The Greek islands have a strong reputation for being romantic and ridiculously picturesque. Samos, a Greek island off Turkey’s west coast, is no exception. A weekend in Samos is the perfect way to get a taste of Greek culture.
From its food and famous local wine, to its fascinating ancient history – there are plenty of things to do in Samos. Lounge on the beach and indulge in local culinary delights or hit the roads for a real adventure. Samos is a place suited for every agenda regardless of the experience you seek.
It would be easy to spend more than a weekend in Samos. With its legendary history, many beaches, and lush nature, there’s so much to discover and explore. But, don’t worry if you’ve only got a few days on this famous Greek island. From things to do, sights to see, and experiences to discover – follow this guide to get the most out of a weekend in Samos!
Quick Introduction to Samos
Samos is part of the Eastern Aegean Islands group, located in the Aegean Sea. Samos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mythical birth place of Hera, the Motherland to the famous mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, and a wine production hub.
Getting to Samos
Samos is accessible by ferry or plane. There are two main ferry terminals – one in Vathy and one in Karlovassi. There is a third, Pythagorion, that operates only in summer. Greek islands. Vathy and Pythagorion are quite close –15 kilometers apart – on the east side of Samos. Karlovassi sits on the northwest of the island. Unless you plan to stay there, we don’t recommend arriving there.
The international airport is in the south of the island near Pythagorion.
We’d recommend to take the ferry to Pythagorion because this is also where we’d recommend to stay (see below). However, there’s cheap public transportation to Pythagorion if you do arrive in Vathy. The bus takes about 30-40 minutes and costs less than 2 Euros.
Getting out of Samos
Book your return ticket out of Vathy, the island’s capital. Arrive early in Vathy (AKA Samos Town) and take the extra time to explore the island’s main town.
Where to stay in Samos
Vathy is the biggest area in Samos with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. It also hosts the biggest ferry terminal on the island. Yet, the charm of Samos gets a bit lost in this bustling port city. Instead, book a ferry to the small port of Pythagorion and stay in that town instead. This little town is cozy, walkable, welcoming, and has gorgeous sea-front views.
How to explore Samos
Walking around Pythagorion is easy. It’s definitely better than navigating the narrow streets by car. There’s a lot to see within walking distance of Pythagorion as well. The stuff that’s a bit further away can be reached by bicycle.
To see the rest of Samos, though, you need wheels. Motorbikes are available to rent only if you have a proper motorbike license. Car rentals are everywhere, too, and driving may be a more comfortable way to go on a full island tour.
On the first day, rent a bicycle and explore the attractions around Pythagorion. The next day, rent a car and make a full trip around Samos!
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Check out our Samos Weekend Itinerary below!
Arrive to Pythagorion via ferry. The pier is mere meters from the actual town and a short walk will find you there in a few minutes. Find your guest house, settle in, then head down to the harbor for a relaxing lunch on the seaside. Small restaurants with reasonably priced food and drink line the waterfront.
After lunch, rent a bicycle and pedal a few minutes to Pythagorion Beach. Umbrellas and chairs are available if you buy something at one of the bars or restaurants along the shore. If not, you can plop on the pebbles and take in the views on the ancient castle just off the point.
Heraion Of Samos
Pedal a few more kilometers to the Heraion of Samos, the biggest temple in Greece dedicated to the goddess of marriage and women, Hera. The Heraion of Samos is an ancient site dating back to the 8th century BC. In its heyday, 155 columns and a bevy of splendid ancient sculptures adorned the temple. It is this site, among others, that earned Samos a UNESCO World Heritage crown.