Mountain boots and flip flops: The northern end of the Greek island of Samos in particular delights hikers with its wild nature, peaceful trails, authentic villages. And after a day on your feet, you can enjoy a dip in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Mountaineers are sure to get their money's worth here, as do hobby hikers and walkers.
Beautiful View From the Kerkis
From the top at 1434 metres, Samos reveals a whole new side: Barren stone, gravel and boulders characterise the peak of the Kerkis, the highest mountain on the otherwise lush island. On some days, clouds obscure the view the of lower-lying slopes with vines, olive groves, chestnuts, oaks, pines, and cypresses. In good weather, however, you can see the entire land mass from here in the west, resting in the deep blue sea, and the nearby Turkish coast in the east. If you want to see it for yourself, you need to be in good shape, surefooted, not afraid of heights and have alpine experience.
Tours for Every Taste
The six-hour trail begins in the northwest, in the mountain village of Kosmadei, leads past a cave monastery through the forest and then steeply up (and down again!) between scrubby bushes and over bare rock, where stone dwarves point the way rather than signposts. But not only experienced hikers will find routes with a view on Samos, the island also has a lot to offer for less experienced hikers and walkers. Secluded paths wind past little chapels and into mountain villages such as Manolátes and Vourliotes with their narrow streets and authentic tavernas.
Fortified to Reach New Summits
Here you take a seat on typical blue- or white-painted wooden chairs with woven straw seats and enjoy – just like the locals – thick mocha and ouzo after the meal. The nearby village of Ambelos is not only famous for this, however. It takes its name from the mountain range that, along with the Kerkis, characterises the island and is also called the ‘Balcony of the Balkans’. The view down to the north coast and all the way to Turkey is nothing short of fantastic. From the coastal village of Agios Konstandinos, hikers only need about an hour for the ascent to Ambelos, at around 300 metres.
Romance on Every Corner
Those who undertake another steep climb on the trail through wild and romantic terrain are rewarded with two waterfalls along the way. Via the village of Stavrinides, a circular path of about nine kilometres leads back to the starting point. Plan enough time for it: Especially on the descent, you'll pass by impressive viewpoints; to the west, you can make out the coastal town of Karlovasi, a good ten kilometres away. Or would you rather it be a walk? An easy path above the port of Karlovasi leads up long, stone-paved steps through lush hills into the mountains to Agía Triada, the Church of the Holy Trinity.
A Finale with Fish
Their azure blue domes reflect the colour of the sea, which glistens below in the sun. There is also a pleasant trail in the southwest, which, like the rest of the south of the island, is known for its beaches. In fact, this route also starts from above the beach of Limnionas: Past the popular restaurant Epiouzion, it follows the coastline for around three kilometres until you reach the ‘End of the World’ taverna in Marathókampos, whose surroundings also look a little lost. Dishes made from fresh fish give you the energy you need to get back to so-called civilisation.
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