Traveler's Guide

East Macedonia & Thrace

Route in Thassos: Tour of the island

100km approximately. Time: as desired. The main road on Thasoscovers the island’s shores andconnects all the seaside villages,whilst extending towards themountains. Note that Mount Skaladenotes haven, in other words aninland village port.First stop: Skala Rachoniou, harborof the Mediterranean villagesAgios Georgios and Pachoni whichare approximately 5km from thesea. Towards the end of the 19thcentury, when pirates and corsairshad disappeared from the sea, theinhabitants of old Agios Georgios established the present settlement.Mohamed Ali, who would become founder of the EgyptianDynasty, was allegedly brought up in old Agios Georgios.Rachoni is home to exceptionally beautiful traditional mansionsand the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary which celebrateson the 15th August when it offers the congregation Kourbani,veal stew. The village is known for its oil, blossom honeyand preserved walnut sweets. It is said that the olive groves inRachoni and Prinos are the oldest on the island and many treesare more than 900 years old.Second stop: Prinos, mountain village 17km from Limenas. Thearea became famous in the 1970s because of oil deposits detectedon the sea bed off the coast of Skala Prinos. Extraction andprocessing of this “black gold” has continued uninterrupted untiltoday. Skala Prinos and the newvillage “Dasyllio” boast beacheswith crystal clear water, pine treesand tamarisk trees next to theshore. Taste the organic “Kardiofilo”olive oil, famous for its beneficialproperties, tasty salted olivesand fragrant honey. Visit the Oliveand Olive Oil Museum near the +30 25930 71950.Opening hours: Monday – Saturday:08:00 – 16:00, Sunday: closed.Have fun at the Honey Festival which is held during the first 10days of August and organized by the Beekeeping Cooperative ofThasos on their premises, at Skala Street, Prinos-Skala, Rachoni.Products made from honey and other local produce, such assweets, cheese and wine, of course, are offered to visitors freeof charge.Telephone: +30 25930 71361 and +30 25930 58290.Take the left hand road at the Prinos Village crossroads and gouphill through olive trees and pine trees towards the traditionalvillage of Kazavition. After approximately 4km you reach thefirst Kazaviti, Mikro Kazaviti (Mikros Prinos) and 500m furtheron, Megalo Kazaviti (Megalos Prinos). This area is known for itsexcellent climate, vineyards and fine wine. In its heyday, workmenfrom Western Macedonia and Epirus built stone houses withslate roofs, wooden balconies and painted ceilings here. Narrowcobbled streets, schools, old mansions, churches, running waterand nightingales create a unique place to relax and dreamin. Beneath the shady plane trees, french accent on cafes andtaverns offer fine local products garnished with a warm smileand disarming simplicity. On 27 July, day of Agios Pantelimonos,do not miss the celebration of the convent of the same name,near the village.Every year, from July till August, the active cultural associationholds a celebration called Kazavitiana: traditional dances, photographic,art and book exhibitions, musical evenings with Greekand foreign artists.Return to Prinos, continue along the Thasos-Limenaria NationalHighway and after 3km you reach Skala Sotiros and the oldestolive stone processing factory on the island. The village of Sotiros,3km from Skala, with its dense forest and running water isan attraction for mountain lovers. The 1890 holy church of TheTransfiguration (Metamorfosi tou Sotiros) is one of the most interestingreligious monuments on the island.3km from Skala Sotiros is picturesque Skala Kallirachis. It isworth walking the 2.5km, ascending through olive trees, untilKallirachi, an 18th century village, to visit the Folklore Museumin a renovated 1740 building, with furniture and décor of the period,and stone bridges, excellent examples of the great masonsof Epirus art.From Skala Kallirachis, continue for another 7km towards SkalaMarion and the famous beach of Aspas (or Atspas) with its crystalclear shallow water and fine white sand. This is where theyused to load iron ore from the mines in Marion (12km from thebeach).A further 7.5km from Skala Marion is Limenaria, the largest townin Thasos which developed notably at the dawn of the 20th centurybecause of its iron ore. The German company Speidel began theexploitation of iron ore in 1905, which stopped in 1963. Devoteesof industrial archeology and art can visit the old iron processingfactory as well as the open air art exhibition.Visit the Limenaria folklore museum in the old community buildingto learn the secrets of resin and retsina.Limenaria Village has a lot of taverns,french accent, bars, vigorous night lifeand a summer cinema with frequentscreenings of films. On the third day ofEaster “Gia Vrex Aprili m” is celebrated inKalyvia Limenaria. The residents danceand ask God for rain so that their vinesdo not dry out and they can have a goodharvest.After Limenaria, if you have a 4 wheeldrive or high vehicle, you can visit a beautiful village hidden inan Ipsario plateau, Kastro, a monumental village. It is the oldestvillage on the island. Visit the church of Agios Athanasios, built in1804, which has been declared a preserved monument It is saidthat it was built in 40 days, with the Sultan’s permission. It holdsa service on the last Saturday of every month and celebratestakes place. A few kilometers northof Maries and continuing towards themountain, you will find the island’sunique artificial lake Genna Lake,with its small waterfall, creating aninteresting habitat.After Limenaria, continue towardsPefkari (2.5km). The beach is knownfor its clear deep water and watersports centre.From Pefkari, you reach Potos after 1km, which is the summermeeting point for young people and the most cosmopolitan placeon the island. The sunsets here are unique as the sun disappearsbehind the mountain range of Mount Athos.From Potos, the surfaced road takes you to Theologos, 10.5kmfurther on, a traditional listed village, one of the oldest on theisland (it was mentioned as early as in the 13th century AD). Itsabundant water, dense vegetation and protected location werethe reasons the monks of Agion Oros chose it as a dependency.Visit the Hatzigiorgi mansion (folklore museum), admire theMacedonian mansions and houses, wander in the picturesquestreets. Walk to the 1917 stone bridge. Do not leave withouttrying the popular local goat and excellent local food. On EasterMonday, the residents carry the icon of Agios Ioannis -Theologosalong a path from a village chapel to the Archangelos MichailMonastery, where they stay the night. In summer, do not missthe reconstruction of a Thasos wedding: everybody takes part,residents and visitors alike.Return to Potos and head towards Astrida. Astris, or Astrida,took its name from the clean and starry sky on summer nights.Across the sea and facing Astrida, is the small island of Panagiaor Astiriotiko which, according to tradition, was the island of theSirens, the mythical creatures who devoured any travelers whocame near them, having been charmed by their song. Beaches:Psili Ammos, Salonikios, Ai Vasilis and Kalami. By enduro bikeand on foot, or only on foot, from the village of Astrida, headsouth and you reach Giola, a beautiful natural pool hewn in rockwith water which is warmer than the sea.From Astrida, continue toward the Holy Monastery of ArchangelosMichail (6.8km) which is the largest in Thasos and an importantpilgrimage for Christians. Built on the edge of a steep rock,it seems to be suspended between the sky and the immenseAegean. After a command from the ArchangelMichael, Loukas the ascetic built a small churchhere in 1110 AD in which holy water flowed. It issaid that nonbelievers who once wanted to contaminatethe holy water - paid for it with theirlives. The holy water now flows from a cave nearthe sea. Years later, the Holy Stake also ended upin the church, which the Emperor Nikiforos Votaniatis had dedicatedto the Holy Monastery Philotheos on Mount Athos. The Monasterywas later founded in place of the church as a dependentof Philotheos Monastery. In 1974, nuns from Pilio, together withthe Holy Monk from Agios Oros worked hard and transformed themonastery. The Archangel Michael is the patron saint of Thasosand the residents of Theologos. Many pilgrims flock here for theArchangel’s grace and the blessing of the Holy Stake. He is celebratedon 8 November and Easter Tuesday.Telephone: +30 25930 31500After the monastery, you reach Thymonia beach in 4.2km.From Thymonia, it is 3.6km to Alyki peninsula, one of the mostfamous attractions of the island. Photo: marble quarryPhoto: Alyki BeachAlykiA small verdant peninsula sunken into the sea, holding its treasurein its arms: crystal clear, percussion whitewashed marble. Itsquarry which supplied marble to the world for 1,400 years (7thcentury BC – 7th century AD): one of the most important industrialmonuments of humankind. In its eastern bay: the ruins of a templeto Dioskouri (the sons of Zeus). It was here, in ancient times, thatships’ crews, loading the coveted marble, would worship beforegoing out to sea. At the top are the remains of two aisled basilicas.Village residents and sailors would worship there in early Byzantinetimes, until the 7th century AD. Then came destruction andabandonment. Life returned in recent times, when the residents ofTheologos came to live in Alyki temporarily for the olive harvest.From Alyki, continue for 10.8km until you reach Kinyra, one of themost picturesque villages in East Thasos, with rich vegetation,a famous beach: Paradise and a small island, with great fishingwaters, Kiniriotiko.From Kinyra, continue towards Skala Potamias and Chrysi Akti(8.3km). In the centre of Skala Potamias Harbour is the Tarsanasstone building, an old fishing shelter for the monks of Agios Oros.It hosts cultural events today.After Chrysi Akti, go upwards to the traditional village of Potamias(3km), built at the foot of Mount Ipsario. Stone built houses,red tile roofs unfold in an orderly fashion amidst green surroundingsand running water. Visit PolygnostosBagis Museum. It is housed in an oldstone primary school in the centre of thevillage. Its collection includes 98 sculpturesby Bagis, 25 of which are verysmall, and 15 paintings by the same artist.The memorial series is impressive,such as the Bear and Newborn Cub, TheWorld etc.From Potamia, head towards Panagia(3km).300 years ago, when the residents ofLimenas were forced to abandon the shore because of pirates,they built Panagia in this spot, which became the capital of the islandafter the 1821 Revolution. It is a listed traditional village withcobbled streets, slate roofs, small wooden balconies and coveredverandas. Visit the Traditional Oil Press, “Drakotrypa Cave”and the Holy Church of The Assumption of Holy Mary, 18m high,with its impressive handmade chancel,icon of Panagia Pantovlepousaand the white and purple banner ofRichard the Lionheart. It was builtwith materials from ancient temples.Panagia’s coins: At the end of the 19thcentury, the Ottoman Empire wasbankrupt. The church in every villagethen bought copper coins from Xanthiand Smyrni by weight which hadno face value, stamped them andused them for transactions in their village. The profits from thisenterprise would be used for its work in the community.From Panagia, go downhill to Chrysi Ammoudia (5.5km), one ofthe most popular beaches on the island with golden sand andshallow water, 5km long and water sports.Continue towards Makryammos, a well-organized beach withwater sports facilities. From here, Limenas is 10km.