Nothing beats a Mediterranean island full of mystery, great beaches and delicious food. The ancient Greek goddess Hera hailed from Samos so did Pythagoras, the great mathematician, philosopher and mystic of Classical Greece.
Today, Samos is a gorgeous island with dazzling beaches, lazy fishing villages, and a dreamy combination of seaside and mountain landscapes, offering something for everyone who’s interested in exploring, adventuring and discovering in nature.
From hiking and diving to winetasting and windsurfing
The island’s two large mountains, Ambelos (Karvounis) and Kerkis, provide wonderful routes for climbing, hiking and biking. The caves that are scattered around the island are very popular with enthusiasts coming from around the world. Samos’ shorelines also offer a plethora of activities, from windsurfing and deep sea diving to kayaking and canoeing.
For those wishing to take it easy, there are plenty of more laid back activities to enjoy – wine tasting, trying out local cuisine, taking leisurely walks through lush forests and taking in the island’s fascinating past by visiting the many museums, sites and landmarks.
If you have enough time, it’s also a great base for popping over to nearby islands such as Ikaria (world famous for its Blue Zone status) to participate in one of its almost daily summer panygiria (festivals), or the rocky islet across Spartharaious, south of Samos, to lie back on smooth sand and swim in aquamarine crystal waters. Also, from Vathi and Pythagoreion you can hop onto a boat and head to Asia Minor to shop away at the huge street bazaar in Kusadasi and ancient Efessos.
Of ancient sites, museums and fascinating churches…
The once mighty Temple of Hera (or Heraion), the perfectly-built Efpalineo aqueduct and even the Roman Baths all attest to the great civilization that once lived here, with many other finds that have emerged in recent years. You can understand more about the island's fascinating history at the archeological museums of Vathi and Pythagoreion, and go even much further back in time with the popular Natural History Museum. For a peak into more recent life of Samos there are a couple of folklore museums and a wine museum to whet the appetite.
Religious buildings from the Byzantine era attest to another fascinating period between ancient and modern times. Fine examples include the scenic Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Vronta built in 1566 by two monks and the Monastery of the Holy Cross built in 1582 with its hand-carved iconostasis and even a supposed fragment from the holy cross itself.
A taste of Samos
Very close to the Turkish coast, it is no surprise that Samos cuisine is influenced by the flavors of Asia Minor, particularly since many Samiots originally came as refugees from the Turkish mainland and settled on this nearby island. The verdant landscape also produces a delicious selection of fresh herbs, rich olive oil, and wild leafy greens, coupled with the delicious seafood to yield sumptuous recipes that will delight (More in the food section on Samos). Lastly, you're definitely going to delight in the local wines, especially knowing that "France alone imports 60% of the wine produced on the island of Samos" according to the local Union of Vinicultural Cooperatives. Bon Appetit!