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Wasserfälle in Samothraki, Bild: catalin eremia / shutterstock

Samothrace – island with granite rocks

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Samothrace is a tiny Greek island with beautiful landscapes, stunning sandy beaches, and little tourism. Everyone knows Santorini, Rhodes and Corfu , but Samothrace is one of the few islands that is not yet overpopulated when the summer season approaches. It is located in the North Aegean Sea and has numerous natural pools surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Primeval forests are on the island, every now and then you can see a waterfall and of course there are bright and untouched sandy beaches lined with palm trees.

In the interior of the island, high and green mountains stretch out, exuding a mystical atmosphere. Not even 3000 inhabitants live on the island in the middle of the sea and yet the island is famous for the discovery of an ancient sculpture of the Nike of Samothrace. The island is particularly popular with young people who value sustainable holidays and spend the most beautiful days of the year far away from mass tourism.

There are many interesting places on the island. Kamariotissa is a port city where ferries arrive from the mainland, there is no airport here. Kamariotissa is located on the west side of the island and is surrounded by pastures. The highest mountain on the island is the Moon Mountain at 1611 meters, which is called Fengari in Greek and can be climbed from Therma. The entire route takes about 6 hours. The mountain is made of granite and invites you to hike. According to a legend, Poseidon is said to have watched the Battle of Troy from this mountain. In the city, numerous restaurants meander together, there are banks, a post office, supermarkets, a bakery and pastry shop, as well as pharmacies and greengrocers. The beautiful harbour with its numerous yachts is a destination for many visitors. Mopeds, cars and bicycles can also be rented here, with which the island is made unsafe. A mountain bike is the best choice, because it allows you to drift through the mountains.

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Chora – capital of Samothrace

Chora, Samothrace
On the road in Chora, Image: Georgios Tsichlis / shutterstock

The capital of the island is Chora, which is located only 5 kilometers east of Karmiotissa. The city can hardly be seen from the sea, but it hides many beautiful corners. Back when the city was built, there were numerous pirate attacks from the sea. So Chora was built behind a hill and not visible from the sea. The sea, however, lies in all its glory in front of the visitors who are in the city. Chora is characterized by its narrow and winding streets, but also by the Genoese fortress, which was once Byzantine. Arguably the most beautiful village on the island, it has numerous tavernas that are located in the streets around the central square.

If you want to go to Samothrace for a cure, you can find many hot springs and a sulphur bath in the village of Therma. There is a romantic outdoor pool, which is particularly popular at night and when the sky is clear. A sulphur bath with sea views is also available and graces the place. Only 300 meters from the bathhouse is a large pool that invites you to relax. Also near the house is a geyser. From the village of Therma start numerous hiking routes into the mountains, also by mountain bike you can explore the mountains, which rise directly behind the village, which can boast some shops, accommodations and restaurants. On the whole, however, it is very quiet and tranquil in Therma. There are two campsites on the outskirts of the village and a small harbour with transparent water. From here you can take boat tours around the island. Therma’s thermal history dates back to Roman times.

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Island of Goats

Beach in Samothrace
Beach on Samothrace, Image: Bosko Markovic / shutterstock

Many free-range goats live on the island, up to 75,000 at peak times. This is due to the fact that many goats are kept semi-wild and they reproduce. However, this is a problem, because goats eat all vegetation on the island. So that it is barren and hardly anything grows. The granite rocks inside are not overgrown. On the north side there are large forests, but they alternate with dense bushes. From the highest mountain on the island you have a beautiful view of Turkey. Along the southeast coast, 800-meter-high mountains rise into the air. This part of the island is not developed, but is used by mountaineers. The north of Samothrace is covered with downy oak forests.

A particularly popular beach is called Vatos Beach and is equipped with numerous grottos and caves. The pebble beach is largely natural and behind it there are rocks. You must bring your own umbrella and towels to protect yourself from the sun. Katarti Beach is also a natural phenomenon. Rugged cliffs line the pebble beach, azure blue and clean water invites you to swim. A little further inland is the Fonias waterfall. This is easy to reach, even with children a hike here can be a lot of fun. The way to the waterfall is 3.4 kilometers long. Through the valley you always walk along the river until you reach it. In summer, you can treat yourself to a cool dip here before continuing inland. The duration of the route is about 1 hour.