One of Greece’s greenest and most gentle islands, Thasos (Θάσος) lies 10km from mainland Kavala. While similar climate and vegetation give the feeling that the island is an extension of northern Greece, it boasts enviable sandy beaches and a forested mountain interior. It’s quite inexpensive by Greek island standards and is popular with families and young people from neighbouring Bulgaria and the ex-Yugoslav republics. Frequent ferries from the mainland allow independent travellers crossing northern Greece to get here quickly, and the excellent bus network makes getting around easy.
Over its long history, Thasos has benefitted from its natural wealth. The Parians who founded the ancient city of Thasos (Limenas) in 700 BC struck gold at Mt Pangaion, creating an export trade lucrative enough to subsidise a naval fleet. While the gold is long gone, Thasos’ white marble is still being exploited, though scarring a mountainside in the process.
For visitors today, however, the island’s main sources of wealth are its natural beauty and historic attractions. The excellent archaeological museum in the capital, Thasos (Limenas), is complemented by the Byzantine Monastery of Arhangelou, with its stunning clifftop setting, and the ancient Greek temple on the serene southern beach of Alyki.
While some of Thasos’ best beaches are filled from mid-July to mid-August, untouched spots remain on this ‘emerald isle’, especially outside the short high season. Only the capital, Limenas, has functioning hotels in winter.