Karlovassi is the second largest town on the island with about
5,500 inhabitants. An unusually planned town, it is divided into
five sections: Old, New and Middle Karlovassi, the Bay and the
Harbour. Karlovassi was the birthplace of Lycourgos Logothetis, the local leader of the Greek forces in the revolt against the Turks.
A stroll around the town will provide ample evidence of past
glories, with mansions, large and impressive churches, and deserted
tanneries. Tanning flourished there many years ago, bringing wealth to the people. At the same time, however, the town did not ignore the arts, as there was plenty of pottery. The island's first newspaper was
10 km. from Vathy lies the picturesque village of Kokari. It is located in an area with an abundance of pine and olive trees and vineyards. The name of the village is derived from the large quantities of onions which its fields once produced.
It is probably the outstanding scenery and the good beaches
for water sports which attract a large proportion of the visitors to Samos to Kokari.
This charming small village, which stands on the slopes of
Mt. Kerkis, reminds one of a balcony overlooking the south coast of the island. Its small galleries and dusty roofs, as well as its
narrow streets and lanes, bring to mind the Cyclades. The vast, sandy
beach, with its clear and shallow waters, is a great tourist attraction,
especially during the summer.
The inhabitants, which number 2,500, are mainly farmers and sailors. The village produces olive oil and excellent soap, and it
was the birthplace of Captain Stamatis, hero of the Kavos Fonias
The attractive mountain village of Mavratzei stands on a steep slope among pine and olive trees. The village has a long tradition of pottery- making, and water-jugs, mugs and bowls are among the items offered for sale by local craftsmen. Some of the goods they sell are of peculiar nature, such as the so-called "maskara-bardak", which is a water container with a series of holes on top. When water is put inside and one wishes to drink, some of the holes must be stopped with the fingers, otherwise water will pour out on all sides. This will also happen if the wrong holes are closed. Another interesting design, the"dikia koupa", has holes in the bottom. Unfortunately, the secrets of making these vessels are now known to only a few, and it is regarded as a dying trade.
Among the sights of the village is Tripovrachos, a huge rock with holes that stands to the north-west of the village. It is quite a
sight in winter, when ice forms pillars and stalactites.
The verdant village of Mitilinii is one of the largest on the island and stands on a valley with beautiful houses, churches and chapels, 12 km southwest of Samos, with a population of about 2,500. People from Mytilene settled here in 1700, after the earthquake in their homeland, giving the settlement its present name.
The area is of great paleontological interest. Excavations
revealed the remains of animals that lived 8-10 million years ago,
many of which are seen today in other museums.
Mitilinii today is a pleasant village with shady dens and numerous streams. The area still produces tobacco, and excellent wine known as "anthosmia".
Pithagorio, built on the site of part of the island's capital
during the time of Polycrates, is the main tourist resort on the
island. The town used to be known as Tigani, because of its
shape, but later was named after the mathematician Pythagoras. The area, during the period of Turkish rule, was almost completely
abandoned by its inhabitants, who fled elsewhere to seek shelter.
Today it is growing fast and has about 1,500 inhabitants.
Old and modern houses linked to the past, with the narrow streets and plenty of flowers create a romantic picture for visitors. The harbour, with its tavernas, coffee-shops, tourist shops and tables set out under the trees on one side, and its fishermen, caiques and yachts of all sizes on the other, could be described as the quintessential scene of a Greek island.
The town of Samos, capital of the island today, stands on the
north east corner of the island, near Vathi, with which it, in effect,
forms one town. It has a population of about 9,000 people and is a
mixture of old and new buildings. The town is slowly expanding round the amphitheatrical bay. The port lies in the centre of the eastern side of the bay, which lends its name to the city. Limin Vatheos or Kato Vathi, as the locals call it, is the most lively place on the island, especially during the touristic season.
The rich historic past of the island is established by the ruins, the finds and the remnants of its famous sites. The historic church of
Agios Spyridon, the building that housed the Parliament, the Town Hall and the Archaeological and the Byzantine Museum are all tokens of the historic past of the island and great tourist attractions.
Vathi is one of the three main ports on the island and is almost linked to Samos, although the division between the two towns is difficult to see. Vathi, which was the birthplace of the freedom fighters Constanine Lachanas and Themistocles Sophoulis and the composer Manolis Kalomoiris has narrow streets, winding uphill between old houses. The houses have few windows, placed close together, and many have rooms which protrude over the street.