Samos is a unique island rich in history, culture and incomparable natural beauty. Samos was the birthplace of the famous philosopher, Epicurus, the renowned mathematician, Pythagoras and the astronomer, Aristarchus, although the island is perhaps better known for its production of sweet Muscat wine. Legends say that Samos was also the home of Aesop and Hera. Ancient ruins can be found along the southeastern coast among lush green hills, sprawling vineyards and picturesque beaches. Samos one of the Greek Islands located in the eastern Aegean Sea, the Myracle Strait divides the island from Turkeys southwestern coast.
It is believed that the original settlers on Samos Island were the Pelegasians although archaeological records date back to the Neolithic era and evidence of Phoenicians, Lelegas and Carians have also been found. In the 6th century BC the island was under the rule of Polycrates, during his rule Samos became a remarkable naval force which dominated the region, the Eupalinos tunnel and the Sanctuary of Hera were constructed, today their ruins can be visited. Arts and sciences began to develop and talented individuals such as Aristarchus, Epicurus and Pythagoras emerged.
In 479 BC Samos allied with Athens to fight the Battle of Plataea, soon after an Athenian coup overthrew the tyrant Polycrates and democracy was restored to the island. Samos also fought alongside the Greek navy in following battles but it was captured by Spartans during the Peloponnesian wars has since been occupied by Romans, Genoese and Venetians. Examples of mixed architectural styles are common in the islands historical cities.
Since the 1400's Samos has been fought over by Turks and Greeks and the land has been exchanged on more than one occasion. Finally in 1912, at the end of the Balkan wars, Samos was returned to the Greeks and has remained at peace with its neighbours.
Vathy is also known as Samos and is the capital of the island, the city is actually made up of two settlements which are now connected. Samos is the older of the two villages, it is a lively area with many good bars, restaurants and hotels as well as a combination of modern buildings and old Venetian and Neoclassic architecture, Samos also hosts the Archaeological Museum. Vathy sits above Samos between hills, it boasts a steep cobbles stone streets lined with boutique shops and cafes as well as a Byzantine museum and a busy harbour, one of the main ports on the island.
Located on the southern coast, Pythagorion is one of the most attractive villages on the island, situated in a small bay with local restaurants and taverns. The village was renamed Pythagorion in 1955 in honour of the mathematician who was born in this town, nearby you can visit the cave where Pythagoras once took refuge from the tyrannical leader. The town was once a strong naval base and ruins of the ancient fort as well as Greek and Roman monuments are still present in the area. Day tours by boat and fishing excursions can be made from the village.
Temple of Hera
This is one of the islands main attractions, located just 8 kilometres from Pythagorian village, the temples was initially built in the 8th century BC and dedicated to the Greek Goddess Hera. It had been destroyed by Persian raids and the reconstruction was never completed. The ruined structure contains a Christian cathedral, original marble pillars and smaller temples.
Tunnel of Eupalinos
One of the 8 wonders of the ancient world, Ephalinos was the most significant engineering achievement of its time, built in the 6th century BC the tunnel takes the name of the engineer who designed it. The construction of this vast tunnel lasted for 10 years, it served as an aqueduct supplying the town of Samos with water. Use of the tunnel was abandoned in the 7th century BC, under Byzantine rule, although it was still used as a hid out and refuge during raids and war time.
Samos Island boasts many fine beaches but Tsamadou is noted as one of the most beautiful. Only 3 kilometres from Kokkari village, it's a pretty pebble beach, lined with umbrellas and sunbeds, with notoriously clear azure blue waters, surrounded by rolling green hills.
The best way to get to Samos Island is by boat, there are regular Ferry Services from Athens, connections to nearby Greek Islands or onward to Kusadasi; a popular Turkish resort town and the ideal place to begin discovering the country. Kusadasi is a great starting point for trips to UNESCO sites of Ephesus and Pamukkale.