade is kept in one of the village churches since after the 4th Crusade in 1204, Thassos subordinated to Crusaders.
- gyros with pita – pork or chicken with onions, tomatoes, and French fries wrapped in flatbread
- souvlaki – grilled meat on a skewer with French fries
- Greek moussaka with eggplant
- roast lamb
- stifado – warm comfort food on a plate – meat or vegetables cooked with onions
- pasticcio – a pie made of macaroni, minced meat, feta cheese, eggs, onions, and tomato baked like lasagna
- kleftiko – marinated lamb cooked with herbs
- dolmadakia – grapevine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables
- Greek salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, and olives
- tzatziki – yogurt sauce with cucumbers and garlic, served with meat
- kolokythoanthoi – edible zucchini flowers cooked and served with Greek yogurt
- loukoumades – deep fried small Greek donuts soaked in syrup
There are numerous taverns, bars, and restaurants on the island of Thassos, we will just name a few of the top choices:
- Simi restaurant (Limenas)
- Platanakia (Limenas)
- La Scala beach with swimming pool (Limenas)
- La Terrasse restaurant (Golden beach)
- Papalimani restaurant beach bar
- Faros tavern overlooking the sea (Kinira)
- Glyfoneri tavern (Glifoneri)
It is customary to leave 5 – 10 % of the check. In some places, they round up the check themselves, so better check it yourself before paying.