Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi)-wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate peripheral unit of the North Aegean Periphery, and the only municipality of the peripheral unit.
Coordinates: 37°45′N 26°50′E
The area of the island is 478 km2 (184.6 sq mi) 43 km (27 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) wide. It is separated from Anatolia, by the approximately 1 mile (1.6 km)-wide Mycale Strait. While largely mountainous, Samos has several relatively large and fertile plains.
In ancient times Samos was a particularly rich and powerful city-state. It is home to Pythagoreion and the Heraion of Samos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Eupalinian aqueduct, a marvel of ancient engineering. Samos is the birthplace of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, after whom the Pythagorean theorem is named, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, the first known individual to propose that the Earth revolves around the sun and whom history credits with the first recorded heliocentric model of the solar system. The historian Herodotus, known by his Histories resided in Samos for a while. Samian wine was well known in antiquity, and is still produced on the island.
There was a school of sculptors and architects that included Rhoecus, the architect of the Temple of Hera (Olympia), and the great sculptor and inventor Theodorus, who is said to have invented with Rhoecus the art of casting statues in bronze.
The vases of Samos were among the most characteristic products of Ionian pottery in the 6th century.
The island was an autonomous principality from 1835 until it joined Greece in 1912.
A great portion of the island is covered with vineyards, from which muscat wine is made. The most important plains except the capital, Vathy, in the northeast, are that of Karlovasi, in the northwest, Pythagoreio, in the southeast, and Marathokampos in the southwest. The island’s population is 33,814, which is the 9th most populous of the Greek islands. The Samian climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild rainy winters, and warm rainless summers.
Samos’ relief is dominated by two large mountains, Ampelos and Kerkis (anc. Kerketeus). The Ampelos massif (colloquially referred to as “Karvounis”) is the larger of the two and occupies the center of the island, rising to 1,095 metres (3,593 ft). Mt. Kerkis, though smaller in area is the taller of the two and its summit is the island’s highest point, at 1,434 metres (4,705 ft). The mountains are a continuation of the Mycale range on the Anatolian mainland.
In classical antiquity the island was a center of Ionian culture and luxury, renowned for its Samian wines and its red pottery (called Samian ware by the Romans). Its most famous building, was the Ionic order archaic Temple of goddess Hera – the Heraion.
Concerning the earliest history of Samos, literary tradition is singularly defective. At the time of the great migrations it received an Ionian population which traced its origin to Epidaurus in Argolis: Samos became one of the twelve members of the Ionian League. By the 7th century BC it had become one of the leading commercial centers of Greece. This early prosperity of the Samians seems largely due to the island’s position near trade-routes, which facilitated the importation of textiles from inner Asia Minor, but the Samians also developed an extensive oversea commerce. They helped to open up trade with the population that lived around the Black Sea as well as with Egypt, Cyrene (Libya), Corinth, and Chalcis. This caused them to become bitter rivals with Miletus. Samos was able to become so prominent despite the growing power of the Persian empire because of the alliance they had with the Egyptians and their powerful fleet. The Samians are also credited with having been the first Greeks to reach the Straits of Gibraltar.
Read more about Samos’ history at Wikipedia’s website
Activities on Samos island
Rock climbing: Currently many rock-climbing fields are under development all over Samos island, but the real awsome land for rock climbing and mountaineering is the western side of Samos. The highest peak of Kerkis mountain range, bearing the name Vigla, is about 4,700 feet, making it the 2nd highest peak in the East Aegean.
Both sport and traditional climbing routes of all levels can be found on the Samos island, much of which have great views over the Aegean Sea.
Hiking: Within the mountains of Samos island there are many natural beautiful caves and ancient mines. More than 70 caves have already been found on the Samos island, but many undiscovered are still believed to exist. Just ask the inhabitants, they will pass along mythologies about caves you would have to enter from Aegean sea cliffs only to emerge at ancient sites. Locals are still looking for the undiscovered hides of Polykrates with treasures of gold. Most caves require a guide and equipment to navigate their massive chambers and small spaces, but still Samos island has such a wide variety of them that there are caves appropriate to explore for anyone from the novice to advanced cavers. Some of them can be visited on foot by hikers, some even have chapels inside, but the more challenging ones should only be approached with trained guides.
Mountain biking: Samos is very well suited for mountain biking, with routes ranging from easy to difficult. All of them have the satisfying reward of phenomenal views no matter which part of Samos island you head for exploring. The best time to visit Samos for outdoor sports like hiking, biking and climbing is spring, winter and fall when the weather is sunny, mild and the flowers blooming on March through May
Windsurfing: The northern shore provides a great space for windsurfing with its consistent wind stirring the Aegean sea. Near the town of Kokkari you’ ll find a school and rental center. Summer months (June, July and August) are ideal for water sports enthusiasts and cavers, who need to escape the often oppressive heat in the natural coolness of the caves.
Diving: Snorkeling is another option. More serious divers will be excited to learn that not long ago Greece revoked its scuba diving ban, which had existed to prevent the plundering of antiquities. The new law is in accord with the EU standards regarding recreational diving, and it provides protection for the environment and underwater antiquities.
• Samos Guide
• Prefecture of Samos
• Municipality of Pythagorio
• Municipality of Marathokampos
• Hotels in Samos
• Rent Rooms and Apartments Association
• Holiday accommodation with owners direct
• Samos Hotels – Hoteliers Union on Samos