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Why Should I Visit Samos?

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Samos at a glance

The birthplace of Pythagoras, Epicurus and Aristarchus, Samos was one of the largest intellectual centres in the ancient world and the home of a number of important schools of philosophy.

The island’s stunning natural landscape combines imposing mountains, pine forests, and valleys full of vineyards and olive groves, as well as streams and beaches of wild exotic beauty. This has always made it irresistible to its admirers, said to have included Antony and Cleopatra. For centuries now, the famous sweet wine of Samos has been exported all over the world, and has even been approved for sacramental use in the Catholic Church.

Samos has a long, rich history that can be seen both in its archaeological treasures and in its mountain villages, which are jewels of vernacular architecture and bastions of local tradition. This, together with its strong gastronomic culture and vibrant art scene, helps explain the abundant charm of Samos and why it is viewed as a dream island for all tastes and times of year, easily accessible with a ferry ticket to Samos.

10 reasons to visit Samos
  1. To explore the cosmopolitan Pythagorion, where the ancient capital of Samos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once stood. The harbour, with its imposing statue of Pythagoras, the picturesque neighbourhoods with their cobblestone streets, the squares with their traditional cafes, and Logothetis’ Tower, make for an idyllic setting.
  2. To visit the Archaeological Museum and admire one of the most beautiful collections of ancient sculpture in Greece. The most famous exhibit is an enormous 5.5-metre-high Kouros (a marble statue of a young man) dating from the 6th century BC.
  3. To journey through the world of Samian viticulture at the excellent United Winemaking Agricultural Cooperative of Samos in Malagari. Learn about the history of winemaking on the island through tools, wooden tanks, chemical equipment, and cellars full of bottles and barrels. Before leaving, stock up on some of the excellent wines available from the UWC cooperative of Samos in the museum shop.
  4. To explore the fascinating Heraion (Temple of Hera), one of the most important religious sanctuaries in antiquity and a UNESCO Site of World Cultural Heritage. See the remains of the temple, the ancient altar, and the Sacred Way that linked the Heraion to the ancient capital of Samos at Pythagorion.
  5. To swim at Mikro (Small) and Megalo (Big) Seitani, the beautiful twin beaches that form a marine park for the Mediterranean monk seal.
  6. To watch the sunset from the village of Kallithea, with a view of the islands of Ikaria and Fourni opposite.
  7. To go through the astonishing Tunnel of Eupalinos, a 1036-metre-long aqueduct that is considered to be one of the most important technical achievements of the 6th century BC, and is seen by many as the eighth wonder of the ancient world. The tunnel bores through Mount Kastro, 189 metres below the summit, and was used until Roman times.
  8. To take a guided walk to Pythagoras’ Cave at the foot of Mount Kerkis, near Kampos Marathokampou. The site was a refuge and hermitage of the great Samian philosopher and lies at the end of a 300-step climb. At the entrance to the cave is the chapel of the Virgin Mary, built by Saint Paul Latrinos a century ago.
  9. To discover the enchanting Metamorfosi waterfalls in a verdant landscape full of tall centuries-old trees, springs, and small lakes full of ice-cold water. Take the path that starts at Potami Beach. It is generally a gentle trail but at some points requires easy walking through water, swimming and a short climb. The more spectacular of the two waterfalls is five metres high.
  10. To go windsurfing in Kokkari, one of the top five spots in Greece for this activity.
The top 5 beaches

Kerveli: A beautiful cove with a shingle beach and calm shallow waters lent an emerald hue by the pine-covered hills that surround it. It is not an official tourist beach, but there is a taverna for food and snacks. It is a paradise for lovers of rest and relaxation, perfect for families with children who choose a ticket to Samos. The area has a certified diving centre for renting equipment and diving expeditions.

Psili Ammos (Chrysi Ammos): A long sandy beach near ​​Marathokampos, with clear shallow waters and a beautiful view of the pine-covered mountain rising behind it. At one end are rocks that make it seem like a private beach, with emerald waters. It is ideal for playing in the sand and for families with children who have booked a ticket to Samos.

Potami: One of the island’s most popular and beautiful beaches, Potami consists of two coves separated by a small strip of land stretching into the sea to make the shape of the number 3. It is pebbly, with deep, cool, azure waters and high waves when the wind is blowing from the north. One section has sun loungers, umbrellas, and a beach bar. It is worth combining a refreshing dip here with a walk to the Samos waterfalls.

Megalo Seitani: A long sandy beach with blue-green waters backed by a pine forest with trees that come down to the sand. It is considered the most beautiful beach on the island, although it takes an hour and a half to get there along a trail from Potami. The route passes through a gorgeous natural landscape with constantly changing views. Alternatively, you can reach it by boat from Karlovassi.

Tsamadou: An impressive beach with large pebbles, crystal-clear blue waters (that suddenly become deep) and pine trees hanging over the sea. It is reached by descending a beautiful path through the trees and has sun beds, umbrellas, tavernas, and a beach bar. It used to be known as a beach for nudists but nowadays they confine themselves to one end. When the north wind gets up the waves can become quite high.

Don’t leave Samos without…
  • Strolling through the picturesque Ano Vathy, the part of the capital built on the hillside, with its narrow streets, tiled roofs and ornate carved wooden fanlights over the front doors.
  • Making a day trip (from Pythagorion) to the tiny island of Samiopoula and its exotic beaches.
  • Visiting a traditional pottery workshop in the villages of Manolates, Mavratzei and Koumaradei, and buying unique handmade ceramics, including Pythagoras’ trick cup and elaborate clay whistles.
  • Exploring the Archaeological Museum of Pythagorion to admire its rich collection of ancient columns, portraits of Roman emperors, and pottery (9th century BC - 2nd century AD), not to mention its magnificent marble statues dedicated to gods and goddesses.
  • Discovering the last of the island’s historic shipyards, Tarsanas, in the village of Drakei, where to this day, traditional wooden fishing boats are built from local pine.
  • Visiting the Tannery Museum in Karlovassi to find out about the island's great tradition in leather-working from ancient times to the early 20th century. The museum tells its story through tools, machinery, processed hides, and other exhibits. In the industry’s heyday, there were 40 tanneries in the area.
  • Going on a road trip taking in the amazing villages of Samos: the famous Manolates, with its stone-built houses, arts and crafts workshops, and view of the lush vineyards on Mount Ambelos; the coastal village of Kokkari, with its Cycladic atmosphere, one of the “hidden diamonds of Europe” according to Best European Destinations 2016; and the beautiful medieval village of Vourliotes, with the historic Monastery of Vronta (1566), the oldest on the island.
Tasty experiences
  • Drink a glass of the world-famous Samos sweet wine (from the local white Muscat grape), produced since ancient times in the vineyards of Mount Ambelos.
  • Taste some of Samos’ delicious cheeses, such as mizithra, anthotyro and armogalo.
  • If you choose the ferry to Samos, it is worth seeking out the hard-to-find hamades (fresh olives with a characteristic sweet taste).
  • Try the local bourekia (fried or baked filo parcels filled with pumpkin, feta cheese, cinnamon and sugar).
  • Sample boxadakia (small rolls of beef wrapped in slices of fried aubergine).
  • Don't miss langoustines “youvetsi” (sautéed with peppers and baked in a casserole with spaghetti).
  • Enjoy the local raki (souma) or ouzo with delicious Samian mezes such as courgette flowers stuffed with rice, chickpea fritters, kambounia (onion sprouts fried with egg), and yiaprakia (vine-leaf dolmades).
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with katimeria (fried pancakes with mastic oil served with grape syrup or cheese).
  • Sample tourlou (a medley of roasted potatoes, courgettes and aubergines) and stuffed peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, and onions.

The Pythagorean Cup is one of the most famous and mysterious pieces of pottery ever made. It works on a siphon principle, so that the cup is emptied of its contents when its user fills it beyond a certain point. According to tradition, the mug was invented by Pythagoras himself during the building of the aqueduct to supply the city of Samos with water (around 530 BC), as a way of rationing the water distributed to the slaves. The cup served the same purpose on the long sea voyages of the island’s merchants.

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