Only 18 miles from Turkey
and 175 nautical miles from Piraeus, Samos has a population of over 40,000.
It has 476 sq. km of land mass and 160 km of coast. Many pass through Samos on their way to Ephesus in
Asia Minor, as well as travelers to and from Turkey.
The island is mountainous with its highest peak, Kerki, at 1440
Samos is a verdant island with dense mountain greenery. Spring brings hordes of flamingos, wild flowers, orchids and birdwatchers. Samos is noted for wonderful red wine, sandy beaches,
excellent fishing and good treks.
One of the most beautiful and wealthy
of Greek islands, it attracts many tourists, most of whom are well heeled and
There are lots of archeological sights to see and
it offers a good mix for sophisticated bon vivants. Its very romantic, full
of atmosphere and rather expensive. You'll see a lot of second and third honeymooners.
There are three ports: Vathy (Samos) and Karlovasi on the north coast and Pythagorio on the south coast.
The island capital is the large and busy Vathy (or Samos). The waterfront is a string of bars and restaurants, and although very pleasant, the nicest part of town is the upper town of Ano Vathy. There you'll see red-tiled 19th Century houses on the hillside. At the northern end of town is a small string of beaches, the best of which is Gagou Beach, about a km from the town center.
Vathy has an interesting archaeological museum with the largest standing kouros (male statue of the Archaic period) anywhere. There are other fine sculptures and pieces worth seeing.
Cobble-paved Pythagorio on the southeast coast of the island is rather upscale. It's beautiful with red hibiscus and pink oleander lining the streets. Many of the ancient sites on Samos are accessible from Pythagorio. Boats from Patmos and other points south all dock here.
Pythagorio is a World Hertiage listed city because of the ancient city dating from the Neolithic era. The best remains are from Polycrates time and can be seen just beyond the jetty.
From the town center you can walk up the Moni Panagias Spilianis (Monastery of the Virgin of the Grotto). The Roman baths are nearby. The remains of the Castle of Lykourgos Logothetis are worth seeing, too. Other points of interest in Pythagorio are the Pythagorio Museum, the ruins of Aphrodite, and the remarkable Evpalinos Tunnel. The statue of Pythagoras is near the water.
Near Pythagorio, The Ireon or the Sacred Way was once flanked by thousands of statues that led from the city to the Ireon. This is the legendary birthplace of Hera. Her sanctuary was built in the 6th Century BC. There's been a temple there ever since. The Ireon was four times the size of the Parthenon. You can still see its size, although only one column remains after centuries of plundering and earthquakes.
The best beach near Pythagorio is Psili Ammos. There is another beach by the same name on the west side of the island, but this one has a lovely cove and a view across the water to Turkey. The beach at Glykoriza is another good choice. There are many hotels nearby.
Beaches along the southwest coast of Samos are being developed, and resorts are springing up along the water. You get a stunning view of the Bay of Marathokampos from Marathokampos. Down the hill there's a nice beach at Ormos. There's a beach at Votsalakia and a nice beach at the island's other Psili Ammos.
There are good beaches on the west coast, where the windsurfers find good winds. The twin headlands of the village of Kokkari are a good central starting point to find your way to beaches at Avlakia, Lemonaki, and Tsamadou. The nightlife at Kokkori is active and vibrant.
Past the thick pines you come to the gorgeous village of Manolates inside a circle of mountains. Birdlife is abundant here, with nightengales, warblers, and thrushes predominating. Very close is Vourliotes, a charming town that is a must see.
Back on the coast, you'll find the village at Agios Konstantinos and Samos' third port, Karlovasi.
Drinking and Dining
The Samian wine, made famous by Lord Byron, is not to be missed. There are good eateries in every town and village. Many good choices are along the waterfront.
The philosopher/mathematician Pythagoras was from Samos as well as
many other luminaries. It is the birthplace of Hera. In addition the the dallying of Zeus and Hera, this island was also a favorite of Anthony and Cleopatra. The romantic aura of Samos lives on today in this popular honeymoon spot.
This island has always been one of the most important in Greece. There was a savage forest fire in July 2000, but many of its hills are still emerald green.