From marvels of ancient engineering to the birth of a mythical goddess, the Greek isle of Samos has played a pivotal role in its fair share of history. Modern Samos, however, is a picturesque collection of villages, wineries, mountains, and beaches set into the pristine blue waters of the Aegean Sea – and it’s also a perfect holiday destination.
At times, it can seem impossible to take a step on the isle of Samos without brushing up against a reminder of the island’s long and storied history. The ancient home of Pythagoras, the father of mathematics; the land of iconic philosophers and storytellers such as Epicurus and Aesop; and the mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess Hera, Samos has centuries of history to be discovered by interested travellers – and plenty of accompanying tradition as well. Make your way from village to village through verdant vegetation and across imposing mountains to experience both the majesty of Samos’s natural world and the depth of the island’s gracious culture. And when you’re ready to relax and indulge? Grab a spot on one of Samos’s renowned beaches and luxuriate in the Mediterranean sun, or feast on figs, forest honey, local wine, and traditional Greek food made the same way it’s always been made in one of the island’s many tavernas. Samos is waiting, so don’t hesitate: book your SWISS flight from Zurich to Samos today.
What is the easiest way to get around Samos?
When moving between locations within individual villages, many travellers will find that walking is quite suitable – many of the villages are close enough together to be comfortably navigated on foot. For travellers interested in moving between villages, car or motor scooter hire is available and provides the greatest degree of freedom. Although affordable buses do run between the island’s villages, the infrequent schedules may prove inconvenient, especially for off-season visits. Also keep in mind that buses tend not to run on public holidays.
When is the best time of year to visit Samos?
The hot, sunny summertime in Samos, from June to August, is a beautiful time of year to visit, but it’s also the island’s peak tourist season. Travellers looking for a little space in which to throw down their beach towels will be well-served to look into dates on either side of the summer, such as April to May or September to October, when temperatures are still warm and precipitation is still low, but the summer crowds are not in full swing. Those planning to spend time in the water may prefer an autumn visit, as the waters of the Aegean can be quite cool in springtime.
What currency is used in Samos?
The currency of Greece is the euro. Paying by debit or credit card is generally possible in the larger villages on the island, and visitors can also generally withdraw cash from ATMs as well. However, when visiting smaller villages, it is always prudent to have cash on hand, especially smaller notes, as many establishments may have limited abilities to give change.
Start in Samos’s distant past and keep going forward
Given that it has such a long, fascinating past, it should come as no surprise that there is no shortage of history to visit on Samos. First on many travellers’ list of can’t-miss locations is Pythagoreio, home to the oldest man-made port on the Mediterranean Sea as well as the island’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first, the Temple of Hera, is thought to once have been among the largest temples of the ancient world. Although the centuries have left only traces of the temple, seeing its scope in the ruins is breath-taking. The other, the Tunnel of Eupalinos, an aqueduct carved through a mountain in the 6th century BC, is a feat of the ancient world: the construction of the tunnel demonstrates such advanced engineering that many experts refer to it as the eighth wonder of antiquity.
Archeology of Samos
Whether you prefer to visit archaeological sites or you’d rather enjoy one of the island’s curated museums, Pythagoreio provides several options.
- The ruins of the Ancient City
- Monastery of Panagia Spiliani
- Marble Theatre
- Roman Baths
- Archaeological Museum
- Folklore Museum
Beaches and nature
Of course, the island isn’t all ancient history. Travellers looking to unwind with the help of some sun and seaside have more than a dozen beaches to choose from, everything from small, secluded coves to broad, family-friendly stretches of golden sand. Active travellers will get a kick out of the island’s many hiking trails – spectacular views and captivating flora and fauna make Samos’ outdoors unforgettable. And when the day is done? Grab a seat in one of the island’s tavernas for a glass of ouzo or Samian wine. Indoors or out, Samos has plenty to see – so start now and book your flight from Zurich to Samos today.
Taste the culinary traditions of Samos
As you make your way across Samos, don’t hesitate to stop at one of the island’s many tavernas if hunger strikes. The restaurants on Samos tend towards authentic Greek cuisine, and the island’s long-standing (and mouth-watering) tradition of fresh seafood and dishes that feature delicious local produce is still very much alive and well. Smaller dishes like mpourekia (patties typical of Samos made from pumpkin and local cheese) are perfect for recharging after a day at the beach, and larger dishes like gemista (stuffed vegetables) or giaprakia (traditional rice-stuffed vine leaves) are the ideal way to experience traditional Samian food. Don’t forget to have some local honey for dessert, either – Samos’s rich flora results in exceptional honey, which the island’s residents have been using for centuries to prepare traditional Greek sweets such as loukoumades or baklava.
Learn the art of drinking ouzo
The residents of Samos take their ouzo seriously – the traditional anise-flavoured Greek aperitif is made from pressed grapes, herbs, and berries, and pairs perfectly with mezes such as seafood or grilled octopus. And if ouzo isn’t your thing, pull out the wine list: Samos has several respected winemakers, and the island’s famous Muscat varietal has won awards around the world. In fact, the village of Vathy even has a whole museum dedicated to the island’s wines.
Shop the whole island
The majority of the shopping on Samos is concentrated in the larger villages – such as Vathy, Karlovassi, and Pythagoreio – but half the fun is to shop your way between villages and see what each community has to offer. Keep a keen eye out for regional products such as olive oil, local wine and ouzo, as well as handmade jewellery.