Tourist Attractions on the Island of Samos, Greece
Samos Island is situated in the northern part of the Eastern Aegean Sea among the Greek islands that are just off the coast of Turkey.
The island is 43 km long and 13 km wide and it is full of history, beautiful nature, beaches and blue water.
Once upon a time this island was the home to famous people such as the philosopher Epicurus, the astronomer Aristarchus and of course the famous mathematician Pythagoras, the name behind the Pythagorean theorem you likely learned about in school.
Below are some of the sites worth visiting when on Samos:
Cave of Pythagoras
Pythagoras is believed to have both lived and taught from this cave in Mount Kerkis. This was during the 6th century BC and according to one theory Pythagoras was here while he was hiding from Polycrates. The cave is made up of two caves with the smaller believed to be the classroom and the larger cave his living cave.
There is a small chapel called Panagia Sarantskaliotissa located at the entrance and the views of the Sea are spectacular.
This beach is situated on the island’s far northeast area and it is overlooking the Turkish coastline with green slopes surrounding it. The drive here is very scenic as it wraps along the coastline.
The beach is managed by a bar and sun loungers are set in the water as it is so shallow that you have to wade out 40-50 meters before it is possible to swim.
Potami Waterfalls is a waterfall located near Karlovasi and it feeds a long, narrow gorge surrounded by high walls. When you visit here it is a good idea to be in fairly good shape and to wear swim shoes or at least sports shoes as you have to wade through the pools on the riverbed to get to the base of the first waterfall.
A rickety wooden stairway leads up to an isolated tavern from where you can move further up the river to another waterfall with a glimmering pool at its base.
Kokkari is an old picturesque fishing village and since the harbour is no longer widely used for fishing boats it is instead surrounded by cosy tavernas and cafes along the quaysides.
The village houses across the water of the harbour look like they are almost dropping down the slope and into the water when sitting at a restaurant overlooking the other side.
The pebbled beach offers a nice location to sunbathe and relax.
The Tunnel of Eupalinos
The tunnel is named after the engineer who created this tunnel in the 6th century BC and it was the first tunnel in the world to be excavated from both ends using mathematical calculations. After all, Samos had some great minds back in those days.
The tunnel is more than 1 km long and it was a fully functioning aqueduct for more than a millennium and it goes up, or down, the slopes of Mount Kastro to the ancient village of Pythagoreion, providing water to the village.
Heraion of Samos
The Temple of Hera, the Greek goddess, the wife of Zeus and the Queen of the Greek gods, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Pythagoreion, the ruins of the ancient town of Samos.
The sanctuary is believed to be the first of Ancient Greece’s large free-standing temples and was the third to be built on this very location.
This temple dates back to well before the late-Archaic Period of 6th century BC but it was never completed even though construction continued during the Roman period.
The temple was gradually dismantled and quarried for its marble by pagans during the Byzantine times and only 1 of the original 115 columns is still standing.
Tsamadou Beach is located just west of Kokkari and it is an exquisite pebble beach. This is also where we find the only official nudist beach on Samos, located on the east end underneath the cliffs.
The rest of the beach offers several beach bars with sun loungers so visitors don’t have to lie on the pebble. During high season it is a good idea to be here early to not miss out on a sun lounger.
Panagia Spiliani Church
Panagia Spiliani Church is a church located in a cave that runs 100 meters into Mount Kastro’s mountainside. It is part of a monastery and located at 125 meters over sea level, and it is surrounded by cypress trees and astonishing views.
Just as with the Cave of Pythagoras there is a theory that the great mathematician may have hid from Polycrates, the Tyrant of Samos, here in the 6th century BC.
This is where the marble icon of the Virgin is kept and there is a spring outside where fishermen would drink water from before setting sail on a voyage.
The oldest Byzantine church on the island is located on the way to the Potami Waterfalls. It is from the 1000s and the architecture combines the two styles of Byzantine and Genoese with its cruciform plan and dome.
The marble columns that are holding up the dome are believed to have been repurposed from an ancient monument. Up the hill from the church are the ruins of a Venetian castle and remnants of times past can be found in the coniferous forest of the area.
Samos has 3 ports with direct ferry connections to more than 60 ports in the surrounding areas, including mainland Greece and mainland Turkey, but mostly with the other Greek islands. Some ferry rides take less than an hour, others up to 18 hours, but if you enjoy spending time on the water the views and the relaxation is fantastic, and you get to see other places while you are here. Make it a day trip, or a stay-over trip for the night, whatever suits you, but it is worth the time if you like being on the water.
Archaeological Museum of Vathy
Vathy is the old neighbourhood of Samos town and this museum is a place full of ancient Samian culture and artefacts.
This includes the 5,5 meters tall Ionic Kouros (a figure of a naked youth) that is dated to the beginning of the 6th century BC, statues from the Heraion of Samos, as well as a bronze breastplate from a horse showing Heracles fighting the three-headed dog of Hades to mention a few of the interesting objects that are found here.
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