Find Your Marbles in Thassos!

If you’re looking for a Greek island where you get all the best parts of the more popular haunts, without the masses of tourists, then maybe Thassos is the place for you.

Sitting at the top of the North Aegean Sea, there’s only one uninhabited rocky landmass between this island paradise and the mainland. Actually, that’s a lie, the empty islet I mentiondoes have a population…of birds. There’s thousands of them! You come to this part of Greece to escape the hoards of holidaymakers and relax in a part of the country where things move slowly and you can get a taste of the authentic way of life. Don’t get me wrong, there’s all the modern luxuries you could need and plenty of great restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, but for almost the entire year it’s relatively quiet. Yeah, one or two of the beaches do get packed, but it’s very easy to get away from the more frequented hot spots and find your own piece of heaven.

What put the island on the map were two things – the ruins and the marble. Firstly, for history buffs there are very accessible relics from ancient times, including an expansive agora that’s one of the largest such sites in Greece, as well as a theatre perched atop a hillside. These landmarks are easy to find and anyone can explore them, guidebook in hand. I suggest having a good guidebook because that way you get a complete picture of what you’re looking at and can get a real appreciation for its significance.

The marble quarries are another thing you just have to check out. For 2,000 years or more, they’ve been excavating marble from the island and sending it across the planet. In the earliest days it was cut from the hillsides and loaded onto ships bound for Rome, Athens and other great cities where it was used for statues, columns, flooring and other applications. Today it’s done on a more industrialised scale with open cut mines removing tonnes of the pure white stone from the ground and sending it to the four corners of the world. You’ve more than likely seen it in a kitchen or bathroom and been completely unaware of its origins.

Outside of the old world charms, there’s plenty of great food, adventure, hiking, beaches and more to offer the inquisitive traveller. One word of advice though – get here fast before everyone else discovers it!