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Samothrace: A Little Known Island Paradise in Greece

Samothrace island
Waterfall at Gria Vathra. Credit: Angelos Konstantinidis/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Samothrace (or Samothraki) is a little-known Greek island in the northern Aegean sea. The island boasts many breathtaking waterfalls and is surrounded by crystal clear waters.

Despite being slightly off the beaten track, Samothrace is a must-visit for nature lovers who want to immerse themselves in paradise!

Geography of Samothrace Island

Samothrace, located in the northern Aegean Sea, is one of the most rugged Greek islands, with its highest peak, Mt. Saos, rising 1,611 meters (5,285 feet) into the sky. The island is a paradise for those interested in alternative forms of tourism because it offers countless activities and possibilities, all against a breathtaking natural background of cliffs, forests and water.

Samothrace is unique for its landscape combining mountainous terrain, fresh springs, and the bluest seas.

The island is full of beaches, archaeological sites, rivers, and streams that make it an idyllic choice for summertime explorations. Visitors often come to Samothrace to hike and camp, making an effort to visit all of the stunning natural wonders on the island.

The rich vegetation and waterfalls of the island add to its beauty, with the most famous waterfalls being Kleidosi (created by the stream Fonias) and Kremasto with its cave. The waterfalls on the island are a big draw, as naturally occurring waterfalls are not particularly common across Greece.

Visitors to Samothrace generally swim in the dozens of freshwater ponds and rivers, or dip their toes into their naturally cool waters. However, for those who prefer the sea, there are multiple beaches across the island.

Samothrace island
Kipos Beach on the east side of the island. Credit: DocWoKav /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Some of the nicest and most well-known beaches include Pachia Ammos, Kipos Beach (which is unique for its beautiful blueish-grey pebbles), and Limnidi. However, many who visit Samothrace may wish to either hike or take a boat to the south of the island to get around the mountain.

The beaches found here are some of the most beautiful on the entire island, with the most well-known of them named Vatos Beach.

Birdwatchers are also drawn to Samothrace and can enjoy their time very profitably in the lagoon of Aghios Andreas.

Things to do on Samothrace

Samothrace island
Fishing boats docked at the port of Kamariotissa in Samothrace. Credit: Adamantios/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The port of Kamariotissa, the most crowded part of the island, is connected to Alexandroupolis via ferries. Kamariotissa has a number of amenities, including supermarkets and banks, as well as a number of restaurants and cafes. Fishing is one of the main industries of the island, and a lovely array of traditional wooden fishing boats can be seen at the port.

Samothrace iera
The remains of the Hieron on Samothrace. Credit: Ggia /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Sanctuary of the Great Gods is the main tourist attraction of the island. It was well known during Ancient Greece due to its being a gathering place for a “mystery religion.” Mystery religions were religious schools which only allowed participation by initiates, keeping the faiths themselves shrouded in mystery.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a marble statue of the goddess Nike which was discovered on the island in 1863. It is in very good condition—despite its decapitation—and can now be found in the Louvre in Paris.

A different winged Nike statue can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Samothrace. There is also a plaster cast of the Winged Victory in the museum. A visit to the museum is a great way to supplement an otherwise very outdoorsy vacation with a dive into history and culture.

Samothrace island
The Gria Vathra thermal spring on Samothrace. Credit: Kamikaze1975/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The village of Therma is another hub of the island. The area hosts many hotels and shops, as well as acting as an alternative nightlife spot. Therma is near many of the campsites that youthful island visitors stay in, so the bars there are generally humming.

Thermal springs in the appropriately-named village of Therma also attract hundreds of visitors as an alternative to the cool waters of the many ponds on the island.

The island is also popular with young people for hosting psychedelic trance festivals and is frequented by counterculture visitors from Northern Greece.

For many reasons, Samothrace is one of Greece’s best-kept secrets and deserves to be seen by people from around the world for its beautiful scenery and rich culture and history.

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