All Greek islands can claim to be unique and with some justification. Samos lays strong claims. First of all, if you are going on holiday to find water theme parks, lively discos by night and suggestively named bars, look elsewhere. Samos is not the island for you.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an island of great natural beauty, fascinating mountain villages, peaceful beaches, great walking, interesting places to visit and delicious white wine, then Samos may win your affection. Many visitors fall in love with the island and return year after year. Its appeal is universal attracting visitors from so many European countries that, unusually, no one nationality predominates on the island.
It is the sixth largest island in Greece with a population of around 50,000 people. farming, fishing and tourism are the mainstay of the island's economy. Much of the farming is devoted to growing vines for wine and terraced vineyards grace the northern slopes of the island from sea level to around 3,000ft or more (1,000m). Samos is a very mountainous island and the only area of plain is on the south side and is taken up in part by the International Airport. The remainder of the available land grows oranges and olives. The climate is mild enough in winter to farm olives at higher levels in the mountains.
Where is Samos?
Samos lies in the eastern Aegean and very close to the shores of Turkey. Its nearest neighbour to the north is the island of Chios with Patmos to the south and the lesser known island of Ikaria out to the west.
How to Get There.
Karlovassi Hotel Anema Hotel and apartments with excellent onsite taverna Charter flights fly directly to the island from Britain and other European countries from May until October.
April is a particularly attractive month on the island for the wild flowers, especially wild orchids, and for walking. Visitors travelling there in April will need to change flights in Athens and pick up an Olympic Airlines internal flight. Internal flights can be booked at the same time as international flights. It will only be on the same ticket if the journey is completed with Olympic Airlines.
Where to stay.
Samos Town (also known as Vathi)
Lying on the north shore on the eastern side of the island, Samos town is the capital of the island. Situated in a bay with a long promenade, it is an attractive place to stay. It has a number of advantages, it is the hub of the island bus service, there are some good hotels, a good selection of eating places and there is a fairly lively atmosphere with the ferry boats coming and going. The only disadvantages are that accommodation away from the front is almost certain to be uphill and the beach area is small.
Lying along the northern shore. Kokkari is a pretty fishing village now devoted to tourism as much as to fishing. It has retained its village atmosphere and size. An excellent base for walkers for two reasons. There is plenty of exciting walking directly in the hills behind the resort and it lies on the main bus route along the north shore which makes it convenient to reach other good walking areas. Only small beaches within the village but some excellent beaches outside.
Lying on the north coast on the western side of the island, Karlovassi is the second main town on the island. In previous years it was more devoted to industry, especially with its leather factories, than tourism. That has now all changed and it is busy cleaning up its act and its image. Certainly the port area is much improved with traffic diverted strictly to the business end leaving an attractive area free for tavernas and bars.
It is a great place to stay for walkers. The Kerkis range of mountains at this end of the island offer the most challenging and rewarding walking on the island. The nearest beach is at Potami which is a 45 minute walk or a taxi ride.
Delightful harbour resort on the south coast, not too far from the airport. Perhaps a more upmarket resort than others on the island. Plenty of beach from Pythagorion stretching around to the next resort of Ireon. Not so good for getting around by public transport except to Samos Town.
Strictly a beach resort on the south side of the island. Small but good for a quiet holiday.
On the south coast on the western side of the island. A great ribbon of sandy beach with the resort stretching for miles alongside. An excellent resort for a quiet beach holiday but otherwise isolated.
Top Ten Best things to do on Samos
1. Take your boots and enjoy some of the finest walking in Greece
2. Visit the hill village of Vourliotes and lunch at Blue Chairs taverna
3. Visit the hill village of Manolates and lunch at Loukas taverna
4. Enjoy the song of the nightingales in the Valley of the Nightingales..... but only in spring!
5. Take a day trip to Turkey to visit Ephesus
6. Take a day trip to Patmos to visit the famous monastery
7. Enjoy a lunch at a fish taverna in Psili Ammos and relax afterwards on the fine, sandy beach there
8. Sample the atmosphere at the port in Karlovassi and enjoy a lunch there.
9. Walk up the old trail from the port in Karlovassi to Paleo Karlovassis and visit the pinnacle church of Ag. Triades.
10. Visit Potami and make your way to the old Byzantine church and climb up to the castle above. Afterwards, follow upriver to the waterfalls.