Located right at the heart of the Central Aegean Sea, Samos Island is one you cannot miss when you are cruising this region. This particular island is the closest to Turkey, being cut off from it by the 1.6km wide Mycale Strait. Arguably one of the most beautiful places in Greece, this lush island is well-known for many different reasons – be it the traditional villages, orchid fields, vineyards, beaches, ancient remains or the local cuisine. Should you be in the Aegean Sea this island should be included into your itinerary. To honour this goddess, the Heraion of Samos was built around the 8th century just southwest of the ancient city as a great sanctuary. One can easily spot the sole standing column, preserved up to half of its original height, and just imagine the grandeur of one of the largest Greek temples. As for the ancient city, it was named after of one of the greatest philosophers and mathematicians of our time – Pythagoras, born in the island of Samos, gave the name to this ancient capital, Pythagoreion. Declared a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site this town boasts a picturesque harbour, a statue of Pythagoras himself, the Church of Metamorphosis, the Monastery of Megali Panagia and even Roman Baths, to name a few of its sites.
Things to do in Samos
It is hard to miss the view of the vineyard-coated mountains, for Samos is famous for its sweet Muscat wine, made of Samian grapes and praised since antiquity. Be sure to taste it at any of the port tavernas should you fancy having a wine tasting of your own over a snack fresh olives and goat cheese aperitifs. Walking around the island reveals the mix of olive groves and ancient ruins, the clever engineering of the Efpalinio Tunnel or the quaint Spiliani Monastery, for those wanting to view the island from the top of mountain villages. Perhaps you might even stumble upon old rebétika performing old songs and gaze away at the scenic shores of Turkey. Even after the sun goes down, Samos by night has most of its nightlife focused mainly in the town of Vathy, where a range of restaurants, taverns, cafes, bouzoukias, ouzeries offer the chance of a relaxing or intense night. With its vineyard-coated mountains, one can easily tell that this island must be known for its fine Samian wine. Praised since antiquity, its one of their main exports and can be easily found at any of the port tavernas should you fancy doing a wine tasting of your own.
Around the town, one can go off on a rental scooter or car to explore the many charming boutiques, which are filled with Greek handicrafts such as goat wool bags, ceramics or a traditional handmade rug called flokatis. You might even find some Samian wine bottles to take home or present any friends or family! For those wanting to explore the nature scene of Samos, Mount Karvouni and Mount Ampelos are great hiking places and a treat to the senses, as on the trails one can easily smell the wild jasmine. As with any great Greek island, the beaches are always a must-do. From powdery to pebbly beaches, Samos hosts a decent range – Gagkou Beach is a 15-minute walk from the ferry port, Psili Ammos is charming with its several taverns, Kokkari is a well-serviced beach with a small fishing harbour, Possidonion is a bit less populated but family-friendly and Potokaki offers a range of active watersports.
How to get to Samos
Samos Island is easily reached by plane from Athens, but should you be already in Turkey, it’s easily accessed by any of the daily ferries. For island hoppers looking to explore the other islands within the Aegean Sea, a boat transfer southbound one can reach the Dodecanese group. Be it a day or an overnight trip, one can go from exploring the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, promenade down the panoramic port in Symi or visit the sacred island of Patmos where the Monastery of St John the Divine stands. Other ferry connections are available for the other island groups from Samos port.