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Samothraki is the island with the highest mountain chain in the whole of the Aegean sea. The highest cliff is Mt. Founegari that reaches 1600 meters in height. Despite not being very popular amongst tourists it is still considered quite an important place because of the myths and legends that in the old days used to be the main reason for visiting this mysterious island.
The island is also famous for being the homeland of one of the most famous statues in the whole of the world: The winged Victory of Samothraki (also known as Nike of Samothraki), now exposed in the Louvre.
Samothraki can be reached by ferry from the port of Alexandropolis, in the north of Greece. Samothraki hasn’t got an airport and the ferries that reach it from the nearby islands don’t travel on a daily basis and may not even be running if you aren’t there during high season. The best option to choose from if you want to visit it is to take a ferry from the ports of Kavala and Alexandropolis. Like on many other Greek islands, remember that the time tables change all the time according to the time of the year when you are visiting it and the number of tourists.
Why choose Samothraki?
Samothraki isn’t a very common place for tourists to visit during a holiday in Greece. If you are visiting Greece for the first time we don’t recommend to spend your whole vacation here. A better option might be to combine it with a tour of other nearby islands like Lemnos.
If you are staying in the Halkidiki region you can reach it by taking your own vehicle through Kavala before reaching Thassos or Samothraki. When visiting this island you will immediately notice that the island is almost completely covered in mountains with many wild landscapes.
The villages are spread throughout the mountains base while the most important port of the island, called Kamariotissa, is located in the northernmost area of the island. This port is the only access to the island and all around it you will notice many coloured boats and nice taverns that serve traditional Greek dishes.
The island’s Chora is only 5 km from the port and gets its name from the island (Samothraki). Here you will have the chance to admire a beautiful panorama of the island’s coast. The most interesting thing to visit on Samothrakiis certainly “the sanctuary of the great gods”, a mysterious and fascinating place where still nowadays many religious rituals are held.
There aren’t many beaches on Samothraki/Samothrace since the coast is very narrow as the tall mountain that covers the island occupies almost all of the surface going directly into the sea. The few beaches that you will find are covered in pebbles in the northern part while in the southern part there are a few sandy creeks surrounded by tall cliffs. Samothraki is famous for its natural beauties. Apart from Kipos and Pahia Ammos the other beaches can only be accessed by boat. Vatos beach is one of the most exciting beaches to visit and can only be reached with a boat. Here are some examples of the best beaches of the island:
A long beach covered by a mix of sand and pebbles surrounded by crystal clear waters. It can be easily reached by boat from the Therma or Kamariotissa while it is very difficult to reach if you decide to take another route. It is also the easternmost beach of the southern coast from which you can sometimes admire the profile of Imbros island.
Pahia Ammos beach
A sandy beach more than 800 meters long that can be reached with a small boat from Kamariotissa or from a narrow path carrying on south from Lakkoma for about 8 km. It is also the nicest and best equipped beach on Samothraki.
This small beach covered in pebbles and sand isn’t very far away from Pahia Ammos and has an area completely dedicated to nudism. It can be easily reached by getting a boat that leaves from Therma. There is a beautiful waterfall near this beach that drops for more than 180 meters into the sea. Not equipped with any service for tourists.
Springs, giant waterfalls and rocky slopes, these are just some of the things you will see in Samothraki. An island where to relax and enjoy the island’s wonderful atmosphere. Samothraki is an island that has many attractions and wonderful natural beauties. Here there are also some of the highest mountains you will find in the Aegean sea besides clear waterfalls, natural swimming pools, a green lush landscape and coasts that are covered in a mix of sand and pebbles. Here is a list of the things you can visit in Samothraki.
Sanctuary of the great gods
At about 6 km north-east from Kamariotissa you will find the sanctuary of the great gods, one of the most mysterious archeological sites in the whole of Greece. It was originally built by the Thracians around 1000 b.c. and since the 5th century b.c. the rituals and sacrifices had attracted many pilgrims like the Egyptian queen Arsinou, Filip II of Macedonia (father of Alexander the great) and even Herodotus.
The sanctuary was used until the IV century a.d. When paganism was forbidden. After visiting the sanctuary of the great gods you can go for a relaxing walk in the paths that go through Samothraki. Unfortunately they aren’t very well signaled so you will need a guide to discover the hidden wonders and natural beauties of this island. There are many agencies that organize walking tours around the island.
Thermal springs in Samothraki
Most of the tourists are located in the village of Thermà in the northern coast of the island that is also where you will find thermal springs and different starting points for the excursions.
Waterfalls in Paradeisos
One of the routes that starts from the thermal springs will lead you to Paradeisos’ waterfalls. After walking for about 100 meters you will reach an area of puddles and waterfalls, the tallest of which measures about 30 meters. If you decide to come here to take a swim during the summer you will enjoy the crystal clear waters of this unique part of greece.
Next to the waterfalls there is also a gorge called Ghria Vathra where you will find many natural pools that are great for taking a refreshing bath. If you follow the north-eastern coast of the island you will find Fonias river, another incredible place.
After walking for 40 minutes you will reach a very big natural pool fed by a 12 meter high waterfall. If you carry on following the path you will find other 5 waterfalls, the paths aren’t signaled so you should find a local guide before visiting it.
Full moon August festivity
The full moon festivity is a great experience for young people and adventurous tourists. During this festival people meet and gather to an open space located on a mountain at more than 1200 m in height. Here you will camp and spend the whole night partying. In the morning you can reach the peak and admire the lovely sunrise.
Boat trip to Samothraki
Given the fact that the island’s coast is very tall, it will be very interesting to visit the most inaccessible points that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. Almost all the trips include a grilled meal on board.
When planning on how to move around Samothraki remember that there is only one small bus line that takes you to the island’s main beaches and villages Chora, Paleopolis and Therma. Otherwise you can decide to rent a vehicle from one of the car rentals Kamariotissa port. Here you will also have the chance to rent an off road vehicle if you are planning to reach the island’s most inaccessible areas.
Samothraki doesn’t have an airport so you will have to reach it by boat/ferry. The island’s main port is Alexandropolis and the ferry company is called Saos. The average price per person is around 15,00 euros, while for two people the price goes up to 85,00 euros. The ferries run about once a day during low season and three times a day during high season. For reaching Alexandropolis you will have to first reach Athens’ airport. There are about 3-4 flights a day. We recommend you check in advance the company sites as during high season some runs may be added.
There aren’t many accommodations and hotels in Samothraki. In fact you can choose between a hotel, apartment or studios that are mostly located in the villages of Kamariotissa, Chora and Therma. There is also a free transport service from the port to one of the islands villages.
Where to stay in Samothraki
There are quite a few hotels in Samothraki, most of them are located in the most important parts of the island and are usually well connected to the local bus line. There are also many apartments that can be rented, most of which can be rented directly on the island after agreeing a price with the owners, like this you will also save some money.
Most of the apartments are spread throughout the island and for this reason if you are planning to book one remember considering renting a vehicle as they are often far away from the local bus lines. Last but not least you can also rent one of the many available studios, probably the cheapest of all solutions.