Visitor reviews of resorts, beaches, apartments, tavernas from visitors on holiday on the Greek island of Samos. Have you been to Samos this year? Let others know of your experiences. We welcome all opinions and views on holidays in Samos.
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Good: Samos is the enviable island that has everything - rough old hill villages, a perfectly charming pleasure port resort, big beach hotels, imposing ancient monuments, a busy big town, miles of sand, towering grey peaks and excellent wine.
Bad: The rough edges of Greek life have been rubbed smooth . . . bulldozers and hotel builders have been too active and most people find that enjoying the island takes some gritting of teeth.
Good: Samos is the most visited of this island group, but if you can leave the crowds behind is still arguably the most verdant and beautiful.
Bad: Today the Samian economy is increasingly dependent on package tourism, far too much of it in places; the eastern half of the island has pretty much surrendered to the onslaught of holidaymakers.
Good: The countryside is lovely, gentle and bucolic rather than spectacular and dramatic and the coast is indented with numerous sandy coves, and two mighty mountain ranges furnish dramatic backdrop scenery.
Bad: Since the 1980s it has become most touristy . . . it is one of the most expensive islands and to arrive without a hotel reservation in the summer is tantamount to sleeping on the beach.
I cannot believe the reviews that are up for some of these Samos destinations! Samos is still very Greek and the food pretty much everywhere is amazing. My fiancÚ and I travel quite a bit and are big foodies. This Samian food may be simple at times but simply delicious as well! And as for the Doryssa Bay Resort, I agree it is a little strange to have a towering complex right next to the old village but the old village was real and it was restored in order to accommodate guests so that they could get the feeling of an old horio (village) environment! I believe it to inspire a feeling of being in the past with all of the modern conveniences of a high quality hotel fifty feet away. And Pythagorio is such a short distance away combined with the fact that it shouldn't take you more than an hour to get wherever you want to go on Samos. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for Samos!.
Having lived on Samos for 10 years now, I would like to comment on the beauty of Samos and the reasons why it has become a place we learnt to love immediately and why so many other people have called Samos their home, whether is be as a retirement home; a summer home or return visitors who many have been coming every summer for 20 years. I meet these people all the time. As with any place, there is the good and the bad. One has to choose to focus on the beauty and learn to deal with the less attractive elements. I hear too many whining comparisons about many places in the world.
Samos has a natural beauty that can take your breath away at any turn. Whether it be the crystal clear sea, the pine trees reaching the rugged cliffs, the valleys of cypress trees or the dotted small farm house amongst the vines and olive trees, any Samos road will lead you to a remarkable beauty.
I've eaten many an ordinary meal but I've also made it my mission to find a handful of exceptionally simple but world-class quality food prepared with care and integrity by the owners and their wives. Food that is priced very reasonably or even inexpensively but the tastes are memorable until the next time you return (which isn't usually long).
Pythagorio is a unique natural harbour. Even though it is full of wall to wall cafes, who wouldn't want to stroll around the harbour and watch the full moon rise over Turkey; watch the yachts sway in the dusk light or sip a glass of wine and watch the people pass by. Take a drive to any mountain village and you would have to be reminded that you are in fact on an Aegean island. The spectacular mountains are full of vines, pine trees, terraced farming plots, apple orchards and spring flowers blanketing the undergrowth. Archaeological ruins and museums remind you of a past so rich with culture and history. Shall I continue? I think a visit to Samos is necessary. Enjoy!
Have you really been to Samos lately? It is not nearly the ugly, tourist driven, bastardized island that you describe. It is one of the most beautiful in all of Greece. The 33,000 residents of the island have kept their traditions from centuries back which can be found in the festivals, music, traditional dress, and culture of the people. Every island is packed with tourists in the summer. However, in the spring and fall, Samos is one of the most beautiful.
The fantastic flora and fauna, the neo-classical architecture, the classic clay-tiled roofs, the pristine waters and the small culturally vibrant villages makes Samos a treasure. Obviously you have not spent time on the island to describe it the way the you do. What is the purpose of this site if all you do is tell people how horrible it is? I suppose you are trying to tell tourists to save their money and go somewhere else. Are you sure you are not Turkish?
Mike, Are you a bitter expatriate or did you just have a very boring time in Samos? Unfortunately, even sad, old islands need (and have the right to,) modernize. If they were to stay primitive and charming enough for your tastes, I doubt if they would have even as much tourism as they do. And then they would be even sadder and poorer. Admittedly, the entertainment is not nearly so exciting as a Santorini or Mykonos, but I think that is why the more cultured European holiday-goers call it their vacation home. It must have due charm to warrant so many Dutch and German planes coming in overhead - visible from Psili Ammo, Pythagorio. Maybe I'm just partial to Samos, but in comparison to other islands and mainland Greece, you won't touch its natural beauty and greenery anywhere else.
Unfortunately, it isn't perfect, but nothing is. For example, Samos City (except on official documents and by unknowing tourists) is quite frequently, if not exclusively, still called Vathi . And the little village above it is Pano (meaning up) Vathi, not Ano Vathi. And Karlovassi (which you ironically describe as a jumbled mess, since that is pretty typical of quaint old European villages) has three sections: Paleo (old), Meseo (Middle) and Neo (New). Not Meleo. There are a couple of other inaccuracies in your article, but they are of no consequence. Your piece will not change my mind about Samos. I only hope you take more time gathering your information before you attempt to influence others. Perhaps you need to reassess your motive when writing such a scathing review.
I am writing to inform you that I am passing details of your website to the local tourist authority here in Samos. I am devastated that clients have been cancelling on the strength of your words and feel that your webpage paints a very poor picture of a beautiful, rural and cultural island. I have made it my personal goal to pass this information to as many local people as possible, including agents and political leaders.
Who knows if I can make an impression? I doubt it, but I WILL find someone who can as your webpage is incorrect and damaging. I could go on, but really can't be bothered with the likes of you Mr Writer. I will just continue to circulate your crap and information to as many locals as possible. The trash you write has been translated this week and will be raised in the Council meeting in Marathokambos and printed in the local newspaper. My suggestion is do not put a photo of yourself on the page as the locals here will lynch you in the town square.
Your "I don't care" attitude makes me physically sick. Your personal views are effecting the local economy and lively hood of the Samien people, who rely on tourism to survive. If you want untouched, peace and quiet and culture SOD OFF to the Gibson desert and share some damper bread with the tribesmen. I have travelled this way for over five years and have enough brains and intelligence to recognise the difference between tourism and independent travel. Just because you either can't afford to explore remote parts of the world, or don't have the balls too, you are setting out to damage an island for your own personal pleasure. I hope you can sleep at night.
I have returned from Samos earlier in the year and this site has got the island to a tee. The information is just superb. None of that bland 'I love' nonsense. It will not put any one off going to Samos at all. The island has changed enormously in the last 25 years, just one example is Kokkari which has had its sea front concreted over with wall-to-wall expensive cafes which used to be a tree-lined road, and an ugly quay now pokes out from the much photographed headland. This is fact I'm afraid. It does not matter if package tourists are put off, the majority of people travel through the islands independently, a proportion, of course, on their way to Turkey.
Samos really is a beautiful island and for a break from city life I found it a perfect place. One place I'd highly recommend is the bay at Posidonio in the south east with the Turkish coastline just 1km away. Also Kokkari on the north coast has some great cafes and restaurants as does Kalami where we found the bars and restaurants surprisingly upmarket. Ireon is also a beautiful place, tiny and quaint where you can enjoy a drink while watching the sunset.
Hiring a car is a must. You can get around the island in a day and there are lots of lovely and quiet beaches ranging from rock and pebble to gorgeous sand, all very clean and safe, The resort at Kambos in the south west is the only one I would avoid - it's pleasant enough but he beach is just a narrow strip of stone. We went on a brilliant day trip to Patmos, a tiny island with lots of chapels. Go on the ferry not the hydrofoil. Dolphins followed the boat for most of the way which was amazing. Don't expect lots of entertainment or music bars because it's a very quiet island but a great place to chill, eat out and take in the sights.
After two visits September time we are planning to go to Samos again in the Spring to see the wild flowers and the flamingos. For the walker this island is an absolute treasure, there is all sorts of terrain - plains, green forests, coastal paths, mountains and rolling hills. Away from the beach resorts (which form about 1% of the island), you can find peace and beauty in abundance.
There are charming inland villages with shady squares, welcoming locals and quaint buildings. There are cheap reliable bus services to get you out into the countryside where you will find almost an almost biblical landscape scented with wild herbs and olives. If your idea of a holiday is to fry on a sun bed with frequent dips to cool off, or wander about looking at piles of weathered ruins there must be better places to do it. But if you want to experience fine vistas, warm sunshine, peace and tranquillity, try Samos. Avoid June/July/August - according to a waiter "Eez like oven!"
Alan and Val Goswell
We have been to Samos for the last three years and we absolutely love the place. It is our intention to go and live there permanent when we both retire in about 15 years time. While we are there this time we are looking to buy some land to build a property on. I read somewhere that Samos was for the older tourist - that's not true. It's great for the younger (teenager) even. We always hire a car to get us about the island to visit the many friendly people we have met there over the years, not forgetting the different beaches. Most of all, we can't wait to see our very good friend Manolis who has a bar situated on the harbour in Pythagorian.
We have been to Samos twice now, and have booked to go again this year. Not ones for going back to the same place, as we have been ticking off the Greek islands one by one. We found Samos to be friendly, safe and easy to get about, despite the locals trying to get the roads fixed (after the fires). The food is fabulous, and reasonably priced. You can still get Greek food, not chips with everything!! So we give it thumbs up, and can't wait to see our friends from our first trip.
Chris and Viv McTier
Have just got back from Samos and loved it. I think it's really sad that people may look at your website and be put off. Yes, the tourist industry is developing fast but surely that is the 'fault' of us tourists, isn't it? The Greeks are just moving with the times and making a living like anyone else. All credit to them! Why should we expect the Greeks to live life as it was in the past just because tourists want it that way? Get real! And the 'olde worlde' Greece is still there in Samos if you're prepared to look for it - believe me, it's well worth it. Samos is beautiful - people, don't be put of.
I had a great time in Samos! The beaches were clean and the smells of fragrant herbs, oregano, chamomile, thyme and so on are most memorable. I felt safe the entire time my family and I were there and found the prices to be reasonable. I do not see the hotels as detriments to the island and most of them are actually of an island character. "Progress" might be an anathema to you, who might visit a place for a few days, but to the locals who have to live, drive and earn a living, the construction of roads and airports are necessary. If one wishes to experience the true essence of Aegean island life, then Samos is the place to be.
My wife and I have been to Samos at least eight times now (sadly we've just come back) we always stay in Kamos/Votsalakia at the end closet to Ormos. I have read various comments but the bad ones I cannot believe the people have been to the same island that we adore. The scenery is some of the most diverse in the Mediterranean and the Greeks are so friendly. Over the years we have found very good and loyal friends which all adds the joy of returning. In fact we love it so much that we are going to live there as soon as we sell our English home! No more wet summers, overcrowded roads and dangerous towns and cities.
We just came back from Samos where we spent two weeks covering the whole island. We went there only with the site survival guide. It was accurate and things as described. Samos is a nice island, but nothing exceptional for experienced tourist. What is striking is that the people are not very friendly! At times we were shocked. Another thing was the small portions of average food for high prices. Hallo? Where is Greek food? We have eaten 15 times in the tavernas and restaurants and only two times were the meals good.
It was nice to see Patmos, Ikaria, Lipsi and Kushadasi and nearby ruins. Well, there are nicer places than Samos: we have no strong wish to go back. Cold water to swim almost everywhere and at times wind blowing as crazy but the nature was nice. We found the people are very cruel to animals: a donkey left in the sun the whole day without water, skinny dogs and cats . . it was a horror. We spent a lot of time feeding those animals and giving them water. What can one do?! Anyway, thanks for the guide. It helped a lot.
Jan and Rupert Rogers
Samos is a good hiking island and is well known for it. One popular route is Karlovassi-Potami-Mikro Seitani-Megalo Seitani-Drakei this is beautiful route. There are others starting from small north coast villages up into the mountains. There are daily ferries to Ikaria. Buses run from Samos to Karlovassi, check out the ferries from here namely the 'Samos Star/Sun'. Also the ferries from Pythagorio the 'Nissos Kalymnos' and hydrofoils, for the islands to the south, try maybe Patmos or Lipsi. They are both are very worthwhile.
We visited Samos and would certainly return one day. We stayed in Samos Town. It has enough tavernas and bars to occupy two almost-30-year-olds not quite ready for the pipe and slippers, but is lively in a really Greek way, so really suitable for all ages. The food was overall the best we've had in Greece. You MUST go to Petrinos taverna if it's still there. It's up a lot of steps but oh so worth it. I'd agree a visit to Manolates is also a must-do. There's also a point in the centre of the island where you can see the sea on both sides. It's a breathtaking view. Oh and there are two beaches called Psili Ammos. The one in the west is the better and quieter of the two.
We spent 2 weeks at the Ino Village Hotel near Samos Town where the staff treated us like their own family and the rooma nd food scored 10/10. Every guest we talked too said it is the most friendly and relaxing place they have ever stayed at. We would we go back 100%. The hotel owner told us next year to book it directly with them, as the tour operators take most of the profit. He said get in contact via the website for dates and rates and he would sort out a very good deal for us. Or even phone them, (all the staff speak perfect English). I've been going to Greece for 20 years and this hotel and holiday is the best yet, even better than Santorini.
Neil and Debbie Bee
Kerveli is a lovely place, It's a small bay with a long narrow gravel beach about 80 yards long a great place to unwind and relax. There are three tavernas - all very good and the Kerveli Village does meals for non-guests. The Sunwaves is behind one of the tavernas - The Dolphin I think but I've not stopped there so can't say much about it. You will need a car if you want to see the island but not if you just want to crash out. Provisions are a bit of a problem though - the nearest supermarket is about 6km.
Just got back from Kerveli and can't wait to return. The beach is a bit small and stony (you will need beach shoes) but if you want to escape the crowds it is just heaven on earth. It is a long way off the beaten track and quite a drive to get to it but the road has been recently relaid so this is not a problem. Once there just grab a sunbed and relax. A really good taverna is just at the back of the beach. Just the place to unwind and relax. This part of Samos is really beautiful with rolling hills and wonderful views. I can't praise it too highly.
We have just returned from a week here staying at the splendidly situated Despina studios overlooking the quiet little harbour. We found it a delightful place to stay at this time of year: the wild flowers are gorgeous, it's just the right temperature for the many wonderful walks in this part of the island, there's plenty of space in the bars and restaurants where we found the staff friendly and keen to please. We would highly recommend the restaurant Bira on the main street -established since 1925 and serving real home cooking at a very reasonable price. all in all, though we have visited many Greek islands we can't wait to pay Samos a return visit.
The pretty port of Kokkari on the north coast is fast surrendering to the package holiday industry but you can occasionally find last minute rooms to rent. At Potami, in the north west corner of the island, freelance campers often bed down for the night along the lower reaches of the river which gives the beach its name. The main northern port of Karlovassi is not the most attractive place to stay but if you get stranded here for the night there are plenty of budget hotels and rooms available. At the northern seaside resort of Agios Konstantinos you can ask at Ambelos Travel for details of traditional island homes to rent in the area.
Sorry, but having read your review I cannot reconcile your Samos with the island that me and my husband love, have visited five times in the last seven years, and are going to again in August. We have stayed in Kokkari every time and love it. It is never too crowded, the restaurants and small bars along the harbour front are excellent, and we have made some very good friends there. "Night clubs and noisy music bars" you say? It is precisely the lack of these that makes us return time and time again to Kokkari - and as for describing the island as the "sedate Bournemouth of the Agean" - have you been to Bournemouth lately? It's now the hen and stag weekend capital of the south coast.
Progress, in the way of new roads and the airport is necessary if the island is to bolster its income through tourism - sorry if you don't like it but it's true. I agree with a previous reviewer who said that we can't expect the Greeks to live in the past just because we like to see it that way. Yes, there are some ugly parts of Samos - the outskirts of Karlovassi spring to mind - but on the whole it is a lovely, peaceful island, lacking in the blatant commercialism of Corfu, Rhodes and Crete and thankfully undiscovered by the 18-30 crowd. Long may it stay that way. By the way, it's not for old fogies - we've met several couples in their 20's and 30's who have been on their honeymoon over the years and without exception they have all said that they couldn't have chosen better.
Just returned from a fabulous holiday in Kokkari. What wonderful place, so laid back and friendly. Our favourite places to eat were Meltemis - family run taverna overlooks the main beach with great fresh fish and gorgeous Greek meals. We also liked the Basilico for Italian provided you get there early as it quickly gets full - its on the headland between the harbour and the beach. And the Marco Polo was good too. There's not a lot of night life but there are some clubs out of town. Hiring a car is good to see the island. The walk up to Vourliotes is a must for fabulous views and another lovely village is Manolates. The beach at Kokkari is mainly pebble but the water is crystal clear and great for swimming and snorkeling. They must try the Samena white wine - nectar and so cheap. Caos was our local bar with Christos and his family making us most welcome.
Potokaki is a made up of some hotels and other holiday accommodation - not really a village at all, so a bit disappointing. There's a couple of mini markets and bars in the hotels is all. Most nights we went to Pythagoria which is picture postcard, though a bit upmarket with loads of tavernas. Its very touristy if you like that sort of thing and not as Greek as I'd like it but the harbour area is very pretty. As to eating lots of tavernas had vegetarian option but not being veggie myself I didn't really notice. As usual the tavernas around the harbour were a lot more expensive. The best taverna on the harbour front isn't the best but its good - big portions and nicely cooked. There are better and cheaper tavernas in the side streets away from the tourist strip. Try the Aphrodite if you can find it and for the most traditional Greek food get a table at the Espiredes.