Samos - ANCIENT SAMOS - general


The geography and early history
of the area


What is called the ‘Kambos Choras’ today is a wide and fertile, south-facing plain between the mountains and the shore. It is watered by the streams that run off from the mountains to the north (Mt. Ambelos, 1153m) and west (Mt. Bournias, 778m)—prin cipally the Imbrasos ‘river’ at the western end, and the Kalathi, to the east; today these are only seasonal streams, but in early Antiquity they probably flowed more constantly. The mountains protect the plain from the north winds and create a micro-climate ideal for cultivation. There were, in ancient times, two natural harbour-inlets at the far eastern end of the plain, one where the modern port of Pythagoreio is, the other—now a small lake called Glyphada— lies a little to its west (beside the Doryssa Bay Hotel). Between the two was a hill, usable as a low acropolis. There were several strong, fresh-water springs in the area, the most important at Aghiades, to the north of the area, and at Myli, to the west. In short: all the prerequisites for a successful urban settlement.

   Given this geography, it is not surprising to find evidence of very early settlement in the Kambos area. On the low hill between the two ancient harbours, where the castle of Lycourgos Logothetis now stands in Pythagoreio, was a Late Neolithic settlement of the 4th millennium bc, whose finds show affinities with contemporaneous Cycladic culture. This hill later became the earliest acropolis and nucleus of the sub sequent settlement of historic times. At the site of the Heraion itself, where remains of an Early Bronze Age fortified settlement to the north and east of the main temple have been found, and in the village of Myli (2km to its northwest) where a Mycenaean rock-cut tomb can still be seen (in the narrow space between the church of Aghios Charalambos and the school sports-field at Myli), there is clear evidence of a continuous, early habitation and settlement.

   But it is the cult of Hera, the queen of divinities, and of her earlier prehistoric forebears in the form of the ‘Mother Goddess’, that more than anything has determined the development of this auspicious and fertile plain. Since it long predates the evolution of the ancient city of Samos , this guide will begin first at the Sanctuary of Hera, or Heraion, and then go on to look at the remains of the city.


Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.

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Samos Island, Greece.

By air: Domestic flights are frequent from Athens – four to five times daily with Olympic Air and twice a day in summer with Aegean Airlines.
There also direct flights by charter from destinations outside Greece.
By boat: Sea access to Samos is also plentiful, but a little confusing because it is split between three separate ports: Karlóvasi and Vathy, on the north coast, for the larger ferries plying the northern and western routes to Piraeus, Chios, Lesbos, Ikaria, Thessaloniki etc;
and Pythagóreio, on the south coast, for the Dodecanese and southern routes,
i.e. the F/B Nisos Kalymnos (4 days per week)
and hydrofoils (daily in summer) to Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, and on to Rhodes , with the Nisos Kalymnos stopping at Agathonisi and Arki in addition, before calling at Patmos.
The summer hydrofoil service to Fourni and Ikaria (4 times weekly) also leaves from Pythagóreio. Crossings to Turkey (Kus¸adasi) run daily from Vathy, during the summer season only (Easter to mid October); thereafter more infrequently.

Samos Travel Guide


Samos Island, Greece.

In Vathy, Christos (two blocks in from the water-front, and north of the main square) serves Asia Minor specialties, interesting salads, and good, fragrant wine.
The village of Vourliotes has several tavernas offering good mountain food in its picturesque plateia: less contrived, and more popular with islanders, is Pera Vrysi, at the entrance to the village. On the shore below, at Avlákia, the Mezedopoleío "Doña Rosa" has a pleasing touch of eccentricity, but nonetheless prepares excellent Greek dishes with localredients and good presentation.
Further west at Palaio Karlóvasi, the Oinomageireío "Dryousa", in the plateia where the paved road ends, is family run, providing fresh, home cooking.
The last true tavernas in Pythagóreio closed some time ago; the best remaining eatery there, with a pleasant view from its position at the beginning of the harbour mole, is Varka. For sunset views, however, few can match Balkoni tou Aigaiou at the south end of Spatherei;
while the taverna at Koutsi, up and west from Pyrgos, though not remarkable for food, is an unforgettable and cool refuge on a hot day, beside a spring below plane trees in the hills of central Samos .
Pure comb honey of high quality can be found at Melissa – a small supply-shop, a few metres up the main street of Pythagóreio from the harbour.

Samos Travel Guide

further reading

Samos Island, Greece.

Graham Shipley, A History of Samos 800-188 BC (Oxford University Press, 1987); Hermann Kienast, The Aqueduct of Eupalinos (Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens, 2005).

Samos Travel Guide

practical info

Samos Island, Greece.

831 00 Samos & 832 00 (Karlóvasi): area 477 sq. km; perimeter 163 km; resident population 33,999; maximum altitude 1,434 m. Port Authority: T. 22730 27890, 27318 (Vathy); T. 22730 61225 (Pythagóreio); T. 22730 32343, 30888 (Karlóvasi). Travel and in formation: ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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