Day trips away from the island. Alistrati Kavala Philippi Nestos and Keramoti. Bring or hire a 4x4 jeep, you will find Thassos a paradise for off-road driving.
Thassos offers endless opportunities for all kinds of excursions, ensuring that you will never run out of things to see and do during your stay here. Thassos has something for everybody. Go and hike its mountain paths, explore its villages, discover its beaches by boat, hit the trail in a hired jeep, or take a day trip to one of the countless attractions in the surrounding area.
The island’s mountain villages are a great way to escape the heat of the midday sun. Have a reviving drink at one of the cafes or tavernas on the village square in the shade of the plane, mulberry and walnut trees. The spring water is cool, clean and refreshing.
Aliki is one of the most beautiful sites in Greece, combining pine forests, the white marble of the ancient quarries shaped and polished by the wind, the blue crystal waters of the Aegean, the ancient ruins and the traditional village. It really is a dream location. The sea is clean, the fish abundant, and the sand a marble white. Children will love its two small, yet incredibly picturesque beaches, while the more adventurous can dive from the smooth rocks into a crystal sea.
The best place to start a tour of Aliki is the east beach.
At the right-hand end you will see the ruins of an ancient temple dating from the 7th Century BC extending almost into the surf.
Climbing up the narrow path we come to two early Christian basilicas built on the foundations of ancient temples. Continuing west along the southern shore we come across the steep cliffs of flat white marble, the site of the marble quarries which were worked systematically for over a thousand years
Following the path we come at last to the centre of the ancient quarries at the westernmost end of the little peninsula: marble columns, square-cut stones ready for shipping and visible everywhere the signs of mining and digging.
Our photographs will tell you the rest, but we would just like to add that here the light of the full moon is different at night, as is the suntan you get by day, because of the way the light is reflected and refracted by the white stone.
We return on the opposite side, following the steep path and arriving at last at the west beach, where we can revive ourselves with a refreshing swim, an ouzo or a cup of coffee at the water’s edge.
Limenas. The ancient capital of the island, and now capital again in modern times. Nature endowed it with a safe harbour, making the town the main centre of communications with the outside world at the closest point to the mainland across the water. A vast pine forest blankets the surrounding hills. Its two harbours (three when the new marina is complete) dominate the waterfront. Every free space is scattered with the relicts of the island’s glorious past. Ancient temples, the ancient theatre, the defensive walls, the acropolis, the Vriokastro area, the ancient agora and much more besides. With the end of piracy and the absorption of hundreds of refugees, the old town, once forgotten by the passage of time, experienced enormous growth and is now seeking to reclaim its former glory.
Let’s start from the old harbour behind the
Kalogeriko. The first thing we see is the arch with the goddess on her chariot, and beyond this the Poseidonio, a sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon. Immediately after this is the ancient quarter of the town dating to the 8th Century BC, and opposite this the Gate of the Three Graces. Passing the open harbour and heading uphill we reach
Vriokastro, with the sanctuary of the Saints Apostles built on its ruins. At the top of the hill beside the wall is the ancient theatre hidden in the forest above the two harbours. Continuing through the greenery we come to the acropolis, where we can stop to admire the view and see the sanctuaries of Apollo, Athena and Pan. Descending the path now, we trace the line of the ancient walls and admire the stone doorways. Back on the road, we see on the right the sanctuary of Hercules and the Arch of Caracalla (the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus).
From here, and returning to the old harbour where we started our tour, we see the ruins of temple of Dionysus and of the ancient agora. A good guidebook will give you much more information than we can
Together with Alyki, the ancient town of Limenas reawakens the memories of the island’s ancient history.
There are three monasteries on the island:
A). Archangelou Michael, the Convent of the Archangel Michael on the coast road towards Alyki. This convent, a dependent of the Monastery of Philotheos on Mount Athos, is built on the brink of the cliffs overlooking the sea, and is well worth a short visit.
B). Panagias, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary on the road to Maries. Inhabited by just one or two monks.
C). Ayiou Panteleimonos, the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, in the interior of the island, which can be reached most quickly from Kazaviti, but also from Maries.
Mount Ypsarion. The road is fairly good and leads you up to the highest peak on the island. The view from the top of the entire island laid out before you makes the journey well worth while. This trip can be combined with a visit to Theologos, Kastro, Maries or Kazaviti.
Theologos, why not go for a ride on the horses of the Thassos Riding Club. You can take riding lessons with trained tutors or even go trekking in the mountains.
Another option is to take a boat from Potos, Limenaria or Limenas and set sail to explore the beautiful coastline. The boats are traditional wooden fishing boats converted by their owners into pleasure cruisers for tourists.
For hikers there is a wealth of tracks and trails, which we will describe in more detail as soon as we have mapped them. For instance we must mention one of the least known, yet most beautiful. This is the trail which starts at Livadi (the bay below the convent Archangelou Michael), climbs up the deep gorge and ends at Theologos, Astris, Alyki and at the convent itself, depending on which path you choose to take.
If you bring or hire a 4x4 jeep, you will find Thassos a paradise for off-road driving, with tracks leading nearly everywhere for you to discover the island’s wild natural beauty. When following these trails it is often better and easier to use your eyes for orientation rather than to trust a cheap map of the island.
Thassos is close to the mainland and there are any number of opportunities for day trips away from the island.
Kavala. A picturesque town with its harbour dominated by the old castle. Kavala also offers an archaeological museum, a folk museum and an art gallery. One hour by ferry from the harbour at Prinos.
Philippi. Saint Paul’s first stop in Europe. The ancient theatre and the ruins of the town are an absolute must. 20 minutes from Kavala.
The Nestos Delta. The riverside forest of the Nestos Delta is unique for the variety of species that grow, live and stop there. Whatever you do, don’t forget to walk the steep path which starts from Toxotes and heads towards Stavroupoli. The natural landscape here is absolutely unique. Half an hour from Keramoti.
Alistrati. Famous worldwide for its vast cave complex which was recently opened to the public. One of the largest, most beautiful, and most easily accessible caves in Europe. One hour from Kavala