Travel Guide to Samothrace, Greece

In my travels, the Northern Aegean’s hidden gem, Samothrace (also known as Samothraki), has captivated me on more than one occasion. With the world as it is, the yearning for escapades grows, yet so does the need for safety. It seems a week spent unraveling the secrets of the lesser-known Samothrace is an ideal getaway for these times.

Discovering Samothrace

Nestled closer to the Turkish coast than to mainland Greece, Samothrace is a quaint island haven. Home to fewer than 3,000 souls, it promises both the solitude necessary for mindful distancing and an abundance of adventures for the active traveler amid its rugged terrains.

The Island’s Moniker, Samothraki or Samothrace

The name ‘Samothraki’ or ‘Samothrace’ likely derives from an ancient word meaning ‘High Thrace’ due to its lofty peaks, the tallest of which soars over 1600 meters above the sea. In antiquity, the island was also known as ‘The Sacred Island’ for housing the venerable Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Today, the remnants of this sanctuary still stand, inviting visitors to step back into a mystical past.

Journeying to Samothraki – Ferry Information

Reaching Samothraki can be a bit of an endeavor. The singular ferry route to the island embarks from Alexandroupoli, nestled in Greece’s eastern stretch near the Turkish frontier. You can approach Alexandroupoli via a 3-hour highway drive from Thessaloniki, or opt for a short flight from Athens directly into the local Alexandroupoli Airport.

The sea voyage to Samothraki aboard the ferry lasts under two hours, culminating at the port of Kamariotissa. Bear in mind, there’s only one ferry per day, so it’s wise to arrange your itinerary with care. You can check the daily ferry schedules and secure your tickets online.

If the ferry sets sail in the morning, consider an overnight stay in Alexandroupoli at a cozy spot like the 31 Doors Hotel.

Docked Fishing Vessels at Samothraki’s Marina The Harbor at Kamariotissa, Samothraki

Top Experiences in Samothraki

While there’s a plethora to uncover on Samothraki, I’ve handpicked seven experiences that stand out, yet the island has many more treasures waiting for you.

  1. Indulge in a Greek Morning Meal Embark on your day with a truly Greek morning feast. My top picks at the breakfast table include the savory Feta cheese pie, the sweet Bougatsa filled with vanilla cream, and the hearty Spanakopita, stuffed with spinach and cheese.

Be sure to visit the quaint bakery just a stone’s throw from the church in Kamariotissa. You’ll find an assortment of freshly baked goods, offering both sweet and savory treats that pair perfectly with a morning cup of coffee. Additionally, there are several spots along the waterfront that offer omelets and sandwiches if you’re looking for more breakfast options.

The Whitewashed Church in Kamariotissa Framed by the rustic red rooftops and the delicate pink blooms of oleander, the church in Kamariotissa is a picturesque sight to behold.

  1. The Village of Chora For those without personal transport, there’s the option to hire a car or a scooter in Kamariotissa; this offers a freedom that the island’s limited public transport can’t match.

The capital of Samothraki, Chora, lies inland just a few kilometers. Nestled at the base of Mount Saos, this traditional village offers a splendid vantage point over the Aegean.

The medieval castle’s remnants beckon history enthusiasts, and the local folklore museum is a trove of cultural treasures. Wander and capture the essence of Chora’s most picturesque homes for your social media feeds. Be sure to stop by the artisans’ shops sprinkled throughout the village.

Chora, nestled at Mount Saos’ base Traditional white dwellings line the quaint streets of Chora, a village that is the starting point for treks to Feggari, also known as Moon Peak, the highest point of Mount Saos.

  1. Culinary Delights Samothraki’s culinary gem is its slow-roasted goat, a dish that echoes the island’s pastoral lifestyle. Considering the goat population outnumbers humans significantly, it’s a must-try delicacy.

Seek out O Vrachos Tavern in Profitis Ilias for the best rendition of this dish. Here, the succulent meat is shared family-style, complementing the other Greek dishes on offer.

A roast to remember Experience the traditional way of roasting goat over a charcoal fire.

Top off your meal with a complimentary dessert, often Greek yogurt with sweetened fruits, a customary gesture to conclude a hearty feast.

  1. Historical Ruins Northbound from Kamariotissa, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Paleopoli awaits. Once a vital religious site, it held secretive initiation ceremonies.

The famed Nike of Samothraki statue was discovered here; although now in the Louvre, it left an indelible mark on history, even inspiring the iconic Rolls Royce emblem.

Admission to the sanctuary is available every day but Monday from 8:30 to 15:30, with a ticket price of 6€.

Sanctuary of the Great Gods ruins Explore the historical ruins where ancient spiritual rites once unfolded.

  1. Secluded Beaches Samothraki’s shores may not claim widespread fame, but they offer serene retreats from the bustle of popular destinations.

Pachia Ammos Beach – a hidden gem Enjoy the tranquility of vast stretches of sand without the crowds.

The island’s rugged terrain means some beaches are only reachable by boat, adding to the adventure of discovery.

  1. Therma’s Natural Baths Fifteen kilometers north of the port, Therma is renowned for its thermal springs, though their sulfuric aroma is not for everyone.

  2. Fonias River’s Natural Beauty The island’s north side features springs cascading down, creating waterfalls and chilly natural pools. Trails from here lead up the mountain, but take a guide and wear sturdy boots for safety.

Fonias, ‘The Killer’ Spring Behold the serene beauty of a waterfall on the northern side of Samothraki, named for its potential to flood.

Bonus: Fonias Beer When in Samothraki, indulge in the locally brewed Fonias pale ale, a craft beer exclusive to the island due to its limited production.

In my travels, the Northern Aegean’s hidden gem, Samothrace (also known as Samothraki), has captivated me on more than one occasion. With the world as it is, the yearning for escapades grows, yet so does the need for safety. It seems a week spent unraveling the secrets of the lesser-known Samothrace is an ideal getaway for these times.

Discovering Samothrace

Nestled closer to the Turkish coast than to mainland Greece, Samothrace is a quaint island haven. Home to fewer than 3,000 souls, it promises both the solitude necessary for mindful distancing and an abundance of adventures for the active traveler amid its rugged terrains.

The Island’s Moniker, Samothraki or Samothrace

The name ‘Samothraki’ or ‘Samothrace’ likely derives from an ancient word meaning ‘High Thrace’ due to its lofty peaks, the tallest of which soars over 1600 meters above the sea. In antiquity, the island was also known as ‘The Sacred Island’ for housing the venerable Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Today, the remnants of this sanctuary still stand, inviting visitors to step back into a mystical past.

Journeying to Samothraki – Ferry Information

Reaching Samothraki can be a bit of an endeavor. The singular ferry route to the island embarks from Alexandroupoli, nestled in Greece’s eastern stretch near the Turkish frontier. You can approach Alexandroupoli via a 3-hour highway drive from Thessaloniki, or opt for a short flight from Athens directly into the local Alexandroupoli Airport.

The sea voyage to Samothraki aboard the ferry lasts under two hours, culminating at the port of Kamariotissa. Bear in mind, there’s only one ferry per day, so it’s wise to arrange your itinerary with care. You can check the daily ferry schedules and secure your tickets online.

If the ferry sets sail in the morning, consider an overnight stay in Alexandroupoli at a cozy spot like the 31 Doors Hotel.

Docked Fishing Vessels at Samothraki’s Marina The Harbor at Kamariotissa, Samothraki

Top Experiences in Samothraki

While there’s a plethora to uncover on Samothraki, I’ve handpicked seven experiences that stand out, yet the island has many more treasures waiting for you.

  1. Indulge in a Greek Morning Meal Embark on your day with a truly Greek morning feast. My top picks at the breakfast table include the savory Feta cheese pie, the sweet Bougatsa filled with vanilla cream, and the hearty Spanakopita, stuffed with spinach and cheese.

Be sure to visit the quaint bakery just a stone’s throw from the church in Kamariotissa. You’ll find an assortment of freshly baked goods, offering both sweet and savory treats that pair perfectly with a morning cup of coffee. Additionally, there are several spots along the waterfront that offer omelets and sandwiches if you’re looking for more breakfast options.

The Whitewashed Church in Kamariotissa Framed by the rustic red rooftops and the delicate pink blooms of oleander, the church in Kamariotissa is a picturesque sight to behold.

  1. The Village of Chora For those without personal transport, there’s the option to hire a car or a scooter in Kamariotissa; this offers a freedom that the island’s limited public transport can’t match.

The capital of Samothraki, Chora, lies inland just a few kilometers. Nestled at the base of Mount Saos, this traditional village offers a splendid vantage point over the Aegean.

The medieval castle’s remnants beckon history enthusiasts, and the local folklore museum is a trove of cultural treasures. Wander and capture the essence of Chora’s most picturesque homes for your social media feeds. Be sure to stop by the artisans’ shops sprinkled throughout the village.

Chora, nestled at Mount Saos’ base Traditional white dwellings line the quaint streets of Chora, a village that is the starting point for treks to Feggari, also known as Moon Peak, the highest point of Mount Saos.

  1. Culinary Delights Samothraki’s culinary gem is its slow-roasted goat, a dish that echoes the island’s pastoral lifestyle. Considering the goat population outnumbers humans significantly, it’s a must-try delicacy.

Seek out O Vrachos Tavern in Profitis Ilias for the best rendition of this dish. Here, the succulent meat is shared family-style, complementing the other Greek dishes on offer.

A roast to remember Experience the traditional way of roasting goat over a charcoal fire.

Top off your meal with a complimentary dessert, often Greek yogurt with sweetened fruits, a customary gesture to conclude a hearty feast.

  1. Historical Ruins Northbound from Kamariotissa, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Paleopoli awaits. Once a vital religious site, it held secretive initiation ceremonies.

The famed Nike of Samothraki statue was discovered here; although now in the Louvre, it left an indelible mark on history, even inspiring the iconic Rolls Royce emblem.

Admission to the sanctuary is available every day but Monday from 8:30 to 15:30, with a ticket price of 6€.

Sanctuary of the Great Gods ruins Explore the historical ruins where ancient spiritual rites once unfolded.

  1. Secluded Beaches Samothraki’s shores may not claim widespread fame, but they offer serene retreats from the bustle of popular destinations.

Pachia Ammos Beach – a hidden gem Enjoy the tranquility of vast stretches of sand without the crowds.

The island’s rugged terrain means some beaches are only reachable by boat, adding to the adventure of discovery.

  1. Therma’s Natural Baths Fifteen kilometers north of the port, Therma is renowned for its thermal springs, though their sulfuric aroma is not for everyone.

  2. Fonias River’s Natural Beauty The island’s north side features springs cascading down, creating waterfalls and chilly natural pools. Trails from here lead up the mountain, but take a guide and wear sturdy boots for safety.

Fonias, ‘The Killer’ Spring Behold the serene beauty of a waterfall on the northern side of Samothraki, named for its potential to flood.

Bonus: Fonias Beer When in Samothraki, indulge in the locally brewed Fonias pale ale, a craft beer exclusive to the island due to its limited production.

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