Thassos may not be the hippest of the Greek islands, but what it lacks in nightclubs it more than makes up for in peaceful retreats. Blessed with idyllic beaches and picturesque inland villages, it attracts sunbathers and hikers alike. And with a history that stretches back more than two millennia, it’s also home to some lesser-known ancient wonders.
Getting there/getting around Thassos
Fly direct from the UK to either Kavala or Thessaloniki. Flights to Kavala are usually more expensive but the airport is only 10 minutes from Keramouti, where the ferry to Thassos leaves from. Thessaloniki is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Keramouti but the drive is reasonably straightforward. Taxis are available for both trips but car rental is normally a cheaper option.
Thassos has a ring road which links most of the beaches and is only about 90 kilometres long. Buses run along all the major routes and taxis are available. Car rental can be arranged at most resorts.
Beaches on Thassos
Its east-coast beaches are smaller and quieter than those on the west coast, with the exception of Golden Beach, which often gets crowded. A better bet is Skala Potamias, a smaller beach with powdery sand. Further south, Paradiso is more secluded. The two small coves at Alyki have superb scenery, while Astris is a favourite for watersports fans.
West-coast beaches tend to have better facilities. Pefkari has pedal boats, surfboards and jet skis for hire and is popular with families. For something a bit quieter try Metalia, a small beach near the town of Limenaria which contains a bar and is good for snorkelling.
Sightseeing in Thassos
Limenas, or Thassos Town, is the main town, and has a number of interesting ruins. The main sites are at the Agora, next to the archaeological museum, where there are Roman foundations of shops and houses. The amphitheatre above the town still hosts performances during the summer and has fabulous views.
On the south-east coast is the cliffside monastery of Archangelos. Built in AD 830 on the site of a holy spring, it is now a convent. Slightly further north from Archangelos is the old village of Alyki, set on a picturesque coastline and home to 7th-century Christian basilicas.
Family attractions in Thassos
Kids will love the white-sand beaches, which often have pedal boats on offer. There are kayaks for rent at Potos and Paradise Beach is great for windsurfing.
Or travel inland for a spot of horse riding. Pine Tree Paddock, in the mountain village of Rachoni, is recommended.
Day trips from Thassos
Head to the neighbouring picturesque hillside villages of Panagia and Potamia. Buried in deep woodland on the east coast above Skala Potamias and Golden Beach, they have streams nearby and you can also visit Drakotrypa (Dragon Cave).
There are a number of hiking trails – on the beach or inland – and hiking maps on sale. An inland trek could be combined with a visit to Mount Ypsarion, the highest peak on Thassos.
Boat trips can be arranged at the old harbour in Limenas. It is also easy to catch the ferry to Kavala on the mainland – for a number of sights and museums.
Eating in Thassos
Limenas has a wide range of tavernas and bars offering English and Greek dishes. Moyses Fish Taverna, just out of town, is popular, as is Syrtaki, which is on the beach and has live music. Zodiac Bar is good for English food, while Zorba’s has more traditional fare.
The Green Sea Restaurant at Golden Beach is recommended, as is Captain Fish Tavern at Skala Potamias Beach. Or head inland to Theologos village and check out the Lambiris tavern.
Nightlife in Thassos
The nightlife is low key but there are some bars in Limenas and some of the resorts. The Island Cafe at Limenas is good for a dance, while the nearby XXL Club attracts a rowdier crowd.
There’s also the Rock Cave Bar on the waterfront at Limenaria and Potos has the Boomerang Bar.
Shopping in Thassos
The best souvenir shopping is in Limenas. Specialities include fragrant honey, locally made olive oil, marble sculptures and delicious baklava.
Every Monday morning, the west-coast village of Prinos holds a market, selling anything from leatherwear to exotic fruit. If you have the time it’s well worth a visit.