Samos is a great island for touring around and has lots of picturesque towns and villages to explore. We’ve listed a few here, in no particular order, to get your adventure started.
Capital of the island, this is essentially two towns in one. Vathi is the oldest of the two and it was people from here who built warehouses, offices and houses to form a small settlement at the harbour. As a result, this settlement grew and became the town that now forms Samos. Originally called Limin Vathi (Vathi Port), Samos is expanding to meet the needs of tourism and local business. The harbour is always busy with both local fishermen and ferry lines. During the tourist season, many companies run excursions to Ephesus in Turkey from the port.
Built in the time of Polycrates as the island’s capital, Pythagoreio is now the main tourist resort. Based around the bustling harbour, there are many tavernas, cafés and tourist shops, as well as plentiful excursions offered by many outlets. There is a beach which can be crowded during peak season and an imposing staute of Pythagoras staring at a visual representation of his famous theorem.
Originally a small fishing village, Kokkari has developed as a major tourist centre. Based on a small peninsula with a small harbour on one side and a beach on the other, there are numerous tavernas, cafés and shops and an ever-increasing number of houses. It has a beautiful harbour front, lined with restaurants and café-bars and is very popular in the evening.
This is the second largest town on the island and is clearly divided into five distinct areas: Old, Middle and New Karlovassi, the Bay and the Harbour. Once the commercial and industrial capital of Samos, it grew around a large leather industry – some tanneries still exist today. Another busy port, it provides a glimpse into both old and new Samos.
The closest town (or perhaps large village) to Limnionas, it is famous for the production of olive oil and high quality soap. It stands on the slopes of the imposing Mount Kerkis and is still very much a working town. Although separate by some distance, the port for Marathokambos is Ormos, now home to large tourist contingents as well as boatyards. On many maps, you will see Ormos listed as Ormos Marathokambos indicating its affiliation with the town.
Chora is in the southeast and lies just above the popular holiday resort of Pythagorio. It was once the capital of the island (1560-1834) and there are still a few old houses from the period, but most of the village is still in newly built. There are a few churches and there is an old washing place that people used to wash their clothes with water from the mountains (under the Antonis Tavern at the end of the cobbled street). In the village you can experience everyday life as it is for the Greeks is because there is no souvenir shop in sight and there are no hotels or rooms to rent. There is a good supermarket, a bakery, a butcher and a pharmacy. Along the winding streets that lead up into the village are some potted plants and flowers grow through the stones.
On the north of Samos, between Karlovassi and Kokkari you can find the Valley of the Nightingales and, at the top, the village of Manolates. 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 this beautiful valley. In the narrow streets of Manolates driving a car is not allowed. Many of the houses were decorated with flower pots and there are also a number of traditional houses with bay windows.
The village of Vourliotes is probably the most picturesque mountain village and one of the prettiest villages on the island. Located in the north of the island at about 300 meters in altitude, near Kampos (Kambos) and Avlakia, approximately in the middle of the island. It is an old village which dates from the 16th century and the earliest inhabitants came from the village of Vourla in Minor Asia explaining the name of the village. A little lower in Paleochori are some ruins of houses where they possibly lived before moving to Vourliotes. The village lies at the foot of the mountain Lazaros. The road to the village is less spectacular than the route to the nearby Ampelos and perhaps the views are slightly less spectacular than from Ampelos, but many consider the town to be nicer and there is much more to see.