My name is Christopher and my partner's called Anne. We live in Stockport, (near Manchester), England. We gain a lot of pleasure from walking and discovering new landscapes, this year we spent two weeks in Samos (August and September 2001). We had a wonderful holiday and would like to share our experiences with you.
Walk or relax?
We do enjoy walking but there are often moments when we wonder why we work so hard. We decided it would be nice to spend a day by the pool or on the beach. There are so many beautiful places to visit on Samos - you can discover something new every day! You don't need to tire yourself out walking to enjoy Samos - why not use the local transport to take you to your destination, where you can relax.
Road / Walking Map
I highly recommend "Road Editions Map 210 - Samos" mapping for your visit. This is the best scale you will find (1 to 50,000) and the best map for walking and driving that I could find anywhere. It is available in most shops on the island and costs around £4.00.
Walking / Drivers Guide
We based almost our entire holiday on "Landscapes of Samos, by Sunflower Books" which costs £9.99 plus postage (Edition 4, ISBN 1-85691-187-X), always check you have the most recent edition. Updates are available from Sunflower Books between editions priced at £1.00.
Sunflower's guide contains enough information to ensure you make the most of every minute of your holiday. A bus timetable is provided, maps, walks and picnic ideas - the book has been written for both walking and driving.
I am not a lover of walking guide books and find that in most books the instructions are often vague (it's OK - the author knows the walk!) and padded out with interesting facts that don't help you find your way! I did find some of the instructions a little hurried, however, we did find our way and admit that without this guidebook we would have missed so much. I recommend it.
Car hire - We did not choose to hire a vehicle as I enjoy a break from driving. Although I would not choose to drive abroad, I did think that most of the roads seemed very good. The road signs are clear and I think you could visit most of the island easily. Obviously driving through Samos Town requires a little more concentration although it is not a busy complicated town. The road from the Airport to Samos Town is very good and easy to follow. Once you have mastered Samos Town, you're ready to enjoy some fantastic scenery. We did see Jeeps for hire, they are more expensive though!
Bus-service - provides cheap and reliable transport enabling you to easily reach most of the popular destinations. We are quite adventurous and often choose the local busses when on holiday. Please be assured that they are reliable and the bus conductors seem to understand English. It is a good idea to ask the conductor to tell you where to "get off" the bus. Most of the busses have air-con and are Non-smoking. They are very clean and quite obviously well maintained. Don't forget- small change for the bus fare please!
Perhaps you will encounter the increasingly famous singing (tenor) bus driver on one of your trips to Kokkari?
We recommend that you obtain a bus timetable from the bus station ticket office as soon as possible. Many package holidays have a representative and they usually provide a small town map and bus timetable with their information pack. Some information on the timetable provided by our rep had been erased. We discovered later that the Bus Company offered the same day trip as our tour operator, at a quarter of the price! For the latest bus timetable and information visit their web site at
bus table part 1 bus table part 2
Bus Station and Ticket Office location
The ticket office can be found on the street next to the blue sign of the "INTERNET CAFÉ" which is located on the main road almost at the centre of Samos Towns crescent shaped harbour. There is a very large car park on the front opposite the road. Pass the café on the corner (same side, on your right) walking away from the sea front - the ticket office is set back slightly, on your right, almost immediately.
Taxi - The local taxi service is quite cheap. You can call for a taxi, or have a restaurant, hotel or bar telephone for you. The Taxi-company pays for the call; they add this later, to your metered charge (about 400Dr). You can find Taxi ranks in the main street of the popular resorts. Ask the driver for an estimated price before you get in. We used them several times and they seemed consistently priced and therefore we assumed trustworthy. Price is about 50 pence per mile, as a rough guide.
Scooter / Motorcycle - I have many years experience of riding motorcycles and would have tremendous fun with a "trials bike" in Samos. Unfortunately I have the same reservations regarding "road use" of bikes as cars and know only too well of the risks involved, especially if you're not an experienced rider. Unless you are familiar with bikes and "on the right side of the road", for safeties sake, I hope you opt for four wheels.
Climate / Temperature
We decided to visit Samos for walking. Our initial choice would have been an Easter visit but their season seems to start slightly later than usual. For personal reasons we could only visit in August and so we were concerned about the temperature - the guidebooks recommend late September / October onwards, for walking.
We discovered that the island has a characteristic "breeze" which is wonderful for keeping cool despite temperatures ranging between 32 and 37 degrees centigrade. Don't be "put off" - we thought it would be far too hot for walking and yet managed to walk every day.
Do drink lots of water though and be certain to use and carry a high protection factor sun cream. The sun is very powerful here - it is easy to forget this especially when you are enjoying a cool sea breeze!
A local lady told us that the sunshine is consistent between May and October and that it hardly ever rains. The weather had been very stable for several weeks before we arrived in Samos. We had a storm in our second week and it lasted for half an hour. The morning had started cloudy (we were shocked to see cloud) then a very heavy downpour. The clouds cleared and the remainder of the day was glorious. I don't think you need worry about carrying waterproofs! Sunshine is virtually guaranteed!
Tourist Information Office
I enquired at "Sabena Tours" (near Hotel Samos on the front, look for the small square with the stone Lion) which seems to be the office used for tourist enquiries.
You must purchase a telephone card - all pay phones are "Card" phones! Most shops sell phone cards, they cost about £2.00. Our local Mini-Market offered a telephone for customer's use. Off peak calls are after 10 p.m. (UK time would be 8 p.m.) but if you don't get connected, keep trying as overseas lines do become available.
If you require Internet access you can use the "INTERNET CAFÉ" (Look for the blue sign outside) which is located almost at the centre of Samos Towns crescent shaped harbour. There is a very large car park on the front opposite the cafe.
We found a local Mini-Market, which catered for all our requirements. There seemed to be many such shops throughout Samos so you should find one close to you. Products are similar in price to the UK. There are plenty of choices for making up a picnic lunch. They all seem to have a good choice of wine and spirits, although you won't find a big choice of beers, which are "Lager types". Milk is available but you need to identify fresh milk and long life milk. Obvious guide is to look for the use by date, if it's more than a couple of days it's long life! Bottled water is available in still and gassy, "carbonated" or similar, being the word to look for if you like fizz. 5 Litre bottles are best value (about £1.00) and useful for topping up empty smaller bottles for daily use (a tip for walkers).
There are many gift shops on the island. They all offer a similar selection of souvenir. You will find many handcrafted gifts, nice oil paintings, prints, watercolours, pottery, carved wood, calendars, local guides, maps and postcards and stamps for UK. Don't forget your stamps!
The bank is located on the main harbour (sea front) road near to the Taxi ranks.
You will find a superb choice of restaurants in Samos. Please check opening times as many open for evenings only.
(Initially we were apprehensive regarding eating out. As we were planning a walking holiday, we thought we would choose half board - after walking all day it is nice to wander down for evening meal in your hotel. We had not visited Greece before and did not know what to expect).
The popular (and best) resorts like Kokkari and Pithagorion have many large restaurants offering beautiful sea views, sheltered by umbrella shades. Most are open from mid-day onwards. The choice is vast and good quality and hygiene standards seem common practice. Remember it is cheap to take a Taxi and so these wonderful resorts are within easy reach for that romantic evening meal.
We found the day trips offered by our tour operator expensive and the choice of destinations a little disappointing. Making your own way can offer a little more freedom and often a more economical method of travel.
A trip to Turkey involved some planning due to connections. Passports are needed and some duties have to be paid at the docks before entering the country. This is probably best booked via your tour operator.
Samos Island Tour - The local bus company offer a superb full day Island tour, which costs about £7.00 / person (August 2001) and I highly recommend this trip. The coach was air-conditioned and very comfortable (non-smoking). We felt safe, the driver took care to ensure we all had a good journey.
Take your costume and towel if you fancy a swim at Votsalakia beach! (You have two hours and thirty minutes pause here, see below).
Some local information was provided on route via the coach public address system. This was kept to a minimum and therefore allowed passengers to relax and enjoy the tour.
Departing at 8.30 a.m. from Samos bus station…
Drive through Pithagorion, then through magnificent countryside via Hora, stopping at the Monastery of the Holy cross, (Timiou Stavrou) for thirty minutes.
Time to visit the monastery and take photos. Continue journey through Koumadarei then Pirgos and stopping at Koutsi (about forty minutes) for refreshments at Café (toilets).
Drive on to Platanos where you can take a short walk (twenty minutes) through the village and take photos of the highest mountain on the island (Vigla 1434m) and enjoy splendid views north-west towards Karlovasi. Return to the coach and drive on through Marathokambos down to the famous beach at Votsalakia. Here you have approximately two hours and thirty minutes to enjoy this superb beach.
There is a nice restaurant just past the coach stop (ask the driver) and on the beach below it there are showers and toilets for your use so take a good look around here. Towering above are the slopes of Vigla, the highest mountain on the island at 1434 metres (4,705 feet).
After leaving the beach you continue your journey through Karlovasi and then stop at Valley of Nightingales for refreshments (toilets) before returning to Samos via the scenic north coast road, passing Kokkari and Kedros.
Boat Trips - Most of the boat trips are from Pithagorion so you would need to consider transport. I enquired at "Sabena Tours" (near Hotel Samos on the front, look for the small square with the stone monument - a Lion I think!) and they should be able to provide you with details of the trips available. Also ask about "Hellas Ferries" as they have an office close to Sabena Tours, also on the front. (I think it is nearer to Hotel Samos than the Sabena office). The Hellas ferries seem to operate a regular service from Samos so do ask for further information.
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This page was last modified at December 5, 2004.
©2001-2004 Christopher Thompson, use of pictures must include his credits, full size high res JPEG copies available on request.