An introduction to Samos Island
Samos Island is an island in the North Aegean Sea, situated close to Turkey. Samos is a large and prosperous island, abundant and mountainous with large and popular tourist resorts scattered along its coastline, and idyllic, traditional villages situated in-land amongst its mountains, valleys, and coves.
Samos Island is famous for its wines and ouzo, but also for being the island on which the great ancient mathematician, Pythagoras, was born.
Samos Island has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age and inhabitants over the millennia have included the Pelasgians, the Phoenicians, the Carians and the Mycenaeans. Many of the ancient gods and goddesses were worshipped here by these ancient races and tribes, including Hera and Diana.
Samos Island has been a wealthy and prosperous island ever since the ancient years. It has been a major naval power, as well as a cultural and commercial centre. Ruins that give testament to these ancient and glorious years still survive today. There are remains of an ancient aqueduct, a temple in honour of the goddess Hera, and a temple to Diana.
Samos, like the other Northern Aegean islands fell to the Turks in around 1453, but a few centuries later, the Samians played an important role in the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. IN 1912, Samos was reunited with Greece.
Today, Samos Island is still a verdant island with an abundant economy that is mainly based on tourism, but also agriculture. Samian produce includes, honey, olives, olive oil, grapes, citrus fruit, figs and wine. Samian wine, of the sweet Muscat variety has gained international attention.
The capital of the island is called Vathy, literally “deep,” and is built around the main harbour (in fact, one of the three main harbours on the island) in typical ampitheatrical form. The architecture bears testament to the varied history of the island with Venetian and neoclassic mansions taking pride of place amongst the more traditional island homes. Vathy is the central hub of tourist and commercial action on the island and it is right here where all things begin and end. There are excellent tourist facilities here, state-of-the-art hotels and rooms to rent, galleries and museums, bars, cafés, clubs, tavernas, ouzeries and restaurants. Everything a tourist seeking the idyllic island holiday could desire.
Samos Island is such a beautifully green island that one should invest a lot of time walking about discovering its often hidden beauties, a beach, a mount, ancient ruins, a traditional taverna. There are natural and significant landmarks throughout the island, fertile valleys and archaeological sites of great historical and religions importance set in stunning natural landscapes, for example, the Efpalinio tunnel and the Spiliani Monastery.
There is a great archaeological museum and a Byzantine museum, and in the capital the great church of Agios Spyridon is a central and important island gem.
The Samian architecture is varied and fascinating, what with the mix of Venetian buildings, neoclassical mansions, Byzantine churches, red-tiled roof island homes and the classic white and blue of Greek islands.
Samos is an island after all, and that means that the beaches are to die for. Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities on this island, as on any other island around the world. The difference is that Samos combines natural beauty with historical charm. The combinations is irresistible. A morning in a museum can be balance by a lazy day on one of Samos’ many beaches. The closest beach to Samos town is Gagkou, at only a fifteen minute brisk walk. There are pebbles here, not sand, and the water is pure azure-blue. There are numerous bars and cafés along the coastline.
Before you leave the Samos island, make sure to book yourself on a mountain-climbing excursion. The natural beauty of Samos is impressive and as such a very different and, possibly, more intense holiday can be experienced on Samos. If you’ve never climbed a mountain before, then the Samos moutains and cliffs might just be the ones for you. There are climbing tours for all ages and experience, and if climbing is not for you, then maybe walking, hiking or cycling is. Samos is a natural paradise and her fertile valleys and dramatic cliffs must be experienced first hand.