Thassos: quietness and crystalline waters

Jun 2016

Imagine you have a couple of days off that, if you add them to the weekend it makes four of them; what do you do? We plan a last minute trip as we go, to anywhere, it couldn’t be any other way (June 2016). In this case, it was Thassos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

Getting to Thassos

We looked and looked the cheapest (both in money and time) and the most comfortable way to get to Thassos from Istanbul, actually to Kavala where we would take a ferry to the island. There were a few options: a plane ride Istanbul-Athens, Athens-Kavala vs a bus ride Istanbul-Kavala. The first option was over budget, and although the second one meant a night on the road, the feedback we had about the bus companies Kamil Koç and its Greek partner Crazy Holidays were positive, so we decided to go by road.

The bus was comfortable and you were offered water and some snacks along the way. Theoretically, it was a 9 hours trip, however, the procedure at the border was chaotic and it ended up being like 12 hours, it was compensated on the way back with just 7. So when we got to Kavala we had missed the first ferry.

Kalimera Thassos

The last bit of the ferry ride boded the arrival to paradise. Thassos is a small island in the Aegean Sea with roughly  13,770 inhabitants and a surface of 380km² and our mission was to cross it, so we rented a car at Potos Car Rental and started our journey.

Following a route to the north, we found Rachoni (or Rachoniou) Beach a narrow sandy space surrounded by a lush pine strip, we would realized that this lush is around the whole island; and we got to discover the islander character: nice, smiling and capable of making you smile.

We kept going to the capital of the island, in the northeast, called Thassos or Limena, with more things to do, a picturesque harbor and still kept the tranquility we would find around the island. But we needed to get to the place we would spend our first night: Golden Beach. We camped in a family type camping just next to the beach; a beach with crystal clear waters, white sand and kilometers to cover. And at last, our first swim in Greek waters.

But we wanted to keep going and to see with our own eyes those wonderful beaches we had found on the web, for instance, Salaria (also known as Marble Beach). This is a stunning beach. Covered in small marble pebbles which make the water clearer, but it is one of the Top 10, so even with a difficult access is full, the bar has a really loud music and you can not breathe the peace and quiet that we wanted. You would probably found it if you get there early.

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Salaria or Marble Beach

Since we felt uncomfortable with this we decided to keep going our cost route to Paradise Beach, its name was telling us that something good was about to show. And it was, although the beach was busy, the vibe was calmer, the beach was big and you could enjoy your personal space without touching any unknown person. And we started our gastronomical long-awaited route around the island too, lots of fresh fish and seafood. On the left-hand side of the beach, next to the rocks there was the nudist part of the beach. The sky was getting darker, the night was coming, so it was time to get to our new dwelling, el camping de Pefkari on the southeast of the island. Another camping, with the same family vibe and as close to the beach as the first one but with better facilities.

We woke up early on purpose because we foresaw that our next stop needed to do so. Giola is a natural pool close to Aliki beach. After our 3km hike on a dirty road, our first impression was: “Really? This does not look like the pictures” We still recommend you to go early, but you should also take into accountant that it is best when the tide is going down and the water of the pool is renewed. When we got there, the low tide had been there for many hours and the water looked dirty although it wasn’t. Once inside you could see clearly but from the outside… It took us a while to decide, but we were the first to touch the water, jump and go crazy. Little by little tourist started coming and boats getting closer, so we decided to leave and let others enjoy Giola the way we had.

We arrived in Thymonias, another quiet beach, little pebbles and crystalline waters where we laid down for a while before heading to our last stops of the day: Arsanas and Livadi. The first one is an impressive small cove which has the same problem that Salaria has: too many people, too much noise. The second one, to which you can swim to, has nothing to offer (no bar, no hammock or parasol) and the tranquility is absolute. It keeps the water clear, the pebble beach but above all the isolation and quietness feeling. On the way back to the camping we stopped to watch the Archangel Michael Monastery, located at the edge of a cliff.

Our last day started later, after enjoying a bit of the Pefkari Beach, visiting a bit of Potos city. We arrived at Trypiti as quiet as the ones before it and we had lunch at Stelakis beach, apparently one of the best restaurants in the area (again we ate fish and seafood as that is what we were craving for) and we ended the day at Kalirachi beach, where the view was not as impressive but it was comfortable and quiet; now it was time to get the ferry back to Kavala, another 7 hours on the road and 30 minutes underground, on the metro, to get to our house.

Would we do the trip again even with the amount of time on the road? Of course, We still had lots of things to do, we didn’t go anywhere that wasn’t the beach, and Thassos has lots of Greek and Macedonian ruins, the monastery and of course the center of the island with a mountain range over 1,000m of height in 5 different points.

Approximate costs:

  • Bus Istanbul-Kavala around 30€/per person
  • Ferry Kavala-Thassos 5€/per person
  • 4 days car rental 112€
  • Camping for 2 people 15€/day
  • Lunch for 2 people approximately 30€

The rental car forbade the acces to all unpaved roads where most of the beaches we wanted to visit were: Salaria, Giola or Paradise Beach, but they have access on foot.

The road signs on the island are not very good, so you might miss an exit or two on your way to any beach.

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