Thassos – our home away from home

I still remember the first time I visited Thassos – I’ve never been on a Greek island so far and every landscape seemed to me more exciting than the previous one. I just fell in love forever with this piece of heaven, with its unique scent of pine trees and sea, never felt before. Since then, we are travelling to Thassos every summer, staying at the same house every time.

I write these lines with so much love and I would like to share with you all the favorite places around the island, we used to visit before it became such a popular tourist destination, even though they are not as wild as they were anymore.

I will start with the fact that we prefer deserted beaches – away from the large groups of people, annoying beach attractions and facilities, and super noisy bars.

The place where we sleep is not a luxurious hotel and it’s away from the overpopulated villages. The settlement is called Aliki and is situated on a small peninsula. The area is a historical landmark – in the ancient times they used to extract marble there and there are also many archaeological remains including the castle of princess Aliki, a church and a marble quarry, all accessible through an ecopath.  Our house is right next to the beach and there is an amazing view over the small gulf with many pine trees leaning towards the blue water. There is nothing I like more than having a breakfast on the balcony or eating some fresh grilled fish for lunch.

The balcony view of our house

The two beaches of Aliki are very famous and visited by many people during the day. Most people go to the main beach of Aliki where you will find numerous restaurants and taverns, crystal clear water and sandy shore as well. However it is super small, crowded and noisy.  A minute away there is another not so populated beach- the beach where our house is situated. There are rarely more than 20 people on the sunbeds of the small canteen offering super nice gyros, snacks and refreshing drinks.

In the evening, when the crowds are gone, you can really enjoy the magical atmosphere. Nearby there are only a couple of other guest houses which guarantees a quiet and relaxing stay. You should definitely go there to enjoy the sunset or just walk around the ecopath and the rocks – I promise you it’s a must do – one of the best backgrounds for photoshoots on the island. We usually go there with a bottle of wine, sit on the rocks and watch the sun goes down. Or if you are an early bird you can watch the sunrise – you just need to go on the other side of the peninsula.

Another priceless advantage of Aliki is that all the taverns are empty in the evening, so you can enjoy your dinner in peace, barely a few steps from the splashing waves. And the food is really good. Since it’s most likely you’ll be the only client, you will be well served. No matter which tavern you choose, you won’t get wrong but I personally recommend taverna Leonidas. Our favorite dish is sundried grilled octopus accompanied by ouzo or retsina of course. We’ve been to so many places all around Greece and have never tasted better coоked octopus – the reason is that everywhere they boil it before they put on the grill, so the taste is not the same.

Aliki is a heaven on Earth, a place for some quality relax time. Unfortunately couple of years ago there were devastating forest fires who almost ruined the nature, but still it’s the most beautiful part of the island.

I remember the first time we tried to find the Marble beach also known as Saliara – we searched in Google Earth and the map showed two different roads – so we took the shorter one passing through Chrisi Ammoudia and it was a big mistake – very narrow, rocky and scary but our small convertible made it to end. Recently we visited Marble beach by a 4×4 car and decided it would be fun to hit the bumpy road again – it was much better because it was obviously reconstructed and flattened. I still recommend to choose the other alternative – the one passing by camping Makryammos- just before reaching the camping, take the unpaved road on the right.

So taking the wrong way led us to another precious discovery- the fantastic Vathi beach. It is a deserted beach just before Porto Vathi and Marble beach. Behind Vathi beach there is an abandoned building of a hotel and of course the typical view for many beaches in Greece- several happily grazing goats. Otherwise the beach is fabulous – crystal clear water and flour-like white soft sand. It’s definitely our favorite beach on the island.

Further on the road there is a functioning marble quarry- an interesting photo shoot spot. Next to it is Porto Vathi with a recently opened loud beach bar. To get there one can take a third one way road starting near Panagia and going down straight through the quarry but I don’t recommend it – it’s very extreme and steep. The most popular is Saliara beach- the first marble beach you can reach if you come from Makryammos which is a really amazing place with small white marble pebbles and deep blue water. The facilities you will find there are sunbeds with umbrellas, a bar and a dusty wide parking…

Another place worth visiting is Arsanas beach or as we call it the fig tree beach. We made up this nickname because a large fig tree is growing on the vertical rocks just above the water. Right next to it there is a tiny fresh water spring. To reach Arsanas you need to pass by Aliki towards Potos and 5 min drive after the famous Archangel Michael monastery on your left you will see a sign Livadi beach. Take this road down to Livadi and after a small olive grove on the left there is another sign pointing to Arsanas.  Continue on the dusty road until you get to a small parking. Leave your car and small signs will quickly take you down to Arsanas.

Two sunbeds and umbrella cost 5 euro, but you can use your own if you want. There is a small restaurant/bar – they make really nice souvlaki. The beach is mainly sandy with turquoise waters good for snorkeling. The view is beyond words – huge white rocks going down into the sea.

Another must do is visiting Panagia village – authentic stone houses, cobblestone narrow streets, many souvenir shops and taverns. In Panagia you can also find the famous olive oil factory Sotirelis offering a small museum exhibition to the visitors.

Limenaria, Potos and Limenas are the other bigger villages worth seeing. If you go to Limenaria I recommend Limani tavern. If you prefer more traditional experience – try Alexandra tavern in Limenas – live greek music (we even broke some dishes there!) or Archondissa tavern –they do greek nights with live traditional music. It’s located on the main road from Panagia to Aliki, right before Aliki.

There are not so many fancy places on the island but the most popular are Karnagio beach bar and La Scala – both close to Limenas. Nice stylish places, but somehow I rather spend my time on quiet beaches away from crowds and loud music. Once we went to La Scala out of the season with some friends and we actually had a great time there because it was almost empty and we had all of the place on our own disposal.

If you are with kids, probably the best options are Paradise beach and Golden Beach – wide sandy beaches with lot of facilities. The water is shallow but beware – sometimes there are big waves.

If you are an extreme person, you should definitely go to Giola – natural pool in the rocks by the sea. You can do cliff jumps or just go for a swim… trust me it’s worth it! It’s accessible by car half of the way, the other half you need to walk by foot. The first time we tried to find it many years ago, the road was awful and we left the car on the main road and went down by foot through a rocky path. This was also the first and the last time we saw the crystal clear water of Giola. Since then, every time we go there, the water is a bit muddy.

Thassos island has a lot more to offer and I am sure you will find your own favorite places.

Thassos, you have my heart forever!

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