By Thomas Panagiotopoulos

We were traveling for long through the waveless sea until we reached the lower part of Athos, observing its imposing peak which seems to be piercing the sky. I approached the steep coasts and stood opposite a monastery which was like a big stony fortress with small windows overlooking the sea. It was as if hovering in the void. Next to that, small, scattered houses formed a whole village which unseen through the deep vegetation extended downhill till it reached the seashore.

We left Akrathos cape and entered a route of 7 degrees, which would lead us to Skala Maries of Thasos. The dense clouds that filled the lower part of the horizon were bad signs of a northern wind and worried me for a moment. I would not be greatly surprised if after a while the storm broke out. Even that absolute tranquility, which prevailed, seemed strange now. At first I seemed to hesitate, but the doubts which conquered me momentarily, quickly disappeared, since it was only 29 nautical miles that separated us just from our destination. I was hoping to enter the sheltered port on time before the north wind started blowing. The rib was «flying» over the sea, as the light breeze began to form wrinkles on its surface. Indeed, in less than an hour we managed to tie alongside the beautiful harbor of Skala Maries.

Circumnavigation
AstrisThe next day found us seated in one of the beach cafes of the small bay Skala Maries, around which the village with the same name is built. With several taverns by the sea, offering fresh fish and seafood, it forms a beautiful and quiet corner of the island, ideal for those seeking peaceful moments during their holidays.
The sun was low on the horizon and we were bending over the nautical chart marking the places of Thasos that we would visit.
From the cape Kefalas which is west to the Cape Mpampoura in the east, lies the south part of Thasos, which covers a distance of 16nm. In this entire coastline large and small beaches are spread all over.
Passing by Kefalas, we find the picturesque beach of Tripiti. On the west side there is a small pier where we can tie our boat. Tripiti is the starting point of the long beach with 2nm length that leads to the beautiful harbor of Limenaria.

Limenaria, the most important village by the sea, along with Limenas, the capital of Thassos which is located north, attract most people. In the quite spacious harbor, where the local fishing boats are tied we will find even with difficulty a place to moor. This is the end of the coastal road, along which there are beautiful two storey houses, whose ground floor has been converted into taverns, cafes and small shops. In the afternoon, the place is full of life, since many holidaymakers stay here while locals from the nearby villages stream for their evening stroll.

LimenariaWe went near Pefkari and Potos, two of the most popular and developed parts of Thasos and headed to Psili Amos, located on the west side of Astris bay. Across the island of Panagia, surrounded by pine and olive trees, there is one of the most distinctive and at the same time stunning beaches of Thasos. Clear shallow waters that give the impression of a large natural pool, where swimming is a real pleasure. The pines shade and the small tavern located on the beach form an oasis while the view to the sea enchants the visitor’s mind and carries away his thought.

Every summer bathers invade Psili Ammos and it is only in the early morning hours that we can enjoy it privately and peacefully.
Following the coastline of the bay Astris, where we find smaller and quieter beaches, we arrive at Cape Salonikios, which is the most southern cape of the island.
As we pass by the landscape changes and the low carved coasts change into steep cliffs, culminating in the nearly vertical cliffs that seem to be overthrown impressively into the sea. Somewhere up there, rises from a distance the convent of the Archaggelos Michael, built on the edge of the cliff, like an impregnable fortress that seems to hover over the vast blue sea. It is one of the most important and most impressive sights of the island, and welcomes lots of people on a daily basis. Whether you reach it by the sea, under the towering cliffs or by land, it is a breathtaking sight.

Αt the famous Aliki beach
A little further from the monastery there is the small pine peninsula of Aliki, at the bottom of which the two beaches bearing the same name are formed. The one is overlooking east and the other southwest. The second one, renowned and crowded now, is perhaps the most beautiful part of Thasos and one of the most picturesque corners of the Aegean Sea. The green and usually smooth waters, the few stone houses with four-sided roof made of local slate on the west side of the bay and the taverns set in a row on the beach, immersed in the green vegetation and adorned with vines and colorful flowers compose an exquisite image, that is captivating even at a first glance. It is an ideal anchorage, since it is well protected from the north winds, while spending the night on the boat and waking up in this heavenly scenery, is a truly memorable experience.

MakryammosWe were full of the beautiful images of the southern Thasos and went up to the east part of the island, which extends over a distance of about 15 miles. Three large and open bays, shelter incredible stretched beaches, which every island in the world would envy. Crystal clear waters, endless natural pools where the lush vegetation comes to an end.

It is very difficult to put the beauty of this place in words and even harder to single out one beach from another. Each and every one you visit, seems to be the most beautiful you have ever seen, until you pass by a small cape encounter the next.
The beach of Paradisos, as it is very accurately named, with the green slopes reflecting their colour in the crystal clear waters, cannot fail to enchant even the most demanding visitor. As we drew the chain in the foremost roller and even before the anchor could reach the bottom, we dived into the calm waters and were swimming avidly here and there acting like little children who had not been to the sea for years.  It was the first time I found the waters of this beach to be smooth since the north winds usually create small loud waves due to the shallow waters. This attracts lots of people who wish to play in the sea, while you feel strongly that you are in a tropical island. The green mountain valleys being our permanent companion, we entered the boat which glided in the clear waters, passing close to the vast beach of Kinira. A low rocky peninsula penetrating only a few meters into the sea breaks the continuity of the beach where we will easily find free space to enjoy the crystal waters.

ΘάσοςContinuing our way north, we passed by the islet of Grampousa and we turned the bow to west, sailing along the rocky coasts that take us to the southern side of the bay Potamia. The small port of Skala Potamia appears in front of us, where the imposing old stone building on the waterfront prevails. It was built by the monks of Mount Athos. Full of local fishing boats, it is almost impossible to find a place there. After managing to tie on the border of the port’s entrance we went out for ouzo in one of the small seaside taverns.
In the bay of Potamia a vast stunning beach extends from one side to the other, which is mentally divided into two separate shores. Chrisi Akti in the south and Chrisi Ammoudia in the north are among the most famous beaches of Thasos. Every summer both beaches are overcrowded while in recent years the tourist development of the area is rapid.

At magnificent Makriammos beach
Arriving at the Gulf Ai Giannis and cruising near the lush small capes, among which countless natural pools were formed, with pine trees reaching the sea, we approached the northern east part of the island. Here we, also, saw an incredible coast welcoming us. It is called Makriammos and even the Paradise would envy its beauty. It is really worth climbing the slope of the northern side, where the view is magnificent. An image that is impossible for me to put in words, since no matter how much I try I will definitely not be able to convey in the least this unprecedented spectacle that was in front of my eyes.
In the northern edge of Makriammos, there is a small pier where we can tie the boat temporarily in order to spend endless hours in the depths of this magnificent scenery. Without having planned it or rethinking of it, we decided to spend the night here, enjoying the afternoon that mellowed everything around us, while our morning awakening looked as if it came out of the pages of the most beautiful fairy tale.

limenariaPassing by Evreokastro we were on the north side of the island and entered the bay of Panagia, on the eastern side of which lies Limenas, the capital of Thasos. We approached the two small iron lighthouses that mark the entrance of the old port. High up on the slope of the green hill rises the ancient theatre and parts of the wall that protected the old city. We tied in the spacious harbor where the locals moor their boats and we went for a short walk through the narrow streets with the old two and three storey houses. Limenas, which is the main port of the island, attracts most of the people, since apart from the infrastructure, it is famous for its rich archaeological heritage.
After we satisfied our archaeological concerns, we untied the boat and we went to the marina located a few meters far from the old port. We can easily spend the night here, since apart from the safety it offers, it is very close to all the main attractions of the city.
After the cape Pahis, which is the northern tip of the island, the very shallow waters forced us to navigate quite afar from the coast. This entire route leading to Skala Maries, does not present anything remarkable, since the water is rather dark and there are no natural bays and beautiful coves. Vast plains, at about sea level, full of olive trees extend to the foot of the green slopes.

Thasos itself is a unique destination and it is worth spending several days to explore it. It is quite suitable for nautical tourism, as there are many sheltered bays and many picturesque coves to stay the night. But what make it distinct from many other islands are the beautiful sandy beaches that stretch along the southern and eastern side. Natural pools with crystal clear waters and pine trees that reach the sea will surely attract even the most demanding visitor. Its perimeter is almost 50 nm and it constitutes an ideal place for a holiday, combining lush vegetation with amazing beaches and charming seaside villages along with the exceptional inland villages.