Friday, 28 July 2017


Like most of the Greek Islands, Thassos is rich in history and mythology.  I love the story that the sirens in the tales of Ulysses hailed from Thassos and their beautiful singing voices attracted hapless men to them, before they met their untimely deaths at the hands of the murdering sirens!

However, more likely that the changes in culture on this wonderful island hailed from times when the inhabitants were either invaded by variously the Romans, Turks, Macedonians and Bulgarians, or when visiting prophets, apostles or missionaries visited.

One of the oldest religious sites is at Aliki - which boasts a beautiful beach and small cove, as well reputedly the oldest Christian church on the island, said to date back to the 5th Century.  The remains of the churchyard, sarcophagus and caves still remain, and you can wander through what would have been the church building.  Sitting atop a small hill, the original site has views over the sea and alongside an old marble quarry.

Ancient Thassos was rich in minerals and marble - interestingly the marble is still quarried today, producing a very pretty pale marble with delicate pink veins running through.  Sitting next to the harbour in Thassos town, there is many a large wagon rumbling past with huge slabs of marble strapped to the bed - presumably making its way to the mainland destined for a luxury hotel or villa!

The ancient graveyard at Aliki

Not too far away is the Archangel Michael Monastery, at the top of a huge cliff, housing a community of nuns, with the most spectacular views over the Agean Sea. Female visitors must cover their arms completely and wear long skirts (but not trousers!) to be allowed into the grounds. We were not allowed into the monastery itself, but wandered through the well kept gardens, past the living accommodation and into a small chapel and priest sitting room.  

The view from the Archangel Michael Monastery


The circular road around the island takes about one and a half hours to drive, and along the way there are more coves, harbours, and small beached than you can count.  The beautiful tranquil waters are a magnificent turquoise colour and are crystal clear - such a wonderful change from the British coastal resorts.

Beaches are clean and free from litter, and everywhere there are colourful flowers overflowing in pots, which is such a pleasure to see and smell - geraniums, honeysuckle and jasmine are in adbudance.

The island is very green, which is probably why we experienced rain during our first week there.  The mountains are lush with forests - home to wild mountain goats and apparently, plenty of snakes!

During our visit to Aliki and the tiny stunning village of Kazaviti, however, we were reminded that natural disasters are never far away.  Last year forest fires devastated swathes of the island around the village and Aliki - the sad blackened tree trunks a stark reminder of the devastation caused when dry thunderstorms and lightening caused huge fires.  Fortunately thanks to the efforts of residents, firefighters, the military and even tourists, there was no loss of life, and only minimal damage to property.

This  ancient tree in Kazatiti managed to avoid the devastating forest fires which swept the island last year

One of my favourite spots was Skala Marion - a stunning little spot with a small beach, next to a harbour.  It isn't a big resort, but a pretty village to stop and have lunch or a coffee and watch the world go by. With crystal clear azure waters, we watched some locals fishing from the rocks - pure bliss!

Hercules and Antigone (our Greek Hotel owners) also took us out along the coast for an evening meal at the fabulous little restaurant Glifoneri in a quiet cove just outside Thassos town - sorry the picture quality is not great, but it was such a perfect evening. There are several tavernas tucked away along the coastline just outside Thassos town, so plenty to choose from.

Another great spot we found was the Tarsanas resort, with accommodation, two fabulous restaurants, a wonderfully comfortable bar area and a private beach with sun-loungers. Owned by the larger-than-life George, the beachside bar offers romantic softly draped loungers, reminiscent of a luxury Caribbean hideaway.  You don't even need to be a resident to use the facilities, though you are expected to buy food and drink.

I hope I have given a flavour of the island - you can probably tell that we had a wonderful holiday and that we loved the place.  And guess what?  We will be returning next year! Such is the power of our blog that some more friends of ours have asked to come with us!

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