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Samos one of the prettiest and the most fertile Greek islands is located between Ikaria and Chios and near to the mainland of Minor Asia. It covers a surface of some 500 square km and having a population of 34.000 residents approximately.
Bathed in sun and gifted with plenty of natural beauties, Samos has become a favourite tourist destination for it combines harmonically mountain and sea.
Its impressive terrain is composed by towering mountains, lush-forested hills dotted with wild flowers, amazing forests interspersed with spectacular ravines and dramatic gorges, rich biotopes and running waters, fertile valleys, olive groves and vineyards (Samos is famed for its oil and wine). Its dentelated coastline of some 150 km embraces stunning beaches with clear turquoise waters, serene coves and wonderful bays.
The natural beauty of Samos is complemented by picturesque mountainous villages and idyllic coastal settlements, churches and imposing monasteries, significant archaeological sites and monuments.
The island has a continuous presence since antiquity as an important spiritual, cultural and commercial centre.
According to mythology, the goddess Hera was born in Samos and generously blessed the island with fertility. In her honour, locals erected a temple (Heraion/Ireon), the ruins of which can be seen today at the estuary of the river Imvrasos.
Historically speaking, first traces of organized life are dating back to the 4th millennium BC, while first settles are considered to be the Pelasgians, followed by the Careans and the Leleges. Around the 11th century BC the Ionians settled on the island and built the ancient city. Samos reached at its peak in the 6th century developing a notable marine power and founding colonies in Ephesus, Thrace and Sicily. At those times the admirable walls of Polykrates (Polykratis) around the city were built.
The financial prosperity and the interaction with other civilizations led Samos to become known as an important artistic and cultural centre and also as the birthplace of Pyrhagoras, the legendary mathematician, philosopher and also architect of the Temple of Hera; of the astronomer Aristarchus (Aristarchos), the first who supported the solar-centred model and of Epicurus , the astronomer who supported the atomic theory and the philosopher who dared to question the divine intervention in human life and introduced as the highest goal the pleasure and the knowledge derived from it.
During the Hellenistic Times the Athenians conquered and colonized the island, while later on it came under Egyptian control. In the following centuries Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Ottomans dominated Samos. Though the island contributed considerably to the Greek war of Independence in 1821 it didn’t succeed tothrow of the Ottoman yoke and a peculiar status was established under the protection of the Great Powers; Samos became a semi-autonomous principality subjected to the Ottoman Empire. Yet in 1912 locals were rebelled against this regime and under the leadership of Themistoklis Sofoulis they declared their union with the Greek State.
Vathy (Vathi), also called Samos, is the island's capital and its main port.
In fact, there are two adjacent towns; the lively Samos and the scenic Vathy, both built amphitheatrically around a picturesque bay. Neoclassical mansions and traditional red-tiled houses, narrow alleys and idyllic squares, old churches and wonderful monuments have made Vathy known for its quaint charm. Ano Vathy (Upper Vathy), the old quartet of the capital distinguished for its beautiful neighbourhoods and for the amazing view it offers to the sea, is definitely worth a visit.
The lower part of the city is equally charm and quite lively with its waterfront bustling with life linen as it is with coffee-bars, clubs, restaurant and taverns. Magnificent neoclassical buildings such as the Town Hall, the buildings of the Art Gallery and of the National Bank of Greece, the Old Elementary school, and also the delightful Pythagoras square surrounded by palm trees dominated with the 19th century marble lion statue, the beautiful Church Of Agios Spyridonas and the Cathedral of Agios Nikolaos a well as the Municipal Gardens are prevailing features of the town.
In Vathy there is also the remarkable Archaeological Museum (housed in two separate buildings; the “Paschalion Archaeophylakeion” and the new one) with exhibits from the archaic period such as the colossal Kouros, the marble statue off Hera, statuettes and vessels.
The capital has a developed tourist industry and is an ideal haven for exploring the island and some of its best beaches.
Ireon village is a coastal village of some 500 residents , situated 18 km southwest to Vathy approximately. The village itself is quite delightful with its small harbour, offering many accommodation facilities and also choices for entertainment. Yet, besides its own beauty, Ireon attracts plenty of tourists for the World-Heritage –listed site of Ireon; the grandiose sanctuary of Hera. The temple that was erected in the 8th century BC was connected with the ancient city of Samos via a Sacred Road adorned with statues. Most of the finds today are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Samos.
In the surrounding area the 15th century Tower of Sarakini, the Mycenaean tomb and the three-arched bridge, all near the settlement of Myloi are worth-seeing.
Karlovasi, is the second largest town and port of Samos. Built in a green and scenic landscape and situated some 30 km northwest to the capital, the town is a major pole of attraction for its natural beauty and its unique atmosphere composed by fabulous neoclassical mansions, old churches an also for its industrial buildings such as the Old Tanneries, since Karlovasi was important trade and commercial centre during the 19th century.
Today the town has a well-developed tourist industry offering all amenities needed for a comfortable staying and it consists of three quarters; the Old Karlovasi perched on a hill and characterized by its traditional delightful houses, the Middle Karlovasi which used to be the industrial centre and the New Karlovasi built around the bay, in which shops of any kind can be found.
Remarkable buildings such as the 19th century Hatziyiannio (Hatzigiannio) building that today houses the Library of the Mathematic School, the Hegemonic Mansion, the Old Elementary School, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, the Chapel of Agios Antonios (St. Antony) built in a cave and the Church of Agios Ioannis Chrysostomos (St. John Chrysostom) with an impressive wooden temple adorn the town of Karlovasi.
In the surrounding area and close to the settlement of Potami, the ruins of a Byzantine Castle and the waterfalls found in a verdant site of excellent natural beauty are definitely worth-visiting.
Pythagorion, just some 10 km southwest to the capital is the most famous and cosmopolitan resort of Samos, for it combines significant archaeological sites, a well-organized tourist industry, interesting nightlife and an idyllic harbour that is popular among yacht-owners. Built upon the ruins of the ancient city of Samos, the birthplace of Pythagoras, today’s town is distinguished for its charming tiled-roof houses and its picturesque narrow alleys that lead to hospitable neighbothoods.
At the entrance of the town, the statue of Pythagoras welcomes the visitors, while parts of the ancient walls, of the agora, and the ancient port seem to be integrated part of the town.
The Tower of Logothetis, the ruins of the Roman Baths, the remnants of the ancient theatre and the Monastery of Panagias Spilianis (Of Virgin Mary of the cave) are only few of the interesting sites of Pythagorion.
Yet, the most impressive of all sights, is the Evpalinio (Evpalinean) Tunnel, which still provokes the admiration of the modern architects. Built around the 6th century BC to serve as an aqueduct, and with a length of 1,036 m , it was excavated by both sides with admirable preciseness revealing the advanced knowledge of the geometric principles of its creator. Today, the Tunnel is open to the public.
Pythagorion has also two museums; the Archaeological one, in which interesting collections of the Archaic Era are exhibited and the Folklore Museum that houses local costumes, objects and tools of daily use and traditional weavings.
The forested island of Samos is famed for its fabulous beaches. Most of them are found in scenic landscapes where trees climb down to the edge of the sea while their clear waters have exotic green-blue hues. Popular or hidden the beaches of Samos worth to be discovered.
The blue-flag pebbly beach of Gagou, partly organized with amazing crystalline waters, the beach of Lemonakia embraced by a secluded verdant bay with fine sand and thick pebbles partly organized; the long-stretched beach of Psilli Ammos with sparkling waters, and the long magnificent beach of Potami with soft sand and small pebbles are only few of Samos' spectacular beaches.
More quiet and remote, yet equally splendid beaches, are the Posidonio beach, a tree-shaded one with deep blue waters, the nearby beach of Klima, a peaceful one with crystalline waters and the tranquil beach of Kerveli with sparking clear waters and surrounded by lush-forested hills.
Samos is reachable by sea via scheduled trips with hydrofoil and high speed ferries with the port of Piraeus. It is also connected with the ports of Thessaloniki , Rafina and Alexandroupoli ( Evros Prefecture) . During summer season Samos is linked with the islands of Tinos, Mykonos, Syros, Naxos, Paros, Rodos, Kalymnos, Kos, Lesvos, Chios, Ikaria and Fourni.
Samos has its own airport which has direct connection with the Airports of Athens and Of Thessaloniki.
Olympic Airlines (Athens): 210/9292111, 9666666
Olympic Airlines (Samos): 26610/386994/6
Patras Port Authority: 2610/341002
Samos Port Authority: 26610/32655
Igoumenitsa Port Authority: 26650/22235
Bus Terminal (Athens): 210 5124910-1, 5132601
Bus Terminal (Samos, urban transport): 26610/32158
Bus Terminal (Samos, inter-island transport): 26610/39862/31595
Bus Terminal Salonica: 2310/536260