Samos Island
The Island
Τhe verdant island of Samos, in the Eastern Aegean, just 1.200 m. from Asia Minor coast, from which it is separated by a narrow – 1.650 m. – channel (Dar Bogaz), is a perfect combination of unspoilt nature, verdant mountains, perfect and clean beaches spreading at 140 km of coastline. It borders Chios on the northwest, Ikaria and Fournous islands on the west- southwest and the Dodekanese islands on the south (nearest are Agathonisi, Arkoi and Patmos).
The islands’ port of call is its capital Samos (or Vathy). Vathy, one of the biggest natural harbours in the Balkans, is an amphitheatrically built, picturesque town, with neoclassical buildings. It is the administrative centre of the island, hosting offices, banks and museums. While in town, you will see the Public Garden, Pythagoras’ square with the marble lion and the Byzantine Museum which is hosted in the Metropolitan Mansion. At close proximity, you can visit the monasteries of Aghia Zoni (1695 ) in Vlamari valley and of Zoodohos Pighi (1781), at 300 m., with a view to the channel separating Asia Minor/ Samos, Mykali mountain and Nea Efessos and Chios further north.
Karlovasi, the second larger city and second largest port of Samos, is the commercial centre on the west coast. From here, you can visit Prophet Ilias monastery (1739), the beautiful beach, Potami, the hot springs, the church of Metamorfosi (11th century) and the Small and Big Seitani, protected natural parks where monachus monachus seal lives. Majestic churches, neoclassical mansions and impressive tanneries that reveal the important role as a leather trade center, are the living proof of the 19th century growth, when Karlovasi was dealing with European countries as a leather manufacturer.

The nature
What makes Samos stand out among the other Greek islands is its unique beauty and lush vegetation. The two highest mountains are the rocky and steep Kerkis (at 1.443 m.), the highest peak in Samos and the second highest peak in the Aegean, dotted with caves (Kakoperato, Panaghia Sarantaskaliotissa, Panaghia Makrini, Panaretos Hole, Kandili, Pythagoras’ cave) and the verdant Ambelos (or Karvounis), at 1.160 m., named after the many vine plantations that existed here in the past. Kerkis area is included in the Natura 2000 project, for its rare flaura and fauna species that have been recorded.
Moreover, important wetlands on the island are the home of rare species of animals and birds. Of the most notable are Alyki, with 127 different species of birds, Mesokambos wetland, Glyfades lakes in Pythagorion, where migrating birds – herons, ducks and endemic species - nest, and Chora swamp.
Refreshing natural waterfalls of rare beauty form two small lakes which are ideal for swimming. You can trace them at Karlovasi, Potami area, following an easy path and 50 - 60 wooden steps to the biggest waterfall, at 5 m. height.

The sights (Journey through History)
Samos has a special and long history. The 478,2 sq. m. of land (44 kms long – 19 kms wide), boast amazing archaeological treasures and some of the most important monuments of antiquity.
  • The Temple of Hera (Heraion), 3 kms west of Pythagorion, on the south island coast, is Samos’ and Greece’s most important temple, dedicated to the Goddess Hera. Unesco has declared it a World Heritage Monument. Excavations have brought to the light the statue of Hera carved by Cheramyes, today exhibited at the Louvre. Near the archaeological area you can see a castle built for the protection from the pirates. It is the 3-storey, rectangular fortified tower of Nikolas Sarakinis (1577), with battlements and strong walls.
  • 2 kms from Pythagoriom, we find one of the most important technical feats of the 6th century, the Tunnel of Efpalinos “Evpalineio Aqueduct”, which took its name from Efpalinos, a famous engineer from Megara who was assigned its construction. It is the ancient aqueduct of the city, carrying water from Agiades spring, where today the small church of Aghios Ioannis is located. The tunnel, which was constructed during the era of Polycrates, the powerful tyrant of Samos, is 1036 m. long, 1,80 x 1,80 in dimensions, dug on a north-to-south direction, at an altitude of 55 meters (165 feet) and buried 180 meters (540 feet) under the peak of mount Kastros. Its most impressive feature is that works for its construction began simultaneously from the one and the other side of the mountain dug from the exits to the centre, and the crews met halfway almost perfectly, deviating just 5 metres!
  • In Pythagorio you should pay a visit at Lykourgos Tower (1824). He was the chief of the revolutionaries in Samos in 1821, and constructed the tower for defensive purposes, in order to have a strong fortress that would protect the rebels and the inhabitants from the Turks.
  • On the foothills of Mount Kerkis and at 3 kms distance from Marathokambos, we find the Cave of Pythagoras, where according to history, the great mathematician, philosopher, astrologer, doctor and musician, Pythagoras came to live, during his persecution from Polycrates, who had accused him for trying to corrupt the young.

You should also visit the important museums:
  • Samos Archaeological Museum, with collections of pottery, archaic sculpture, Bronzes, Ivory objects, Wooden items, Clay figurines, Small objects from Egypt and Persia (Samos, tkts €3/ adult, tel. 22730 27469
  • Pythagoreion Archaeological Museum, containing grave relief's from the 6th century B.C, solemn capitals, statues (including three outstanding Archaic ones), Roman busts, (9th c. – 2nd c. BC), tkts €3/ adult, tel. 22730 61400
  • Paleontological Museum /Museum of Natural History, in the village Mitilini, 12 kms from Samos. It hosts an exhibition from bones of prehistoric animals, phinos, Mediterranean horses, hippos, horned animals 3,5 - 7 million years old (tkt €3/ adult, tel. 22730 52055).
  • Folk Art Museum (Karlovassi) with exhibits that cover the period 1870 - 1955 and document the everyday life of the locals (tel. 22730 32265).
  • Folk Art Museum Nikolaos Dimitriou, in Pythagorio near Doryssa Bay Hotel, with exhibits that represent everyday life prior to 1940. (tel. 22730 62286 and 88383)

The beaches of unique beauty
The possibilities for swimming, relaxing and unwinding at perfectly clear waters are endless. The Environmental Dpt. Of Samos (tel. 22730 80423-4) can offer information on the clarity and quality of the waters in the different swimming areas of the island.
Each municipality is blessed with its own seaside diamonds. Pythagorion Municipality is famous for Potokaki (an organized beach awarded with a Blue Flag, with many facilities for sports and beach bars), Heraio (400 m. long beach with sand and pebbles, well organized with tavernas and bars), and Pythagorio (small pebbly beach with fairly deep waters). Marathokambos Municipality is known for Kambos and Chryssi Ammos, Vathy Municipality for the beaches Gagkou (200 m. pebbly beach, fairly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas), Kokkari (deep fine waters, but open to the strong northern winds), and Psilli Ammos (a long stretch of sand). Last but not least, the Municipality of Karlovassi has its own beach (with fine sand, quaint bays that offer seclusion), Potami (a pebbly beach surrounded with pine trees) and the Small and Big Seitani (two unspoilt beaches in a protected area, shelter for Monachus Monachus seals, with crystal clear waters but quite open to the northern winds).

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