Samothrace, the island of the Thracian Sea with the enigmatic, almost mystical, atmosphere is waiting to be discovered. Its rare natural beauty alternates between dense centuries-old plane trees, ferns and herbs, and wild, rocky landscapes. At its centre, Mount Saos overlooks all activity on and around the island with an altitude that exceeds 1600 metres.


Rocky, steep slopes, rough trails, scattered natural pools, gurgling waters, wild vegetation, and otherworldly beaches, make up the ideal setting for those who love adventure and alternative holidays, far from crowded beaches and luxury hotels.

If you visit Samothrace, prepare to explore its secrets and indulge in its mysterious energy, which is associated with ancient legends and gods. The Mysteries of the Cabeiri, universal and all-inclusive, where everyone was accepted no matter their gender, class, nationality, or religion, with the fundamental purpose of the moral advancement of people, took place here and their aura seems to still linger on the island.

However, Samothrace is not associated only with ancient mysteries, but also with the Orthodox Church, as it is the first place in Europe that Paul the Apostle visited in 49 A.D. on his way to Macedonia.
Hora, the island’s capital, amphitheatrically built on the south-eastern slopes of Saos, is a listed settlement. Wander through the narrow streets, climb stairs that lead to squares that overlook the sea, and indulge in the island’s unpretentious beauty.

The famous wild goats that graze freely on the island and drink water from the sea –the secret that makes their meat so delicious– are the base of the local culinary tradition. In addition, Samothrace is the home of the oldest traditional bakery, which has been in operation since 1853 and is also a listed monument.

How to get to Samothrace

You can reach Samothrace by boat from Alexandroupolis or Lemnos. There are hotels and rooms to let on the island, as well as organised camping sites. For food, there are taverns and fish taverns.

Where to stay

Hotel Aeolos: The hotel is built on a hill, 20 metres from the beach of Kamariotissa, while the port of Samothrace is a ten-minute walk away. (Kamariotissa,, tel.: 0030 2551 041595)

Samothraki Village Hotel: Samothraki Village Hotel, located in Paleopolis, overlooks the sea. It offers breakfast with local organic products and a traditional menu. The hotel has a pool bar and snack bar with views of the Thracian Sea (Paleopolis,, tel.: 0030 2551 042300).

Niki Beach Hotel: Niki Beach Hotel is located in Kamariotissa, 500 meters from the port of Samothrace, right in front of the beach. (Kamariotissa,, tel.: 0030 2551 041545)

Camping: If you prefer alternative tourism and the sense of freedom offered by contact with nature, you can choose to camp.
Natural Living Camping (tel.: 0030 2551 098244)
Varades Camping (3rd km. of the provincial road of Therma, Ano Meria, tel.: 0030 2551 098424)

Where to swim

Samothrace has few beaches, each with its own unique features. However, there are no sandy beaches with shallow waters on the island, but beaches that are famous for their untamed beauty. The island’s natural pools are even more famous, and visitors prefer them for their uniqueness, natural beauty, and cold waters.

Pahia Ammos: The most popular and busiest beach on the island. It is easily accessible by car, about 15 kilometres distance from Kamariotissa, the port of Samothrace. It is a large, sandy beach with clear waters, ideal for families with young children. There is a beach bar, a restaurant, and sunbeds something rare in Samothrace.

Kipi: This is the most remote beach of Samothrace, at the south-eastern end of the island, with wild beauty, created by volcanic activity. It’s covered in stone and gravel, resembling a lunar landscape, in perfect harmony with the sea and the towering cliffs. The perfect spot to admire the idyllic sunset.

Vatos: It is located east of Pahia Ammos, with white sand and rocks rising from the water. The easiest way to get to the beach is by boat. This is where the waters of the waterfall of Kremasto end and where you’ll find the “Tis Grias ta pania” rocks. If you have experience in hiking, you can reach the beach by crossing the Vatos gorge, with the rough terrain, one of the most difficult routes on Mount Saos, so, be careful.

Pirgos tou Fonia: This is one of the most famous beaches of Samothrace. According to legend, a horrifying murder was once committed in the tower on the beach that was named after this event. Grey pebbles and bright blue waters. The torrent with the same name, Fonias, ends here.

Therma Loutra: A settlement with thermal waters whose therapeutic properties are known since the Byzantine era and are perfect for rheumatoid arthritis, chronic rheumatism, gynaecological conditions, vascular diseases, skin conditions, etc. If you want to immerse yourself in warm, beneficial waters, you can visit the facilities of the Municipal Hydrotherapy Centre with its sulphur springs, which has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as individual baths.

The homonymous beach is covered in small pebbles and has a beach bar, sunbeds, umbrellas, and a canteen for the essentials. You can easily reach the beach by car from the port of the island. In the village, you’ll find mini markets, cafés, restaurants, and bars, as well as two organized camping sites.

Swimming in natural pools with icy waters

The waters of the streams that run down from the mountain form waterfalls that go into small pools, which the locals call “vathres”. There are about 100 all over the island. However, not all of them are easily accessible and to reach them, you need to be very careful and physically fit. The best-known ones are those of Gria and Fonia, near the village Therma. However, the vathres get crowded, probably more so than the island’s beaches, as they are the main attraction of Samothrace and many even dip naked into their icy waters, surrounded by nature reminiscent of a rainforest.

Gria Vathra: The most famous and easy to access is Gria Vathra. You approach it from the village of Therma, following the path among the ferns and under the plane trees. You’ll encounter three pools, one after the other, with the first two being easily accessible. The passage from the third to the fourth is difficult, passing next to a waterfall and you’ll need to be careful and experienced to get through. It’s estimated that the Gria Vathra complex has a total of 62 vathres, varying in size, but all equally beautiful.

Vathra tou Fonia: After the village of Therma, there are signs for the gorge of Fonias, one of the most idyllic spots on the island. After 30 minutes of easy walking, you’ll find the first waterfall and the big vathra. The route to the next one however, is very difficult and it is advisable to attempt going there with a guide.

What to do

Samothrace is famous for its mountain tourism, that is outdoor mountain activities, on Saos that dominates the island and attracts those who prefer alternative forms of tourism. If you like such sports, then Samothrace is the destination for you. Mount Saos is the highest mountain in the Aegean and its peak called Fegari (Moon) is located at an altitude of 1.611 metres, waiting for you to discover its beauties and meet its challenges.

Climbing Saos: Climbing the mountain requires experience and stamina as it is not easy. The distance is about 8 kilometres, often uphill and steep, and you will reach the summit in about 6 hours. The slopes located in the north of the mountain are covered with oak trees, and verdant streams that flow into dozens of vathres. The peaks, by contrast, rise bare and steep. If you lack equipment and experience, trust professional guides and instructors.

Canyoning down Waterfalls: There are more than 10 canyoning routes in Samothrace, combining hiking, swimming, and rappelling down waterfalls and natural slides.

Diving: The underwater landscape of Samothrace is constantly changing. Sharp cliffs, underwater caves, imposing rocks and reefs await diving enthusiasts.

You can also try fishing, mountain biking, paragliding, rock climbing, rappelling, and hiking. Before any activity of this kind, you should always consult official sources (National Meteorological Service, Coast Guard, Tourist Police) for the weather conditions, and if you have no previous experience, it is advisable to trust the experts. (,,,

Cruises: If you like boat trips, you can go on a day cruise around the island. On these excursions, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Kremasto Nero in the south of Samothrace, the impressive 180-metre waterfall which spills into the sea. In addition, you’ll admire the strange geomorphology of the coast’s rocks, which the locals call Tis Grias ta Pania and you’ll swim at the enchanting beaches of Vatos and Giali, which can only be accessed from the sea (,

Archaeological site: Visit the archaeological site of Paleopolis where ruins of important buildings can be found. Architectural representations of the buildings are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum, while there’s also a replica of the world-famous statue of the Nike of Samothrace outside the museum. In addition, you can see the medieval Gateluzzi towers, which form part of the fortification network built by the Genoese Gateluzzi family during the late Byzantine period. Three buildings survive, one of which bears an inscription with the family coat of arms.

Religious monuments: As mentioned above, Samothrace is the first European territory visited by Paul the Apostle in 49 A.D. on his way to Macedonia. You can visit the monument, called “Stasidi”, that is located in the island’s north. In the simple semi-circular building made of wood and stone, you can admire four large mosaics depicting the passage of Paul the Apostle in Samothrace. In addition, you can visit the island’s churches and chapels, such as the chapel of Panagia Krimniotissa, which seems to hover on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the northern Aegean Sea and Imbros island, or the Christou monastery, which dates to the 14th century and is one of the most important Christian monuments of Samothrace.

Folklore Museum: A visit to the Folklore Museum of Samothrace will show you the traditional way of life of the locals. It is housed in an old 19th century mansion, and its exhibits include traditional objects of daily use, such as agricultural tools, tools for processing thread and looms. You can also see a detailed reproduction of a traditional house with complete furnishings and decoration, rich photographic material, and local costumes.

Culinary identity

Goat is the specialty of Samothrace, since the herds of wild goats graze freely and drink water from the sea something that makes their meat more delicious, but the island’s cuisine is not limited to it.

Try spoon sweets such as the praousto or praousti, made from a yellowish-green fruit that is a type of plum. Another local sweet is haslamas, which is made in a pan and tastes like a melomakarono (traditional Christmas cookie with walnuts and syrup).

Samothrace is also famous for its distinctive honey, which is produced in small quantities and has a bittersweet taste.

Where to eat

Vrahos: It is located in the settlement of Profitis Ilias, overlooking the Aegean Sea. You’ll find skewered local wild goat. The menu also includes a special skewered pluck. All the side dishes and salads are made with local products, and they also serve Fonias beer named after the famous gorge. (Profitis Ilias, tel.: 0030 2551 095264).

Karidies: The traditional tavern Karidies is located at the eastern end of the island, in the sparsely populated Ano Meria. The menu includes many goat variations, shank with potatoes, sauteed bean soup, pasta with goat and hot rustic bread that has just come out of the wood-burning oven.
Stoa: If you like street food, at Stoa grill house, located in Therma, you can try goat meat sandwiches. (Therma, tel.: 0030 2551 098358).

I Gefira tou Fonia: The tavern I Gefira tou Fonia is located at the beginning of the Fonias gorge. The menu includes omelettes, casserole dishes such as beef with aubergine, orzo, gemista (rice-stuffed vegetables), meat stew with tomato sauce, moussaka, pastitsio etc. (Fonias, tel.: 0030 697 235 6389)

Argo: The Argo fish tavern in Vasilikos, serves fresh fish and seafood from the Thracian Sea, such as sea bass, red porgy, octopus, lobster, etc. They serve local white wine, ouzo or tsipouro (traditional pomace raki). (Kato Kariotes-Vasilikos, tel.:0030 2551 042139)

Ouzeri Kesmes: Traditional ouzeri (ouzo tavern), whose balcony overlooks the picturesque Hora. It serves the local dish “mandi” which consists of roasted minced pork and filo dough with rice filling, pancakes with courgette blossoms and pumpkin pie. (Hora, tel.: 2551 041229)

Traditional bakery: It’s the oldest traditional bakery in Greece, dating back to 1853. In 1998 it was declared a listed monument by the Greek Ministry of Culture, thus preserving the island’s cultural heritage. They make everything in house and bake them in the wood-burning oven. Among other things, they bakes local rusks and seven-dough bread. (Hora, tel.: 0030 2551 041433).

Read also:

Otherworldly beauty of Samothrace: Swimming at the vathres, or plunge pools, fairytale-like settings, sense of freedom

Samothrace: Swimming in Greece’s most magical natural pools

Varvara waterfalls: Miracle of nature in Halkidiki