The Beauty of Samiopoula in the Greek Islands

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I spent several weeks in Mytilini on Samos Island last month. During our stay, we went to Samiopoula (Greek: Σαμιοπούλα), a small island a kilometer south of Samos Island. The name Samiopoula is a derivative of Samos (in Greek Σάμος) and literally means “small Samos”.

The island is 2.15 km in length and .7 km in width. There are a few buildings on Samiopoula, the small parish churches of Agia Pelagia (in Greek Αγία Πελαγία) and of the Ascension of Christ (in Greek: Αναλήψεως του Σωτήρος) and there is also a small tavern and few small houses owned by Vassilis Kappos and his family. Τhe only beach on the island, Psalida (in Greek Ψαλίδα), provides one of the few sand beaches in the Samos area along with very clear turquoise waters. The Samos beaches site rates it “one of the best beaches you will find on Samos, fine sand and crystal clear water.”

Samiopoula can be visited by boat from Pythagoria daily with Captain Vasilis Kappos starting at 9:45 AM. Below is Pythagora harbor and our departure. The voyage from Pythagorio to Samiopoula takes a bit over one hour. On this voyage the captain, his wife, and son were our hosts. You can see the old castle as you pass Pythagora, as well as the sun over the nearby Turkish coast.

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The Vasilis Kappos family maintains an excellent Samiopoula Island Facebook page with many photos of trips to the island. The history section states that “Katina Kappou, the mother of Vassilis, lived on the island for more than 60 years. She was known as Jaja (grandmother) Katina or Kira (Mrs) Katina. She came on the island with her husband Tasos Kappos, his mother, her father, her sister and her brother-in-law after the World War 2. All together started to plant the rocky island with olive-trees, fig-trees, almond-trees and build walls to protect their goats. The tradition of the family is carried on by her son Vassilis, who has still more than 50 goats on the island.”

After Pythagora, the trip passes the south coast of Samos with its rocky cliffs. The quality of light on the rocks reminded me of some Monet paintings. We received some Samos sweet wine and oranges with cinnamon as a gift on the way. When we arrived at the island, the Captain maneuvered his boat along with rocky edge of Samiopoula. Then he circled around to dock at the small landing. As we landed you could see the small church on a hill top next to the Kappos family’s tavern.

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Other boats will take you to the island but since Captain Vassilis and his family are the only residents and own the only tavern, his trip provides the longest stay and a wonderful lunch at the tavern on a ridge next to one of the churches. While we were on the beach another group descended on the beach but fortunately they only stayed for about an hour. On the Monday we visited, except for this brief intrusion, we had the beach and tavern almost to ourselves from 11 AM to 4 PM with only one other passenger, a woman on holiday from Germany.

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The lunch was delicious and freshly made. It started with grilled bread and Tzatziki, a dip of garlic, yogurt, cucumber and herbs. It was the best version of this dish I have tasted.  There was also a large Greek salad with very fresh ingredients. The Captain grilled two fish and some pork, while his wife prepared the rest of our lunch. A potato salad came with the meat and fish. The meal was completed with watermelon and white wine from their tavern.

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The wild, but friendly, goats far out-number the inhabitants. They were there to greet us in the morning and gave us a group send-off when we left around 4PM.

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The light on the way back was also excellent. This time we were offered some Ouzo and thin sliced cucumbers. It was a nice way to end our voyage. We saw a fisherman and some windsurfers, arriving in the harbor of Pythgora a bit after 5PM. Samos is a great place to experience the Greek Islands with a diverse set of things to do: beaches, good food, historic sites, museums, mountains, vineyards, and the sea. I highly recommend this trip and be sure to take the Vasilis Kappos family boat when you go to Samiopoula.

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Post Script. Today we went for a drive in the mountians and small villages on the southern tip of Samos Island, just across from Samiopoula. Rounding a bend on the curving mountian road between the towns of Paghonhas and Spatharaioi we saw Samipoula far below us. You can see the actual view in the first photo below. Then I zoomed in to capture the area we visited on Monday with the church and tavern on the hill top to the left and the beach below it on the right. Zooming in further you can see more details of the church and tavern on the left and the beach on the right. In the beach photo you can also see the small dock and Captain Vasilis’s bost at anchor off from the dock to the right.

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Only external photo credit is from wikipedia (first one)

Bill Ives
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