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Samos Travelogue, Part I: A Useful Guide for Tourists and Visitors

This detailed presentation is about Samos and all the places of interest a visitor can and should see, visit, and admire during his or hers visit…

Information is presented in a geographically manner, assuming that you’ll start your tour around the island from the capital city. If you want to see, admire, and enjoy all of Samos’s places of interest, we strongly recommend that your vacations should last at least ten (10) days.

Finally, we strongly believe that this presentation and the completeness of the information provided are unique and you probably don’t find an equivalent tourist guide circulating in Samos. We hope that we are a valuable help to all tourists and visitors, local and foreigners alike.

 The North Route: From Samos (Vathi) to Karlovassi

Vathi, the prefecture’s capital, is a beautiful city built amphitheatrically around a wide and beautiful bay. In geographic terms, is the third largest natural harbor in Greece, behind Piraeus (in Attica) and Souda Bay (Chania, Crete). City buildings are beautiful, with elegant architecture lines, and well preserved.

Vathi is full of modern services (public and private), all major Greek banks are present, while the General Hospital of the island (located in the northern districts of the city) is modern. You must pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum (one of its main and famous exhibits is a large Kouros statue), the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, and the Church of St. Spyridon.

Lengthy beaches are not available in Vathi due to its location around the wide bay. However, if you look for a nice and quick swim, Gagou Beach, which is located next to the General Hospital, is a well-organized beach and traditionally is regarded as the oldest, most glamorous, beach of the city!

Ano Vathy

Ano Vathi, which now is an integral part of Vathi (south districts), contains buildings with elements of the local traditional architecture. For that it has been declared, by the Greek authorities, as a “Traditional Settlement”. You must walk its narrow streets, especially in the evening hours, just before sunset! Ano Vathi has nothing to envy from other old and traditional cities, towns, and villages of the Aegean Sea (e.g. Syros, Amorgos, and Naxos etc.). However, what Ano Vathi lacks is … organization. For example, it lacks an organized marketplace (we believe that the creation of a well-organized market place should and must be a top priority in the near future). An amazing sample of post-Byzantine Architecture is the Church of St. Giannakis, which is built on the highest point of the city and you must pay a visit! Next to it is an open theater, built in accordance with the architectural standards of Ancient Greece. In Ano Vathi you can find and admire an interesting ecclesiastical collection dated back in the Byzantine period (330-1453). Here is also the place where Samos joints the Greek War of Independence (April 20, 1821)

The city of Samos (central districts), is suitable for intense nightlife, especially during the summer months.
In the General Hospital area (north districts) you’ll find many bars, located nearby the coast. The bars offer nice music, refreshing drinks, and entertainment for everybody. Keep in mind that by law all bars can stay open till two o’clock past midnight (02:00). If you wish to continue having fun you must visit one of the city’s many clubs!

Kokkari villageIf you travel westwards, from the city of Samos towards the city of Karlovassi (along the Samos-Karlovassi Highway), some ten (10) kilometers away, you’ll reach Kokkari, which is perhaps the most beautiful village of Samos! During the summer months is full of life and is an ideal place for romantic souls who want to relax “bathed” in sunlight and elegant natural colors! It is also suitable for all those enjoying noise and fun. Coffee-shops and bars are mostly located in the bay area, which surrounds the village (from the eastern side). However, you can find coffee-shops and bars in the western beach as well (tables and chairs are placed right on the beach!). The coffee-shops and the bars can serve anything you might want, everywhere you might want it, while the whole atmosphere “produces” tones of magic moments! We strongly recommend you visit, stay, and enjoy Kokkari with all the feelings and senses of your soul…

Some two (2) kilometers west of Kokkari, you’ll find two of the most famous and most beautiful beaches of Samos: Lemonakia and Tsamadou.

tsamadoubeachIn both beaches you can dive, like you were in the famous Hollywood blockbuster “The Blue Lagoon”, exercise nudism (only in Tsamadou Beach) or enjoy endless sunbathing from dawn till dusk! If, on the other hand, you wish to combine sea, beverages, and … many decibels, then you hit the banzai! This is the place for you!

Some 16 km west of the capital city, you’ll pass Avlakia village and in the next turn you’ll see the beautiful Tsabou Beach. You’ll hear many Greeks and foreigners to tell you about their lovely experience they all enjoyed in Tsabou Beach! If the sea is calm then don’t forget to swim in its left side and make your own discoveries…

Leaving Tsabou beach behind, on your left hand side, Vourliotes village is located on top of a mountain. The village is well known as one of the most wine producing places of Samos. Its central square and the spring, gushing cool water, worth your attention. Don’t forget to visit the Monastery of Panagia Vrontiani, which is one of the oldest monasteries of Samos. Unfortunately, during the last fires the monastery was almost burned out, but survived and since then a huge effort (still incomplete) is underway for its reconstruction.

In the 20th kilometer, before Agios Konstantinos village, PLEASE take a left turn and drive towards Manolates village, in order to pass through the beautiful Aidonia area. The view is incredible and fantastic. Actually the road follows the river bend, while is covered, all the way long, by tall plane-trees! At the end of this road you’ll reach Manolates village, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful mountain villages of Samos. Walk its narrow streets, buy handmade souvenirs and enjoy delicious traditional tastes of Samos in small restaurants and taverns (most are located in the central square).

Approaching Karlovassi, on top of the mountain, like eagle nests, the beautiful villages of Abelos, Stavrinides, Kontakeika and Ydroussa are located. Finally, some 30 kilometers west of the capital city, you’ll reach Karlovassia villages, thus the end of the North Route (Karlovassia are a collection of four small villages, namely Neo or New, Palio or Old, Mesaio or Middle, and Limani or Port, which all-together compose the modern city of Karlovassi).

Karlovassi

Karlovassi is a coastal city with a great past, present and, hopefully, future. It has a large and modern commercial port, many public services and is regarded as the commercial center of the island. Its neoclassical buildings in Ormos, Limani and elsewhere, the impressing and imposing tanneries, the Commercial School, the Princely Palace, the Chatzigiannio building, the churches and the villages that surround the city all are quite a tourist attractions, and compose an image, which testifies for the rich historical and cultural heritage of the place. Karlovassi was an important commercial and industrial center of leather processing, hence the many deserted tanneries, achieving many exports, which in return accumulated wealth and riches to the city.

You must visit the Tanning Museum and the old and abandoned tanneries (collectively known by the name “Tabakika”), located on the way to the port.

You can also visit the Folklore Museum or take a walk in the narrow and graphic streets of Palaio Karlovassi (west districts) or enjoy your coffee in one of the many coffee-shops, located in the port, overlooking the sea.

In the area called Potami (west of the city), towards the waterfalls, you must visit the Byzantine Church of the Transfiguration (build during the 11th century), which is the oldest church of the island.

It is worth visit the ruins of the old Leper-House, which is considered the Spinalonga of Samos.

West of Karlovassi is located the Potami Beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches of Samos! You can swim to the clear waters and enjoy your coffee or your food in one of the many coffee-shops and restaurants, located in the surrounding area.

Waterfalls PotamiYour visit to the waterfalls is somehow … compulsory! The walk and the experience to climb the waterfalls and swim in the cold waters are both unusual and enjoyable. Don’t miss the chance!

Don’t leave Karlovassi before you visit the beaches of Mikro and Megalo Seitani! If you want to walk the amazing, but difficult, path you should devote a whole day. But you’ll get rewarded because both beaches are exceptionally beautiful.

Karlovassi is famous for its nightlife! The presence of at least 1.000 students provides for intense nightlife and entertainment throughout the year in the many available coffee-shops, bars, and clubs. In Limani and Potami areas, as well as in the central square, you’ll find fun and entertainment for every taste. You should get your sunglasses, because the morning sun will rather bother you a great deal!

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