A Greek island just off the coast of modern Turkey, Samos is an essential part of your Aegean luxury cruise itinerary. Full of turquoise beaches, lush nature, and villages drenched in history, Samos offers plenty to do both on land and at sea. An island that proudly preserved its authenticity in spite of tourism is dotted with historic landmarks that stand to witness the importance of Samos through the centuries.
The birthplace of Pythagoras and Epicurus, in antiquity Samos was the center of Ionian culture and opulence, praised for its Samian wine and red pottery. But the Temple of Hera, the goddess of women, family, and childbirth, was its most popular sight. Today, this Aegean island attracts visitors with branches that could easily be mistaken for Caribbean hotspots, mysterious caves and tunnels, and delicious cuisine.
Places To Visit in Samos
The main town of the island was built in the mid 18th century as the port of Vathy. Today, it’s a magnet from hedonists who come all over the world to enjoy the finer things in life but also learn about the rich history of Greece.
Not a fan of museums? The Samos Wine museums will change your mind forever. Located in an impressive 19th-century mansion, it tells the story of the age-old winemaking tradition of the island through photos of vineyards, production records, and artifacts like tools, tanks, laboratory instruments, barrel-making equipment, and of course wine tasting.
After the tasting, stroll by the waterfront adorned with Venetian villas, and make a stop to rest in one of the chic cafes or visit the shops to hunt for souvenirs.
And at night, the town comes alive in fabulous bars and clubs where you can dance enjoying the sunset over the yacht sprinkled harbor. Mezza Volta offers the best cocktails on the island, while Escape Music Club is the place to enjoy the upbeat playlist of young talented DJs until dusk.
Perhaps the most beautiful village of Samos, Pythagorio is named after the famous philosopher and mathematician born on the island. Beloved for the aquamarine seas and old tile-roofed houses are seen across the maze of old streets, this village will keep any sightseeing enthusiasts with their hands full. The Castle of Lykourgos Logothetis is a great example of defensive architecture, built in the midst of a revolution against the Turks in the 19th century from remains of different monuments. Located in the western harbor of the village, the 400-meters long castle lies on the oldest acropolis of Pythagorio, and some prehistoric artifacts were found there.
You might also want to see the Tunnel of Eupalinos, considered one of the 8 wonders of the ancient world, that was in the mid-section of an aqueduct, built in the 6th century BC and is named after its architect, Eupalinus. The tunnel gives key-insight into the knowledge ancient Greeks possessed and tells about the heyday of the power and influence Samos enjoyed.
If you still have some energy left, make sure to pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Pythagorion with sublime marble statues, jewelry, coins, and some 3000 artifacts, some of which are 7 millennia old.
Hey, culture vultures, we’re not even done yet - this picturesque village also homes The Roman Baths from 2 century AD, The Folklore Museum, and the whitewashed Monastery of Panagia Spillani, with a church built inside a cave, dedicated to the worship of Virgin Mary. It’s assumed that the cave was once a hiding and teaching spot for the prolific mathematician. After all that effort to learn about the history of the village, you’ll be rewarded with the best views of Pythagorio.
Cool off in one of the trendy bars, like Iera Odos Caffe Bar, and stroll through the artsy Blue Street, painted in white and sapphire by the locals, where you’ll find charming shops where you can buy products from the island and handmade gifts.
A small coastal town with plenty of history, Ireon is the island’s most important historical sight. According to Greek mythology, the banks of the river Imvrasos were the birthplace of the goddess Hera, and the remains of the temple devoted to her worship can still be seen today. The temple was built around 530 BC and once had 155 pillars, out of which only one is still well preserved.
The Holy Road, or Iera Odos, is another important landmark to visit here, a 5 km long road to Old Samos Town, with an abundance of majestic buildings on both sides of the roads.
The scenic fishing village is built around a glittery harbor, and you can stroll through the cobbled streets and squares to discover several charming tavernas and tourist shops.
Best Beaches In Samos
If all that sightseeing and socializing left you a bit drained, head to the serene fishing village of Kokari, where aside from a lovely beach and traditional tavernas, you won’t have much to do. The Tsamadou Beach is a great place for those who like to stay active on their vacation, as windsurfing and water sports are often practiced here. The water is bright turquoise, perfect for swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Lemonakia Beach is also nearby and offers plenty of shade and translucid seas.
Just 3 km from the capital, Potokaki Beach is an enchanting spot with translucent shiny waters, perfect for some summer fun with family and friends.
It holds a Blue Flag status and is very organized, with many bars and tavernas serving drinks and refreshments.
Psili Ammos Beach
If pebbles aren’t your thing, visit Psili Ammos, a heavenly beach with long strips of golden sand and bright blue seas. The surrounding cliffs offer wind protection, and pine trees provide some shade. One of the loveliest beaches on Samos for sure, but probably among the prettiest in Greece, too.
Some 15 km west of the main town, Platanakia Beach is a sheltered piece of heaven with soft white sand and some pebbly parts. Surrounded by imposing cliffs and verdant trees, Platanakia is perfect for families traveling with little ones.
Eden-like oasis with thick pine forests, Potami Beach has waters so clean you could admire the rich aquatic life without ever leaving your charter yacht’s bathing platform.
Megalo Seitani Beach
If you’re looking for your own secluded piece of Eden, make time to visit Megalo Seitani, an enchanting beach with lush vegetation where you’ll have no distractions to enjoy nature’s allure. You might stumble upon some naturists here, but the beach is big enough for the few visitors to enjoy their own privacy.
Best Restaurants In Samos
Samos offers several journeys at the same time - one is a historic journey, the other a hedonist’s adventure through the beaches, and lastly, the Aegean Island offers a culinary journey that will delight your taste buds. From swish restaurants to traditional tavernas, you’ll find spectacular dishes everywhere you drop your anchor.
Orizontas Restaurant, Platanos
Greek cuisine at its best - Orizontas offers a wide range of traditional meals whose recipes were passed from generation to generation. The tagliatelle with breeze rabbit is out of this world! Book a table for an early dinner to enjoy the romantic mountain sunsets with a glass of light Greek wine.
Thalasea Fish & Oyster Restaurant, Pythagorion
If you have a special occasion coming up, visit this lavish seaside restaurant that serves the freshest seafood and offers a wide range of different oysters, beautifully paired with a glass of fine champagne. Thalasea offers a romantic atmosphere and a stylish environment, ideal for your next anniversary or birthday.
Argo Taverna, Marathokampos
A traditional taverna set in an Eden-like garden full of fragrant flowers, Argo has a menu full of mouthwatering Greek dishes and seafood. From freshly caught fish, soft crabs, and delicious desserts, everything in this taverna is cooked to perfection. Located just off the beach, Argo is an excellent choice for a family lunch and offers something for everyone.
Tassos Restaurant, Samos Town
A stunning seaside restaurant away from the waterfront, and therefore serene and romantic, Tassos is a wonderful choice for a romantic dinner or wine at sunset. Try to get a table as close to the water and enjoy some barefoot dining. The views are simply stunning and the staff will treat you like family.
Welcome Bar Restaurant, Samos Town
Romantic, scenic, and modern, Welcome located in a hip garden with endless views of the sea and has a vibrant ambiance at night that makes it perfect for outings with friends or a casual evening with your significant other. Although the elegant restaurants mostly serve gourmet seafood, if you come during the day, you can enjoy a tasty breakfast as well.
Shopping in Samos
If you plan to bring some presents home, visit the Farm Store in Pirgos or Melissa Unique in the main town for the best selection of Greek products from the island, like wine, honey, ouzo, kalamatas, and olive oil. Kosmo and Cool Cat sell superb jewelry, while for art, pay a visit to Popi’s or Rumiana gallery to find your next wall decor or handmade pottery.