SAMOS



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Samos - Samos (Vathy) & the eastern end of the island - Vathy

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Samos (Vathy) and the East of the island

Nomenclature is complicated here. Samos is the official name for the island’s capital town, situated on the eastern shore of the deep bay which cuts into the north coast. This is not the site of Ancient Samos , which corresponds to today’s Pythagoreio on the south coast. Samos is also the name for the whole island. Since the island has three working ports, this can create confusion when a ferry’s destination is given as ‘Samos ’. To avoid this, the capital and its port are increasingly referred to as ‘Vathi’, a name which originally referred to the older settlement there, on the hill to the south east of the port. This guide follows the commonest, current us age, namely: ‘Vathi’ for the capital town and its port, ‘Ano Vathi’ for its old quarter above the main town, and ‘Samos ’ only when referring to the island as a whole.

   Vathi sits at the head of a low ‘fjord’ (Ancient Panormos) surrounded by hills which are green with dense maquis. It is a 19th century working port in origin, and the old warehouses at its southern end were for the storing and shipping of the island’s two most famous exports—Sami an wine and tobacco. The latter was processed here into hand-made cigarettes, much in demand in Egypt and Turkey. The waterfront is a heterogeneous assemblage of different architectures—the abandoned remains of the 1960s Xenia Hotel stand next to a handsome, Italianate, neoclassical mansion to its right, with heavy rustication on its corners and an elegant Serlian-arched window looking onto the water-front; this, in turn, stands next to a simple house façade with a protruding wooden balcony, redolent of the ports of Asia Minor and the East. To the north along the front, is the arcaded and towered front of the Catholic church of the Virgin in French Co lonial style, while one block inland of the waterfront, a different atmosphere prevails: the narrow alleys, lined with the canopies and wrought-iron balconies of shops and houses, some with courtyards and gardens, has the feel of any busy, Levantine Greek town. It is this mixture of styles, expressing a comparable mixture of cultures, which makes the port at Vathi interesting. The water side of the promenade is dominated by the monument to Themistocles Sophoulis (1862–1949), the ‘geros’ (‘grand old man’) of the centre of Greek politics, in the period between the World Wars. He was born on Samos , and was an archaeologist by profession; he entered politics after the First World War and became the leader of the Liberal Party after the death of Eleftherios Venizelos.

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


access

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

eating

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: www.samos.gr ; By Ship Travel, T. 22730 25065 (Vathy), 61061 (Pythagoreio), 92341 (Kok- kari), 37100 (Marathókambos) & 35252 (Karlóvasi).
Samos Travel Guide

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