The island of Samos is truly a revelation for those who visit it for the first time. We explored it from end to end and here are its best features, those memories that come to mind when the summer is gone and the winter does its best to make us forget the holidays…
East of the Aegean, Samos is built somewhere near Ikaria, Fourni and Patmos, in its own little corner. It’s famous for the archeological sites, museums, sights and beaches with clear blue waters.
We chose what impressed us this summer on the island and present it to you, so you know what awaits you if you are planning a future trip.
Its large size
For those who want their vacation to be relaxing and not to spend a lot of time driving, Samos is what you need. This means that there are things for you to see and you can easily “hop” from one point of the island to another.
Vathi is the current capital of Samos, developed amphitheatrically on the maritime communications axis of Mediterranean ports. The square of Vathi is always great!
The new beach, the shops that surround it and the view of the sea reflecting the afternoon sun, make it fabulous especially in the afternoon…
The secret lies in the enjoyment of coffee in classic coffee shops (cafeterias) until the sunset! Try to notice the people who enjoy a stroll on the sidewalks, meditate and let your mind travel with them…
Ano Vathi is the upper part of the town, which keeps intact elements of local traditional architecture and has been declared a traditional settlement. At night, the lights give an even more mysterious atmosphere around Vathi.
Opportunities for excursions
Those not satisfied with small distances and want to look around, can take short trips to Samiopoula, Ikaria, Fourni, Marathi, Lipsi, Leros, Arki.
Alternatively, they can go round the island by boat and discover the countless beaches.
If your group is large enough, you can rent your own private boat that will take you to any of them, as long as you want, with the appropriate fee of course. We recommend not to miss under any circumstances the ride in Samiopoula, located a short boat ride from the Pythagorean or Ormos of Marathokampos. There you will find beaches with pool -like waters. You will need water, a beach umbrella and food with you.
Psili Ammos in the south of Samos may require one hour’s drive from Vathi, but compensates with its crystal waters and sand and, not unjustly, it is considered the most beautiful beach of the island.
You can navigate to other equally beautiful beaches, such as Limnionas, with its frozen waters, Kaladakia, the small cave on the left edge, the gorgeous Balos and many others.
On the northeastern coast, you’ll find the exquisite Agia Paraskevi, Galazio and Livadaki. Also the classic and timeless Mikro and Megalo Seitani.
The sunset at Prophet Elias
Take some time to climb to the chapel of Prophet Elias, on the sulfur mountain to enjoy the sunset, the panoramic view of the capital from the side of the bay, and the view from the side of the island region. You will clearly see Turkey and Kusadasi town.
On an island with a religious character, a ride to the Zoodochos Pigi, and the Monastery of the Holy Cross is a sine qua non, even though the issue of religion is confusing to you.
There, you will experience a different joy and serenity and you will hear stories about the Virgin Mary. You will be impressed by the great Monastery of St. John Theologian in Old Karlovasi, Panagia Vrontiani and Panagia Spiliani. In Panagia Makrini you will feel as if you’re approaching heaven, since it is built on the slopes of Kerketea. The church is sheltered in a cave and shines bright white.
The view from the elevated courtyard is divine, so a humble camera lens cannot capture it! Even your eyes will have difficulty in encapturing what is happening there.
The festivals in Samos are countless, with their traditional Samian nights. On July 20, the church commemorates Prophet Elias and the crowds gather in Vathi, Mylous and Karvouni. On July 27, you’ll find events taking place in Kokkari for the feast of St. Panteleimon.
On August 6 in Pythagorean the Assumption is celebrated, as well as in almost all the island with grand celebrations. The wine festivals in Vathi, Platanos, Marathokambos Bay and elsewhere monopolize August and have successfully established a pancake feast in Mytilene.
The cuisine of Samos is based on local products of the island, saltwater inshore fishing, the legumes and vegetables cultivated there, the hunting, which brought home the “agriomerna” (wild animals) from the wooded mountains, and in domesticated animals and poultry. The tradition of Samian cooking starts from the ancient “trikarpo” – wheat-oil-wine. Wheat bread and all subsequent preparations of ground wheat were always on the table (frumenty, porridge, pies, pasta).
“Katimeria” or pancakes. A simple and tasty dish that can be seen both in salty and sweet version. Served with grated cheese but also with honey, molasses and nuts. It goes perfectly with raki or ouzo. “Ptakia”: this is how they call the fried pies say in Koumeika Samos, patties with sweet pumpkin, eggs, and cheese slices. Stuffed goat back: Traditional food eaten on Easter Sunday or festive days. It’s a little troublesome because it takes a while to prepare, but it is worth it.
Split peas, chickpeas and black-eyed beans are cooked in a clay pot. The fluffy fava of Myloi, with strong fragrant onions from Velanidia or Koumeika is a separate dish that will find in every tavern. The greens are mixed into pies or sauteed with milk and water, with oil and lemon or even mixed with scrambled eggs. From all the Samian sauteed greens, spatharogkia or pirounakia, poppies or myronia, the kafkalithres, the ferns, the voidoglossa have a specific aroma and flavor.
You should definitely taste the pasta of Samos, the crisp octopus, the well-made fragrant cabbage leaves and the moussaka. Grapes, grape must, wine and raki are a chapter of their own in the food variety of Samos.
The generosity of the vine has enriched the Samian cooking. According to the legend, the Amazons despised Dionysus and, in order to escape his anger, sought refuge in Samos.
So when the Olympian god of wine wanted to kill them, he sought the help of Samos.
Indeed the island crushed them and, in order to thank the Samians, he gave them the famous vine that gives the musky wine and taught them the cultivation of the vine.
That explains everything! And good wine goes well with good food.