Home Destination Guides Accommodation 24th April 2019





General
Greece 

 
SAMOTHRACE
( pronounced Samothraki )
  
      
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GENERAL
  
         Samothrace is a small, remote island which is difficult to get to, so it is definitely a ‘do-it-yourself’ island.  However, whilst there are hardly any British visitors to the island, Samothrace does have visitors from other EU countries, predominantly Germany and Scandinavia.
  
        The island is mountainous, with a central peak at Mount Fengari, or Moon Mountain, rising to a height of over 1,600 metres.  Approaching Kamariotissa, the main port on Samothrace, it is obvious that the islanders are keeping up with modern trends because one of the first sights to greet visitors is the group of wind turbines used to provide electricity. These are situated to the west of the port.  At first sight the island may appear quite barren but in reality this island is clothed with woods and is totally unspoilt.
  
  
THE ISLAND PORT OF KAMARIOTISSA
        
     The port of Kamariotissa is where most of the island’s accommodation can be found and offers visitors all the essential amenities.  In the small port colourful local fishing caiques bob up and down alongside the ferry and hydrofoil berths.  In high season some of the caiques also offer an erratic service round the coast to a couple of the island’s lovely, but isolated, beaches, at Pachia Ammos and Kipos Beach.  Kamariotissa has a bank, chemist, an assortment of shops including a bakery, supermarket and grocers as well as a selection of cafe bars, tavernas, restaurants and a disco.  Mopeds and scooters are available to rent and a bus stop is located opposite the port.
  
  
SAMOTHRACE TOWN (Chora)
   
       Unusually, the capital of the island is not located at the port but on the hillside, just a few kilometres outside Kamariotissa, at Samothrace town or Chora as it is also called.  Access to Chora is easy as there is a regular bus service between the port and the capital town.  Chora is a charming town, characteristically Greek with white washed houses and local ‘kafeneions’, not a tourist shop in sight and is set beneath the remains of an attractive Castle.
       
     To the south of Chora, also on a main bus route from Kamariotissa, is another picturesque village at Profitis Ilias, set in the foothills of Moon Mountain. 
  
   
PALEOPOLIS - SANCTUARY OF THE GREAT GODS            
    
     One of the main reasons for visiting Samothrace is the chance to see the impressive archaeological site of the 'Sanctuary of the Great Gods' located at Paleopolis, approximately 5 kilometres to the west of Kamariotissa on the north coast of the island.
  
      During ancient times Samothrace was one of the foremost islands for spiritual pilgrims who came to pay homage at the 'Sanctuary of the Great Gods' and it is reputed that the parents of Alexander the Great met and fell in love at the Sanctuary.  The site was originally built in honour of Mother Earth and Kadmilos, the God of Fertility, but these were later replaced by the Gods Demeter and Hermes.
  
      The Sanctuary is set in a wonderfully scenic ravine, surrounded by trees and reached by a footpath leading off from the main coastal road.  The ravine has several streams running through it, which dry out in high season. The most notable ruins are situated in the central area of the ravine. 
    
      Initiation into the Sanctuary’s secrets took place during the night with ceremonies conducted by torch light, the details of which are still rather sketchy.  The Sanctuary held on to its secret rituals until the spread of Christianity when the rituals were eventually abandoned. However, the awesome ruins of the site remain to this day.  The buildings used for the initiation ceremony started with the Anaktron or Hall of the Lords, which dates from the 6th Century BC.  The ritual then
       
moved to one of the most important ruins on the site, the Hieron Temple, supported by columns and lined with spectators’ seats. The site also boasts the remains of a Byzantine fort, a circular building called the Arsinoeion (built circa 280BC), where public sacrifices were held, an Altar Court and the foundations of the ancient Paleopolis’s town gate, the Prpylon of Ptolemy II.
  
     To the west of the main site lies the Niche of Nike where the famous sculpture of the winged angel of Victory (Nike), standing on the prow of a ship (shades of Kate Winslet) was found.  The original sculpture, the Winged Nike of Samothrace, beautifully hewn from pure Parian marble can be seen today in the Louvre, Paris.  Close to the entrance to the site there is a fascinating Museum housing many artefacts from the site, but the most notable sculptures are now held in French and Austrian museums.
   
     
THERMA - and the hike to MOON MOUNTAIN            
     
     The other main draw for Samothrace is also on the northern coast, to the west of Paleopolis at the small spa resort of Therma, (or Loutro as it is also known).  From Therma there are some good walks for hikers, and from here it is possible to trek to Moon Mountain, through lovely scenery and with wonderful views.  According to legend, Poseidon sat on Moon Mountain to watch the Trojan War, and this is allegedly borne out by reports that when hikers reach the top of the mountain, the ground is still warm under their feet!  If anybody reading this site makes it to the top, drop us an e-mail and let us know!
      
 
SAMOTHRACE ISLAND CONNECTIONS
 
The most direct route into the area is to the regional airport just outside Kavala.  During the summer months, usually May to October, there are charter flights direct from the UK to Kavala airport.  From the airport you have a choice of driving (by taxi or car hire) either to Kavala town harbour or Alexandroupolis for the ferry to Samothrace.  From Alexandroupolis there are several sailings on a daily basis either by hydrofoil or ferry boat to Kamariotissa.  Kavala does not have a daily ferry service to Kamariotissa, but operates one most days of the week in high season.  Samothrace could be combined as a two centre holiday with the island of Thassos, or incorporating Kavala as well.  As yet there are no British tour operators offering package holidays to Samothrace.
    
     Olympic Airways offer domestic flights to both Kavala airport and Alexandroupolis via Athens, all year round.  The domestic flight time to both towns from Athens is approximately 30-40 mins.
  
       The existence and scheduling of all ferry services should be checked locally.  
    
    
The foregoing information was last reviewed in January 2007. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have updates or information that you think should be included here, please mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.
 
    
    
        
  

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