View Samos in Google Maps here
We have been several times on the lovely island of Samos, and have always lived in the town of Kokkari, which in our opinion is the best city on the island. Samos belongs to the archipelago of the “Northeast Aegean Islands” and is close to Turkey’s coast.
We have lived in several places in the village and there are a lot of nice places. We like to live around the old harbor, where there are several lovely options.
On long beach, The Olympia beach hotel can be recommended. Located directly on the beach and a short distance into the centre of Kokkari. Lefteris, located on the main street by the long beach, is also an excellent place. It is located directly on the beach and with a view of the beach and ocean or the everyday life on the streets.
See youtube about amazing Samos:
and the nice beaches:
“Samos belongs to the archipelago of the” Northeast Aegean Islands “and is close to the coast of Turkey”
When you arrive at Samos, there is a “fun” landing, where the plane makes a sharp turn to the right during approach to enter a valley between the mountains. The runway is not so long, so the plane will brake hard when the wheels have reached the runway.Once you have gotten a hold of your luggage and get out of the airport’s building, you will find the taxi stop on the left side. A trip from the airport to Kokkari costs 35 euros. (In 2023 38 euro, after rising fuel pricec)
Unfortunatley there isn’t a possibility for bus transportation from the airport. The nearest bus-stop is in Pytagorion.
Should you only be a single week at Samos, it may be a good idea to rent a car for the whole week, as a small car for a week can be obtained for around 1000 Danish kroner, depending on the time of year. On the trip from the airport to Kokkari comes first through Pythagorion, named after good old Pythagoras born on the island. Pythagorion is a nice city and is definitely worth a visit.
“The little beach in the old harbor is also a nice place for a little swim between the old wooden boats anchoring up here. And a very good place on windy days”
Beach life: In Kokkari there is the long city beach that stretches to the west. It is quite good and there is a lot of space on parts of it. We often prefer the two small coves located at the other end of town. From the small harbor follow the harbor promenade, and come through the long passage with all the tavernas. When you reach the end, you cross the small bridge along the rocks and are on the first beach. (watch out for the slippery rocks where you walk in water after the bridge) We usually use the next bay 100 meters ahead. Here is cozy, not so many people and here is reasonably good to snorkel. If there has been no wind and big waves, the water is very clear and clean here. Swim out to the rocks right out by the sea. Here is really nice on both sides, and here tends to be lots of fish. If it is windy, there are rarely big waves in this bay. There are no deck chairs on these two small beaches (thankfully) —- UPDATE !!!!! In 2017, tourism has “unfortunately” also occupied this beach, with sun loungers and beach bar. Therefore, of course, there are now more people in this lovely bay than before. New UPDATE in 2022: The beach bar has been removed again as it was apparently illegally built. However, the beach is still plastered with parasols and sunbeds to crazy prices. But still a nice place, although the natural atmosphere from the past is gone.
The small beach / harbor with all the fishing boats, is also a nice place for a little swim between the old wooden boats that are anchored up here. See picture below.
To try something else, one day you can go out of town to the west. Here you will arrive in 10 minutes to the first beautiful beach of Lemonakia beach. We usually proceed to the next called Tsamadoubeach. They look like each other, but this one is a little bigger / flatter and not quite crowded. If you want a deserted Greek beach for yourself, it’s absolutely not these two to choose, but they are now quite nice and beautiful and we usually use them sometimes, on those days when we do not have a car. The trip down to the beaches is also quite nice through the pine forest and down the cliff paths.
If you want a totally deserted beach for yourself, you may. One day you are in Samos Town (Vathy on the signs) drive through the city along the sea and out to a small breeze called Paraskevi. Here is a small-town beach opposite two cozy tavernas, where there is plenty of space.
“Here is a little gravel beach between the rocks and here is absolutely fantastic and a very nice nature. There are good chances of having the beach all by itself”
Otherwise, a trip to “The End of the World” can be recommended. ( UPDATE 2023–the end of the world tacerna are perament closed- sorry )This lovely almost uninhabited place is located on the southwest side of the island. Here you can enjoy a cold drink at the cozy tavern, at Matthias and his good wife and then go down the path (climb) to the sea. Here is a small gravel beach between the rocks and here is absolutely stunning and a very nice nature. There are good chances of having the beach all by itself. At 13:00 it usually starts to get windy, so this beach is the best in the morning. A nice lunch at the taverna when you come back, it’s absolutely not despised and here’s a truly stunning view of the ocean. The road there is very bad, but there are no problems with a regular car if you drive carefully. Very carefully. You can see “end of the world tavern” on tripadvisor here.
On the way to “end of the world” you come through Meratokampos and Ormos which are quite exciting and worth a stop. Afterwards you reach Votsalakia, which is a flourishing holiday town. We have never lived in Votsalakia, but our faithful guest and friend of the house, Ole Nymann, have been so kind to send us a description of their holiday in Votsalakia.
Holiday description from Ole:
Our first trip to Samos was in the first week of September. We chose to live in Votsalakia, primarily because of a really good offer and that we would like to live close to the beach. The trip from the air port takes approx. 1 hour, it goes up and down with many great views along the way. Especially the last part of the trip overlooking Ormos and Votsalakia is really nice.
In Votsalakia there is what you need. A lovely sandy beach. There are stones the first few meters when you walk into the water, then clean sand bottom. The water is clear and calm. Several supermarkets, bakers, rental companies and various taverns. For example, try the supermarket, located right next to the bakery, at the eastern end of town. There are a number of tourist shops, the city is not particularly touristy in September. If you go for a walk around the city, for example, walking up the steep hill, right next to Taverna Kleopatra / opposite the taxi stop, you can see where some of the locals live.
“We were also visiting Anna’s Restaurant, which is located under big trees”
Holiday in Greece equals good and cheap food. This also applies in Votsalakia. We ate at Kleopatra and Karma and got good Greek food, and especially at Karma a little extra free of charge. We were also visiting Anna’s Restaurant, which is located under big trees. No menu card, you are assigned a table, order drinks and so call “mom” on you and show the finished dishes that you can choose today. Both at Karma and Anna it is wise to come early or reserve a table as there are many guests.
Although there are no larger cities west of Votsalakia, there is much to experience if you want to go out. 3 km west, Psili Ammos is one of Samos` two sandy beaches. Maybe a bit far to go for some, but there are many possibilities for renting all kinds of vehicles in Votsalakia. The trip can also be done by taxi, it costs 6 euros per road and you only agree with the driver when you may be able to pick up again. A little further out lies Limnionas, a lovely beach in a small bay, which makes here almost always calm water. Watch video from Limnionas:
“She has no menu card, but promises to lift the pots so you can see what she’s been doing today”
You can also choose a trip to the city of Drakei, which lies at the end of the road on the outermost western part of Samos. The city is car-free and the priest often stands and welcomes you when you go into town. Jump over the first tavernas and find the sweet elder lady farther in town! She has no menu card, but does lift the lid of the pots so you can see what she has made today.
East of Votsalakia lies the small harbor of Ormos. Small nice harbor with some tavernas and small fishing boats. You can go for a walk, but remember water, as there are no shops on the road between Votsalakia city and Ormos.
If you want to go north to Votsalakia, it takes about ½ hour by car to Karlovasi and another ½ hour to Kokkari.
We stayed at the quiet Hotel Agrilionas. Lovely large 1 bedroom apartment and balcony. Extremely friendly staff. Nice and well-kept area, very close to the beach. Shops and taverns. There is space in the hotel if renting a car. The owners of Agrilionas also run the tavern on the beach in Limnionas. In September there was live music every sunday at 20.
We highly recommend the area around Votsalakia and will be happy to come again.
We are grateful to Ole for taking the time to share information about the holiday in Votsalakia.
“The forest is very lush and a little” trolly “. When you are at the first waterfall, you have to go / swim in the cold water of the river for the last part to reach the waterfall”
A trip to the waterfalls at Potami is also recommended. When the car is parked on the main road there is a very nice short hike through the woods into the waterfalls. The forest is very lush and slightly “trolly”. When you are at the first waterfall, you have to go / swim in the cold water of the river for the last part to reach the waterfall. The fall is not that big, maybe 2-3 meters, but there is a stunningly beautiful nature. You can climb / walk further up the river and here are several smaller falls. When you’re back by car you can drive a few hundred meters further and you’re on the way to Potami beach. With Potami, you can take a hike to the two small beaches of Micro Saitanen and Megalo Saitanen. It’s a longer and very hot hike, so keep in mind water if you get started.
Samos Town (Vathy) is of course a must and here are lots of local Greek shops and ordinary Greek everyday can be experienced here.
Pythagorion, which you drove through on the way from the airport, is also worth a visit. The port of Pythagorion is nice and here are some great yachts. The city is named after Pythagoras (him the mathematician with the triangle equation) and there is also a statue of him at the harbor. There are several major ferries located here. If you want to shop in small stores, Pythagorion and Samos are the right place for it.
“Here you are invited into the kitchen to see and smell what you want to eat”
A trip to the two mountain villages Vourliotes and Menolates, located in the mountains behind Kokkari, is also something you should definitely try. Drive out of town (direction Karlovasi and Potami) and turn left at the signs. Between the two mountain villages lies the nightfall valley with a stunningly beautiful and lush nature. Here are lots of springy and small and larger streams. Hiking here can be recommended. In Vourliotes there is a very original tavern at the back of the city. Not one of the first to reach the city square, but further down the narrow street of the city. Here you are invited into the kitchen to see and smell what you want to eat. Note that it often opens about 4 PM. Try the Zucchni flowers, which are squash flowers with a thin dough wrapped around it.
The small mountain village of Ambelos, which is found on the main road after Menolates, is definitely worth a visit as well. Here you can experience the amazing view of the sea. In this city there is often Greek dance in the city (often Tuesday evening) and it is very festive to participate in (-: From Ambelos you can drive on to the small village of Sparinides which is also high with stunning views of the landscape and the sea deep Below are original authentic villages where you can experience the real Greek village life. An evening in one of these cities, in association with the locals, there is an experience you cannot get in many places.
Just before reaching Ambelos, at the last turn in front of the village, there is a sign on your right side, pointing towards two very beautiful waterfalls. Unlike the waterfalls at Potami, here you have a very goog chance to be alone in the beautiful nature. It takes about 15 minutes to walt to the largest of the two waterfalls. A very nice nature area and a beautiful waterfall with a fall of about 10 meters. Whats video here
“It’s an obvious trip to visit the monastery and enjoy the Mourtia beach afterwards.”
Monasteries. There are also several beautiful monasteries in Samos that may be worth a visit. For example, visit the beautiful Timiou monastery between Pythagorion and Votsalakia. Or Zoodochos Pigi Monastery located high above Mourtia beach east of Samos city. It is an obvious trip to visit the monastery and enjoy the Mourtia beach afterwards.
Another exciting monastery is Monastry of Panagia Spiliani, which has a cave for the homage of Virgin Mary. It was founded back in 1586 and 95 stairs lead down to a large cool and peaceful cave, with a small church at the end. The monastery is high in the mountains of Pythagorion and outside the monastery building is a fantastic view down the Pythagorion and beyond the sea to the Turkish coast in the distance.
Eupalino’s water tunnel near Pythagorion might also interest anyone. The tunnel was excavated across a mountain to bring water to the city of Pythagorion. The tunnel was built 550 years before our timing and is excavated from either side of the mountain with incredible precision. The two tunnels hit each other with just under one meter of displacement. You can get into the tunnel and get the feeling that the huge project it has been to build it.
“Outside of the monastery building there is a fantastic view down the Pythagorion and beyond the sea to the Turkish coast in the distance”
Shopping: There are several small supermarkets in Kokkari and 3 bakery shops as well as a single butcher. On the way into Samos city, there is a larger supermarket just after the roundabout to the right. It is located right next to, or behind the wine factory, which may also be worth a visit. There is an Aldi on the way from Samos city to Pythagorion.
Car rentals: If you want to rent a car, we recommend Perris Savvas located on the main street out of town (towards Tsamadou beach). Savvas is local and is 100% trusted. We have always used Savvas and never had problems. His prices are incl. full insurance if there should be an accident. The rental car can be received and delivered at the airport at no additional cost. Please note that insurance does NOT cover when driving on dirt roads. So, drive carefully and get the car pulled up on an asphalt road if you should be unlucky.
If you do not rent a car, there are reasonably good bus connections most places on the island. It is very easy to get from Kokkari to Samos city by bus, but it is a little difficult to explore the island without a car or scooter / mc.
“Our favorite is Tavern Birra opposite the big church on the main street”
Out to eat: There are a lot of eating places in Kokkari, and although prices have risen somewhat in recent years, it is still cheap to eat at the taverna. Our favorite is Taverne Bira opposite the big church on the main street. It has existed since sometime in the 30s and was the first tavern on Samos that served beer. Your big beer of the Alpha Beer brand can be recommended (-:
Mythos restaurant, also on the main street, has probably some of the city’s best food, but is also a little bit more expensive. It is more “restaurant” than “tavern” atmosphere here. You are sitting inside, or in a large courtyard. They sometimes have “Greek evening” with live music and Greek dance. It’s a lot of fun and here are many localities. Nevertheless, it’s not our favorite. But the food is absolutely superb!
“For lunch, or a light and cheap dinner, highly recommended is the little pitagyros shop on the main street”
At the waterfront there are plenty of tavernas and there is good food to get by the vast majority. Prices here are a little bit higher than in the city but it is very nice to sit out at the waterfront and eat. Otherwise, it’s fun and fun to go for a walk and choose their very personal favorite tavern. In July the sun goes down approx. at 21 o’clock and it’s only here that starts to be filled up right on the tavernas. The whole town and all shops are open until at least 23 o’clock so it’s nice to go around and sniff / shop when you have eaten.
For lunch or a cheap dinner, strongly recommend the little pitagyro shop on the main street on the same side as the church. Pitagyros costs about 2 euros and tastes really good with a big cold mythos. (-:
If you want to go out of town one evening, you can recommend Taverna Kosmos in Avlakia a little outside Kokkari. A short ride on scooter or by car. At this tavern there are really original Old Greek dishes served and beautiful views of the sea where you can see all the lights from Kokkari and Samos Town in the distance.
View more pictures from lovely Samos at Instagram #KruseTravel.dk