Samos is a well-known Greek island that lies in the Aegean Sea just off the coast of Asia Minor. It is an island with a very old history and a great tourist attraction. Samos has an area of over 477 km² and belongs to the periphery of the North Aegean Islands. The capital is Vathy, also known as the city of Samos. The island can be reached by boat or plane, since it owns an airport. In addition to tourism, agriculture is also an important source of income. For example, wine, olive oil and citrus fruits are grown on Samos and, as a result, honey is also produced. The Samos wine, a sweet white wine made from muscat grapes is very famous among wine lovers.
It is a real island with mountains, beaches, stream valleys and rocks, but also beautiful beaches and a cultural landscape. Samos is known as a green island and that is something the residents themselves realize. This can be seen from the fact that, despite the 21st century, nature has been left alone as much as possible.
Sea and beach
Samos is an island and therefore very popular with beach lovers. Around the island you can go for various water sports in the sea. The beaches are different everywhere, from meters wide with harbors and rocky walls, surrounded by nature to narrow and equipped with beach beds, umbrellas and hotels.
Cities and villages
The island contains several cities, including the most famous Vathy, Karlovasi and Pythagoreio. In addition, several different smaller towns and villages that are each unique in their style and location. All places on this island are equally beautiful and have a rich history and everywhere you can experience the typical Greek island culture.
Vathy is a true port city in the north-east of the island. It is also the capital of Samos. It lies on the water and has a real natural bay. This natural bay of Vathy is no less than 5 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide. In addition to the large ferries that come ashore here, you can see the real old Greek fishing boats, many residents of Vathy depend on fishing. Vathy is a real tourist town with a long promenade with terraces, eateries, hotes and of course shops, it is wonderful to relax.
The city has an important square, the Platia Pythagoras is named after the mathematician Pythagoras. On this square is next to the date palms a statue of a lion.
Archaeological museum in Vathy
In the archaeological museum you can see the finds found at one of the many archaeological investigations on the island. Although not everything is exhibited in this museum, it nevertheless gives a good impression of the great archaeological value of the area and in particular the UNESCO-designated world heritage sites Pythagoreion and Heraion. The largest crowd puller of the museum is a marble statue of a Kouros. This statue of a naked young man is no less than five meters high and dates from the 7th century BC.
Museum of Byzantine art
In the museum for byzantine art you can find ecclesiastical objects, relics and ecclesiastical art. This museum is located in the Katsouni district.
Of course a wine museum in Vathy cannot be missed. Samos is an important wine region for Greece, so in addition to visiting the vineyards you can visit the museum for the history of this Samos wine.
Ano Vathy is the old part of Vathy. It is higher than Vathy itself, on a hill. It consists of old picturesque houses in Venetian style, narrow streets and alleys. The location is strategically chosen, because it offers the best protection against pirate attacks. From Ano Vathy you have a good view of the harbor and the sea, the view is breathtaking from all sides and you feel like you are back in time. Thanks in part to the fact that Ano Vathy outo is free. Ano Vathy has a few special churches with unique murals and you can really taste the ancient Greek island life.
Karlóvassi is located on the north side of Samos and is the second largest city. It lies along the coast and extends for many kilometers. Around 1900, when the commercial harbor was built here, the town experienced enormous growth and it was soon called the trade center of Samos. Tobacco, leather and olive soap were mainly produced in Karlóvassi. The large bosses of these factories settled in Karlóvassi and that can still be seen today in the country houses, villas, churches and bank buildings mostly in Neo-Classical style. After the Second World War, this trade collapsed and many things became vacant. As a result, you will now still find dilapidated houses, factories and warehouses. The tanner museum is located in one of these old factories.
The old Karlóvassi was built around 1600 on a hill south of the harbor so that people could easily protect themselves against intruders. This hill was overgrown with pines and olive trees and was at a distance from the sea. The church of Agía Triáda, or the Most Holy Trinity, was visible from afar.
Neo or new Karlóvassi is the center of the city, here is also the town hall.
Neo Karlovassi is nowadays the center of the city with the town hall. To honor Pythagoras you will find here the Faculty of Mathematics of the Aegean University.
Potami beach and waterfalls
Near the city of Karlóvassi is a beautiful heart-shaped beach, the beach of Potami. Here also a river flows into the sea and if you follow this upstream you will come to the waterfalls. These breathtaking waterfalls make the not easy trip there really worthwhile.
Karlóvassi is known for its traditions such as the fireworks at Easter, the kadi procession on the last Sunday before Lent and the carnival procession.
Pythagoreio is a coastal city in the southeast of the island of Samos, this city was only named in 1955 after the Greek mathematician, philosopher and reformer Pythagoras. Before this was called Tigani. The airport of Samos is nearby and it is obvious that many tourists visit Pythagoreio.
Pythagoras was born on Samos in ca. 572 BC. and lived until about 500 BC. Pythagoras is known for, among other things, the Pythagorean theorem that we still learn in mathematics. In Pythagoreio is a statue of him that was made in 1989 by Nikolaos Ikaris.
Pythagoreion is an archaeological site that is located in today’s Pythagoreio. Pythagoreion has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1992. It is a remnant of an old fortified gate with Roman and Greek monuments.
Also on the UNESCO World Heritage List is the Heraion of Samos, this is a large sanctuary of the goddess Hera. It lies in a low, swampy area near the sea near Pythagoreion. It is the first of a series of gigantic free-standing Ionian temples, but there have also been temples in the same place that date back to the 8th century BC. The temple of Hera was built in the period that the tyrant Polycrates was in power somewhere between 538-522 BC. Hera was the Greek goddess of marriage and fertility, according to Greek mythology she was secretly married to Zeus on the island of Samos. Archaeological investigations have been carried out at that location since 1702 and to date they are still finding new things. Now it is a ruin temple with a standing pillar. The temple of Hera had a total of no less than 155 pillars.
The Moni Spilianis is located above Pythagorion. It is a small monastery and because it is so high you have a beautiful view of Pythagorion and the surrounding area from here. At the monastery is a small picturesque church and a cave. In this cave the oracle Phyto kept its oracle in ancient times. A small chapel dedicated to Mary has also been built in the cave. The water that trickles down the rock walls is collected in a basin and according to an old story women who step into this water on August 6 come out again as a virgin with cleansed soul.
The underground aqueduct Efpalineio Orygma is located at the foot of the Spyliana mountain near Pythagorion. The aqueduct is no less than 1036 meters long and dates from 550 BC. The Efpalinio provided the old city with water and is seen as the 8th wonder of the ancient world. Nowadays the tunnel of this aqueduct is illuminated and it is a real sight.
Young Artists Festival
The Young Artists Festival takes place annually from 6 to 12 August. Young musicians from Greece, Turkey, Israel and Iceland then come together to make music. This festival takes place in the ancient theater of Pythagorion.
Just outside the city is the longest beach of Samos, it is a pebble beach where you can relax. Within walking distance of the city with a view of the sea. The beach is surrounded by luxury hotels and you can easily enter the sea. This beach is also very suitable for other water sports such as surfing, water skiing and diving. In addition, one can in the immediate vicinity mountain climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
Kokkari is a small village about 10 kilometers from the city of Vathy. It is a real tourist place with many hotels and apartments, not high-rise buildings, but the typical Greek atmospheric architecture. In the tourist season it is also busy there and you can shop in one of the many souvenir shops. Kokkari has two peninsulas, creating a bay. The old center is adjacent to this bay and is car-free. The beautiful pebble beaches with umbrellas and sun beds are very popular with tourists and the sea is ideal for surfing. In the hinterland of Kokkari you can walk along old trees and water sources. You will also find orchid nurseries here that Kokkari is known for.
Platanakia or the valley of the nightingales is a stream valley 19 kilometers west of Vathy. The name owes it to the nightingales that you can sing choirs if you’re lucky. Here the Kakorema stream flows. It lies between the mountain villages of Agios Konstantinos and Manolatesis and is a green oasis on the island. A beautiful babbling brook with crystal clear water in a brook valley. With here and there beautiful waterfalls and trees of at least 15 meters high. The flora and fauna will certainly surprise you.
The most beautiful beach of Samos is Votsalakia. This beach consists of both sand and pebble beaches and has various eateries, restaurants, but also large and small hotels. Surrounded by green dunes and rocks, but also due to the small-scale nature, you will find real peace here.
The Kerkis is a mountain of 1437 meters high west of Vathy and is the highest mountain of the Aegean Sea. It is also one of the whitest mountains, this is due to the high concentration of lime in the soil. In some places you can see this well because the rocks are exposed there. It is part of the Natura 2000 network because of its unique flora and fauna. There are various monasteries on the mountain, but also various rocks. The most famous rock is the rock of Pythagoras where the scientist hid from the tyrant Polycrates.
The Ampelos mountain in the middle of Samos has a height of 1150 meters. On the slope of this mountain there is a village with the same name. Nature is beautiful with beautiful caves and breathtaking waterfalls. From this mountain you can look well over the island.
From Samos you can easily visit other islands with a boat. It is nice to take a boat trip along other islands such as Chios, Lesbos, Kos, Ikaria, and Rhodes and always spend the night somewhere else. But a trip to Turkey, which is only 1.5 kilometers away, and in particular the seaside resort of Kusadasi, is also possible.
Patmos and Ephesus
You can also choose to visit the cultural-historical sights of Patmos and the city of Ephesus by boat. The Johannite monastery on the island of Patmos was founded in Christódoulos monk and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as well as the ancient Turkish city of Ephesus. Ephesus is located on the sea where the Kaystros River flows and there are several Hellenistic and Roman settlements.
The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful everywhere and there is something to do or see everywhere. But because the island is quite large and the sights are quite a bit apart, it is best to rent a car to see everything. This way you can visit many places in a short time. However, many old parts of villages and towns on the island are car-free, so keep this in mind. You can of course walk everywhere.
Samos is therefore a Greek island where you can go for a wonderfully relaxing beach holiday, a water sports holiday or a walking or climbing holiday. But art and culture lovers will also have a wonderful time there. In the high season it can be very touristy, but in the pre and post season the water is also nice and warm and you can fully enjoy the beautiful nature.