At a glance
Once upon a time, Antony and Cleopatra sojourned on Samos, indulging themselves with all the finesse the abundant island had, and still has, to offer: flavoursome foods, tastebud-tantalizing wine and sun-drenched days in lush nature, with a coastline full of superb beaches. At the time when the two lovers were on Samos, the island delighted in the heady cultural and political stature that had helped establish it as a super-power in the region during the 7th and 6th century BC
Samos is home to the temple of Hera, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the birthplace of a striking number of the world’s greatest thinkers.Lying so intimately near to the coast of Asia Minor (only three kilometres to the east), throughout history Samos has been tugged between cultural forces from east and west, north and south, and thus in turn generated its own indomitable weight that has influenced humanity to the present day.The ancient capital, today a bustling fishing village mainly catering to tourists, is named after perhaps the most influential Samian figure of them all, Pythagoras.
Like most of the Northern Aegean islands, Samos is a busy, ‘lived-in’ island year-round with two ferry ports, at Karlovassi and Vathi. Granted, in summer the noise and activity reach a crescendo as visitors land on its shores from Europe and beyond, but for the rest of the year, unlike many other destinations that shut up shop, here the locals (a population of about 30,000) get on with their daily business, a good deal of which is farming, particularly viniculture, which plays a major role in local business to this day.