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Separated from the Turkish mainland (visible form many parts of the island) by the narrow Strait of Mycale, Samos enjoys an ideal location in the Aegean on the route between Athens and Izmir, and is often used as a stopping off point for travelers between the two countries. It is also one of the greenest islands in the area and boasts a huge number of idyllic little beaches found all along the coast. Samos is rightfully thought of as a an ancient centre for scholarship and learning, as it was the home of philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (the caves where he lived and taught can be visited on Mt. Kerkis), and it is also fabled to be the birthplace of the goddess Hera, and the remains of an ancient temple built in her honor can still be found near the city of Pythagoreio. Other main urban areas include Vathy (Samos Town) and Kokkari, both on the north coast, where much of the island's best dining and nightlife can be found lining the harbour areas of each city. Traditional dishes are complemented with local vintages and an unmistakable Greek hospitality.
Samos is home to a wealth of beautiful beaches that come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the more secluded ones will take your breath away, surrounded as they are by astounding natural beauty. But be sure to explore the island's other assets, which include some very interesting museums, temples and castles, as well as the Cave of Pythagoras, where the ancient philosopher once resided and taught, and the marvel of ancient engineering that is the Tunnel of Eupalinos.
Dining in Samos is akin to a lesson in Mediterranean specialties, fresh seafood and Greek hospitality. Fine restaurants can be found spread out all across the island, often boasting breezy locations and stunning sea views. Tavernas, trattorias, bistros and informal beach bars all pair your meal with some of the finest local vintages to round off a truly authentic Samos dining experience.
Good coffee is not hard to find on Samos. Most restaurants, tavernas and bars offer strong and well-prepared coffee, as well as traditional and international dessert options. There is also a number of modern coffee houses spread throughout the island where capable baristas fix drinks to perfection.
Many of the island's best night spots can be found around the crescent-shaped Kokkari port and beach area. Quaint and breezy cafe-bars overlook the water and crowds of mingling locals and visitors sip on refreshing beers and colourful cocktails. Drinking and eating go hand in hand on Samos, and ordering ouzo will often earn you a free accompanying meze.
The best shopping in Samos can be found concentrated in the main towns and cities, such as Vathy, Karlovassi and Pythagoreio, where visitors can find clothes, shoes books and accessories. Island specialties include home decor, glass-work, sculptures and Greek-themed knick-knacks, and some truly tasteful and masterfully crafted items can be found.
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