Thirassia
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Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia
Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia
THE ISLAND OF THIRASSIA OR THIRASIA IN THE CYCLADES IN GREECE - A QUIET AND AUTHENTIC GEM
Thirassia map, plattegrond Nederlands

After the eruption of the vulcano Santorini two major islands were left: Thira (or better known as Santorini) and the much smaller island opposite it, which is called Thirassia. Besides laying opposite eachother in the Aegean Sea they are also opposites in almost every aspect. While Santorini with its many houses build on the vulcano cliff is an island totally depending on tourism, Thirassia hardly has any houses on it and you will not see the crowds here. It is even hard to find accommodation on the island (supposedly there is something in the Chora, but we were told that here the one taverna of the village closes the door sometimes at 18.00 pm, so no late night dinners).

Until 236 BC Thirassia was still connected to the northen part of Santorini, but an eruption in 236 BC destroyed a land bridge that connected the two island. Because there are no really good sandy beaches on the island Thirassia has never developped into a tourist destination. This is why the whole island still remained very much unspoilt and a visit to it can feel like a visit back in time. There are just a couple of settlements on the island of which Manolas is the largest. This village is like a miniature version of Fira or Oia on Santorini, and there are cave houses and windmills. One of the sights of interest on the island is the Kimisis Monastery in the south of the island, which can be reached by a walk over the caldera rim from the village of Manolas. On the way you will also pass the abandoned village of Kera. North of the village of Riva lies the attractive old Agia Irini church, which gave neighbouring Santorini - Saint Irini - its Venetian name.

Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia
Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE ISLAND OF THIRASSIA OR THIRASIA IN THE CYCLADES IN GREECE

Most visitors to the island come from Fira (Santorni) and arrive at the harbour of Korfos. In Korfos there is a small pebble beach and there are a couple of tavernas. In Korfos are also the stairs that lead up to the capital Manolas. We took a small boat from one of the harbours of Oia, Ammoudi, and landed in the harbour of Riva, which is on the north side of Thirassia. From Ammoudi a small boat leaves at 8.30 in the morning and at 12.30 in the afternoon and it returns from Riva at 17.00 in the afternoon (times have changed in 2011 and also there was a larger boat, see time table - doesn't mean it will be the same times in the years after, so check it in the harbour of Amoudi near Oia. In 2013 the schedule had disappeared but the boat was still going, soi you might ask the locals). On arrival at Riva there will be a bus waiting to take you up to Manolas (except for Sundays when there is none, in which case you will find one of the locals and they will bring you up for a small fee).

I am sure I got it right this way but I have to say that it was all a bit unclear. There were two destinations you could get to on the boat: Korfos or Riva. With Korfos they mean the little harbour where you can begin the climb to the Chora upstairs (Manolas), and with Riva they mean the small village in the north, allthough in this village we saw a sign that said "Agia Eirini" (the holy peace). All the maps of Thirassia say something else and are very unclear and undetailed, and so I believe the inhabitants of the island themselves also don't know what their villages are called anymore.

Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia
Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia Thirassia

Riva (or Agia Eirini) consists of just a few dozen houses along the shore and a couple of tavernas. There is a long stretched pebble beach with black round lava stones. Don't come to this beach unprepaired because there is no shade. You must bring your own parasol, sun lotion, some food and plenty of water, and maybe some slippers if you want to get into the sea (we didn't put on our slippers and I could feel my feet at the end of the day). The pebbles can maybe feel a bit unpleasant and they can get hot. The temperature of the water is nice (but hé, you are swimming above the vulcano) and the water is clear. For us a visit to Thirassia, its peace and quiet and its beautiful nature was a pleasant experience.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

During our first visit to Thirassia we only lied on the beach and we were just happy with the idea that we had been on another island, but during our second visit to Thirassia we wanted to see a bit more of the island. That was partly because I had seen a program on TV where people visited the island and climbed the stairs to the Chora in search of a cemetery where a vampire would be buried. The images were beautiful. The grave was next to a beautiful church where you had an amazing view Thirassia. I wanted to go there and of course I wanted to find the grave of the vampire.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

This time we took the boat to Korfos. It is a cozy little harbor with some adjacent beaches. This harbor is also the destination of the boats from Fira (allthough sometimes there is a small ferry coming from Fira, that can accommodate a couple of cars - the Nissos Thirassia). In Korfos there are some taverns and a few houses. In itself it is very small. It looks like it has put down to accommodate the tourists who look up and then decide to not climb up to the upper village. Of all the people who stepped off the boat there were only four (including us) who started the walk upwards. By the way: it's also possible to do the trip on a donkey. We went on foot. The trip to the upper Chora Manolas takes about twenty to thirty minutes, but when we were about half way it seemed like an eternity. Especially in the heat it is quite an undertaking, but the rewards of the views you get on your way make up a little bit for this. Warning: bring a big bottle of water with you when you are going to make thi climb, because you will need it!

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

At the end of the stairs you will end up in the village of Manolas. Here on the corner, strategically placed, you directly bump into a tavern where people will ask you to come in for a drink. We walked further, basically because they were calling us in and it sounded too much like a business plan, which we didn't like. Instead we walked a bit further to find some shade, have a reat and take a few sips of water. In the rest of the village it is very quiet and we have only seen a few people (three in total). There are beautiful churches in the village and houses of the same kind as in Santorini. It is all very similar to Santorini, only it's much, much more quiet and the village is not as larged or done up as for instance Oia or Fira on Santorini. From the village of Manolas you also have beautiful views of the sea and Santorini.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

After walking through the village and having a look at it we had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that I had spotted the church with the grave yard that I had seen on television (de Agios Charalampos church) and the bad news that it as situated even higher, on a hill just outside the village. It took another ten minutes or so to get there. Once in the grave yard we looked around to see if we could find the grave of the vampire, but of course it wasn't marked as such, and so we have probably seen it but we didn't know that that was it. There is one grave that grabs the attention, without pictures and without earth in front of it, looking more like a column with a cross on it. But since the church was on one of the highest spots of the island the views were even better here. Around the corner of the church we found a lot of chickens and a turkey. I am not sure, but I think that if we would have walked a bit further we might have walked into an old deserted village. Who knows maybe we will explore it the next time we are on the island.

Zacharo Rooms - Accommodation on the island of Thirassia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

You can reach the church with the cemetery you can if you turn left after you've come up the stairs and go towards the big church inside the village. At one moment you will see the small church on the hill. On your way to the church with the grave yard you will also see an accommodation where you can rent a room when you're on the island. According to the internet, all rooms have a balcony with sea views, a bathroom, a TV and a kitchenette.

Zacharo Rooms are situated at the highest point of Manolas village, in Thirasia. It offers basic rooms with balconies overlooking the sea and the port. There is very little for rent on this super quiet island. The garden and the room's patios/balconies offer views across the village and the island of Ios, the port of Korfos and the wild beauty of the Caldera. All have air conditioning, TV, fridge and private bathroom. The beach is 2.5 km away and the port is 3 km away. The village centre and the shops are only 150 metres from Zacharo Rooms. Free private parking is available.

Check availabilities & prices and book Zacharo Rooms on Thirassia - click here

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

After we took a look at the church on the hill we decided to slowly walk down from the little mountain village to the other village with the beach in the north of the island. Apparently are several ways to reach it. There is a coastal road, but we decided to walk over the mountain (it's only going down and you do not have to climb much anymore). Here you have beautiful views. The walk takes you maybe one hour, one hour and a half and the last part is quite steep and still quite tiring. You'll see few houses but quite a few nice churches.

On the island nature take its course, except in the many fields where grapes are grown for wine making. Also, you walk past a medical center with an ambulance (with a flat tire!). When you're almost at the end there is a small monastery at (Agia Irini) which of course is closed. There are more monasteries on the island, five more in total, but they are placed elsewhere, including along the coast in the west and in the southern part of the island. So for us a reason to return again and maybe not make the climb over the stairs to the Chora, just take the bus from the other village instead. On the arrival of the boat there is always a bus waiting to bring you up the hill: just a little easier.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

There are two ways you can walk back over the hilltops from the capital Manolas to the port of Agia Eirini. There is an asphalt road and a concrete one. The walk takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Also nice is the walk along the coastal path. You will get to that if you walk back from the vampire church to Manolas and immediately take the first exit on your left and continue walking down the trail. You will then walk through another very beautiful village called Potamos. Again, it maked a deserted impression and there are quite a number of beautiful churches, including one with a special painted facade with clocks. Just when you think you've now seen the last church of the village, there is another very small church on your path. At the end of the way down there is a T in the road and you can go to the left to the village of Agrilia and a bit further to Christos church, or you can go to the right to the harbor of Agia Eirini. En route to Agia Eirini you will encounter a couple of black pebble beaches (not all of them equally clean, but the biggest one looked pretty nice). Another hiking option is to walk from Manolas completely to the southernmost point of the island where there is another church, the Kimisi Theotokou.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia
Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

We had a little time left to spend in Riva / Agia Eirini so we had a drink in one of the tavernes, the Agistri Restaurant, which overlooks te sea. After that we put our tired feet in the water and we immediately felt much better. The boat back to Santorini picked us up right on schedule, at ten minutes past five. This boat is quite fast and so it takes only about ten or fifteen minutes before you are back in the harbour of Amoudi.

Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia Thirassia, Thirasia

© Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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