Author: Dimitri

Thassos Virgin Olive Oil: why it is so unique

After a busy summer, Thassians turn to agriculture, fishing and the quiet village life. A standard annual task is the collection of olives from October to December. Thanks to its ancient olive trees, Thassos produces some of the finest virgin olive oils you can find in Greece.

In this article, you will learn everything about our Thassos virgin olive oil. It is also known as Thassitiko, which translates “from Thassos”.


What makes Thassos virgin olive oil unique?

Thassos is home to some of the largest and oldest olive trees in Greece. Their reputation is so big that there is an interesting story about olive trees, ancient Phoenicians, and Greek mythology

Leaving history aside, the locals take great care of their olive trees. To be specific, the local authorities and olive oil associations have established a unique watering system that protects most olive trees from the lengthy summer droughts. Thanks to this innovative system already established in 1980, the olives grow big and rich in oil.

This is the main reason why Thassos olives, also known as “throuba”, sell all around Greece. Their taste is unique. As a result, the olive oil is also of similar quality and excellence. You won’t know how good it is until you try.

What are the benefits of Thassos virgin olive oil?

Any authentic olive oil is healthy. However, if you come to Thassos, you want to taste the best of the best. It is only natural to ask for the renowned local olive oil, such as “Thassitiko”. And if you have the chance, you also want to bring a bottle or two back home.

To start with the medical benefits, there are studies showing that Thassos olives and olive oil can lower the chance of blood diseases and heart attacks. At the same time, locals claim that a spoon of extra virgin olive oil in the morning can give you enough strength for the entire day.

Since Thassos virgin olive oil is mechanically produced, without artificial elements or other additives, it makes sense it is so healthy. Yet, health benefits are not the only thing you will love about this olive oil. It also tastes delicious; all thanks to its rich smell, characteristic greenish yellow color and outstanding density.

Thassos Virgin Olive Oil: why it is so unique 1
The olive oil factory in Skala Kallirachi

Who makes Thassos virgin olive oil?

Almost every village in Thassos has its own olive oil association. Local olive tree owners register to the association and pay an annual fee. In exchange, the association, owned by all its members, is responsible for transforming the olives to olive oil.

Depending on how many fields they have, the locals spend a few weeks or even months between October and December to collect the olives from their trees. Then, they take the olives and bring them to the local olive oil factory, owned and maintained by the association. One such factory is the one you see in the picture above, located in Skala Kallirachi. 

Once they are in the factory, the olives go through a series of procedures for three to four months to become olive oil. The first delivery of olive oil takes place around April. The more olives a member gives in the winter, the more olive oil they receive in spring. 

We at Studios Plaka spend three to four weeks collecting olives every November. As a result, we have more than enough olive oil and olives for the entire year. Like most locals, we sell the remaining olive oil while we usually gift a small bag of olives to every guest, once they leave. 

Feel free to ask us or any other local for olive oil or olives. Chances are that they will have their own olive oil for sale or they know someone who does.

Still curious? Check out a 360 view of the olive oil HERE

How to get Covid test in Thassos

Before you leave Thassos and Greece, you may need an official test result that shows you are Covid-free. Your country may require this document to allow entrance. Thankfully, taking a PRC or rapid test in Thassos is easy and quick. 

This article explains everything you need on how to get Covid test in Thassos.

Where and how to get Covid test in Thassos

There are two microbiologists in the capital of Thassos, Limenas. You can visit them and do the test on their premises. Alternatively, you can call them, and they can come to your place, wherever you are in Thassos, including Studios Plaka. We can also call them for you if you want.

Another way to get a Covid test is to visit any pharmacy and ask for a self-test. Although you can find a pharmacy almost in every village, the result from the self-test will not be official proof or document that border control can accept. 

However, you can use the results from rapid or PCR tests from microbiologists. The microbiologists will issue a document in English for you to take with you to the border.

How much is the Covid test in Thassos

Although prices can fluctuate from week to week, the cost for a rapid test would be about 20 euros if you visit the microbiologist. The PCR test will be around 60 euros. 

If you want the microbiologist to come to your accommodation or place of preference, there would be an extra charge of about 10 euros. 

Finally, the simple unofficial self-tests from the pharmacy cost between 5 to 9 euros, depending on current availability. They are either saliva or nasal tests. 

How fast will I have my Covid test results in Thassos?

The microbiologists will send you an email with the official results within 24 hours. The only exception would concern Sunday, which is a day that they don’t work. So, if you make your appointment Saturday afternoon, you may have the results by Monday. 

However, you will most probably have the results within the same day. If you take a rapid test, you can wait a bit in the lab, and they can tell you the result. It usually takes more time to prepare and send the email than taking the test itself.

When it comes to PCR tests, the lab will send the sample to a special lab, either in the mainland or Thassos. You will have the result in your email inbox later on the same day or the next day (excluding Sundays). The results would be in English as required by international law.

What are the contact details of microbiologist labs in Thassos?

The microbiologist lab of Konstantinos Chrissogelos is at the capital of Thassos Limenas. Their address and contact details are:

The other microbiologist lab in the capital is the lab of Konstantinos Pates. Their details are:

Once you call them, they can help you find the building. You can also click on the links above to see their exact location. Google Maps is your friend here. So feel free to insert the address on Google Maps, and find the laboratory.

When to call the microbiologist lab in Thassos to book the appointment?

You can call the microbiologist lab at least one day before the day you want to take the test. Usually, most countries require a PCR test within 72 hours from the time you pass border control. You can call the lab three or four days before your departure and schedule the appointment for your preferred time.

For example, if you leave Thassos and return home on Saturday, you can call the lab on Wednesday and schedule an appointment for Thursday, two days before returning home. By Friday, if not later on Thursday, you will have the results in your email inbox. 

The whole process is smooth, professional, and efficient. You do not need to worry about the Covid test. The labs can take care of it and prepare everything for you. Your priority should be to enjoy your well-deserved holidays in Thassos and Greece!

Thassos COVID Updates (March 2021)

Here is a detailed update of the COVID situation in Thassos for March 2021.

COVID Cases in Thassos in March 2021.

Here you can see the reported incidents of the new coronavirus in Thassos in March 2021, as announced by the municipality.

  • 1/03 in Prinos: 59 negatives, 1 positive
  • 3/03 in Limenaria: 116 negatives, 0 positive 
  • 4/03 in Potos: 95 negatives, 3 positive
  • 5/03 in Limenas: 86 negative, 0 positive 
  • 8/03 in Prinos: 2 incidents reported 
  • 9/03 in Kallirachi: no incidents reported 
  • 11/03 in Limenaria: 1 incident reported 
  • 12/03 in Prinos: no incidents reported 
  • 16/03 in Theologos: no incidents reported 
  • 18/03 in Limenas: no incidents reported 
  • 22/03 in Prinos: no incidents reported 
  • 23/03 in Panagia: 1 incident reported 
  • 29/03 in Prinos: no incidents reported 
  • 30/03 in Limenaria: 2 incidents reported 
  • 31/03 in Limenas: no incidents recorded

Thassos sends two rescuers to Athens 

On the 26th of March, the local municipality decided to send 2 rescuers (personnel in the health center in Prinos) to Athens in order to help their colleagues there. This is done because the health system in Athens is under pressure and many rescuers (working in ambulances) have shifts that reach 12 hours non-stop. 

Vaccinations continue

All citizens above the age of 75 have already received both doses of their Covid-19 vaccinations. 

There have also been people between 60 and 65 that have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine which is recommended for ages until 65.

On the 26th of March, the vaccination started for those between the ages of 70 and 74.

In addition, April is the month where the vaccinations will start for those between 65 and 69.

As for the specific numbers, the local press announced on the 26th that 1000 vaccinations took place by the 25th. This includes 548 1st doses and 452 2nd doses, meaning that at least 452 people have been fully vaccinated.

What does the future hold?

Since Covid-19 became part of our life on a global scale, we are not able to make safe predictions. However, health experts discuss the gradual reopening of the economy from April. At the same time, the prime minister, as well as the tourism minister have marked the 14th of May as the date when hotels and borders will open. This is not a fixed date but looks more like a realistic goal. Everything will depend on the vaccinations and test results.

For all those that want to visit Greece, it is almost certain that a similar model would be followed as last year. That means you would be able to come to Greece if you have a negative test result or you have recovered from the virus. This year, proof of vaccination will also be accepted as an alternative document to enter the country. We are waiting for the official announcements of the government.

In any case, although the 2021 summer will still not be any close to 2019, it is expected to be better than last year. 

Thassos COVID Updates (February 2021)

Here is a detailed update of the COVID situation in Thassos for February 2021 and the months coming into it. We will continue to publish similar Thassos COVID updates for the remaining months.

Thassos Covid updates until February

Greece has been in a nation-wide lockdown since the 7th of November. If you want to move, you must have a good reason and need to send an SMS to a special number. Similarly, in Thassos, the lockdown has affected life in the community.

All cafes, snack bars, restaurants, and tavernas cannot host visitors. Although there is still the choice of takeaway, most businesses have decided to close as the expenses far outweigh any income. The 9 pm curfew certainly played a role in their decision, especially for snack bars. 

Schools remained mostly closed since the start of the academic year in September. Students follow their classes online. Although the schools opened for a few weeks at the start of the year for certain classes, the authorities again moved the classes online.

Rapid Tests started in January

Until the end of the year 2020, anyone wishing to test against the new coronavirus had to either pay for the test or be severely sick to be qualified by the local health authorities. If that was the case, a doctor would be sent to their home so that they could test against the virus.

However, since January, mobile units have been created by the municipality to offer free rapid tests to everyone wishing.

Test Results

Here are the announced results for all tests since January (published by the municipality):

  1. 18-19 Jan in Potamia and Panagia: 124 negative, 1 positive 
  2. 21 Jan in Rachoni: 67 negative, 0 positive 
  3. 28 Jan in Limenas: 113 negative, 0 positive 
  4. 10 Feb in Prinos in a school unit: 6 cases were found of the new British variant. This finding forced the mayor to demand all education classes be moved back online. This indeed applied within a few days for all students, from kindergarten to high school.
  5. 11 Feb in Prinos: 74 negative, 2 positive 
  6. 12 Feb in Limenaria: 160 negative, 3 positive 

Another source claims that up to 25 students in Thassos have tested positive in the new COVID British variant, brought into the island by a teacher. 

Thassos moved Risk_Zone on 19/02

Due to the recent events with the new British variant cases on the islands, the government decided to move the municipality of Thassos to a higher-risk zone on the 19th of February.

Now the curfew starts at 6 pm (instead of 9 pm) and goes until 5 am. Retail stores can only work with click away (a new initiative by the government to promote orders online but the option to pick up from the store in a determined time). 

Visits in any hair salon, clothes store, or bookstore can happen only with a scheduled date. 1 person, every 25 squared meters is allowed inside any store. All stores close on Sunday. 

Vaccination continues on February 

As with the rest of Greece, vaccination has also started on the island of Thassos for the elderly. First, everyone above 85 years only was vaccinated in the second half of January, followed in February by those above 80 years of age.

A platform can be used to schedule the appointment. For those who do not have the means or knowledge to use mobile devices, the municipality of Thassos has set up call lines and a special team to help booking the two appointments. 

The vaccine will come in two doses and by the end of February, most elderly above 80 years of age will have taken both shots. Apart from the mobile units, most vaccinations take place in the health center of Prinos.

Summer 2021

We will continue to publish similar Thassos COVID updates for the remaining months.

The whole island is preparing for the new summer season and everyone is confident that the current measures and vaccinations will help us have yet another safe and carefree summer under the light of the Greek sun!

Talk Soon,

Studios Plaka

Olive trees, Phoenicians and Mythology

You all know the olive trees in Plaka. But did you know they are as old as 3000 years? History and mythology come together to reveal a fascinating story about olive trees in Thassos. Learn how a Phoenician prince gave his name to the island in search of his sister, called… Europe!

The story starts 1200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ when traders from the Phoenician empire appeared in Aegean waters. With them, they brought ceramic, stone, and other goods. After all, the Phoenicians were famous metalworkers. It did not take long for them to notice the richness of Thassos soil’s minerals. We all know about the famous crystal-white Thassos marble which Saudi princes insist to use for their palaces. But at that time, Thassos was also a land rich in gold, stones, and other metal resources.

Although the historic sources are vague, it is hypothesized that at the height of the Phoenician trade (8th century BC), Phoenicians became increasingly interested in mining and exploiting Thassos soils. Among the gifts and exchanges, they offered to Thassians were olive oil seeds which they planted themselves in the Western side of the island, mostly in the valley of what is now known as Prinos. It is no coincidence that these olive trees are now the tallest olive trees on the island. Oral tradition indicated that Phoenicians planted the olive tree seeds in the fields right next to sea level, such as Plaka. They were after all no roads and these areas were easier to access by boat.

A wonderful story from Greek Mythology comes to complement the historic facts. A girl named Europa (from whom today’s Europe takes its name) was a favorite daughter of a Phoenician king, named Anigoras. Anogoras had 3 sons and his daughter Europa, but everybody knew that he loved her daughter more than any other of his children. According to tradition, Zeus, the god of the sky and the ruler of all gods, abducted Europa for her beauty. King Anagoras then sent his three sons to find Europa and bring her home safely. His younger son was called Thassos (YES, Europe and Thassos are brothers!). Thassos desperately wandered many places to find her sister and to make his father proud. But he failed. He was desperate and did not want to face his father with his failure. Then, he came across a beautiful island in the North of the Aegean. He was lured by the beauty and richness of the soil’s minerals. He decided to settle in along with the rest of the Phoenicians that accompanied him. Therefore, the island was named after Europe’s brother Thassos.

Olive trees, Phoenicians and Mythology 2Many sources hint at the presence of Phoenicians in Thassos. You can hear locals speak about how the olive trees were brought to the island by the Phoenicians. Truth or not, one thing is sure: these trees are old. Hundreds to thousands of years old. Some say these trees never die. But what is the truth? What does science say about the longevity of olive trees? The answers can surprise you. They argue that olive trees can live up to 5000 years. In fact, there is one olive tree in Sardinia that is documented to be 4000 years. In other words, Phoenicians could have planted olive trees in Thassos already 3000 years ago.

Why can olive trees live so long after all? Truth is, they don’t… literally speaking. The trunk and branches do not live forever. They hollow out and die off many, many times throughout the life of the tree. The root and the parts of the olive tree that are underground however do not die of natural causes. They sprout and send forth new trees again and again. Any disease that makes the transition to an olive grove will simply kill the parts of the tree that extend above ground. After a suitable period, when nature safely clears the dead tree away, the olive root will simply sprout another tree. Wonderful, right?

Please remember this story the next time you sit under the shade of Plaka olive trees. These plants are magnificent and bring a juicy story (and myths) with them. They may have been the reason why our island was named Thassos or our continent was named Europe. Who knows? Greek mythology may be entertaining and illogical, but hey, behind every myth there is some truth, right? In any case, next time you taste our olive oil or receive the traditional olive box gift from Maria, remind yourself that there is an interesting story, history, and mythology, around these eternal trees.