Island of Samos
The island of Samos is situated in Eastern Aegean, basking in the sunlight at a very short distance from the Asia Minor coastline, with the Mykali Straits extending in-between. The island’s capital town is Samos boasting of a population of nine thousand permanent inhabitants, built amphitheatrically and overlooking the homonymous natural bay, the 8th largest of its kind, in Greece
Samos boasts of the reputation of the greenest island and most fertile land throughout the Aegean. Lush vegetation starts already on the coast to reach the most lavish shades of green way up to the top of the mountains. Olive groves in the planes and pine forests at higher altitudes cover practically half of the island’s territory, the flora of which also features vineyards, fruit trees and a wide variety of vegetables.
What’s in a name
Unique in the richness and variety of its flora, Samos has, more than any other Greek island, been known under an incredible variety of names, some of them quite poetic, like Parthenía, Dryoussa, Anthemoussa, Melanthemos, Fyllas, Doryssa, to quote only a few of the names under which the island has been quoted by Ancient and modern authors.
This is one of Samos’ most renowned location, an archaeological site of major interest in the southern part of the island. The ancient Greek Mythology had it that this was the birthplace of goddess Hera, hence the homonymous temple built to honor the goddess, in Ionic style, having featured two aisles adorned with no less than 155 gigantic pillars. This explains why in his account, Herodotus referred to this construction as the biggest one in Greece.
The Eupalinus Tunnel
Widely considered as the 8th wonder of Ancient Times, the Eupalinus Tunnel has always been veneered as a “wondrous achievement in engineering”. This is a 1.045 tunnel running in an area not far from Pythagorion, on the island of Samos. Commissioned sometime in the 6th Century B.C. by Polykrates, the leader of the island, this tunnel was meant to channel water in what has come to be known as the first and perhaps the most important aqueduct of the Ancient World. The particularity of this construction consists in that excavation works were launched and progressed simultaneously on both sides of the mountain, until workers met somewhere midways in absolute precision!
The Vathy Archaeological Museum
The Vathy Byzantine Museum
The Vathy Wine Museum
The History and Folklore Museum in Karlovassi
The Paleontological Museum in Mytilinii
The Pythagorion Folklore Museum
The Pagonda Folklore Museum
The Karlovassi Tannery Museum
The Pythagorion Archaeological Museum
|Beach name||Longitude and type of beach||Infrastructure|
|Roditses||300 meters, pebbly|
|Gagkou||500 meters, pebbles and sand||organized|
|Livadaki||8 km, sand||organized|
|Klima||10 km, pebbly||organized|
|Mykali||7 km, pebbly||organized, water sports|
|Psili Ammos||7 km, sandy||organized, ideal for children|
|Pythagorion||15 km, sandy||Organized|
|Potokaki||17 km, sandy||Organized, water sports|
|Kokkari||10 km, pebbly||Organized, water sports|
|Lemonakia||12 km, pebbly||Organized|
|Tsamadou||12 km, pebbly||Organized|
|Tsampou||15 km, pebbly||Organized|
|Mikro & Megalo Seïtani||Accessible by boat. Acknowledged as a refuge for the monachus monachus seal.|
|Votsalakia||sandy||Organized; children playgrounds.|
Local products & Gastronomy
Samos has earned international renown thanks to its unique wine. The Greek Mythology has that god Dionysus taught Samians the art of cultivating the vine and further on the art of producing wine, as a recompense for the assistance Samians offered the god in his struggle against the Amazons who refused to practice his cult..
Samos vineyards are unique, the world over: some 1.600 hectares of vitiviniculture, almost invariably arranged in vine stocks. This arrangement, combined with the lush vegetation of the island creates an unforgettable setting, contributing to the uniqueness of Samian wines.
The most important variety of vine on the island of Samos is the small-grained white muscat (in French: muscat blanc à petits grains) also known as «Moschoudi» or Muscat de Frontignan. This is a noble vine variety, quite frequently practiced throughout the Mediterranean. This type of vine is intensively cultivated in France where it was imported at the time phylloxera ravaged the species. It was then that, with all probability, the French took grafts of this vine from Samos and brought them to their home land, thus launching that particular French variety.
To this day, the consecutive awards for the quality of Samian wines have been enhancing their visibility worldwide so much that Samos has been invariably associated to this cherished product (link: www.samoswine.gr)
Noteworthy local products
- A wide array of Honey varieties (originating from flowers, conifers ea.)
- Protein-enriched pollen, an essential ingredient for the manufacture of several types of cosmetics) – Royal Jelly
- Prime quality Ouzo, obtained by a unique way of distillation and benefiting of a distinctive flavor (with or without anise)
- Ceramic art
- Edible olives (amongst which the unique «chamades» and «tsakistes»)
- Several kinds of certified Samian bio-products (such as fruit, vegetables, olive oil, dried food and herbs)
- Hand-made syrup confectionery and fruit preserves
Samo’s gastronomical tradition is reflected on the very special and sometimes quite intricate cuisine practiced on this island. Greatly influenced by the culinary habits of the Greek refugees who came to the island from Asia Minor, the Samian Cuisine has also retained certain features dating back in the time of the island’s Hegemony. The secret behind some of the most delectable recipes lies in the quality of local ingredients and such endemic herbs as the so-called «throumbi» (a kind of origano), verbena, apple geranium, ea.
Among the island’s culinary specialties, baby goat, prepared in an endless variety of ways, is the first thing that comes to mind. Other favorite dishes: stuffed back meat baked in a stone oven, pork thighs prepared in garlic sauce with stewed potatoes or pasta in tomato sauce on the side. Visitors and locals alike relish on stuffed vegetables, stuffed vine leaves (dolmades) but also tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants and even zucchinis.. practically anything can be stuffed with minced meat or rice and conditioned with a heavenly mixture of herbs before they hit the oven for the traditional preparation. Do not miss the chickpea puree fried balls and the stuffed zucchini flowers.
Yet another delicacy, typical of Samos, is «bourekia» although the recipe applied here is totally different from any other recipe of the kind practiced in Greece. The difference lies in the fact that the stuffing is prepared with a mixture of yellow pumpkin and local cheese, conditioned with cinnamon, the whole thing rolled up into a successive puff-pastry sheets prepared in a special way for this particular application. These rolls are then either pan-fried or baked in the oven – a unique tease of the palate as it alternates from sweet to savvy – all the more since some like to sprinkle them with cheese whereas others with honey. Another dish that is unique in Samos, is the so-called «Yiortí». As the name suggests, only the initiate faithful are supposed to be privy to the recipe and that only in the occasion of some major Saint’s Day. The basis of this dish is goat meat, put to stew for some 12 hours in a big casserole with lots of onions and wheat, with the cook stirring the whole continuously; it is served warm at the end of mass.
Needless to say that whatever the delicacy you order, expect to see it accompanied with local wine and «suma», a local liquor reminiscent of eau-de-vie, one should definitely try at least once before leaving the island.