One of the most beautiful sights enjoyed by guests at Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort, is that of the sun dipping behind the Greek island of Samos, which lies shimmering just a few miles off the Turkish coast and is available as a day trip by ferry.
Samos is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the Hellenic islands and was known for its pottery and wine as far back as 2000 years. From the Turkish mainland you feel you could almost reach out and touch it, and yet when you land on its soil you discover a place unlike any other.
This is an island which gave rise to notable philosophers, artists and other creative geniuses. They included the mathematician Pythagoras, whose theory has been on the lips of students even to this day; the astronomer Aristarchus; Aesop – of the famous fables who was enslaved on Samos, and Evpalinus, a 6th century BC engineer whose over 1km long aqueduct is a marvel of ancient engineering (currently being renovated but re-opening to the public in 2016).
On approach from the sea, you will see a richly verdant and mountainous island fringed by white sand beaches and crystal waters, with picturesque villages and pretty fishing harbours. In size it is about 43km (27 miles) long and 13km (8 miles) wide and has a population of approximately 33,000.
The ferry journey taking you over lasts around 1.5 hours, giving you six hours or so to explore and taste some delicious Greek food before your return in time for dinner back in Turkey. Unlike some Greek islands, Samos, despite having its own airport, has not succumbed to despoliation of its charms through over development. Prices are reputedly less than those on many sister islands for drinks, food and taxis – so hop in and state where it is you want to go.
Samos town and the harbour at Pythagorion (so named in honour of its famous son) have enough to satisfy with shops, bars and tavernas, but across the island are several monasteries of interest; lovely resorts such as the fishing village of Kokkari; historical ruins; wonderful, secluded beaches; and museums that include The Fossil Museum of Mytilini, its exhibits include the ‘Small Horse of Samos’ some 13 million years old.
The island’s capital, Samos or Vathi, comprises three major ports the other two being those of Pythagorion and Karlovassi. There is an archaeological museum of archaic sculptures and treasures unearthed in excavations and well worth wandering around is the old harbour town, perched on the hillside, which lies behind the more modern centre.
Mythology states that the goddess Hera was born on Samos and the ruins of her temple, with only one of its columns left standing, is on the list of sights to see. In antiquity, a 6km road dating back to the 7th century BC, which was lined with 2000 statues as well as graves and monuments and known as The Holy Way, was trod by worshippers from the town.
How you spend your time on Samos, whether swimming and sunbathing, visiting wonders such as Pythagoras Cave where the ancient mathematician lived and studied, following a nature trail or visiting traditional inland villages, there are a few practicalities. The island has a siesta mid afternoon, so if you want to shop do so in the morning. You will also need to have your passport with you and Euros to spend.
Samos is famous for its sweet Muscat wine, exported worldwide; local honey infused with the aromas of pine and thyme: sheep and goat’s milk cheeses; orchid fields; pottery and plethora of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables. It also produces the strong aniseed drink that once tasted is never forgotten (though you may forget much else!): Ouzo, and Souma which is made by winemakers under license, intended for personal use only.