Thassos (also spelled Thasos and in Greek, Θάσος) is a beautiful Greek Island located in the north Aegean, and is located about 7 km south of the Greek mainland. You can drive around the island on the main coastal road, and if you don’t stop, drive the approximately 95km in under two hours. But two hours is simply not enough time to take in the gorgeous views the island offers – even our 6 nights/7 days was not enough to see and experience all that the island has to offer.
We never did get to drive around the entire island as we had originally thought we might, but we can leave as a goal for another trip. One day, we did visit Atspas Beach with the idea of arriving from one direction, then leaving in the other direction so that we would circumnavigate the entire island. But on our way to Atspas Beach, located at the village of Skala Marion, we decided there were far too many sites we wanted to see again and so we returned almost the same route (with a small detour) as we had traveled to get to Skala Marion.
I’ll write more about this later, but from Skala Marion, instead of driving back in the opposite direction we had come from, we decided to check out an “artificial lake” and waterfall near the upper village of Marion (also called Maries). We ended up back on the island’s main road at the village of Limenaria. When we got back on to the main road, the views of the sea and the coast were just incredible, and we had to keep our eyes sharp for places we could pull over to take photos and enjoy the view.
Several kilometers of driving and we found such a place, that we could pull over as we took in this sight:
Looking behind, our view was like this:
A little further along our route, we came upon what appeared to be a remote beach that would be difficult to access by car – although I would have liked to have tried!
Monastery of Archangel Michael Area
About 18 km from Limeneria, we arrived at a beautiful location where we could park in front of a monastery, known as the Monastery of Archangel, or Moni Archaggelou – Μόνη Αρχαγγέλου. Built in the 18th century on a cliff overlooking the sea, the monastery claims to have part of a nail that was used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The monastery accepts visitors but there is a dress code and we were not appropriately dressed to enter. Men are required to wear trousers (shorts are not acceptable) and women must wear dresses and have their shoulders covered. Although we did not get a tour of the place, we sure enjoyed the scenery around it, and the changing colours of the sky as the sun slowly dropped behind the nearby mountain peak.
The roadway was beautiful as it approached the monastery entrance where visitors could park:
Looking away from the monastery, the view of the coast was simply stunning. If you woke up to see this every day, you might want to be a monk or a nun living at the monastery!
Directly across the road from the monastery, there was a pathway made of concrete, that went up a high hill. I later hiked up the path to see what kind of views I could get from a higher elevation. But from the road, the stone walls around it and higher up, were interesting.
I am not certain, but I believe this path is used during the monastery’s Easter service, where they have a procession with the aforementioned nail from the village of Theologos, but am not certain on that point if this is the route they take.
The entrance to the monastery is through this big red door. Stone walls are built all around. I tried to get a glimpse inside when the door opened as some visitors left, but didn’t really get a good look at what was behind.
Near the entrance, a stairway had been built going down the cliff. It was utterly amazing to see the stonework in the walls and stairs, and how beautiful and well maintained the area is:
Our view included this apparently unnamed beach (at least there is no name on Google maps), far down below:
As mentioned, I walked up the path that was across the road to see what I could see from an even higher elevation. This is a view of the monastery walls and building from above:
The path became quite steep, and at one point when I turned to look behind me, this was my view of the Aegean Sea:
The sun setting over the coast reminded me that we did not have many hours of light left, and although I could have sat here for much longer, just taking it in, I decided to snap another photo before heading back to the monastery and meeting my companion at the car:
Ancient Farmhouse & Tower
We had seen a few signs for archaelogical sites on our way to Atspas Beach, and had made a note to stop and visit one, if we could. One of these sites was the “Ancient Farmhouse & Tower,” but we decided not to drive directly to it as the entrance had a major rut that might have damaged the undercarriage of the Mazda we were driving. But we did stop at the side of the main road to try and get a few photos. This was the best:
As we continued driving toward Alyki Beach along the main road, the views continued to be spectacular.
While the sun appeared to be setting behind us, it was still bright looking ahead as we approached Alyki beach. The water at this beach is also of a beautiful colour:
Several sailing ships had anchored in the cove near the beach.
After taking in the views at Alyki Beach, darkness gradually fell and we returned to our rented bungalow near Skala Potamia. Along the way, we saw wild goats grazing at the side of the road – a potential traffic hazard at night, on the island. We saw quite a few wild goats on several of our days on Thassos. Wildlife is not abundant except for rabbits, foxes, and apparently ferrets – although we didn’t see any of those.
Thassos is a beautiful island, rich in fauna and is often called “The Emerald Island” of Greece. If you’re considering a visit to an island of Greece and can’t decide, Thassos would be a great choice!