Thrace and Thassos

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We head back to Kavalla in order to continue our trip eastwards. We pass Nea Karvali and its beaches, and a bit beyond Gravouna, we can turn right for Chrysoupolis to see the wonderful forest on the banks of the river Nestos. Why not drive as far as its delta, one of the most important wetlands in Europe. The road from Chrysoupolis also leads to Keramoti, its picturesque fishing village and port, the closest departure point for the island of Thassos.

Leaving our tour of Thassos for later, however, we continue along the road for Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis to see a litle of Thrace. After Xanthi, we take the road for the coast which brings us to Lake Vistonia and the lovely bay of Porto Lagos, considered by some to be one of the prettiest places in Greece. On the trip of land that separates the lake from the bay, Porto Lagos and its opposite number Fanari to the east are epitomes of picturesque deaside hamlets.Pressing onwards along the main road, we will see the sea again when we reach Evros prefecture at Makri.

This is said to be the site of the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, whom Odysseus blinded at the start of his long journey.
Alexandroupolis is not far from here. A modern port city, it is a transportation node for travel to the East and North. Nearby, to the north in the region of Ava, remains of fortifications take us back several centuries, while to the east the ruins of Trajanopolis remind us of how important this area was to the Romans and the Byzantines. We are also very to the famous Evros river delta, among the world's major wetlands. Don't miss the opportunity to get to know it and its amazing bird life.

From Alexandroupolis, depending on how much time you have at your disposal, you can go north to where the famous Soufli silk is produced, visit the historic monuments at Didimoteichon, and explore the upper banks of the Evros with their lush vegetation.

But Thassos awaits. To get there you must return either to Kavalla or Keramoti to catch the ferry, which lands at Prinos or the capital, called both Limenas and Thassos.

The island is extremely picturesque; its village houses and narrow lanes are charming, and there is also much in the way of archaeology to see, for Thassos was important in ancient times, thanks to its gold and marble. Large sections of the 5th century BC circuit walls still stand, performances are given in the theatre, while other ruined monuments include the Gate of Semele, a number of gates, sanctuaries to various gods and the temple of Apollo, not to mention the Arch of Caracalla from the Roman era and the medieval acropolis. Needless to say the Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit, filled as it is with major finds.

A tour of the island is also a must. Starting from the west coast, we go through Prinos, Skala Sotiros and Skala Kallirachis to arrive at Limenaria, remarking time after time how beautiful the beaches of Thassos are. A visit to the ruined Venetian castle is in order before we continue on for Poto, further south, another popular resort, where the road heads inland to Theologos, one of the island's most delightful villages, with its old mansions and churches.

From Poto, you can also get to the southern coast and Alyki at its eastern most tip, where the ancient marble quarries are. Then go up the east coast and just before Limenas make a point of stopping at Panayia, the old capital, for a glimpse of the wonderful island architecture in its mansions and churches. The tour of Thassos has ended, but it's certain that the memories it has left behind will stay strong for years to come.


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