Ipsarion is the highest peak on Thassos (1204)
The reason why it took me so long to write a post about it is that I have never climbed it :) Not because I don’t like adventures, but during summer I’m usually very busy, and when I have the time to do it - somebody else doesn’t. And entering that adventure on my own isn’t something I am ready for. So, simply, there were many things preventing me to go there…
I talked with the islanders of Thassos and got the following information.
In order to walk to the top of the mountain the best place to start from is Potamia. It will take you about 3 hours walking in a normal pace to reach the top. The way is clearly marked, paths are narrow and dangerous so you should be very careful.
The important thing is to leave as early in the morning as possible, because as soon as the sun shines brighter, the view from Ipsarion is not that clear. Another reason why you should go from the Potamia side is because the nature is more picturesque.
Instructions at the beginning of the road, near Potamia.
If you are not a fan of walking, but would like to see Ipsarion, another option is to go from the village of Maries. It is 11km away from the top of Ipsarion.
Having a terrain vehicle is certainly recommended, but if you are enthusiastic enough you can handle a few critical spots even in your family car. At one point above Maries, the road intersects the road from Theologos, which does mean that another way to Ipsarion is from Theologos, but that road is even worse than the one from Maries and is about 15 kilometers long. If you start from Maries with your vehicle, you can get as far as 200 meters from the top of Ipsarion.
Be aware of the fact that there are snakes on Thassos, especially in the mountain areas, so be careful!
Searching the internet, I found information that one can find rare species of birds on Ipsarion.
After you arrive at the top of Ipsarion, don’t forget to write your name in the impression book and that way make your small mark in time.
Thanks to Ipsarion and many other hills, Thassos has very pleasant weather conditions. Nights are fresh, and during the day there is almost always a light breeze, which helps you handle high temperatures, without bothering you.
Mayor of Thassos promised that this year (2009) a cable-car will be built which will transport passengers to Ipsarion, but this plan is still far from reality. This is Greece, and in Greece, if someone tells you “one year”, it means ten years at best :)
The view on Potamia and Golden beach is worth walking, but if you want to see the sea perfectly clear, you must leave for Ipsarion before 5.00 AM.
The most interesting narrative of a trip to Ipsarion has been given by the member gnjavatorix, at the travelling forum on “krstarica” and this is what it said:
"Woke up at 7:15, went to a bakery and we set off! It was the day when we promised ourselves to reach the highest peak of the island – Ipsarion, 1206 meters high. We arrived at Potamia at 9 AM, found a sign for the Mountain Walkway to Ipsarion and the adventure began.
We actually didn’t know what to expect. We expected some 3 hours of walking to the top, along the path. But those 3 hours with our (to be exact – my) tempo became 4, but you should take into consideration that the paths were not that great either. When you reach the end of the path that has wooden signs, continue to follow the instructions on the rocks written in red.
Forget the fence, it does not exist, only grass can save you from falling … like that’s comforting! Just before the top there is a hiker’s cottage. The fact that someone had been here before you, somehow comforts you. Walking to the top you will be surprised to see the landscapes that you have not seen in tourist brochures of Thassos … at least not in our agencies.
The Czech and Germans come to Thassos because they know that there are mountains as well as the sea, so for them it’s twice the pleasure… The sheep trails we found hard to walk on, they passed with ease. After 4 hours, with noses and lips dry from the wind that blows constantly, after the sign which we thought had 200 m written on it, after realizing that it said 2000 m (after having a crisis like - I cannot do this, I cannot go further … and all he says is – it is right behind the corner …), came sweet satisfaction – finally we realized that we were on an island and there was water all around us, and only water, nothing else. In the distance you see Keramoti, Atos...
And just when you feel the satisfaction of achieving something great, you see that the site is crawling with German tourists who take advantage of the benefits of civilization and come to the top by Jeeps … with grandmothers in flip-flops … flip-flops! I was wearing 2 t-shirts, a sweat shirt and a plastic jacket … and she is in her slippers! But still, the feeling of achieving something … cannot be measured … We enrolled in the guestbook."