Samos

North East Aegean Islands

Samos is one of the loveliest islands in the Aegean, fertile and green with rolling hills covered in pine forests, with valleys of vineyards and olive groves… all this and good beaches too. Little wonder that it has been admired down through the centuries, and today is a very popular holiday destination. Even Antony and Cleopatra are known to have relaxed together on Samos.

Due to its popularity you might be better avoiding a visit in high summer, when hotels are block-booked by tour companies, but when the spring flowers bloom, and again in the autumn when the vines are heavy with grapes, Samos is a dream Greek island destination. Its vines provide a dessert wine that is as sweet as honey and exported around the world. Samos grapes are also used to make the popular Greek drink, Metaxa.

Metaxa Bottles for Sale on Samos

Samos Town

Samos Town, also known as Vathi, is the island capital and its white houses spread themselves between a swathe of green hills and a beautiful horseshoe-shaped harbour. In the upper town, Áno Vathi, a maze of narrow shaded cobbled lanes winds around, a world away from the bustle of the port below, although that is where you will want to be at night-time, and there are lots of pedestrianised areas to keep the traffic at bay. The long esplanade is the place to stroll in the early evening, perhaps stopping for an aperitif in a cafe under the palm trees.

Samos History

Samos has a long and fascinating history, too, having been inhabited since about 3000 BC, and much of the story is told in the first rate Archaeological Museum. This has one of the best collections of votive offerings in Greece, thanks to the popularity of the Heraion Sanctuary, where the goddess Hera was worshipped. The museum’s other star feature is a 5m-high marble statue from the 7th century BC, a kouros every bit as beautiful as any you will find in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Another important aspect of Samos's history is told in the Museum of Samos Wine, at the far side of the harbour from the Archaeological Museum

A Tasting in the Museum of Samos Wine. Photo (c) Mike Gerrard.

Watch our YouTube slideshow about the Samos Wine Museum

Heraion

Heraion is 21km to the southwest of Vathi, and the first temple on the site was built in the 8th century BC, replaced by another in the 6th century BC, but this was destroyed soon afterwards in an earthquake. Work began on a replacement but this was never completed although it was much used despite that. The site is a little confusing, even after much archaeological work, but it fills in part of the picture of the way Samos used to be.

Pythagoreio

Nearby is Pythagoreio, the original capital that was built in the 6th century BC. It has now become a very fashionable tourist town, with commercialism running rampant, especially in the waterfront tavernas. Its attractions include the remains of some Roman baths and the startling Efpalinion Tunnel, an aqueduct almost 1km long hacked out through the rock to bring water to the town.

Pythagoreio was named after one of Samos’s most famous sons, the mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, born here in about the year 580 BC. Little is known for sure about his life, but he did develop advanced theories not just on mathematics but also music and the harmony of the universe. 

Getting to Samos

Flights to Samos
Samos has its own international airport. In summer there are charter flights to Samos from many countries in Europe. Outside the holiday season the island has flights from
Athens by Olympic Air, from Thessaloniki by Astra Airlines, and from Chios, Lesbos and Rhodes by Sky Express.

Ferries to Samos
Samos is also well-served with ferries from Athens, from the mainland port of Kavala, and from other Greek islands including Fourni, Ikaria, Syros, Mykonos, Chios and Lesbos. The ferry from Athens takes at least 12 hours. In the summer months you can also catch a ferry from Vathy on Samos to the Turkish port of Kusadasi, with a return ferry in the evenings.

Blue Star Ferries also call in at Samos on their Thessaloniki-Piraeus route, enabling you to island-hop to some of the North-East Aegean and Cyclades islands on the same route.

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Where to Stay on Samos

See other pages about the North-East Aegean...

  • Chios

    The Greek island of Chios or Hios is a large island in the North East Aegean close to the Turkish coast, south of Lesvos and north of Samos, and famous for its mastic trees.

  • Best Things to Do on Thassos

    The best things to do on Thassos in the North East Aegean islands of Greece include its beaches, mountain hikes, and visiting its ancient archaeological sites.

  • Lemnos or Limnos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    The island of Lemnos (or Limnos) is in in the North East Aegean Islands and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries,

  • North East Aegean Islands

    The North East Aegean Islands include Lesvos, Thassos, Chios, Samos, Fourni, Ikaria, Limnos, Samothraki and here are tips on ferries, flights and what to do.

  • Ikaria

    Ikaria (or Icaria) is an island in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece between Samos and Mykonos and is truly one of Greece's travel secrets.

  • Lesbos or Lesvos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    The island of Lesbos or Lesvos is in the North East Aegean Islands in Greece, and on this page you can see information including flights and ferries.

  • Thassos in the North East Aegean Islands of Greece

    Thassos is in the North East Aegean and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.

  • Samothraki

    Samothraki (Greek) or Samothrace (English) is a small island in the north-east Aegean Sea with the closest Greek islands being Thassos and Lemnos.

  • Museum of Samos Wine

    A visit to the Museum of Samos Wine to learn about the muscat grapes that produce the best dessert wines in the world and also the Greek spirit, Metaxa.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Hotels on Santorini

    Hotels on Santorini, Greece, in the Cyclades, range from luxury choices to good cheap accommodation in Fira, with caldera views.

    Read More

  2. What Is Metaxa?

    What is Metaxa? Metaxa is an amber Greek spirit combining brandy made by distilling wine, sweet wine from Samos and a secret recipe of Mediterranean botanicals.

    Read More

  3. Greece Updates Covid-19 Travel Rules for Domestic Flights to All Destinations

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), on Monday issued a new Covid-19 aviation directive (NOTAM) with rules for passengers traveling on domestic flights to all destinations in Greece.

    Read More

  4. Covid-19: How the Unvaccinated in Greece Can Travel by Land, Air, Sea – Rules

    All unvaccinated people in Greece from Monday, September 13, will be allowed to board all means of transport for domestic travel between regions (airplanes, ferries, intercity trains and KTEL buses) o…

    Read More

  5. Greece Stays Open to American Travelers Despite EU Recommendation

    Greece is among the European countries that have not followed an EU recommendation to curb nonessential travel for visitors from the United States and has kept its borders open for American tourists.

    Read More

  6. Some Fish with your Ouzo?

    It’s a quiet Tuesday lunchtime when we pass through Eleftheroton Square in Chalandri, one of Athens’s northern suburbs. Anyone living in the surrounding areas knows that this boisterous neighborhood i…

    Read More

  7. Crete: 10 Places to Experience in the Lasithi Region

    The easternmost part of Crete is full of surprises. Add these spots to your list of things to see and do (map included).

    Read More

  8. Athens Showcases Culture with ‘Art on the Road’

    Athens museums, cultural spaces and all forms of art take the spotlight as part of the “Art on the Road” campaign launched by the municipality together with advertising firm Interbus. The initiative d…

    Read More

  9. Online Searches for Travel to Athens Increase in Summer, Says Survey

    The interest of international holidaymakers for Athens has grown stronger during the last few months, with online searches for the Greek capital picking up pace in July compared to the previous months…

    Read More

  10. Central Greece Region: €40m for Reconstruction of Fire-hit Evia

    The Region of Central Greece agreed on Tuesday to release 40 million euros for the reconstruction of Evia, devasted for over a week earlier this month by wildfires. Funding will go towards anti-floodi…

    Read More