Thassos… The most Northerly Greek island there is, a little green gem tucked away in the Aegean, that nobody seems to have heard of and even fewer seem to have visited. It’s late May and the temperatures are perfect for our pasty British skins – an average of a kind and thoughtful 27 degrees with warm breezes that shake the olive trees gently, making their pale leaves twinkle like a dancers leotard.
As you approach by sea, it has the landscape of a Hawaiian island – sloping green peaks, much more lush than many of the other Greek islands, and with sandy beaches peeking out like white petticoats from their jade skirts. The shallow waters are turquoise and clean, and teaming with fish. The locals are sweet tempered and happy, pleased that they can show off their home and proud of their ancient history.
We managed to explore pretty much the whole island during our stay, it’s not that big and neither of us sit still that well unless anchored by a good book, so with our little car we went in search of everything Pinterest had promised us, with the mission of finding a hotel in the perfect spot for our final three nights here. Under strict instructions from rent-a-banger to only stick to asphalt roads, we, erm, absolutely definitely did not venture onto mud tracks at all and eventually found our way to hidden natural pools and waterfalls with only the help of blue arrows painted on rocks and a few broken twigs to say someone had tread there before. Tourism just hasn’t hit Thassos yet, save for a few Eastern Europeans and some cockneys that have been coming since the 1990’s boom-time. But that’s great! The beach towns are quiet but the amenities are there if you need them.
Where to Stay on Thassos
We stayed at the beautiful Island View (read review) on the slopes of Golden Beach and we were very content with our panoramic breakfast views from the most nurtured terrace garden you’ve ever seen. Damn Germans stole the best table each morning though. The beaches have enough sun loungers for everyone, all 12 tourists, and they’re free if you buy from the beach bars they’re attached to. Make sure you try the Gyros from Beba’s. Golden Beach is definitely one of the nicest on the island to stay at but the East and North West coasts have some gorgeous small resorts, some with only one hotel or restaurant if reclusiveness is your thing and you wanted to talk to only ten people on your whole holiday. A special favourite of mine was a beach just around the corner from Skala Rachouni on the West, they’re all so rustic and sleepy the beaches around there but this one has a little wooden pier and that, in my books, makes it nicer! Due to the sheer ridiculousness of 5* hotels only costing £45 a night though, we booked 2 nights at Ilio Mare, a bit further round from the little wooden pier beach and spent 3 days in complete luxury at the type of hotel we wouldn’t usually be able to afford in any other country! I became quite accustomed to receiving my morning frappe on a beach-bed, complete with muslin curtains and embroidered scatter cushions. I may never rough it with the 4 star’s ever again!
Off The Beaten Track
Venture inland up the hills and you’ll discover the prettiest villages which go by an even slower pace of life than the beach towns. Further south the hills sing with the hum of a millions bee’s, naturally, since the island’s livelihood is in honey, and olive oil too. As you approach the villages the hives stand out among the olive groves, lines of wooden boxes painted in rainbow colours, and when you reach habitation old couples sell you their produce from their front steps. The squares are Greek by stereotype, full of taverna’s and stray cats and decorated with floral vines to keep the sun off their restaurant terraces. I hope I’m replicating a perfect picture of this wonderful island for you but don’t tell everyone because right now it’s just the right level of rustic to holidaymakers which allows for happy locals and amazing memories.
Where To Eat
Among our highlights were a few great taverna’s and restaurants, one of which we nearly didn’t try based on the fact it’s nicknamed the Wedding Cake (real name La Terrasse) because of its obnoxious architecture. It’s probably mock-Italian and wouldn’t look out of place on Lake Como or Garda but here on Golden Beach, Richard felt it looked a tad ridiculous, enough to put him off his Stiffado, but we’re so glad we tried it – nice one Trip Advisor! We even returned a second night and if you read my review here you’ll see why. I’ve also got to mention the taverna we chose on our last night in Thassos town, Tavernaki, traditional Greek food home-cooked to perfection and served with more than a smile by all the staff, a lovely, lovely place on an equally lovely street.
We’re sad to leave but it’s left within us a quest to find some more of these unspoilt Greek islands – we figured the ferry ride from the island probably puts many off because of the extra it adds to your journey, but, in our opinion, it’s definitely worth it!
Have you had a similar Greek experience? Do you know of any quiet ‘off the beaten track’ islands? I’d love to know, drop me a line…
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