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About Samos island, Greece

The island of Samos is situated at the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, very close to the coast of Turkey. It is located western to Asia Minor, from which it is separated with the so called the “seven-stadiums channel” or “Dar Boyaz” in Turkish; at the narrowest point the channel is less than a nautical mile wide, just some 1650 meters. Northern to the island it is found the peninsula of Erythraea and at the Northwest the island of Chios, while at the West and Southwest there are situated the islands of Ikaria and the complex of Fournoi; more at the South is found the complex of the Dodecanese, with Arkioi and Agathonissi to be the closest ones.

Samos is one of the bigger Greek islands, the eighth in size; its extent reaches the 477 square kilometers. The island is more than 44 meters long and 20 kilometers wide and it is mountainous at the major part. The coast line is some 86 kilometers and the closest islands are Fournoi, some 3,5 miles far away and Ikaria and Agathonissi at a distance of less than 10 miles.
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The island counts some 34.000 permanent residents living on agriculture, tourism and services. It is divided in four municipalities: Vathy, Karlovasi, Pythagorio and Marathokambos and its capital town is the town of Samos.

Samos has two mountains, the mountain of Kerkis, 1444 meters high, a mountain pretty wild and quite impressive, and the mountain of Ambelos, or Karvounis as the locals call it, milder and overgrown, of a height of 1160 meters.

The existence of high mountains makes the climate milder, thanks to the high raining rate, to the luxuriant green and to the numerous springs. Due to the abundance of current water Samos in antiquity was called Hydrele (which means something like “the island with the water”. The island has no big rivers, but a few streams, which, however, keep their water even in summer.
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Access - Transports

Samos is situated eastern to Athens at a distance of some 200 nautical miles. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece and receives many visitors, mainly in summer. From Athens the visitors may reach the island by conventional or high speed ships and ferries, departing daily from Piraeus, or by plane from the International airport of Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos).

Samos is connected by ship with several places of Greece as Kavala, with many of the Aegean islands as Ikaria, Fournoi, Patmos, Leros, Kos, Kalymnos, Paros, Mykonos, Syros, Tenos, Chios and Mytilini; there is also connection with the port of Kounshand’ ashi at the opposite coast of Turkey.

The journey by ship from Piraeus lasts from 7 to 12 hours, depending on the type of vessel and the number of stops. The flight from Athens lasts some 45 minutes. In summer there are also flights to Samos from other areas, as Thessalonica, Lemnos, Mytilini, Chios and Rodos (Rhodes). There are also charter flights from several cities of Europe.

Within the island there is bus connection, with frequent service, from the town of Samos to almost all the villages and beaches of the island.
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Local Products

Samos produces a lot of high quality products, mainly agricultural ones, known worldwide. The most famous product of Samos is certainly the wine. The wines of Samos are the best advertisement of Greek wines, both within the country and in the European and international market; the wines of Samos are appreciated even in the fastidious French market, where they are highly esteemed, although the local production is of high quality.

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The history of wine production in Samos goes back to mythology, in the times of Angaeos, the hero of the Argonautes, who according to Mythology was the governor of the island. During the historic times, there are plenty of references to the product in the works of Hippocrates, Galenus, Theophrastus and other ancient authors. Moreover, the archaeological and scientific surveys have pointed out that the shipwreck of Kyrenia, Cyprus transported the wine of Samos from the island to the ports of the Eastern Mediterranean, as early as in mid 1st millennium b.C. It is thanks to this very product that France and other commercial powers of Europe had appointed consulates on the island during the Ottoman domination. Several travelers who had visited the island before the Greek National Revolution of 1821 refer to the Samian wine and give details about its production. By the end of the 19th century the European markets are swamped by the registered wines of Samos. The most important distinction awarded to the wine of Samos was the privilege given to the island by the Catholic Church: the wine of Samos is exclusively used in the Holy Communion of the Catholics, a privilege still existing today; the Samian wine is sent to Vatican, accompanied with a certificate from the local Catholic committee. Moreover, the wines of Samos have been awarded numerous international quality awards.

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Another excellent product of Samos is the local honey, produced by some 200 producers with thousands of beehives. The annual production of the island reaches some 100 tons, with the village of Pyrgos to be the center of this activity. The bees have abundant food thanks to the wild herbs and the fructiferous trees and plants: thyme, mountain tea, pines, fir, lavender, rosemary, but also peach, cerise, apple, lemon and almond trees. Apart from the excellent and tasty honey, the beekeepers also produce pollen that is used in cosmetics and medicines, as well as royal jelly a very healthy food.

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The nutritional value of honey is immense, since it provide human organism with easily absorbed glucose, which makes it an excellent energy source. Also, honey is full of trace elements, absolutely necessary for the human organism. It also have important antiseptic qualities, it is fortifying and helps in many problems, as insomnia, constipation, sore throat etc.

The list of nice and pure products of Samos is endless. From the agricultural products we may only mention ouzo, dairy products, olives and olive oil, citrus fruits; and of course we should not forget the pottery and ship building, which are traditional crafts, counting thousand of years on the island.
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