Gorgeous Samos, Greece – over 20 tips to discover

Samos – Imperial island that has fascinated visitors for over a thousand years. From the tyrant Polycrates to Pythagoras and Emperor Marcus Antonius, Samos truly has something to tell.

This is Samos

This green island is located in the Aegean Sea, near Asia Minor, close to Patmos and a stone’s throw from Turkey. Warm hot summers, sunny and lush, make Samos a popular holiday destination for Europeans. To reach Samos, you can fly in just a couple of hours, and the airport is only minutes away from Pythagorion, one of the many popular resorts on the island. On a really hot summer day, temperatures can easily rise to around 40 degrees, and the winds blow hot. Samos has approximately 44,000 inhabitants, many of whom reside in Canada during the winter months.

Easiest way to get here is a flight through Athens and a short flight down to the island.

Vathy, the caiptal of the island

The capital of the island is Vathy, or Samos Town, with approximately 6,000 inhabitants. Other cities include Pythagorion, Kokkari, Karlovasi, and Votsalakia. The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC and was one of the richest and most powerful islands in the region during the 10th century, playing a leading role in maritime activities.

Around 530 BC, the Eupalinos Tunnel was constructed on the island, a water conduit created by digging towards the center from opposite sides of the mountain. When they met in the middle, the tunnel’s height differed by only a small margin, which is impressive considering the era in which it was built.

From Pythagorion, you can embark on a delightful hike up to the tunnel, enjoying breathtaking views along the way. It’s recommended to bring some water, sunglasses, a sun hat, and take a leisurely stroll up the mountain. The walk is accompanied by the scents of olive trees, oregano, and dried grass.

Inside Pythagorion, you can also explore the remnants of Marcus Antonius’ summer residence, which he shared with Cleopatra. The harbor is lined with restaurants, bars, and cafes, and from the pier, you can catch a ferry to various destinations, including Patmos and Kusadasi, Turkey.

The hotels in Pythagorion are scattered in various locations. Some are centrally located along the harbor promenade, others are nestled on the slopes surrounding the area, and some are situated along the main street leading to the large beach, near the airport. The buildings are low-rise, and there are no large hotel complexes, contributing to the charm and character of the town.

Small island to get around

Samos is a relatively small island, and it’s quite easy to get around. The best way is, of course, to rent a car or a scooter. Taking it easy and enjoying the journey allows you to easily discover your own secluded coves where you can be completely alone.

As on many Greek islands, the roads on Samos wind their way through the landscape, and during the scorching summer days, the asphalt can be burning hot and intermittently slippery. The winding downhill roads require a cautious approach. Samos is a fairly green island; apart from the mountain peaks, you’ll find beautiful olive groves, cypress trees, and lush vegetation.

Gorgeous Samos, Greece - over 20 tips to discover 1
  1. Kokkari:
    • Description: Kokkari is a picturesque fishing village known for its narrow streets, traditional houses, and a scenic harbor. The village has a laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood at waterfront tavernas, stroll along the pebble beaches, and explore the village’s charming shops.
    • Activities: Kokkari offers opportunities for water activities like windsurfing and sailing. Hiking enthusiasts can explore nearby trails, providing stunning views of the Aegean Sea.
  2. Votsalakia (also known as Kampos or Kampos Marathokampos):
    • Description: Votsalakia is a coastal area on the southwest side of Samos, known for its beautiful beaches and serene ambiance. The long sandy beach is a major draw, with clear blue waters and a backdrop of lush green hills. The area is less crowded compared to some other parts of the island, offering a peaceful retreat.
    • Activities: Relax on the beach, explore the nearby villages, and savor traditional Greek cuisine at local tavernas. Votsalakia is also a great base for exploring the southwestern part of Samos.
  3. Karlovassi:
    • Description: Karlovassi is a charming town with a mix of traditional and neoclassical architecture. It is located on the northwest coast of Samos and has a rich history associated with trade and education. The town is surrounded by hills and offers a glimpse into the island’s past through its well-preserved buildings.
    • Activities: Visit the local museums, including the Archaeological Museum of Samos and the Folklore Museum. Take a stroll in the town square, enjoy coffee at quaint cafes, and explore the nearby beaches and hiking trails.

These three destinations showcase the diversity of Samos, providing visitors with a range of experiences from beachside relaxation to cultural exploration.

Beaches in Samos

Samos boasts a variety of beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings. Here are some notable beaches on the island:

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  1. Tsamadou Beach:
    • Location: Tsamadou Beach is situated on the northeastern coast of Samos.
    • Description: Known for its pristine waters and lush green surroundings, Tsamadou Beach is one of the most famous on the island. The beach is divided into two parts, one of which is clothing-optional, attracting a diverse crowd. The rocky cliffs and pine-covered hills create a stunning backdrop.
  2. Lemonakia Beach:
    • Location: Lemonakia Beach is located near Kokkari on the northern coast.
    • Description: This charming beach is nestled between two rocky headlands, providing a sheltered and scenic setting. The clear turquoise waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Lemonakia Beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, and its proximity to Kokkari makes it easily accessible.
  3. Potami Beach:
    • Location: Potami Beach is found on the northern coast, close to Karlovassi.
    • Description: Accessible by a short hike through a lush gorge, Potami Beach rewards visitors with its unspoiled beauty. The beach is surrounded by greenery, and the nearby Potami Waterfalls add to the enchanting atmosphere. The secluded nature of Potami Beach makes it a peaceful retreat.
  4. Psili Ammos Beach:
    • Location: Psili Ammos is located on the southeastern coast of Samos, near the village of Mykali.
    • Description: Psili Ammos is known for its golden sands and clear shallow waters. The beach is relatively undeveloped, offering a tranquil environment for those seeking a quieter setting. Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and the peaceful atmosphere of this charming beach.
  5. Kerveli Beach:
    • Location: Kerveli Beach is situated on the eastern coast of Samos.
    • Description: Kerveli is a serene and uncrowded beach surrounded by hills covered with olive trees. The calm waters make it suitable for swimming and relaxation. There are a few tavernas along the shore where visitors can enjoy local cuisine while taking in the beautiful views.

Spectacular restaurants

Samos offers a variety of restaurants, tavernas, and eateries, ranging from traditional Greek establishments to more modern and innovative ones. While individual preferences can vary, here are a few restaurants on the island that have gained a positive reputation for their cuisine and ambiance:

  1. Molivos Restaurant (Molivos, near Pythagorion):
    • Description: Molivos is known for its picturesque setting, offering panoramic views of the sea. The restaurant focuses on traditional Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, serving fresh seafood, local meats, and a selection of Greek specialties. The romantic atmosphere and friendly service contribute to the overall dining experience.
  2. Kouroumalis Beach Restaurant (Tsamadou Beach):
    • Description: Located right on Tsamadou Beach, Kouroumalis Beach Restaurant provides a delightful seaside dining experience. Guests can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood, grilled dishes, and traditional Greek mezze while listening to the sound of the waves.
  3. Kouros Palace Hotel Restaurant (Mare Verde, Pythagorion):
    • Description: Situated within the Kouros Palace Hotel, this restaurant offers a blend of Greek and international cuisine. With a focus on using local ingredients, the menu includes a diverse range of dishes, and the stylish ambiance adds to the overall dining experience.
  4. Remataki (Kokkari):
    • Description: Remataki is a popular taverna in Kokkari known for its delicious Greek dishes, including fresh seafood and traditional specialties. The restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere, and its location near the waterfront makes it a great spot to enjoy a meal while taking in the views of the harbor.
  5. Ammos Taverna (Lemonakia Beach):
    • Description: Ammos Taverna, located near Lemonakia Beach, is a family-run establishment known for its authentic Greek cuisine. With a menu featuring a variety of dishes prepared with local ingredients, visitors can enjoy their meal in a relaxed setting overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Remember that the culinary scene can evolve, and new establishments may emerge over time. Additionally, exploring local tavernas and smaller eateries often leads to delightful culinary discoveries. It’s advisable to check recent reviews or ask locals for recommendations to ensure you find the latest and best dining options during your visit to Samos.

Sights not to miss in Samos

Samos, Greece, is rich in history and natural beauty, offering several unique sites for visitors to explore. Here are some notable attractions on the island:

  1. Heraion (Heraion of Samos):
    • Description: The Heraion is an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera, situated near the town of Pythagorion. The site includes the Temple of Hera, which was one of the largest temples in ancient Greece. The sanctuary also features a tunnel named the Eupalinian Aqueduct, an impressive engineering marvel built in the 6th century BC to supply water to the temple.
  2. Archaeological Museum of Samos (Vathy):
    • Description: Located in the capital city of Vathy, this museum houses a rich collection of artifacts from different periods of Samian history. Exhibits include sculptures, pottery, and items from the Heraion. The museum provides insights into the island’s cultural and artistic heritage.
  3. Pythagoras Cave (Pythagorion):
    • Description: The cave, associated with the famous mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, is located near Pythagorion. According to tradition, Pythagoras sought refuge and conducted his studies in this cave. While the exact historical accuracy is debated, the site holds cultural and historical significance.
  4. Monastery of Panagia Spiliani (Pythagorion):
    • Description: Perched on a hill overlooking Pythagorion, this monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The site includes a small church built into a natural cave, providing a serene and contemplative atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  5. Potami Waterfalls (near Karlovassi):
    • Description: The Potami Waterfalls are a natural attraction located near Karlovassi. A scenic hike through a lush gorge leads to these waterfalls, providing a refreshing and picturesque setting. The walk offers an opportunity to enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
  6. Kastro (Samos Town):
    • Description: Kastro is the old quarter of Samos Town, characterized by narrow alleys, traditional houses, and remnants of medieval fortifications. The area offers a glimpse into the island’s historical past, and visitors can explore charming streets and enjoy panoramic views.
  7. The Cave of Pythagoras (Marathokampos):
    • Description: Different from the aforementioned Pythagoras Cave near Pythagorion, this cave, located in the area of Marathokampos, is associated with the legendary figure. It is said to be the place where Pythagoras took refuge and sought solitude.

These unique sites showcase the historical, cultural, and natural diversity of Samos, making it an intriguing destination for those interested in exploring both the ancient and contemporary aspects of the island.

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