Samos is an island full of beautiful places to visit and you will discover your own favourites when you come and stay. The island is compact enough to tour by car in a couple of days but to see the real beauty of the island it’s best to drive to a location and take a walk. There are plenty of guidebooks available for walks around Samos but the most popular and regularly updated is the famous “little blue book” Landscapes of Samos which includes details for walks and car tours and is pocket-sized in full-colour with fold-out touring maps and large-scale topographical walking maps.
Potami Falls and Gorge
If you are in Karlovassi, it is definitely worth making the trip to Potami, for the beach and the wonderful gorge and waterfalls. You will see the large signpost for the Falls as you head towards Potami Beach and you will find parking is easy around the area. The walk to the gorge and the waterfalls will take you past a Byzantine church and then through a cool and delightful wooded walk. At the end of this walk, you will find a large pool where many people stop and rest and a choice of two routes to continue.
One will take you up the right hand side of the valley to the small village of Tsourlei. The other will take you up the left hand side via a large number of wooden steps – follow this route for the gorge and the waterfalls. It’s important to note that the steps going up the hillside are numerous, steep and often narrow but once you are at the top, you are rewarded by fantastic views and, of course, an entrepreneurial taverna owner offering cold drinks! There is a trail to the gorge and the falls which, again, is steep in places and good walking shoes/boots are recommended. When you reach the bottom of the trail, you can look back through the gorge and, if you are particularly brave, swim up the river to the waterfalls!
If you have a car during your stay and make it to Samos town, it’s worth travelling further north-east to visit the monastery of Zoodochou Pigis (“the source of life”). Set on one of the higher points of Samos, the monastery is considered to be one of the finest on the island and is still in use. The monastery itself is very beautiful and views from around it make for a great place to enjoy a picnic. Remember that if you visit any monastery on the island, be respectful of the residents and cover your legs and head with appropriate clothing.
Vourliotes & Moni Vronda
Following the coast road along from the Valley of the Nightingales towards Kokkari will allow you to visit Vourliotes and Moni Vronda – the other side of the Valley of the Nightingales. Again, the road up is full of interesting bends and once you reach Vourliotes, you can park and then wander through to the village square which is ideal for letting time pass without a care.
Following the road further will take you to Moni Vronda, the oldest monastery on Samos. The monastery still retains its sense of being a fortified building and, like Zoodochou Pigis, has incredible views over the valley, making one wonder whether the site was chosen purely for defensive reasons!
See some more of the sights in our galleries…
Manolates & The Valley of the Nightingales
On the north of Samos, between Karlovassi and Kokkari lies the exceptionally beautiful Valley of the Nightingales and, at the top, the village of Manolates. Driving through the valley and up to Manolates is fun due to the incredible number of bends but to really appreciate the beauty of the area it is worth stopping and walking around. About one mile after turning off the main road to the Valley of the Nightingales, you will find a parking area opposite a taverna. From here you can walk around the valley – Landscapes of Samos includes a circular walk from this point that is highly recommended.
Manolates is the village perched on top of the valley and is a wonderful place to spend a long lunch hour. The village itself has very much come to terms with being a tourist spot but is still relatively unspoilt. The best taverna to visit is Loukas which is at the very end of the village and is well signposted. Although a longer walk than the other tavernas within the village itself, the views from the taverna make the walk worthwhile, particularly when combined with Lukas’ home produced wine!