Holiday in Thassos - May 2006

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Holiday in Thassos Town (Limenas), Thassos, Greek Islands.
Sunday 21st May - Sunday 28th May 2006


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Written during the stay on my Compaq Ipaq 3870 Pocket PC using the built in "Pocket Word" application and transferred to my home PC and converted to HTML format, on return home.
Holiday Cost Breakdown ("Package Deal" booked on 5th May 2006)
Portland Holidays Gatwick/Kavala (Thassos) Finikas Studios, Thassos Town 1 x Studio Apartment
Sh Wc Bal/Ter
7 Nights S/C 2A
£501.00
Lloyds TSB Own Annual Travel Insurance through
Lloyds TSB Bank Select Platinum Account Benefit.
7 Nights   £0.00
Courtlands Parking Courtlands Parking,
Gatwick Airport
8 days   £58.00
Total Cost
£559.00

Where possible I have provided Hyperlinks to other websites giving further information on any of the places visited. All information in this "Holiday Report" should be taken as a guide only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. I compile my reports as a service to visitors to my website who may have a Holiday booked in the future at any of the resorts or accommodation listed. I welcome any feedback or comments you wish to make or any questions about any of the information or establishments featured in the reports.
My "Report" writing has become a bit of a ritual now, after I wrote a smaller but similar "report" when we visited Menorca in the year 2000 and the feedback I got from that was very encouraging. Some people have their books to read (The wife!), I have my Pocket PC!! If it helps one person in finding info' on their holiday resort, then it's been worthwhile.

Sunday 21/05/06

We flew from Gatwick Airport at 06:00 on the Sunday 21st May. Flew by Boeing 757-200 of "Thomsonfly" Airlines. We had good seats (pre-booked) near the rear of the aircraft. For those that had booked it there was an in-flight meal. The entertainment consisted of various Radio and Music channels or the in-flight movie which today was "King Kong (2005 version)". Due to a tailwind we landed in Kavala slightly earlier than scheduled at about 11.20am local time.

Kavala Airport was much like any other Greek Airport. Quite small but surprisingly this one was more efficient than some of our previous encounters and we soon found ourselves outside the front with our luggage ready to board the bus to Kerimoti port. Again all quite smooth with our luggage loaded on to a separate small lorry, not to be seen again until it was waiting for us at the entrance to the Studios.

We stayed at the "Finikas Studios" in Thassos Town (Thassos Town is often referred to locally as Limenas). After a short 15 minute bus ride to the port you get on a ferry to Thassos. The best (and only) way to approach the island and very relaxing, as your luggage is still being transported by lorry so you don't have to lug it around. We then transferred  to another bus for about a two minute journey to the Studios. First impressions: Excellent! Very clean and basic Greek standards, but in an ideal quiet location in a side street yet still within easy walking distance of all the amenities. We were met by the owner of the studios; Vaso, who walked us up to them whilst she pointed out the locations of all the basic needs: tavernas and bars down one street, three supermarkets and a bakery all on your doorstep.

The studio room was small but spotless with twin beds, wardrobe, dressing table and mirror. Inside the wardrobe is a safe for your valuables which, unusually in our experience, is free to use and the key is provided. There is an air-conditioning unit in the room for which a charge is made if you wish to use it. The kitchen area had a sink with two electric cooking rings, all the utensils and crockery, etc you could wish for, plus a fridge, kettle and toaster. The terrace/balcony had a table, chairs and parasol umbrella overlooking the pool. There is also a hanging rail with pegs on which to dry your clothes or towels. Kitchen and bathroom towels are also provided.

The bathroom consisted of a sink, toilet (with usual Greek bin for your toilet paper) and shower with a shower tray and curtain, which are both a rarity in Greek accommodation! The hot water worked very well and we had hot water at most times of the day. Cleaning (Maid Service) appeared to be done daily, although occasionally we did appear to get "missed".

The complex itself consists of 10 Studios set in lovely gardens with sunloungers and a small pool. There is no bar or entertainment facilities within the complex, but this is not a problem as there were plenty within easy walking distance. Due to the complex being within a residential area there is a notice in the rooms asking Guests to keep any noise to a minimum between 3.00pm and 5.00pm as this is Greek siestà time. The studios have won a "Gold Award" from Thomson guests two years running now in 2004 and 2005 and I see no reason why they can't repeat it in 2006.

We settled into our studio and then went to the nearby supermarket and bought a small selection of basic provisions. Cost about €20.90. We went to the larger supermarket on the left of the main road, which is open till late in the evening. There is also a smaller supermarket on the side street close to the Studios which stays open until around 10pm.

We went to the nearby "Zodiac" bar/taverna at around 6pm for the obligatory Rep's Welcome meeting. You get a drink "on the house" to welcome you to Thassos. The rep' is a lovely girl called Lizzy who told us all about the things to do on Thassos along with usual sales pitch of all the Thomson tours. We decided we would book our own tours independently if were to do  any, as Thomson's prices did seem a bit over the top. We were given a map of the town which came in quite useful and which I have scanned and put on line for you to download here (Opens in a new window). Just right click on the image and click "Save picture" to save it to your hard drive or just print it out from your browser.

Thassos Town Map

If you choose to print out the map I suggest printing it in "Landscape" view. If using Internet Explorer, select the "Page Setup" options, usually under the Print icon or File Menu. In the options under "Orientation" select "Landscape" and click "OK" to apply the change. Then print the page out.

"Zodiac Taverna - Restaurant"

We usually go out for dinner most evenings on our trips abroad and this time would be no exception.

We chose this Taverna due to its nearby location as we wanted somewhere close so we could have an early night as we had been awake over 24 hours after the drive down to Gatwick from Lincolnshire and the early morning flight. This restaurant is heavily advertised at the Studios as the owner (Vaso) is married to Nikos the owner of the "Twins" taverna and "Zodiac" is run by his brother. Whilst we were having dinner there, she was also helping serve at the tables.

The only downside about this taverna was it's location on a quite busy street, with constant cars and motorbikes passing by, one previous review I had read likened it to "having dinner on the M1" which was a little harsh but if you can put up with the noise it is not too bad.

The restaurant is run by by twin brothers (Elias and Nikos) who also run a second restaurant in the town called "Twins" which they encourage you to visit also. We had a pleasant evening here with good food and drink. I had a Greek style "Mixed Grill" while my wife Marie, opted for the "Lamb Kleftico" which were both very good and appetising. Meal came to €31.90 with drinks. Recommended.
 

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 8 Service: 9 Price: 6

Monday 22/05/06

We got up about 10.30am local time (well we are on Holiday!) after a good nights sleep in quiet surroundings. We had breakfast on the balcony before setting off to explore the town later on.

The walk to the start of the main tavernas takes no more than two minutes and within five minutes we were at the seafront by the new marina. From here looking out to sea to the left there are a few hotels bars and tavernas and further past the Ferry Port there is a beach. To the right is the main centre of the town with it's "High Street" shopping area, seafront hotels, bars and restaurants. This all leads up to the old marina port where there are more restaurants and hotels, plus another beach. The whole town is very compact and all the roads seem to converge on one another ultimately leading to the resort centre. It was difficult to get lost and we easily found our way back to the studios via numerous routes. You could probably walk around most of the main area in around an hour and a half at the most. We had a good look round the area before making our way back to the studios around 2pm as it was getting extremely hot by this time. We called in at some supermarkets on  the way and bought some fresh fruits for a fruit salad for lunch.

"Thassian Restaurant"

This restaurant is on the seafront of the new marina, giving gorgeous views over the sea.

It is run by Rigas and Katrin, an English girl who was formerly a Thomson's Rep'. She opened the Restaurant with her Greek boyfriend Rigas, only a few weeks ago, but already it is gaining a reputation as one of the best places to eat in Thassos. Here they specialise in authentic home cooked Greek food. The menu is very extensive with an abundance of dishes covering meats, fish, vegetable and Greek specialty dishes.

They do a superb 3 course 'Meze' of dishes encompassing a Greek, Fish or Meat meze at only €23 per two persons. We wanted to try it, but I wanted the Meat option while Marie wanted the Greek option. So we asked if they could do the options for one person instead of two and they kindly agreed.

 

 

 

 

 


First course was a salad type dish with various dips. Not really our cup of tea, but we both ate a little before moving on to the main courses. Marie had 3 bowls of authentic Greek dishes along with a large side salad. I got 4 different Greek meat dishes all of which were gorgeous. Final course was a small dessert a bit like a Crème Brule, very sweet with a fruit juice topping. You could also have coffee to finish, but we didn't bother with that as we were both quite full!

All in all a superb meal in lovely surroundings, with great service and a wide choice. Cost €32.00. Highly recommended! We will be going back to this restaurant on Thursday to celebrate our 15th Wedding Anniversary.

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 10 Service: 10 Price: 10

Tuesday 23/05/06

Another bright sunny hot day. Haven’t got a temperature gauge handy, but it does feel like it's probably in the high eighties Fahrenheit. It seems much hotter than it has been in previous years holidays in the Greek Islands. Unfortunately my wife suffers with asthma and hay fever in Summer so she isn't very good in the extreme heat, preferring to take a Greek siesta (sleep) in the high heat of the afternoon. We later found out from Lizzy, the Thomson's rep' , that it was 31° Celsius today (87° Fahrenheit).

Anyway about midday we took a short stroll into town and opted for lunch at the "Twins" Restaurant which is in a side street off the main "High Street" in Thassos Town.

"Twins Restaurant"

Greeted by the owner Nikos we sat down to have a light lunch. Marie opted for a Mousaka, whilst I indulged in a Pork Souvlaki. Both were served efficiently and were very good meals.

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 9 Service: 9 Price: 8

 

Observations: I am sat outside on the balcony overlooking the pool as I type this report and you can't help but listen to the constant chitter chatter coming from the neighbouring families houses and gardens even if you can't understand a word they are saying! I wonder what they all think about having a bunch of tourists on their doorstep!

Lizzy visited the Studios again today as she does every day except Wednesday (Day off) and Sunday (Airport duties). She just stops by your balcony to have a chat and check that everything is going okay with your holiday. A nice touch which was appreciated. The Thomson's service has to be the most efficient of all the holiday companies we have experienced so far.

"Simi Restaurant"

This evening we visited this restaurant which is located on the seafront directly in front of the old harbour. You can choose to be seated in the main restaurant area or, as we did, in the smaller extra seating area on the opposite side of the road overlooking the harbour. Very romantic and lovely views of the little fishing boats coming back into port with their day's catches, as the sun sets in the distance.

We made our choices from the extensive menu and waited for the first course.  I had the fresh tomato soup and Marie chose the fish soup, both of which were outstanding and definitely not out of a can!

This was followed by my choice of "Grandma's Meat Rolls" which is actually more appetising than it may sound! Consisting of a sort of home-made Greek meat burger with potatoes and a rich sauce with feta cheese. Marie had the fish of the day, which was Sea Bream, served as it never would be in the UK, complete with head, tail and all the bones and appropriate trimmings. Exquisite!!

 

 

 

 


Finally as seems to be the case in a lot of the Greek restaurants, we were brought a complimentary dessert of, in this case, a lovely fresh fruit salad.

All in all another outstanding meal in a superb location. Highly recommended.

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 10 Service: 8 Price: 7


 It is difficult to find fault in any restaurant we have tried so far on this  island, although I dare say some may exist, it is pretty easy to spot the best ones.

Wednesday 24/05/06

Woke up early again this morning as we had done yesterday. Combination of factors cause this I think. We are going to sleep earlier than we do in the UK at around 11pm local time, which is only 9pm UK time, so maybe our body clocks haven't quite adjusted yet. Add to that the sun rising at around 5am, coupled with the dawn chorus of birds and the occasional cockerel crowing and if you're a light sleeper like myself, then its easy to be awoken early!

We went to the supermarket around 9am to grab a few more provisions for breakfast and the like. Opposite the supermarket is a bakery which makes fresh bread, rolls and pastries, so we bought a loaf of bread from there, which was nicer than the bread from the supermarket.

About midway through our holiday now and Marie commented on how "chilled" she was on this break in comparison to previous holidays. This is because this time we have planned very little. On previous holidays we have had to make time for excursions and the like and sometimes things feel so rushed you may as well be at work! So far we have chosen not to book any trips and just do our own thing, choosing to chillout by the poolside in between catching some sleep or reading (or writing!) indoors when it gets a bit too hot for us to bear outside.

About 11am I went out for a walk to explore the town, leaving Marie to her book reading as she is not one for my long exploration walks! First I headed the short walk through the couple of side streets from the Studios to the main road (K. Dimitriadi Street). Turning right here by "Hermes Car Rental" into this street leads you down to the seafront facing the new marina (18. Oktovriou Street). This is where all the main shops, bars and restaurants are and it is no more than a 5 minute walk at the most to this area of the resort.

The street leading down to the seafront (K. Dimitriadi Street), I nicknamed "Music Street" as it was the only street where you'll find any bars, discos or tavernas playing loud music till the early hours. Notable venues down this street are the "Rumours" British bar (Run by a couple of ex-pats) and the "Zodiac" taverna/restaurant mentioned earlier.

Facing the seafront at the bottom of "K. Dimitriadi Street" and turning left will take you past a few hotels and bars before bringing you to the ferry port with beyond that Tarsanas beach. I never went as far as that beach so cannot comment on it. I think that Moyses Restaurant, which is recommended on other reviews I had read, is near the Ferry Port, but I had trouble finding it! My personal opinion is that any establishment in this part of the town are too far away from the main congregation of bars, etc that unless you hire a car to reach them, there are enough varieties within walking distance on the main "strip" to negate the need to take the long trek there.

Once again facing the seafront at the bottom of "K. Dimitriadi Street" and now turning right will take you into the main "High Street" and shopping area (18. Oktovriou Street). Part of this street is pedestrianised with more vehicular streets criss crossing it at various points which have more shops, etc; on them. Head off any side street towards the seafront (Aougoustos Theologitis Street) and you'll find a further abundance of shops, bars, restaurants and hotels. All the streets in this main part of the town criss-cross one another much like any other holiday resort, making everything within easy walking distance and all ultimately terminating at the Old Harbour and Town Beach, where there are yet more bars, restaurants and hotels.

Thassos town is extremely compact with most facilities within walking distance of one another and has to be one of the most picturesque resorts we have visited.

I have just texted Thomson's "Travel Buddy" text information service for the latest weather in Thassos, 30°C (86°F) today and tomorrow, phew that's hot for this time in May!

For some bizarre reason we had got it into our heads that today (Wednesday) was our Wedding Anniversary and had mentioned it to quite a few people including Lizzy, the Rep' and Katrin at the Thassian Restaurant where we said we would go for our Anniversary dinner. I think we just got the dates mixed up due to being on holiday (It is actually on Thursday 25th), but Marie said we should celebrate twice anyway due to the fact that she has forgotten our anniversary for the last two years!!

So in the evening we walked down to "Thassian" to find that they had reserved a table especially for us! It was "decorated" with sprinkled white and black marble chips, candle and a bottle of wine. It was a lovely gesture and really made our evening. Also Lizzy had left us an Anniversary greetings card from her and all the Thomson's team. Again such a lovely gesture and so thoughtful.

We settled down to dinner which again couldn't be faulted. We both had a home-made chicken soup to start with. Then Marie had her favourite "Lamb Kleftico" and I had a Greek dish called "Juvetzi" (I think!). This was followed by another complimentary dessert and coffee. Everything as usual was superb! We had some more drinks, stopping here for most of the evening before returning to the Studios at about 11.30pm.

Thursday 25/05/06

The morning of our actual Wedding Anniversary and it looked like it was going to be another scorching hot day!

About 10am we took a stroll down to the seafront to exchange some UK money we had been given for our birthdays a week earlier. We went to the "Bank of Greece" next to the Thassian Restaurant just past the Tobacco kiosk. This bank also has a cash machine outside it should you need one, as does the bank directly opposite this one. We exchanged £40 for which we got €57.71 minus a commission charge of €3, giving us €54.71 in cash.

We will be using this money when we go back to the Thassian Restaurant for dinner again this evening.

On the way back to the Studios we bought some more supplies from the supermarket.

Observations: There seems to be more Greek people around the resort than tourists. I don't know whether this is normal or just because it is still early in the season, but I'm sure on other islands we've been to, the opposite is true.

Observations: There were an awful lot of cats (and the occasional dogs) roaming the streets and frequently found purring round your ankles in the Restaurants. Something that you won't generally find in UK Restaurants that seems to be tolerated by the Restaurant owners here apart from the occasional "Please don't feed the cats" notice. Probably due to the open air nature of most of the Restaurants, but something that some visitors may find distressing or unhygienic. Most people I noticed just seemed to accept it. Also I could never establish whether the cats were all strays or family pets. There were two cats that used to visit the Studios complex, occasionally drinking from the pool, which I didn't have a problem with, after all how could you stop them coming into the grounds anyway. Some guests encouraged the cat's presence by feeding them, then moaned to the rep' when the cat's came back late at night and started scowling outside their windows!

Went back to Thassian for dinner again this evening. I had the Juvetzi again as it was so good the night before and Marie had Mousaka, both of which were again faultless. During the meal we could see a large thunderstorm approaching over the sea and it was amusing to watch as the guests eating in the open area were hurriedly brought undercover before the heaven's opened! When it started raining it was initially like a scene from the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" as at first it was very large hailstones, which sounded like light bulbs exploding as they hit the Restaurant roof. Then it turned to very heavy rain along with fork lightning and thunder which continued for about half an hour. During a break in the rain we paid our bill and made a swift walk back to the Studios before it started raining again which kept up for some hours throughout the night.

Friday 26/05/06

Today we got up at 5.00am! Why? Well, high above the town is an ancient theatre "Akropolis" which is being restored to its former glory. We were advised that the best time to visit it is at either sunrise or sunset. Any other time of day it is generally too hot to attempt the steep climb up the steps to take in the amazing panoramic views it allows you.

Anyway we made our way through the town up to the start of the steps just beyond the old harbour. It was a welcoming cooler morning after the thunderstorms of the night before had cooled temperatures down a bit and we took a steady walk up to the theatre. The views are amazing and it is well worth the walk up should you choose to visit it. A handy tip to note: when we got to the gate of the theatre grounds it was locked, probably due to it being 6.00am in the morning! Anyway to the right of the "official" entrance path to the theatre is a rocky track leading up to the perimeter fence. Obviously other people had come up here when it had been "closed" as there was a small portion of the fence that had been cut open and then trampled down (it is only a small wire fence) which allowed us to step over it into the theatre grounds. I suspect it will get fixed in the near future but for now it is a handy "alternate" entrance if you go up there and find the gate locked.

We stayed up at theatre grounds getting some great photos before making our way back through the town, which was just starting to come to life about 7.00am, back to the Studios. We stopped at the newsagents on the way back to pick up a morning paper.

We went back into the town centre later on and did some souvenir and gift shopping. Took a slightly different route into town via "The Square" yet was still there within 5 minutes. This town is so easy to walk around!!

Back at the Studios by 1.30pm we had a light lunch whilst sitting out on the balcony. About 2.15pm it started raining again. Much cooler and wetter today, it was like being back home!

This evening we went back to the "Simi" Restaurant on the old harbour front, expecting as good a meal as we had had on the Tuesday evening. How wrong can you be?! I had the Tomato soup again for starter, followed by a Mixed Grill. Both were okay. However, Marie had first a Potato Salad, which was swimming in olive oil, followed by a Beef Stifado, which was decidedly poor and definitely not presented the authentic greek way. Had we have had these meals on our first visit it is unlikely we would have returned to this Restaurant. Proof if it were needed that unfortunately not all Restaurants can be consistent with their quality.

  Scores (Out of 10):  
Food: 3 Service: 8 Price: 7

For our final evening in Thassos we will definitely be going back to the Thassian Restaurant.

Saturday 27/05/06

Our final full day in Thassos and today we are going to do some last minute shopping and pack the suitcases ready for tomorrow morning, as we get picked up by the bus at 9.30am.

It is a more spring like day weather wise today, sunny with a few clouds and about average temperature. The really hot day's of the past week are not normal we have been told and are normally expected in July or August.

We went into town about 10am and brought some last minute souvenirs and gifts, before returning to the studios and chilling out for the rest of the afternoon.

Observations: Due to the Studios location within a residential district there is a lot of general "neighbourhood" noise, ranging from almost constant talking, tv/radio sound from within homes, children playing, dogs barking, motorbike and car noise and while we were there one home was having a lot of diy work done on it, so you had hammers, saws and various power tools in use. In short much of the sort of noises you would find in your own neighbourhood at home. Most of this noise was during daylight hours only and at night it got very quiet and tranquil indeed. We did not have any problems with this ourselves but I expect it could be an issue for some people, however due to the nature of the noise I doubt there is very little that could be done to resolve it.

It has been a lovely relaxing holiday in every respect and unusually for us, this is one Island that we may return to in the future.

Went out for our final dinner tonight, once again to Thassian. As consistent as always the meal was again superb and I have no hesitation in recommending this Restaurant as THE place to eat on the Island. We bade a sad farewell to our new found friends Rigas and Katrin vowing to return should we ever visit Thassos again.

Sunday 28/05/06

We got up about 7.30am to prepare for the journey home. We had packed most items in the suitcases the day before, so we just finished them off and finally secured them with the tamper proof security seals provided by Thomson. This so your cases cannot be tampered with once they have been loaded onto the lorry for their journey to the airport.

The cases were collected outside the Studios at 9.15am, whilst the guests boarded the bus at 9.30am down by "Hermes Rent a Car", then the Ferry at 10.30am before catching a final bus to Kavala Airport.

Everything went as smoothly as the arrival and all credit to the Thomson team for making these parts of the holiday experience virtually hassle free. Lizzy was at the Airport, as was Katrin who still helps out Thomsons with the Airport duties. We bade a sad farewell to them both vowing to possibly return to Thassos sometime in the future, before going through to departures.

Kavala Airport is definitely the best Greek Airport we've experienced in recent years, being spacious, air-conditioned with plenty of seating. There is also a cafeteria/bar, duty-free shop and large windows from where to view the aircraft.

Regular announcements are made and our aircraft departed earlier than scheduled arriving back in Gatwick almost 20 minutes early.

Everything about this holiday has been excellent and well organised and we will try and use Thomson/Portland Holidays again in the future. Given the relaxing holiday we had in Thassos it is also highly possible that we will break the habit of a lifetime and return sometime to this wonderful island!

Chris & Marie, May 21st - May 28th 2006.

Update: Well we must have fallen in love with this island as contrary to our usual habits we returned to Thassos in 2007 and are off again in May 2008!!

Useful links:
Thassian Restaurant
Thassos Island
Greek Island Postcards - Thassos
Portland Holidays
Thassos (Kavala) Weather

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