Samos - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Samos


The easternmost island of the Aegean, Samos, was one of the first Greek islands to take advantage of the package tour boom that began in earnest in the 1980s. Today it has become 184 square miles (477 sq km) of holiday resort, its beaches dotted with sunbeds and encircled by hotel rooms, and its waterfronts lined with tavernas, bars and cafes. Tourism may be on the increase, but that does not mean that this lovely island has lost its traditional charm, its laidback feel, or its scenic beauty. The very fact that it remains such a popular destination testifies to the fact that it has a great deal to offer the holidaymakers who come to enjoy themselves each year, many returning again and again.

In ancient times when the great mathematician Pythagoras was born here in the 6th century BC, Samos flourished, as evidenced by the now few remains of its magnificent architecture, which included a temple and marble paved road lined with 2,000 statues (now largely covered by the airport runway). The course of its more modern history has seen the island in a tug of war between Greece and Turkey, but since 1913 Samos has been indisputably Greek.

Samos town curls around a semi-circular bay with its pretty pastel-coloured buildings rising in tiers up a green hillside from its busy, and somewhat tacky touristy waterfront. Numerous other coastal towns and villages encircle the island, all offering holiday accommodation. Inland there are some delightful mountain villages with picturesque alleyways and friendly locals, which, out of season anyway, still maintain the illusion of being unspoilt by mass tourism.

Samos has always been known as being blessed with natural beauty, and this has not changed. The dramatic, indented coastline is dotted with sand and shingle coves, while inland the slopes of the mountains and hills are covered in vines and verdant forest.

All in all, for a classic Aegean summer holiday with hot weather, lively tavernas, sights to see, shops to browse and a selection of good beaches, Samos comes up trumps.

Information & Facts


Sunshine is the order of every day in Samos during the summer months, but temperatures remain comfortable with the help of the 'meltemia', northern winds that cool the sun-drenched island. Rainfall is heavy, but most of the rain falls in winter. From mid-April until mid-October the weather is almost completely dry.

Getting Around

The island has three major ferry ports (Pythagorio, Karlosvassi and Vathy) and most ferry connections to Samos are via Turkey. Local KTEL buses provide transport for visitors on Samos, stopping at most villages and cities on the island (Note: the bus service only runs till 8pm). The best way to see the island is by car or moped, and rental offices are available in Samos town. Many of the large hotels also arrange motorcycle and car rentals for guests. There are taxis available on the island and in the port of Samos there is a price-list of taxis fares. There are taxi-boats available during the summer between Samos town and Pythagorio, as well as a boat that sails around the entire island.

Kids Attractions

A holiday on the beautiful island of Samos has plenty of attractions for children. There are waterfalls like Satami for kids to duck and dive under, beaches like Psili Ammos to play on, and castles like Lykourgos to conquer, as well as plenty of historical ruins and monuments for children to explore.

Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining euros.


Samos Island has a number of nightlife options ranging from restaurants, taverns and cafés to bars, bouzoukia (clubs with live Greek music) and nightclubs. Most people spend their evenings in Pythagorio, Vathi and Karlovassi, which offer the best night spots. The Pythagorio Harbour has a couple of good café bars, and the discos in town open late at night. Cinema fans will have to travel to Mytilini, a small village between Pythagorio and Vathy, to catch a movie.


Shopping on Samos offers a wonderful variety of goods, from local produce to international designer fashion. The towns of Pythagorio and Vathi have the widest selection of stores and the best buys include Muscat wine, handcrafted jewellery and ceramics, locally produced honey and ouzo.

Pythagorio main street has a number of souvenir shops, jewellery stores and clothing stores for shoppers to browse, as well as a good bakery for midday treats. At the main church in Pythagorio there's a shop selling hand-made bouzoukia (long-necked, fretted lute). The pedestrian street in Vathi, near the harbour, has many shops selling local souvenirs, shoes and clothing.

Visitors can buy fresh fish daily from the ports in Karlovassi, Vathi and Pythagorio, or from vendors in most villages. In Marathokambos you can purchase fruit and vegetables irrigated with spring water, and the oranges from Miloi are the best. There are beautiful hand-crafted ceramics available in Karlovassi.


The island of Samos has a diverse range of attractions to offer visitors and is known for its gorgeous beaches. Some of the best beaches include white pebbled Mykali, secluded Megalo Seitani, and the nudist beach of Tsamadou, however the nearest beach to the town of Samos is Gagkou. If you manage to pull yourself away from all this, a visit to the ancient Temple of Hera (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a sightseeing must. Explore Pythagoras Cave to get historical and philosophical perspective on the island, and visit the Ancient Theatre of Pythagorio for more cultural insights.

Just below the ruins of the Spiliani monastery, the tell-tale remnants of the Ancient Theatre of Pythagorio can still be seen. The stage and one tier of seats remain in place and indicate how grand this venue must have been in its heyday. Today the site is still used for theatrical performances such as plays and ancient tragedies, as well as entertaining concerts and recitals. The town of Pythagorio also holds attractions for tourists, including a pretty harbour and beaches

Children are enchanted by castles, and a visit to Lykourgos Castle will be reminiscent of heroic and romantic fairytales. In reality, this 19th century castle played an historical part in the Greek Revolution, but today kids can play in its courtyard gardens, imagining themselves as brave knights rescuing their distressed princesses from the tower.

Children love to visit these beautiful waterfalls on the north-east coast of Samos Island, near the Potami beach which is accessible from Karlovassi Town. A rambling walk along the river soon becomes an adventure through the forest leading to the waterfall. Swimming in the small lake is a great way for kids to cool off and there are lovely spots for the folks to sit and relax, or perhaps enjoy a picnic lunch.

Kids on Samos Island love going to Psili Ammos Beach to play in its warm, shallow waters and build sand castles on the sunny shore. This long sandy strip also attracts migrant flamingos each year in December, the pink flocks a delightful sight for children to experience. There are a couple of taverns nearby for parents to enjoy.

One of the great attractions on Samos is the cave where Pythagoras lived and worked as a philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, doctor and musician. Legend has it he used the cave as refuge from the tyranny of Polycrates. The site is made up of two caves and two chapels, with 'holy water dripping from its stalactites, and was used for prayer, teaching and residence. The cave near the base of Mt Kerkes but the climb may be a bit difficult for some.

The coast of Samos has many beautiful beaches to enjoy. Mykali Beach, south of Samos town, is covered in white pebbles and lapped by emerald waters. On the mountainous north-west coast of Samos, visitors will find the secluded Megalo Seitani beach which can only be reached on foot. The Vlendza beach, just outside the town of Avlakia, boasts sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as a small tavern. Tsamadou Beach lies just outside of Kokkari Town and is the only official nudist beach on the island.

The largest Greek temple ever built, the Temple of Hera was one of the essential sanctuaries of ancient Greece, and is now a great sightseeing attraction. It was built near the mouth of the Imvrasos River for worship of the goddess who, according to myth, was born and lived there. Only half of one of its 115 columns stands today, but the bases of the columns and other temple foundations are still visible.

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