Friday, 21 July 2017


The old harbour in Thassos town

Anne C here - and this is the second of my Thassos holiday blog.  Last week I gave an overview of this beautiful island, but there is much to see and do in Thassos town (officially called Limenas Thasou, which means Port of Thassos) which is where we stayed.

Our small friendly hotel, Antigone Hotel, owned by the lovely Antigone and Hercules, was just a few hundred yards from the main town, but very quiet (apart from the cock crowing in the morning), so was very convenient for bars, restaurants and shops. With cooking facilities on two rings and a full size fridge, the facilities were more than adequate, though I didn't plan to do any cooking while on holiday, but it would probably be useful for those holidaying with children.

We arrived by ferry from Keramoti in torrential rain on the late May Bank Holiday weekend, but miraculously on the 1st of June, the weather changed and the temperature soared.  The ferry port is right in the centre of the resort, and we spent many an hour in bars and cafes watching the boats dock and depart, while enjoying a refreshing frappe or a pastry.

As well as the port for the car and passenger ferries, there is also a small harbour for the fishing boats and tourist trips, with local bars and more sophisticated restaurants and hotels. We spent a wonderful evening with Antigone and Hercules and their two grown sons (Panos and Adonis, with Panos's beautiful wife Maria and new baby - little Antigone) at the local "dirty bar" on the harbour-side.  We sat outside so I have no idea if it was dirty, just that the company was exceptional, although the menu was apparently very limited - they prepared only what they had in the kitchen that day.  It was all washed down with ouzo and a lethal drink called Tsipouro (pronounced chiporo)  - which having tried just once, I gave a wide berth afterwards!

The slipway from the old boat yard

Taking a walk from one end of Thassos town to the other, (probably about two miles) we came across the remains of the old boat yard, complete with the original slipway.  There are no boats there now, just a small marble beach and a taverna. We walked through the woods behind the beach, which offers magnificent views, where we stumbled on a tiny church (of which the island has many), and then back into the main town.

Since marble is still quarried on the island, it was surprising to see that they use up all the small chips on the beach - not sure why, except that it's probably cheap and looks pretty - but plays havoc with your feet, so not great for sunbathing or walking on unless you have a sturdy sunbed and shoes! There is another beach called, not surprisingly, Marble Beach, with even more marble spread over the sand.

They also use the larger chunks in part against the harbour walls as a sea-barrier.  (Hubby pictured walking with our friend, but he hates being in photos!)

The marble coastal barrier near the near harbour - (hubby in the striped top)


There are ancient ruins dotted around the town, in fact all over the island, including the Gates of Zeus and Hades just near our hotel - basically a lot of stones in an overgrown garden. I have looked for the origins of this site, but apart from finding that the House of Hades was the gateway for the dead to enter the underworld, where they were met by the King and Queen - Hades and Persiphone - the stones were probably an ancient graveyard or mausoleum.

The ruins of the original centre of Thassos

The ancient agora (city centre) of Thassos, close to the old harbour, was discovered relatively recently by French archaeologists during excavations in the late 1940s/early 1950s and was the original city of Thassos, with its city gates, municipal buildings, commercial, political and religious centres.  Built between the fourth and second centuries BC, it is now the subject of a research programme to determine the architecture and topography of the site, funded by the architectural institute, the French School at Athens. Surprisingly, you can wander freely around the site - situated opposite the architectural museum - free of charge and without restriction.

The old harbour in Thassos town - you can see the live webcam here which swings from the old to the new harbours where the ferries dock


I'm not going to lie - I did do rather a lot of shopping - and will probably save my Thassos purchases for another blog to show my holiday haul!  Thassos Town does have a lot of touristy shops selling everything from olive oil to toiletries containing donkey milk, and the usual sunhats and bikinis, but there were some little gems in there too.  I have previously mentioned Iris Gold for reasonably-priced jewellery, but there were a couple of nice boutiques selling costume jewellery, handbags and pretty summer clothing.

I have a thing about Greek doorways - me pictured outside a lovely old wooden entryway

Eating and drinking

There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, and because we visited with friends who have an apartment in Thassos, we tended to stick with their tried and tested favourites.

Mylos in the centre of the shopping area, just one road back from the old harbour was my favourite, serving wonderful warm fresh bread with tzatziki, tasty prawn saganaki and delicious chicken souvlaki - we probably ate there three or four times and were never disappointed.

Because we were there early in the season, as is the custom in Greece, even after you have paid for your meal, they bring out free wine, delicious honey-soaked cakes and refreshing watermelon - sometimes you just can't get away!

Another doorway - though this was for decoration only

Another favourite was Ambrosia owned by the wonderfully friendly George,  who served up his best tsipouro even after we had paid.  It isn't my favourite drink but you don't like to offend.....

Fish is a popular dish on all menus - mostly freshly caught that day as the fishermen come into port - with catches including octopus (calamari) to dogfish and gavros (anchovies). I didn't particularly eat much fish as they do tend to keep the bones in when they cook them, but it is an island speciality.

We had one fairly miserable experience eating out, but I won't go into that or mention them here - maybe we just caught them on a bad day as they get good reviews on Tripadvisor!

Photo a bit blurred - you couldn't keep up! Lovely Hercules with our friend Karen having a dance


However, we did have one absolutely fabulous night at Mouses - complete with a Greek band and dancing.  Gone are the plate-smashing days, banned by the government in 1969 apparently, but I remember it from Greek restaurants in the 80s and 90s, so they threw hundreds of paper napkins around instead as the tempo of the music increased! We were all exhausted but it was great fun, though I'm glad we didn't have to sweep up afterwards!

Another favourite restaurant was Pigi's, in the old square (more ruins!), which was closer to our accommodation, a lovely family run restaurant, where I developed a taste for courgettes thinly slices, mixed with cheese and herbs and dipped in flour, fried and served with a mayonnaise-like sauce.  Delicious, if rather fattening!

Next week I will finish off  my Thassos travels, with our various visits to churches, monasteries and beaches.

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