Thassos is a mountainous island, green, and on the Jeep Safari trip to Ypsarion peak I saw landscapes that I will not be able to forget too soon if I ever forget them. Of course, the most charming pictures are those seen from the height of 1204 m, but the road was totally fascinating. So close and yet light years to the beaches of emerald waters, for which the island of Thassos is recognized.
I do not know why, but I hardly decided to go on the Jeep Safari trip. Somehow I associate Greek islands with beaches, delicious gourmet dishes, bountiful people and not mountain landscapes, although I appreciated the hiking in Corfu. But here is something else.
The relief of the island of Thassos is spectacular, dramatic cliffs, everything a bit different from the other islands visited. I noticed this in the cruises I was in, or when I approached the island on the ferry.
But there was nothing to prepare for the beauty discovered with Stavros’s wonderful team on a pleasant early September, or exactly September 5, 2017, a Tuesday with three good hours. And look at my experience in the Jeep Safari trip, an experience I recommend you do not miss, not the other, but you rarely have the opportunity to get to such an extraordinary place and a little underestimated, I would say.
Jeep Safari Thassos Ypsarion Peak – a breathtaking landscape
I went on a trip around 10 am in Potos. We started with 9 jeeps, some four places, some 6, I also led a Suzuky Jimny part of the road, then I changed to let someone else, when I only took pictures and to admire the landscape. Most of the road I went with a Suzuky Grand Vitara, led by Thassos – yes, many men are named after the mythological character who discovered the island.
The first stop – the Panagouda Monastery – the Ascension of the Virgin
We have arrived at the Panagouda Monastery, one of the Greek monasteries that is funded only by donations, not having shops of icons, mirrors, souvenirs, products. There is no electricity here, but it is a place where people from all over the island and from the mainland of Greece come to work. The church dates back to 1814 when I remember well, I got a lot of information about the history of the place, about the first village of Maries and the first church where only a few people came in, built in 1530.
The church could be built during the Turkish occupation only because of a special permit obtained because the wife of a Passover healed after drinking water from the monastery’s spring. I learned a lot about this place, about the inhabitants of Thassos Island, and we enjoyed the perfect calm before going any further.
Second stop: a marble quarry
We have reached a functional marble career in the heart of the island. Here I heard other stories about the place, about the long history of the marble export from Thassos and I saw alive how to get the heavy blocks up and down. I do not even want to think about how much fuel the excavators consume, but certainly a lot. I watched the tractor with the marble block and retreated – while I took pictures of it, and the driver went into the barracks to bring the gas tanks.
To the top of Ypsarion
We went through the village of Maries and fascinating landscapes. The road is actually delightful. Terraced rocks look like real formations like the ruins of ancient fortresses. Everything covered with mollusks, cypress, olive trees, figs, pines. Until I did not see the sea at all, I had the impression that I was only anywhere on a small island.
When we reached the peak, the sea again appeared on the horizon and what a view!
We reached the highest peak on Thassos Island
From the place where the jeeps left us, we went a little – a few minutes to the top. Here we have seen Mount Athos, Keramoti with its spectacular Ammoglossa, Kavala and other peaks in mainland Greece.
And closer, the image of the gorgeous village of Panagia and Golden Beach with Skala Potamia. Nice landscape, I think I could spend hours here, but that’s how we stayed enough to enjoy ourselves.
Up on the top of Ipsarion, a view that deserves even the effort to climb the 12 kilometers from Maries.
Waterfalls, a dry river and lunch at Maries
The back road was just as fantastic, and the next stop was at Maries, where it is an artificial lake that has been closed off near the valleys of valleys in rainy periods. The waterfalls are small in late September, but it was a beautiful mini walk. I found out about the dry rivers: do not leave the car in one when it rains, they are filled with water, all being devastated in the sea otherwise.
Lunch was served in kind on stainless plates: salad, tzatziki, bakery – souflaki, bread and juice. Everyone was tired, especially since there was plenty of food after all were served, and we were repeatedly drunk to take a bacon, salad, tzatziki and so on.
Later, we stopped at a tasting of jams, honey and other local products. Particularly appealing were the roses with honey and grapes with honey. I’ve also tasted a pumpkin with honey, green honey with honey, figs with honey and liqueurs.