Thassos Island Greece
Welcome to Thassos (Θάσος), a heavenly place located in the Northern Aegean Sea. The most enigmatic and mysterious northern island of Greece is located 16 nautical miles away from Kavala and is part of the Aegean Sea Archipelago. As a result of the Kallikratis governmental reform of 2011 the island became a stand-alone regional unit with only one municipality. You can reach here by taking a ride on the Flying Dolphin hydrofoil from Kavala or on the ferry from Keramoti, Nea Peramos, Kavala. The ports of entry in Thassos are Prinos and Limenas, the latter also serving as the capital and the most important touristic and financial hub.
The island of Thassos has a perimeter of 115 km, being surrounded by lush vegetation, numerous clean beaches, emanating an uncommon magnetism for tourists all over Europe and represents an obvious and special holiday destination. Tourists from countries generally associated with the Balkans – among which we mention: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and Hungary – make up the bulk of arrivals in peak season, while Britons, Germans, Swedes, Finns, Norwegians and Danes generate a flow of tourists mainly off-season.
Thassos has an area of 378.84 square kilometers, being the 12th largest among the 1200-6000 Hellenic islands and islets – with 22 km from East to West and 26 km from North to South – it has five peaks with altitudes over 1000 meters and is covered with greenery, having densely wooded areas with pines, firs, plane trees/sycamores, oaks, daphne, poplars, wild chestnut trees and myrtle. The island’s forests cover approximately eight tenths of its area and the seaside offers over 50 sandy beaches, adored by the tourists who regard the island as a repeat destination or by those who arrive on the island for the first time. This is a place where nature exhibits a surprising regenerating force given its history of (wild)fires and experiences more rainfall here than in the parched South of Greece.
The Myths and History of Thassos
The island was first inhabited by the Phoenicians during the Neolithic. According to the myth, the Phoenicians founded cities in every region they passed through. As they were finding their way to Europe, a madly in love Zeus, who had turned into a white bull, kidnapped their leader’s sister and brought her to Thassos.
Later on, the Thracians settled in Thassos, gaining power by exploiting the rich local mines. These mines stirred up the interest of the Ionians of Paros, who took control over them at the beginning of the 7th century B.C.
The settlers quickly mobilized, founding colonies in the nearby regions. During the Archaic Period, the island possessed great regional power and maintained commercial activities with the entire Hellenic world.
During the Persian Wars, the island of Thassos was subordinated to the Persians, who forced the Thassians to demolish their marvelous marble walls. During the Peloponnesian War, the island became the “apple of discord” between Athens and Sparta. Afterwards, under the protection of the Romans, throughout the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C., the island thrived in a spectacular way. Even though the mines had already been exhausted, the island was involved in significant marble and wine export trading. Furthermore, in 42 B.C., the mercenaries of Julius Caesar, Cassius and Brutus set up their armory on the island, then, during the Byzantine Era, the island was plundered by the Avars and the Saracens.
After the siege and sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the island’s territory was ceded to the Chief Magistrate Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice. Despite all of this, it was quickly incorporated into the Kingdom of Thessalonica, a state which was founded by the Byzantine Despot of Epirus – Theodore Komnenos Doukas. Later on, after the retaking of Constantinople by Michael Palaiologos, the island of Thassos had once again become a part of the Byzantine Empire.
In 1354, the Byzantine Emperor John Palaiologos ceded Thassos to his Genoese ally, as he had helped him defeat his domestic opponents. The Gatelouzos/Gattilusio Family had ruled in one way or another until 1455, when its rulership over it was taken over by the Turks. In 1770, Admiral Orlov’s Russian troops conquered the island, while in 1813, the Sultan ceded it to the Turkish-Egyptian Mehmet Ali, the founder of the Egyptian Royal Dynasty who was raised here by the Theodore Karapanagiotis Family.
The citizens of Thassos rebelled in 1821, but the revolution was unsuccessful and from 1902 onwards, the Turks had Thassos Island under their control.
During the 1912 Balkan War, the Hellenic Army took control over the island which has belonged to Greece ever since. In 1916, during the First World War, Thassos was conquered by the Allies/Entente Powers. From 1941, till the end of the Second World War, the island was under Bulgarian occupation.
The Capital and the Coastal Towns
The town of Limenas is the island’s capital, being a modern, international tourist center. Limenas also has a marina for the mooring and restocking of small vessels, while at the same time being a base for a tour around the island by bus or by ship.
Other accommodation areas in the Greek paradise of the island situated farther from the sea are: Panagia, Potamia, Kinira, Alyki, Astris, Potos, Limenaria, Theologos, Maries, Kallirachi, Prinos, Sotiras, Mikro, Megalo Kazaviti and Rachoni. All villages in Thassos, except for Limenas, Limenaria and Kinira offer a seaside holiday homes area called “Skala…”.
Limenaria, together with the buildings of Kalyves, is the second largest town on the island. The city was developed in the Middle Ages in the Kastro settlement area in order to cover the need for mine workers. In 1903, a German company called Spindel came to Limenaria with the purpose of exploiting the iron ores of the area. “Palataki” (The Little Palace) which was built on the hill that rises above the city of Limenaria is one of the projects which were carried out during that period, operating nowadays as a cultural center.
Sea transport to Thassos is covered by the ports of Limenas and Prinos. Hotels, villa rentals, restaurants, taverns, bars and souvenir shops which extend every effort in order to ensure that the tourists enjoy a pleasant sojourn can be found along the entire length of its seaside and especially in large towns.
Beaches, Water Sports and Activities
The beaches encountered by visitors when the island tour kicks off, starting from Limenas and continuing Eastward, Southward, to the West and then towards the North are the following: Makryammos, Marble Beach, Vathy, Skala Panagias and Chrysi Ammoudia, Chrysi Akti, Kinira , Paradisos Beach, Alyki and Astris Beach, Psili Ammos Beach, Potos, Pefkari Beach, Skala Marion, Limenaria, Trypiti, Skala Kallirachis, Skala Sotira, Skala Prinou, Dasyllio Prinou, Skala Rachoniou, Pachis Beach, Papalimani and Glyfada.
Most beaches are in proximity to seaside communities where hotels and villa rentals are available, offering good quality accommodation to tourists.
The beaches are well-kept and open for all kinds of water sports, fishing and scuba diving.
Apart from its very famous beaches, the island is well-known for its traditional mountain villages. When it comes to mountain settlements which display a remarkable Macedonian architectural style, slab roads and cobblestone pavements, flowery courtyards and gardens, waters and lush vegetation, the following are some of the best examples:
The village of Panagia, with the homonymous church doubling as the village’s namesake; Potamia with the Polygnotos Vagis Municipal Museum; the village of Maries, whose foundational cornerstone dates back to the Byzantine Period, along with The Assumption of Virgin Mary (Panagouda) Monastery; the village of Kallirachi which, according to tradition, was built after the destruction of the original Kaki Rachi settlement by the pirates; Sotiros, a village where, according to tradition, there was a settlement with a sanctuary in honor of Thassios Iraklis; Megalos Prinos (Megalo Kazaviti) and Small Prinos (Mikro Prinou). Rachoni and Agios Georgios are also surrounded by the forest. The mountain settlements of Thassos provide numerous tourist services (accommodation, catering, transportation.
Mount Ypsario’s verdurous region between Mikro Kazaviti, Maries and Theologos is a suitable place for hiking or touring with a four-wheel drive, off-road motorcycles and mountain bikes.
Traditional Products and Bazaars
A bountiful market, filled with both local and imported products, is available to those who visit the island of Thassos.
Honey, olive oil, throuba olives (“wrinkled” black olives), Greek sweets – the best-known being those containing hazelnuts or walnuts, figs and honey, various jams and confits (the green walnuts variety being the most renowned among them) are just a fraction of the most famous products that the island has to offer.
If you want to buy local and traditional products you can visit the Apiarian Cooperative at Prinos for honey, the Distillery, Vamvoura, at Potos for liquor produced by traditional methods from the island’s fruits, the workshop of Sourini at Theologos, where spoon sweets and wine are made, and Melissa, a workshop at Limenas for olives, honey and spoon sweets.
Events and Folk Festivals
The Thassian Festival is held between the months of June and September and it includes events which take place at the Old Theatre of Limenas and in Limenaria. The festival is organized by the Municipal Company of Culture and Tourism “De.Po.Ta”/Municipal Social Company of Thassos.
On Ash Monday, the Carnival is organized in Panagia by the Municipality of Thassos and the local “Bakchos” Association while the Kazavitiana is performed at Mikro Kazaviti during July and August.
Calendar of folk festivals and various cultural events:
- On Clean Monday (Ash Monday) – “the rubbing of the pepper” – a traditional dance performed during the Carnival in Panagia
- On the third day of Easter – “Let it rain, my April” in Kalyvia and Limenaria – a dance-type of festivity dating back to Pre-Christian traditions
- Zoodochos Pigi (The Life-Giving Spring) – on the first Friday after Easter in Potamia
- June 28th – Ag. Apostolos in Kazaviti
- 15th -28th of July – Kazavitiana in Mikro Kazaviti
- 20th of July – Feast commemorating Prophet Elijah (Ilias) in Skala Rachoni
- 26th of July – Agia Paraskevi in Skala Rachoni, Skala Panagia and Theologos
- 27th of July – Ag. Panteleimon in Kazaviti and at the mountain-based Monastery of Saint Panteleimon
- Last week of July – Sardine Festival in Kallirachi – the locals offer sardines and wine to the guests; they also play folk music and engage in traditional dances
- End of July – Astrocamping on Mount Ypsario
- 31st of July – 1st of August – The Jumping over the Fire in Theologos, Limenaria and Potamia – popular festivity in which tourists are welcome to participate
- Traditional Thassian Wedding – every year in the summer in Theologos
- August 15th – The Feast of the Assumption of Mary – celebrated in Rachoni, Potos, at the Monastery of Panagouda near Maries and in Panagia, a village named after the Theotokos, which becomes a hotspot for the festivities
- 29th of August – The Decollation of Saint John the Baptist – observed in Prinos
- 26th of October – Agios Dimitrios – feast day celebrated in Theologos, Prinos, Kalivia near Limenaria and in Limenas.
The traditional “Kourbani” meal is offered at almost all local folk festivals.
Restaurants and Taverns in Thassos
During their vacation inside Thassos, visitors can pick and choose from among various restaurants, fish taverns, traditional taverns with grills and rotisseries, cafés, bars, clubs and pubs.
It is worth trying out the flavors of fresh fish and seafood, that of “liokafto” (sun-dried fish), Sona mackerel (grilled mackerel), sun-dried octopus, locally produced sausages, as well as those of lamb and goat barbecue.
A selection of restaurants and taverns located in Thassos can be found on the site’s Attractions page.
Thassos is the northernmost Greek island, located in the Aegean Sea and the closest one to Romania, with a distance of less than 564 km away from Bucharest.
Also known as “the Emerald Isle” due to its rich greenery and lush forests, the island is a place of rare beauty with quite a history to match. Whether you are a sportsperson, you love nature or you like to have fun, here you will find all the required ingredients for a perfect stay. The mountain, the sea and the luxuriant vegetation make up landscapes of a wild and mystical beauty!
The splendid mountain panorama, the particularly clear and quiet sea, the archaeological remains, the museums and monasteries, as well as the sports courts, the taverns, the bars, or the souvenir shops are promises for an unforgettable vacation in Thassos.
In each of the localities stringed along the road that surrounds the island, ancient vestiges can be found alongside modern constructions, fishermen with very old boats, but also owners of modern vessels, elderly Greek people who count rosary beads while enjoying a cup of coffee, but also daredevil bikers. Nonetheless, it seems like nowhere else in Greece does the old combine with the new as harmoniously as here. Therefore, it can be inferred that the island is appealing to young people and to seniors alike, managing to fully satisfy the demands of the tourists, both by the accommodation offered in villas, hotels, apartments and guesthouses, as well as through its beaches, entertainment, sports or food.
This site facilitates access to good quality accommodation for international tourists who want to spend their holidays in Thassos Island. Accommodation can be secured by renting: hotel rooms, studios (sleeping room with a small kitchen and private bathroom), apartments (a sleeping room, a living room with a sofa bed, a kitchen plus a private bathroom) or villas (containing several sleeping rooms, dining room, multiple bathrooms). The most demanding of customers can find on the island, accommodation in 4 or 5star hotels.
Accommodation rates vary depending on the period of the year, the villas’ facilities and the distance to the beaches. The locations of the villas offered as options for accommodation are carefully chosen, so as to satisfy the most demanding requirements. The list of accommodation locations in villas, studios, rooms and apartments on the island will be regularly updated with new locations and you will constantly have accommodation rates in accordance with the promotions offered by their owners.
Access to the island is impractical by plane, as airplane flights follow these routes: 1) Bucharest – Athens, Athens – Keramoti or 2) Bucharest – Thessaloniki and afterwards, transfer by car to Kavala or Keramoti. The easiest access to Thassos is achieved by crossing Bulgaria by car and then boarding the ferryboat in one of the two ports in northern Greece, located on the Aegean coast: Kavala or Keramoti.
Since 2010, the opening of the new border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece, more specifically between Zlatograd and Thermes, facilitates the access of tourists to northern Greece and implicitly to Thassos, with 590 km in distance between Keramoti and Bucharest. On the 9th of September 2013, a new border checkpoint between Greece and Bulgaria was opened at Makazza – Nimfea. This is the shortest route between Bucharest and Thassos, with a distance of only 550 km, and the trip takes about 7 hours of driving to complete.
For more details on a possible stay and accommodation offers you can contact us all year round.
~ We wish you a memorable stay in Thassos ~
For more details on a possible accommodation in Thassos Greece and offers you can contact us throughout the year. See you in Thassos.