(Written from Samos) Off to Greece, off to Samos – have you been there yet? On a clear day we can spot the mountainous island in the distance (its highest peak measuring 1434 metres) as it is so close awaiting curios and novice travellers from across our sharedDilek/Mycale Strait. But how to get there, where to stay, what to do… welcome back to the previously announced ‘3S-Miniseries’ (we featured Seferihisar already), today it is time for another instalment – so to speak.
Let us begin with the most important question – ferry or plane? The latter – in all likelihood – is off limits as we would need to fly to Athens first, and then catch a connecting flight. It is rather expensive and very time consuming – not as expensive as flying in central Europe but nevertheless pricey. Unless you wish to take in fabulous Athens and all its majestic history in one go you should opt for the ferry. However just to give you an idea a peak season one-way flight from Athens to Samos can be obtained for 63 Euros (APEX).
Hence, we are lucky having two types of maritime transport available straight from our world-famous Ege Port – a fast ferry with closed seating inside, and a more traditional ferry with a partially open-air sundeck. Travel time – between 50 and 100 minutes, respectively; costs: return fare depending on whether you book online or prefer the personal contact in a travel agency between 48 and 63 Euros. My preferred choice was indeed that face-to-face relation, thus Tilos Travel right in the centre of town, a very friendly and efficient agency promoting the fast ferry to Vathy. Please google their address just opposite Ege Port, and the return fare is better when compared with the online ‘rival’, too.
If you only visit for a day, it is essential you check where you wish to explore – the fast ferry docks at Vathy, the other vessel at Pythagoreio. Both towns are absolutely wonderful with plenty of things to do. The distance between both is 14 kilometres but on an eight-hours whirlwind tour taking a cab back and forth the two locations is possibly not advisable as you want to maximize your time with feet on the ground and not rushing back to the port risking you miss your departure. Having said that Samos’ taxi servicesare extraordinarily comfortable, luxurious cars, knowledgeable drivers, fair prices.
But there is most definitely the possibility to swap a daytrip for and with an overnight (or longer) vacation. That would take care of all the port worries as you easily might arrive by fast ferry and return by traditional boat, factoring in a cab ride on day one or two (or three, four…) between Vathy and Pythagoreio which as we speak sets us back no more than 25 Euros either way.
‘How to feel relaxed 2.0’
Greek islands always had this image of being laid-back, a combination of being far from the big crowds yet showing off its über-cool side at the same time. Nothing has changed and rest assured Samos fits the bill.
You can spend a night (or day by the pool) in a posh resort type hotel or just hang around in a number of restaurants either port, or beachside. No one forces you to ask for another beverage once your initial order is consumed – I am not saying time stands still over here but everyone tries to put you into a holiday mood regardless of whether you stay for a few hours or days.
You will for sure search the internet to compile a list of must-sees according to your personal leisure pursuit preferences but let me on the one hand share with you a gem of a museum in Pythagoreio: the compact but fascinating (including outdoors area) of the Archaeological Museum, walking distance from portside. If on the other hand Vathy became your entry or departure point, the Samos Wine Museum is equally a ‘have to go there’ – destination. So much history – my advice: either study the island’s attractions via the internet before you go or buy a local travel guide in the English language upon arrival.
Getting to and from sorted, you yourself equipped with internet background details of what to see and decided for how long you stay: a few personal recommendations. Starting with a disclaimer, none of the properties mentioned contributed in any way financially or otherwise to my trip, it was a fact-finding mission for our esteemed readers.
As I stayed in Pythagoreio I checked out on two types of accommodation. Need a pool? Yannis Bey at Jasmine Apartments will take perfect care of you. Prefer something smaller, nearer to the centre? Panagiotis Bey at Philoxenia Pension will
be here for you. Breaking the bank? None of the two will – Jasmine @ 60; Philoxenia @ 35 Euros, respectively.
But please inquire beforehand as prices as anywhere else may go up and depending on how many people are in your room/group (email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org).
Fancy a traditional Greek meal? Again, let us share two options. In the middle of town Robinson Gyros Restaurant opposite Radio Taxis (see above) is the most traditional place you can find. Fantastic food, tables indoors and on the pavement, smiles guaranteed, today eleven Euros, two beverages included. A ten minutes-walk down the road and at the port there is Apollonia, a full-fledged Greek restaurant including offering many seafood dishes and fine wines, of course somewhat more expensive, Lamb dish plus half a litre carafe of very good Samos wine: 20 Euros. And please remember – Samos wine is not only sweet… the island produces fantastic dry varieties as well. Verdict – try both, one for early lunch, the other for early dinner.
Souvenir shops galore and yes indeed, they still sell picture postcards here as if the era of selfie images would not as of yet exist… comforting, at least to me.
Car rentals are the order of the day for guests who stay more than eight hours; a selection of trusted companies would pick you up from either port, and some minutes later and once paperwork is completed the automobile is yours.
Talking about money once again: I exchanged funds at Alpha Bank (close to Robinson Gyros and Radio Taxis) on the main road with a commission of nothing more than 2.50 Euros. However, please consult your bank card provider as charges may vary enormously.
The legal fineprint: Greece is part of the European Union so even if only for a day trip you are leaving the Republic of Türkiye. Please make sure you have a valid multiple entry visa, are visa exempt or residence permit at the ready.
We are blessed living in this wonderful part of Türkiye but one advantage indeed is its closeness to our neighbours in Greece. Let’s go and take a look, then come back home. It is well-worth a visit, enjoy!