One of a number of Greek islands which seemed to drop off the map for UK tourists in the late 80s/early 90s, Samos doesn’t deserve this fate. An island full of rolling hills and mountains covered in green vegetation, its home to many beautiful beaches and towns with white walls and red tiled roofs. Perhaps it is because there is only one direct flight a week from the UK, but this shouldn’t discourage you as it is the same for 90% of the Greek islands. Instead there are plenty of routings through Athens or Thessaloniki, which would not differ to trying to catch a ferry for another island. In this article we’ll take you through the joys of this island to show you why you should give Samos a visit.
Towns and Villages
The capital of Samos is Samos Town (or just Samos) yet locals still refer to it by its old name, Vathy. Located in the Northeast of the island, the town is home to lots of accommodation, mostly made up of small boutique hotels and apartments. Some ferries go into here so if you’re looking for a day trip to Chios then this is where it will go from. There are a wide range of bars, restaurants, tavernas and cafés in the town, meaning you’ll never be short of places to choose from. Samos Town is a good place from which to explore the rest of the island whether by car or by the public transport which stops here.
Driving westwards along the coastal road you’ll reach the towns of Kokkari and Karlovasi. Kokkari is a picturesque town which hugs the coastline and sits with views either side of a jutting piece of headland. On one side restaurants, cafes and bars sit atop the short cliffs giving you a view out to see where you can see the ferries coming to Samos Town. On the other side buildings lead down to a wide stretch of pebble beach with food and hotels lining the beachfront. A 30-minute drive further along the coastal road you’ll reach Karlovasi. It is a town where a lot of the locals live and as such as plenty of shops and supermarkets as well as a few restaurants. If you don’t fancy driving, get between Samos Town and Karlovasi by boat for a different and more scenic view of the island.
Finally in the south of the island is its original capital Pythagoreion. As such there is much to do here and it is also where you can catch ferries to other islands and to Turkey. Pythagoreion is a great place to explore the rich history of the island, and no better place to start than the Tunnel of Eupalinus. This engineering marvel was created by the eponymous architect, on the orders of the tyrant Polycrates, as an underground aqueduct to provide water to the ancient capital. Built this way so as not to be found and destroyed by potential invaders, the tunnel is now dried out and is one of Samos’ most visited tourist attractions. To continue your historical tour of Pythagoreion, visit the Castle of Lykourgos Logothetis and the Roman Baths. They showcase both the ancient and more modern side of Samos’ past.
Things to Do
As you’ve probably already seen Samos is packed full of things to do. Whilst we’ve highlighted some things in the towns, here are our picks of what to do on the rest of the island. The Heraion Sanctuary is another of Samos’ most visited spots. The village is named after Hera, the goddess of women and childbirth and the wife of Zeus. It is named so because in mythology it is said to be her birthplace. As such the islands inhabitants built what was the largest temple to her in the ancient world. Of the original 155, 25m high pillars, only the one remains. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and features a number of ancient and more modern sites.
Samos is home to a rich wine culture. Its most famous, the Samos Muscat is renowned throughout the world, so much so that the Vatican used to have its own winery on the island and Samos still produces the wine for Holy Communion. If you’re a wine fan, the best time to visit is the first ten days of August, when Vathy hosts a wine festival at which you can taste all varieties of Samos Muscat. Vathy is also home to the Museum of Samos Wines which showcases artefacts from Samos’ wine history in a beautiful 19th century stone building.
Samos’ location and ferry links makes it perfect for day trips to other islands and Turkey. Only a mile away across the strait is the Turkish town of Kusadasi. A resort town famous for its Medieval walls and open air market, you can also tour the nearby ancient site of Ephesus. You can either take the boat across and explore yourself or there are a number of organised tours which you can go on. You can also take ferries to explore the nearby islands of Chios, Fourni, Lipsi, Ikaria and Patmos. We can sort ferries when you enquire but be aware these do not run everyday and as such may not always fit with your trip.
Samos has some beautiful beaches which have wonderfully clear waters for you to relax by and swim in. Most of the beaches are pebble with there only being one sandy beach on the island. There are organised beaches but for those looking to find a more secluded spot, there are plenty of bays which don’t have many people on them which you can find. The beach by the town of Kokkari is one of the best on the island and is in a great location for those staying or just passing by. Surrounded by lush greenery and white rock faces, Tsamadou beach is one of the more beautiful on the island and is very close to the previously mentioned beach at Kokkari. In south of the island sits Mykali beach. A more remote but no less beautiful beach, here you can see across the strait to Turkey with a few sunbeds and cafes to use as well.
And that’s it. We have we have shown why Samos has so much to offer and why you should definitely give it a go or return for the first time in a few decades. To find out more about the rest of Greece, take a look around our website or call us on 01157843388. If you know where you’re looking to book, call us, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking for. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your Greek Holiday needs. If you've been to Samos, where was your favourite place? What was the best thing you did, or do you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments or on social media, just click the buttons below which take you to our social pages
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