At a glance
Dry rolling lowlands, pristine orchards, large sycamore woods and above all, a rocky mountain that literally rises up from the deep blue sea toward the sky. One of the hidden treasures of the Aegean, the small island of Samothraki, tucked away in the far north-eastern corner of the Aegean, is gradually hotting up as the latest, must-see quirky destination.
Even though the beaches on the island are not spectacular when compared to those in other destinations, what does catch one’s eye is its unique form of rugged wildness and some of the last remaining ancient woodland in the Aegean.
Samothraki is endowed with one of the highest mountains in the North Aegean, Mount Saos, which soars at 1,650 metres altitude. On the mountain, among the hundreds of brooks and streams are two that have caught the attention and imagination of all who pass: Gria Vathra and Fonias, which thunder down Saos’ steep northern side even in summer, and have formed a network of awe-inspiring waterfalls and successive rock pools, known as Vathres, that refresh anyone visiting during the hot summer months.
There are two main central areas: the port town of Kamariotissa, which gets pretty busy and is lined with cafes and tavernas, and the graphic Hora, the capital of the island, hidden away on the slopes of the mountain out of view from the marauding gaze of invaders and pirates.
Another draw to the island is the ancient site of Paleopolis, once revered throughout the ancient world with its mysterious esoteric initiations. This site is where the beautiful free-flowing sculpture of the Winged Victory (“Nike”) of Samothraki was discovered, a cultural gem that now adorns one of the hallways of the Louvre.