Apr 06, 2023
Samothraki island also known as Samothrace, is located on the Northern Aegean sea. The island has been left unspoiled with the lack of tourism and if youare after a true Greek island experience then Samothraki is for you.
Boasting beautiful hikes that lead you to unforgettable waterfalls and natural pools, and to the highest mountain on the island, Fengari, that offers some spectacular views. Mount Fengari has a place in Greek mythology as it is said that Poseidon as perched atop of the mountain to watch the Trojan War unfold.
The island is the sanctuary of the great gods, with the famous Victory of Nike statue, (displayed in the Louvre in Paris, France), being discovered on the island.
With towering cliffs, enchanting nightingales, lush plane forests, and stunning waterfalls, this island is a nature lover's dream.
If you are looking for a small Greek island that time forget, then the island of Samothrace is for you!
Here is our guide to the Aegeans hidden gem.
How to get to Samothraki
By ferry: You can take a ferry ride from the port of Alexandroupolis or from the nearby island of Thassos. The journey takes about 2-3 hours, depending on the route and the ferry company. Ferry tickets can be purchased in advanced or at the port.
By plane: The nearest airport is in Alexandroupolis, which is connected to Athens and other major Greek cities. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to the port of Kamariotissa and then catch a ferry to Samothraki.
By car: If you have your own car or are renting one, you can drive to the port of Kamariotissa and take a ferry to the island.
Getting around Samothraki
The best way to get around the island is to rent a car. This can be done from Alexandroupoli, where you can take you car on to the ferry and over to Samothraki.
While driving around the island, don't be shocked to find people hitchhiking on the island as its a very common way to get around the island.
There is a local bus service and a taxi on the island, but it is best not to rely on either of them for transportation.
Also known as Mount Fengari is one of the highest mountain peaks not only in the Aegean but in Greece.
With hiking trails that wind through endless forests of trees and past flowing streams you will come across some of the most breathtaking sights on the mountain. The natural pools that have been formed by the waterfalls.
Although the ascent can be difficult, the view from the top is worth the effort. The mountain is a popular destination for mountaineering clubs, but even if you're a beginner, you can still explore the area by consulting a hiking map.
The trails typically start at the base of the mountain and take around five hours to complete.
Waterfalls and natural pools of Samothraki
The main island activity is taken up by visting the islands waterfalls and natural pools.
The river Fonias, originating from the heights of Mount Saos. It is a major attraction on Samothrace Island. As it flows into the Thracian Sea, it creates a spectacular sight of cascading waterfalls and natural pools called vathres.
Hikers frequent the valley in the summer to trek the mountain trails and enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters. The cool shade of the surrounding forests offers a perfect respite from the scorching heat during the summer season.
The trail to Fonias' first waterfall is beginner-friendly and suitable for children. The path meanders through a valley with little incline, passing through an enchanted forest with ancient plane trees having hollow trunks and twisted branches.
Some claim that the place is energy-loaded, explaining the strange tree growth patterns. Dragonflies with electric blue translucent wings flutter around hikers, often settling on their hands for a photo, while colourful butterflies flutter among flowers, and tiny frogs jump in and out of water.
Further ahead, the path is dense with vegetation, bordered by tall ferns that are sometimes waist-high, creating a jungle-like landscape.
The river forms occasional pools ideal for a refreshing dip.
The Gerania Waterfall
To reach the second waterfall, Gerania waterfall continue climbing the slope from Fonias. But be warned. The hike is not for the faint hearted and it is no longer suitable for children.
The ascent is very steep, but the trail becomes easier and veers you towards a flowing river.
From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the island's lush northern coast.
To continue to the waterfall, you will reach a crossroad, there, there will be red arrows painted on a rock pointing towards Kleidosi Waterfall. However, to get to Gerania, keep walking straight ahead and descend towards the river.
As you descend, you will witness a heavenly scenery unfold before your eyes. The waterfall, also known as "the naturist waterfall," is not as high and impressive as the first one, but the place itself is like something out of a dream.
The water flows into a large, crystal clear pool, with different shades of blue and green. It is indeed one of the island's most beautiful places.
It takes 20-30 minutes to hike from the first Fonais to Gerania.
Gernia water is approximately 2km from the village of Therma.
A gently reminder that if you are going to hike, make sure to bring your hiking gear as some of the hikes are not for the faint hearted.
Thermal host springs on Samothraki
The thermal springs date back to the Byzantine era and are located in the Therma village, which is located in the northern part of the island. Adjacent to the Spa, there are four thermal springs that can be accessed free of charge.
However, since they are relatively small in size, it is important to be cautious and check the temperature before taking a dip. The water temperature can range from 40 to 100 degrees Celsius.
The spas are said to provide relief for ailments such as chronic arthritis and vascular conditions.
Best Beaches on Samothraki
This secluded beach is situated on the eastern side of the island. Accessible by both road and sea, it boasts small pebbles and stunning views of the nearby island of Imbros. The beach is unorganized, so bring with you everything you need for a day at the beach
A beautiful beach with both sand and pebbles. The beach has cool waters at the entrance of the Vatos gorge. The beach is located east of the Pachia Ammos. There is no road that leads to the beach, so you will have the get to the beach by a boat from Therma or by hiking through the gorge. Take note, the hike can be dangerous and should not be attemped unless you have a local with you, or you are a expert hiker.
Located in the nothern part of the island, its is a small pebble beach that surrounds the local marina. The beach is organised with sun beds, umbrellas and tavernas.
Pachia Ammos beach
A beautful sandy beach, located at the southern most point of the island. Access to the beach is very easy, acceisble by road. It is the most popular beach and is organised with plenty of cafes and bars lining the beach. It has great turquoise waters so swimming here is a treat.
Museums of Samothaki
The Folklore Museum of Samothrace, a fascinating museum located in the heart of the central village, right next to the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This traditional 19th-century building was founded by the Municipality and the Cultural Association of the island, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Samothraki.
Inside the museum, you can discover a variety of objects associated with livestock, agriculture tools, traditional loom, and much more, all located on the ground floor.
The first floor of the museum offers a representation of a traditional house, complete with walls decorated with traditional "mahramades" (silk and cotton embroideries), photographs, local clothes, and rugs, as well as bedding made using the loom.
One of the most remarkable items on display is the wooden carved shrine from the early 20th century, featuring rare paintings of many saints. The collection of objects presented in the museum has been generously donated by the people of the island, making it a truly community-driven cultural experience.
The archaeological museum of Samothraki
The Palaiopolis archaeological museum on Samothraki island houses a fascinating collection of ancient artifacts. Many of the items were discovered on the island itself, but some were relocated to other museums around Greece and abroad.
The exhibits were mainly collected by American archaeologists and local residents, including the esteemed citizen Nikolas Fardis.
The museum is split into four sections, each showcasing a different type of item.
The central room is dedicated to architectural representations of important buildings from the Temple of Gods, such as the Arch of Arsinοi, adorned with bulls and daisies.
In the second room, you can see parts of the frieze with dancers thought to be the Muses, as well as a bust of Teiresias and a headless statue of Persephone.
The third room hosts marble columns from the Holy House, and a headless statue of Nike which stood on the back cape of the Temple.
The fourth room contains many exhibits found in the Necropolis, including a cast of the Nike of Samothraki since the original is in the Louvre Museum in Paris. This room also features coins, jewelry, and other valuable metallic relics.
After leaving the museum, you can follow a cobbled path leading to the entrance of the nearby archaeological site. Here, you will find the remnants of the Palace with the Holy House, the Temple of the Gods, the theater, the altar, the house of votive offerings, and the cemetery.
These structures are among the most important buildings on the site, providing an insight into the island's rich history.
Where to stay in Samothraki
The island is made of 3 major settlements:
- Chora of Samothraki
Kamariotissa is the largest village and is the epicentre of nightlife, cafe and bar scene of the island. Hotels can be found within the village, but its best to book in advanced as they fill up quickly.
Therma is locatged fifteen kilometers from Kamariotissa, the main port of Samothraki. Abundant in plane trees, chestnuts, arbutus, and myrtles, the area serves as a destination for the water that flows from the springs of Saos through streams and small rivers. The thermal springs are located here, and is a very popular place for holiday makers.
Chora of Samothraki The main town of the island, known as Chora. It is situated inland rather than along the coastline. It was constructed in an amphitheatrical manner upon the remains of a medieval castle built by the Gattiluzzi family.
The village is known for its narrow, cobblestone streets and traditional homes, which are frequently built close together to retain warmth. Since 1978, the entire village has been designated a preserved traditional settlement, and the community has made a point of preserving its traditional architecture.
The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, located in Chora, houses old murals and lovely paintings of saints. A few years ago, a fascinating Folklore Museum was established here, showcasing items that were used in everyday life, traditional clothing, and other objects.