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.

Samos in the North-East Aegean islands of GreeceSamos

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.

Bottles of Metaxa for sale on Samos in the North-East Aegean islands of GreeceMetaxa 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.

Sandy beach on Samos in the North-East Aegean islands of GreeceSamos Beach

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

Tasting wine in the Museum of Samos Wine on Samos in the North-East Aegean islands of Greece

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. 

Samos in the North-East Aegean islands of GreeceSamos

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

Other North-East Aegean Islands pages

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thassos Travel Guide

    The A-Z Thassos travel guide, including Kavala and Philippi, is newly updated for 2022 and is the most comprehensive guide to Thassos available.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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,

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. Traditional Pies from the Windy Aegean Isles

    Islanders make a huge variety of pies. They roll out sheets of pastry like silk or make fluffy pockets of dough, and fill them with wild greens and delicious cheeses.

    Read More

  2. Discovering “Handcrafted Crete,” a New Coffee Table Book

    A new coffee table book by travel writer Isabella Zambetaki presents the enormous variety and wealth of Crete's handicrafts, past and present.

    Read More

  3. Mini Guide: Essential Tinos

    Read on for the best summer hangouts on charming Tinos, from village cafes and tavernas to spectacular beaches and cultural tours, in one mini guide.

    Read More

  4. Multifaceted Greek Experiences From Delphi to Nafpaktos

    From lush and historical natural sites with jaw-dropping views to shopping, dining and fun activities, this route offers a cornucopia of things to discover.

    Read More

  5. Kythnos: The Outsider of the Cyclades

    Even though close to Attica, Kythnos knows how to stay under the radar. This carefree island is the ideal destination for our first summer excursions.

    Read More

  6. 5 Amazing Spots To Enjoy Sunset In Athens

    When thinking about summer in Greece, one of the first things that pop into your mind, except for the sandy beaches and turquoise waters, is the unsurpassed sunsets of the Greek islands. Indeed, sunse…

    Read More

  7. Rivers In Greece That Offer An Incredible Swimming Experience

    Sun-drenched beaches with crystal-clear waters and fine sand are what Greece is mostly known for all around the world. And, justifiably so, since Greece has a coastline of a whopping 13,676 kilometers…

    Read More

  8. 15 Fun Holiday Activities To Enjoy With Your Kids

    Summer is already here, and the summer holidays are fast approaching. So, if you plan to enjoy them with your family, it would be great to have some activities planned. As you know, children (and adul…

    Read More

  9. 11 Shipwrecks Now Accessible to Divers

    Greece’s Ministry of Culture announces its decision to make 11 wrecks accessible to divers, under the supervision of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

    Read More

  10. Monemvasia: Europe’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Castle Town is in Greece

    Monemvasia, on the southeastern shores of the Peloponnese, Greece is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited castle town. Founded in 583 by inhabitants of the mainland seeking refuge from the Slavic an…

    Read More