While driving from our rented cottage on Thassos, driving toward Potamia and the main port of Thassos, we would see signs marked “Marble Beach” and an arrow in its direction. Before we arrived on the island of Thasos, we knew that marble quarrying is actively continued – and has actually been going on for thousands of years on the island. We were intrigued by the signs and decided to visit on our second last day on Thasos.
Marble Beach – What’s In A Name?
If you do a search on Google for [marble beach thassos], you’ll actually see a local search result for Saliara Beach, however, on the way to Saliara, you’ll come across Porto Vathy Beach, which is marked by the private owners as “Marble Beach.” This is the one we ended up at.
It’s probable that both beaches are owned by the marble quarrying company. In the reviews that we read, we were afraid that getting an umbrella with sunbeds on this beach would be very expensive, so we didn’t even try. However, it is possible that we were looking at the incorrect search result as later, when we realized that we had not been to the one we had thought we were heading to, we discovered that others had reported much more reasonable prices for the sunbeds with a minimum of 8 Euros purchase of food or beverage.
Getting To Porto Vathy Marble Beach
We were not prepared for this. While we had traveled a very rough road the day before when getting to Maries Lake and Waterfall, we figured the road to Marble Beach would be a pretty normal paved road. We were wrong.
The drive of about 5 km from the main road to the beach took us almost an hour as we slowly nursed the Mazda over rocks and ruts in the “road” that was obviously used by heavy equipment involved in the marble quarrying. While we did make it to the beach, if you’re planning on going, you should be aware that the road is in pretty rough shape, and you should really not go in a vehicle that has very low road clearance. A truck or other utility vehicle would be best, and you need to be prepared for some careful driving!
It’s also a fairly steep descent from the main road down to the beach, and there are a lot of twists and turns in the road. For some drivers who aren’t adventurous, getting to either Porto Vathy or Saliara beaches might not be a great idea. There’s also a second route, which we took on the return to Skala Potamia, that is even worse.
However, if you are into seeing some incredible scenery and are a bit adventurous, then both routes are highly recommended! We’ll discuss the first route which begins a couple of km from the village of Panagia near the Church Of St Panteleminos, from the main road between the port of Thassos and Panagia.
At first, the road does not seem bad but gets worse pretty quickly. As you descend, you’ll see amazing views of the Aegean along with clues that marble quarrying continues in the area:
As mentioned, there are a few very tight twists on the road – this photo shows one of them, and is actually a better section of road than most of what we drove on:
As we continued to descend downward, there was more quarry activity with heavy equipment going on and this gives a great contrast in size when you realize that heavy equipment are not Tonka toys!
While it appears to be quite an industrial area, as mentioned, the views were still gorgeous:
The Beach – Finally Arriving At Porto Vathy (Marble) Beach
After the hazardous but adventurous drive, we finally arrived at the beach, with parking just above it. The colours of the sea contrasted with the white ground marble that had probably been artificially dumped and spread over the beach area, was breath taking.
We were lucky to actually find a bit of shade to park the car in, and while getting our beach bag ready with towels, I was also busy snapping photographs of the area. We discovered that there are two separate areas with sunbeds – one right up at the sea, and the other, separated by a wide expanse of sand and ground marble, near the actual beach bar.
We headed right to the sea. Because of the reviews we had read indicating that minimum purchases for the sunbeds was quite pricey, we didn’t bother with one and just laid down towels directly on the beach and brought our own water. The sun blazing down on us for the several hours we were there meant that we were very happy to have thought about bringing our own bottled water! None of the staff bothered us or the others who had chosen to do the same – forsake a sunbed and umbrella – were bothered by the staff who were serving others.
The water at Marble Beach was crystal clear, and the bottom was nice sand once you got past the ground marble. Another beach where we could see small fish that we were swimming with. For some strange reason though, there were a noticeable number of dead bees along the shoreline of the beach. I am not sure what would have attracted the bees to the area, but it was a minor annoyance.
The water at this beach does get deep pretty quickly – and as a result, from the crane that was also visible near the beach, ships likely anchor here to be loaded up with marble from time to time. There are also platforms that swimmers use to dive off of.
Before we left, I took another photo of a slightly wider view of the beach.
Marble Quarrying On Thassos Island
As mentioned previously, marble quarrying has been going on for thousands of years on Thasos Island. It’s boasted that this island has some of the finest quality white marble found anywhere in the world, and it is in demand throughout the globe. Marble quarrying provides a significant financial contribution to the island.
While some have complained about the sight of a crane nearby the beach, it didn’t bother us at all and in fact, was interesting.
When we left, we decided to follow a different route as mentioned above, and in doing so, passed more marble quarrying sights that we did not see upon arriving at the beach area. This included large piles of both big marble chunks stacked up as well as piles of smaller marble pieces, like stones or gravel.
Is It Worth Going To Marble Beach?
Some of the reviews you might read could suggest that it’s not worthwhile to go to either Saliara or Porty Vathy beaches. Some complain about the industrial equipment, and the really bad road. Some have complained about poor service from the beach bar staff.
Well, for me personally, the industrial marble quarry equipment did not bother me but rather, made the visit all the more interesting. Because we did not use a sunbed, we didn’t experience, either poor or great service from the staff.
In fact, I’d love to return to this beach and would far rather come back here than Atspas Beach, which seems to have more recommendations than Marble Beach.
Another thing you would want to keep in mind is the dust that will accumulate on your vehicle. In fact, when we returned to our cottage, the owner immediately noticed the white dust covering the rear bumper and trunk and commented, “Ah, I see you went to Marble Beach!” But that’s nothing a car wash can’t fix.
It is definitely worth going if you want to see some awesome views and enjoy a bit of an adventure in getting there. But be sure to be in an appropriate vehicle for a bad, bumpy road!
Have you been to either Saliara or Porty Vathy Beaches? What was your opinion? Tell us in the comments below.