An Extra Virgin Marble Island in Northwestern Greece
It is virgin, may be loosing its extra subjective each passing day, but still… The first time I have been on Thassos island was on a motorcycle, back in April of 2011, through a tour organised by Bike My World Motorcycle Training and Tours company. Every year we visit the island two times, in the least, one for the opening of the season in April, the other in September for closing the season. The island is not dead in the winter time, but barely beating.
Thassos became a very popular place among Turkish motorcyclists. It is about 450 km from Istanbul through the Ipsala international border between Turkey and Greece, and is a great long-weekend get-away destination. There is a major marble quarry and a beach has been named after it, Marble Beach, due to its small marble crystals, located between town of Thassos, a major port town, and Golden Beach, the longest beach on the island hosting many B&B and hotels as well as cafes and restaurants.
Crossing to the Island
The island is only accessible through ferries. The quickest pass is from the mainland is from Keramoti Port, north of the island. It is about 45 minutes to cross to the town of Thassos. In the summer time there are ferries leaving every 45 minutes both ways and costs 8 Euros for a motorcycle and rider, I am not sure about the pillion passenger, it may be extra. The second option is from the town of Kavala, and if I am not mistaken, the ferry takes about 2:30 hours from Kavala to port of Skala Prinou, on the north-western part of the island.
About the Roads
The perimeter road covering the island is about 90 km in length and is a nice half a days ride with a stop or two. The road is mostly twisty and has some fast sweeping curves as well. From the town of Thassos until the Golden Beach region, the tarmac is better than any other parts of the island. The quality of the rest is mediocre, at best.
Some of Our Popular Destinations
One popular small beach we always visit is Aleki. It is very crowded during the summer season and there is pretty much no parking space available in the settlement area including the main road intersection. There are a number of restaurants open during the season letting sun bathing beds and rooms to the minimalist tourists. Do not expect much but the bay is outstanding, a clear blue sea and food that will water your mouth.
Marble Beach is pretty secluded and is not accessible via tarmac road. You will need an off-road capable vehicle to reach there. There are cheap 4×4 Suzuki Jimnies available by car rental companies. You may choose to rent an ATV or a scooter. We go there as a short off-road/enduro purpose trip with our motorbikes.
If you go in-land there are small villages up on the mountains and in the valleys. Kazaviti, is a small town hidden by the hills. On the google map you may find it under the name Megalos Prinos. It is a small settlement and has a very cosy atmosphere with a restaurant that serves delicious lamb dish as well as Kokoretsi. You should go there for a feast of meats at lunch time.
In the town of Thassos, there is a restaurant called Simi (Symi). Symi is the name of one of the islands in south Aegean, very popular… The restaurant is named after the island and has some tweaked Greek traditional cuisine. Seafood is quite delicious, but stay away from the seafood pasta, just not good enough, too much tomato sauce :). After your dinner at Symi, take a brief walk towards the port and on your left hand side you will see cafes and bars as well as a gelateria with a huge selection of ice-cream. My favourites are kaymaki, melon and lemon.
To the south-west there is Potos, a small town hosting many B&B and the only 5 star hotels on the island. There are very good restaurants too. Haven’t been there many times, just out of my reach for riding back and forth during night time, having drinks and so on.
We prefer to stay at Makryammos Bungalows, a resort built back in the socialist era of the 60’s. One of the best private beaches on the island, very good atmosphere, friendly staff. Very popular amongst tours from Ukraine. Romanian, Bulgarian and lately more Turkish customers seems to prefer the resort for their stay on the island. Although I have complained about it to the management a few times, they insist on keeping the shower curtains that stick to your places where the sun does not shine. I can’t say if I hate or like it :P. It’s just not healthy… Other than that they have a pool, tennis and basketball courts, very nice beach, very good selection of food on the open buffet. Did I mention the Ukrainian tourists, they can be old x)
For conclusion, if you are looking for a less touched vacation area in the Northeastern part of Greece, Thassos would probably be it. You can enjoy the Aegean sea from May through October. It can get quite chilly at night time in the beginning and end of the season. I hope you would enjoy it as much as I do. 😉