Samos is an island ruled by legend and beauty. It is the island of the father of mathematics, Pythagoras, the astronomer Aristarchus and the philosopher Epicurus. It is the home of Hera and the land that hosted Herodotus and Aesop. An important center of trade in the Aegean and a major naval force in antiquity, it came into contact with important Mediterranean cultures.
The mythical birthplace of Hera, Samos is home to the largest temple in Greece (according to Herodotus) at the seaside settlement of Heraion, dedicated exclusively to the goddess of marriage and women. Of its 155 gigantic columns, only one still stands and is indicative of the scale of this place of religious worship that includes ruins of at least three earlier temples.
Samos is a place of overwhelming vegetation. Walk along Mt. Kerkis, from Votsalakia in Marathocampos, to its peak, Mt. Vigla, at an altitude of 1,400m. Along your hike you will see over 1,400 species of rare plants, many of which are endemic to the island, as well as dozens of species of birds of prey.
Wander around the settlements, along old cobble streets, and see Sarakini Tower, a magnificent structure of the 16th century, a true fort of its era. Visit the convents of Zoodochos Pigi Aliotissa, Agia Zoni, with its splendid library, and Timios Stavros, with is impressive throne. Climb the steps to the church of Panagia Sarandaskaliotissa, built at the entrance of Pythagoras’ Cave, where the ancient Greek mathematician found refuge when being persecuted by tyrant Polycrates.
The terrain of Samos is a challenge to those who choose to ride mountain bikes on their travels. Each summer, an increasing number of cyclists, fully equipped for their adventures, visit the island's trails. Birdwatchers set up near the Alyki habitat or Glyfada Lake to photograph herons, Dalmatian pelicans and pink flamingos that rest here before continuing their migration. When the heat covers the island like a blanket, those in the know start their journey to Karlovassi waterfalls early in the day
Pythagoreion, built on the ruins of the ancient city of Samos, is home to what many call the eighth wonder of antiquity – and engineers agree. In 550 BC, the architect Eupalinos undertook the task of constructing a 1,036m tunnel, at the order of tyrant Polycrates, to connect the two sides of the mountain and supply water to the ancient capital of Samos.
Both Pythagoreion and Heraion were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1992.
In the Archaeological Museum, amongst other things are exhibited finds from Heraion and the Colossal Kouros by Lefkias (5m high), 580BC.
Samos does not only feature important monuments and historical tales, nor just mountains and hiking trails. Above all else, Samos is a modern island, with immaculately organized beaches, such as Tsamados and Lemonakia, Votsalakia in Marathocampos, Chryssi Ammos, which and Psili Ammos. But Samos is also cosmopolitan if you stay at Vathy, Kokkari or Pythagoreion. It is isolated if you prefer Marathocampos, Kerveli or Mykali. It is a place of late-night revels, as well as a place of peace, ideal for rest, relaxation and contemplation.
Samos is a fertile, hospitable island that knows how to follow a natural pace, but also how to satisfy the desire of people for genuine entertainment. Especially in August, during ‘Manolis Kalomoiris’ Music Festival or ‘Heraia-Pythagoreia’ Festival, one can attend numerous drama performances at the ancient theatre of Pythagoreion. There is also a rock music festival usually organized at Heraion for a weekend each summer. At Pythagoreion in August, residents and visitors enjoy the resplendent firework show over the harbour.
If you wish to please your palate, the best opportunity to taste all varieties of Samos Muscat is the wine festival organized during the first ten days of August at Vathy. Samos wine has its own history.
Samos Muscat holds a special place in the French wine market, one of the most demanding in the world. One can only cheat on Muscat with local ouzo or souma, a beverage made of the same grape variety as the renowned wine. However, no one should leave Samos without a bottle of virgin olive oil and a jar of thyme honey. You can enjoy local tastes at small taverns, especially waterfront fish taverns at Kokkari are must to go.
You can reach to Samos fom Kusadasi Turkey by ship .There are ferries 2 times daily and it takes only 1.5 hours. There is also daily ferry from Piraeus port (Athens) to Vathy. The other access is flying to Samos via Athens airport. The best way to explore the island is to rent a car.