Samos, Greece: The Land Of Wine And Honey

Close to Vourliortes

This is an interesting article about the island of Samos, where the luxury resort Halcyon Hills is being built, by Dave Seminara.

“The name Samos means “high” in the ancient Ionian dialect of Greek, and historians assume the island was thus named after its mountainous interior. By mid-summer, the island’s terrain is mostly brown, but in early June, it was still delightfully green and punctuated with wild flowers and aromatic pine trees.

As we drove west on a dizzying, but scenic, road from Pythagorion towards Kambos, the base we chose in the southwest, we passed a slew of stands selling honey, one of Samos’s best exports. I didn’t indulge at first, but after seeing so many of the places, my curiosity got the best of me and I spent the remainder of my week drizzling honey on anything that moved.

Near our base in Kambos, a pleasant enough one horse town that serves as a convenient base for exploring the beautiful west end of the island, we fell in love with a psili ammos beach. I say “a” rather than “the” because psili ammos means “fine sand” in Greek and you find lots of beaches with this name all over the Greek isles, including two on Samos.

Both are great, but the Psili Ammos beach just outside Kambos may be the best beach for kids I’ve ever experienced. It’s a lovely beach with unbelievably shallow water, so even my 2- and 4-year-olds could comfortably wade very far out from the shore.

From Kambos, take a drive out to Kalithea and Drakei to see one of Europe’s last great, undeveloped coasts, filled with stunning cliff top panoramas of the blue Aegean and the surrounding islands. Around every curve, you’ll want to pull over and get our your camera. Western Samos has the feel of a wild, virgin paradise. There are no tacky souvenir shops or much of anything, save the odd taverna here and there but the natural beauty is astounding.

Just as interesting as the coastal drives are excursions into the mountainous interior. We drove up to the enchanting mountain villages of Vourliotes and Manolates for stunning views and a taste of village life and stumbled across a group of drunken seniors celebrating a religious festival on a Monday morning.

You could easily idle away a week on a beach in Samos but the most rewarding part of my ten days on this addictive island were hikes I made up to Panagia Markini, a 13th Century cave church near Kallithea, and the 10th Century Evangelistria convent, near Kambos. Both are fairly strenuous but the views are astounding and the icons behind the curtain in the cave church are haunting and beautiful.

If you look at a map of Samos, you’ll see little black dots with crosses, signifying churches and monasteries that were built all over the interior of the island, many of them in hard to find locations to ward off invaders. Working monasteries like Panagia Vrontiani and Megali Panagia have beautiful frescoes and are well worth a visit.

Samos also boasts good, sweet wine that can be bought straight off the back of a small vintners pickup truck for a song. I feasted on grilled souvlaki, calamari, octopus and other treats, always for about 7-9€, and I never had a bad meal. We experienced remarkable hospitality wherever we went and even our buggy car owner turned out to be a gem. We disliked the small rooms in her hotel but rather than pout or blame us, she helped us find a more suitable place to stay.

Our car rental experience seemed to sum up the island’s laid-back charm. We picked up our car in Pythagorion, in the island’s southeast, but later on decided that we wanted to drop it off in Karlovasi, where our ferry was to leave up in the island’s northwest.

A branch of National car rental, which also offered by far the lowest rate for an automatic transmission car at 30€ per day, told us not to worry about making the 1.5-hour drive back to Pythagorion to return the car, even though they have no location near Karlovasi.

“Just leave it at the ferry, and put the keys under the mat, we’ll go get it,” said Alex, the young man we dealt with who told us there was no extra charge to leave the car anywhere on the island.

“But is that safe?” I asked. “I mean, what if someone steals it?”

“This is Samos,” he said. “Things like that don’t happen here.”

If there’s no bill for a four door Hyundai on my next credit card statement, I’ll know he was right about Samos.”



Walking in Greece – Treading a Wonderland

Samos, Pythagorion
Samos, Pythagorion

From the blog Travel in Chance: A walking in Greece, by Toni Maniscalco.

Why go on a walking in Greece holiday? Quite simply, it’s a chance to escape to a world that many of us thought only existed in our dreams – until we visited Greece!

Greece and the Greeks

Even people that proclaim they know nothing of even their own history probably have heard some of the echoes of Greek history ringing down through the ages. The 300 Spartans, Mount Olympus and the Gods, The Trojan War, great architecture, art, literature and science – all these often come to mind when the word ‘Greece’ is mentioned.

More recently, Greece has also become associated with marvellous holiday opportunities through its beaches, crystal clear waters, marvellous historical sites, great food and fabulous people. There are so many destinations on both the mainland and islands of Greece that it’s hard to know where to start first in terms of choosing a destination. Yet one thing should be clear from the outset; while you’re in Greece you’ll want to get the most out of your experience.

Walking in Greece – Getting the Most Out of Your Holiday

The majority of tourists to Greece tend to visit a relatively small number of main centres. Their holiday is usually based around a major resort, typically on a beach and there may be a few short day-trips by coach to see some sights. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but, if you’re interested in seeing a little more of the “real” Greece and a little less of the pool and beach, a walking in Greece holiday may be for you.

These holidays are taken in many parts of Greece including the Peloponnese, Samos, Crete, Rhodes and other locations. There are guided walks under the supervision of an expert and well-qualified tour leader and you’ll get the chance to see rural Greece at its best, or the wildlife of some of the more the remote parts of the countryside. You’ll come across isolated bays and inlets or mountain villages – places that most tourists will never see.

If that’s not appealing enough, then some of Greece’s best-kept historical secrets are far more easily reached on foot than by coach or car. You may even get to Delphi and ask the Oracle what the future holds for you! To see large parts of Greece, your own feet are often the very best way to get there – and you’ll see far more en-route in so doing.

Walks for All Tastes

Don’t worry, unlike Pheidippides who ran 26 miles after the battle of Marathon in 490BC to bring Athens news of their great victory over the Persians, you won’t have to push yourself too hard! There are plenty of holidays to choose from and many are specifically arranged to allow a gentle pace for people to explore at leisure.

Walking in Greece holidays also cater for the modern tourist’s demands for comfort.

Your guided walk accommodation and daily itineraries have been provided to ensure that you don’t get too stretched and are able to relax in civilised and pleasant surroundings at the end of the day. Your tour leader is there not only to act as an expert in helping you see all that there is to see, but also to ensure that you’re being well looked after in terms of creature comforts.

Guided Walks in Greece – Not Just for the Countryside

If you’ve ever visited a major city overseas, you may have found it a good but possibly a very tiring and even intimidating experience. That’s why there are also walking in Greece holidays that include walks around Athens and other major urban areas to admire at the art, history and architecture under the helpful eye of an experienced tour leader. You won’t get lost and you won’t miss anything important.

The Walking Holiday – a Growing Phenomenon

As people increasingly recognise the benefits of exercise, walking holidays are booming. Lying around all day eating and drinking is becoming less fashionable – and perhaps for good reason. So walking in Greece may be not only be very enjoyable, but possibly better for your health than a conventional break!


Helium – A visitor’s guide to Samos, Greece


What better way to learn about the island of Samos than from the visitor’s that love it! This blog guide details all the best off-the-track places to visit and just what visitors should do on this beautiful island.

Samos is exceptionally rich in history and culture and this guide exemplifies just why people love it and return year after year.