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Die Küste von Kokkari auf Samos, Bild: Nejdet Duzen / shutterstock

Samos – where Pythagoras lived and taught in the Aegean Sea

When the sun sends its first rays over the island, the haze of the early hour hangs over the waters of Samos. Very soon the outlines of the nearby Turkish mainland become recognizable in the east, and there are said to be people on Samos who have heard the crowing of Turkish roosters when the wind blows favorably. Asia is on the doorstep, but the green island on the periphery of Europe has always been part of ancient Greece in the eastern Aegean. Homer, the earliest poet of the West, is an important witness to this thesis, because he named Samos in the 42nd verse of his hymn to Apollo.

Samos – Beaches, wine and blue bays

Beaches in Samos
Samos offers fantastic beaches, Image: Milos Vucicevic / shutterstock

After a long period of seclusion, Samos, like most Greek islands, was kissed awake by international tourism in the last century. With its impressive beaches, a first-class wine, several blue bays and villages, where you think one day the hand of time simply stopped. But Samos is more than just sun and sand, waves and wine. The magic of this island begins where the paved roads end and where they turn into bumpy paths. They are the paths through lovingly tended fruit and vegetable plantations on the slopes of the green mountains.

The famous Pythagorean theorem

In the hinterland, Samos has largely retained its originality. With the whisper of the shady mighty plane trees, the sweet scent of the vines and the spicy breath that wafts over from the atmospheric spruce groves. “The most beautiful thing is harmony,” Pythagoras, the greatest son of the island of Samos, dictated to his students in their textbooks. He was probably inspired by the loveliness of this landscape, which the restless wanderer considered his home throughout his life. He was a philosopher and mathematician and gave generations of students sleepless nights with his famous “Satz”. But Pythagoras solved a fundamental problem of mathematical philosophy with his knowledge of the square of the hypotenuse.

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A monument for eternity

The pretty small town of Pythagorio on the bay of Tigani erected a monument to Pythagoras for eternity with this name. In 1955, the village was renamed. The once tranquil fishing port has changed in recent years and attracts young people among the holidaymakers in particular with its hits blaring from the loudspeakers of the bars. The only evidence of the splendour and decay of an ancient metropolis is the remains of the city wall. Archaeologists have been puzzling over Pythagorio for a long time where the legendary Acropolis once stood. Instead, the Metamorphosis Church not far from the castle hill, which was commissioned by the Greek freedom fighter Lykourgos Logothetis in 1824, is worth seeing.

The ingenious tunnel of Eupalinos

Potami Beach, Samos
Potami beach on Samos, Image: Pawel Kazmierczak / shutterstock

If you associate the Greek islands primarily with your interest in the traces of an important cultural-historical epoch, you should go into the depths of Samos. Above Pythagorio, near the cave church of the monastery of Panagia Spiliani, there is – a little hidden – the entrance to the impressive Eupalinos tunnel. It is an architectural masterpiece of antiquity and comes from an idea of the Eupalinos of Megara, who was praised as a brilliant engineer in his time. He completed this accessible water pipe on behalf of the tyrant Polycrates around 600 BC. In five years of construction, the two-storey plant was driven through the mountain from two sides over more than a thousand metres. The canal diverted the water from the plain of Agiades to Pythagorio, giving the people of the city a good chance of survival in the event of a siege. The tunnel is a tourist highlight on Samos.

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Samos – an Eldorado for hikers

Karlovasi, Samos
Karlovasi on Samos, Image: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock

Incidentally, the 45-kilometre-long and up to 20-kilometre-wide island on the Strait of Mykali is an Eldorado for hikers. For many years, Samos has enjoyed a special appreciation among those holidaymakers who are good on their feet and have sturdy shoes in their luggage. The elevations of Kerketea and Ampelos are the green lungs of the island. However, these regions were not spared from fires in the past, so it was a miracle that the frescoes of the 16th-century Katholikon in the monastery of Megali Panagia survived the conflagration unscathed and are still a destination for holidaymakers.

The romantic “Valley of the Nightingales”

The most beautiful beaches on the island are located on the southwest coast, at the foot of the 1,425-meter-high Kerketeus. At Psili Ammos and Ormos Marathokambos, fine sandy sections lead into a mostly weakly moving sea. Easy to reach from the tourist strongholds are the stony bays between the lively metropolis of Samos Town and Avlakia. The bathing bay below Kokkari is particularly picturesque. The best wine thrives in the mild climate of breezy Platanos with its romantic “Valley of the Nightingales”.