15 Best Things to Do in Samothraki (Greece)

church of holy mary krimniotissa

Samothraki is a small mountainous island whose northern slopes are covered with lush green forests.

The southern half of the island, on the other side, is covered by Mediterranean shrubland plants.

With its 35 kilometers of beaches, Samothraki definitely has a lot to offer to its visitors.

The rocky bottom and clear deep-blue color of the sea make the waters around the island an attractive place to dive and swim.

1. Visit the Sanctuary of the Great Gods

sanctuary of the great gods
Sanctuary of the Great Gods by Dimitris Siskopoulos/Flickr

Located in the northern part of the island, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods is one of the most interesting sights to visit in Samothraki.

It belongs to the same famous religious complex, part of which are the well-known Rock Altars.

You will find the sanctuary in the southeastern part of the village of Paleopoli.

According to scientists, this is one of the largest and most important temples of this kind discovered in Greece as a whole.

It dates back to the 7 century BC.

2. Visit Castelo Gattilusi

castelo gattilusi
Castelo Gattilusi by Dimitris Siskopoulos/Flickr

Castelo Gattilusi is a semi-destroyed fortress located not far from the city of Paleopoli.

The fortress was built in the thirties of the 15th century.

It is a symbol of the influence of the Venetians over the island.

Located not far from the northern coast, the fortress can be easily reached from the village of Paleopoli.

The place is extremely beautiful as the whole area is covered with dense deciduous forests.

3. Visit the natural heaven of Fonias Gorge

Fonias Gorge is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic spots on the island as a whole.

It is located on the northern slopes of the island and is definitely the most recommended natural attraction in Samothraki.

Even if a bit remote and isolated, the gorge worth a visit because of its pristine charm and cleanliness.

Through the gorge passes a fast flowing mountain river, where you will see the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.

Well maintained eco paths and forest trails lead to the waterfalls.

Of course, the best time to visit this place is during the late spring, because the natural beauty of the area is at its best and the river is still deep.

4. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Samothraki

winged victory of samothraki
Winged Victory of Samothraki by Carole Raddato/Flickr

Located on the northern coast of the island, the Samothraki Archaeological Museum is known for its unique collections of artifacts.

It consists of four separate rooms, all of them offering different aspects of the past of the island.

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Here you will find a copy of the popular Samothraki Nike sculpture (also known as the Winged Victory of Samothraki), the original of which is located in the Louvre, France.

Here you will find also marble columns, pottery, tools, decoration and many others.

5. Visit the Church of Holy Mary Krimniotissa

church of holy mary krimniotissa
Church of Holy Mary Krimniotissa by alexcoitus/Flickr

The Church of Holy Mary Krimniotissa is located not far from the famous Pachia Ammos Beach, in the far south of the island.

It is located on the edge of the cliffs, at the very top of a barren hill.

Like most Samothraki sites that are really worth a visit, the journey to the church requires some effort.

Overlooking the sea, this little white chapel offers the most incredible breathtaking panoramic view.

6. Discover Vatos Beach

vatos beach
Vatos Beach by suboceana/Flickr

Vatos Beach is less known but really worth a visit.

It is a very good example of why tourists should explore the island and its secrets before they travel.

The beach is the southernmost end of a canyon that cuts the mountainous interior in a north-south direction.

Located in the southern part of the island, it offers a stretch of small oval pebbles.

The beach is light, with a gentle shade of cappuccino, and the sea waters are calm, clear and dark blue.

Part of the beach is covered with Mediterranean tree species.

This is a great place to find some privacy and to enjoy the natural beauty without being disturbed by other travelers.

Actually, most of the time the beach is completely empty and really quiet.

7. Paralia Pachia Ammos

pachia ammos beach
Pachia Ammos Beach by Wikimedia/CC-BY-SA-4.0

Paralia Pachia Ammos is the most famous beach in the southern part of the island.

It is located in a picturesque and sparsely populated area.

The beach is very wide and is covered with coarse sand with a light shade of cappuccino.

Sea waters are usually very smooth.

In the western part of the stretch there are sunbeds and umbrellas, but generally the majority of the beach is free of any facilities.

Although wonderful, this part of Samothraki is not easily accessible.

The best way to get here is by renting a car.

8. Discover the beauty Gria Vathra

Gria Vathra is just 2 km away from the popular tourist village of Therma.

If you aren’t afraid of some walking and climbing, you should definitely include the place in your to-do list while on the island.

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Deep mountain river flows between the rocks of the canyon, making its way to the Aegean.

The area is covered by lush and very beautiful green forests.

This is a great place to find some coolness even during the hottest summer days.

The biggest reward is to take a refreshing rest along the coast of some of the natural pools while enjoying the song of birds and the noise of falling water.

In fact, this place is considered the most beautiful on the island.

9. Scuba diving around the island

Although Samothraki is a small island, it offers a great variety of places to dive.

The crystalline clearwaters around the island offer very good conditions, especially during the summer season.

The most important question is where to go and how to get there.

There are two main options.

The first one is to join an organized tourist group with an experienced guide who will take you by boat to the right place.

The second option is to arrange a private trip, which will definitely be more exciting and enjoyable, but also more expensive.

The sea around Samothraki promises a lot of positive emotions.

Here you will have the opportunity to see dolphins, seals and even water turtles.

In addition, the island is located in an area that has been inhabited since ancient times.

That is why you can find here many sunken vessels that today are home to huge colonies of colorful fish.

10. Explore the beautiful Kipos Beach

kipos beach
Kipos Beach by Dobrin Drenski/YouTube

Located in the extreme southeast of Samothraki, Kipos Beach is one of the most popular on the island.

Even if it is not organized, it is far from being empty or deserted. Just on the contrary.

You will see many people here, although the main tourist centers are distanced at more than ten kilometers away from here.

The beach is covered with small pebbles.

Because the bottom is covered by pebbles, the seawater is crystal clear.

The color of the sea varies from blue, through silver to emerald green.

11. Explore Chora of Samothraki

chora of samothraki
Chora of Samothraki by Angelos Konstantinidis/Flickr

One of the must-visit landmarks of Samothraki is the island’s capital, better known by the name of Chora.

The village is small, with a distinct historical atmosphere, which makes walking here especially pleasant and relaxing.

Unlike the capitals of most Greek islands, Chora of Samothrace is located at some distance from the coast.

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The village offers a beautiful view of the coast of the island.

If you love to explore historical sites and architecture, be sure to visit the fortress, which is located on the rocks right over the settlement.

12. Snorkeling along the south coast

the south coast of samothraki
The South Coast of Samothraki by Agnee/Flickr

Between Pachia Ammos and Vatos you will find several very small, quiet and isolated coves.

You can reach them only by renting a boat or joining an organized cruise around the island.

Quiet and peaceful, the coves have retained their beauty and purity from mass tourism.

The wildlife here is extremely well preserved, and the underwater variety is impressive.

If you are a fan of snorkeling then you should definitely visit this part of Samothraki.

Usually the sea is very calm here and the visibility underwater during the summer months is about 20 – 30 meters.

13. Boat trip and exploring the southeast

coastal cliff
Coastal cliff by Agnee/Flickr

Be sure to join a boat trip along the southeast coast of the island.

The landscape which dominates this part of Samothraki is something you will remember for a very long time.

The barren coastal cliffs descend for hundreds of meters and finally meet the turquoise waters of the Aegean.

There are some very beautiful beaches here.

However, they are not recommended for families with kids as sometimes the water gets deep very quickly.

14. Walk to Kamariotissa

village of kamariotissa
Village of Kamariotissa by Angelos Konstantinidis/Flickr

Kamariotissa is a small port village, located in the westernmost part of the green Aegean island.

What makes the settlement popular is the peninsula which stretches in a east-west direction, about 1,5 km to the west.

It comes to a nearly kilometer long sandbar mixed with small greyish and brownish pebbles.

Here is also a shallow salt lake. The area is very quiet and isolated.

15. Climb Fengari Peak

fengari peak
Fengari Peak by Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

If you like the idea of climbing one of the highest mountain peaks in the Aegean, Fengari should definitely become part of your to-do list.

With its 1,611 meters, it reveals breathtaking views in all directions, including toward the island of Thassos, which lies 60 km northwest of Samothraki.

You shouldn’t expect to be easy since the slopes are quite steep.

Not to mention the strong sun and rocky terrain as well as the lack of marking signs.

Once there, however, you will feel like you are on the top of the world, especially in clear and cloudless weather.