Dominated by the 1,611-metre-high peak of Mount Saos, Samothraki is a rugged Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It’s famed for the “Winged Victory of Samothrace”, which was discovered at its Sanctuary of the Great Gods, and is dotted with natural rivers pools fed by cascading falls.
Things to do in Samothraki
Spend an afternoon exploring the cobblestone streets of Chora, an inland settlement that serves as the capital of Samothraki. It was established on the ruins of a medieval castle and is clustered with traditional whitewashed houses topped by red roofs. Admire the murals in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and visit the fascinating Folklore Museum before following one of the trails up the pine tree-covered slopes of Mount Saos.
Don’t miss a visit to the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, a Pan-Hellenic religious sanctuary once associated with a mysterious cult. Its most famous artefact is the “Winged Victory of Samothrace”, a 2.5-metre-tall marble statue of the ancient Greek goddess Nike, which dates back to around 190 BC. It was uncovered by the French archaeologist Charles Champoiseau in 1863 and is on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, with a plaster cast of the original at the Sanctuary of the Great God’s Archaeology Museum.
While there are a couple of beaches on Samothraki, swimming in the picturesque natural pools is a more popular way to refresh. Known as vathres, they lie at the base of waterfalls along the Fonias River. Alternatively, you can bathe in the therapeutic hot springs of Psarotherma on the north coast of the island.
Getting around Samothraki
Samothraki is connected by regular ferries to Alexandroupoli, with Alexandroupoli Airport offering flights to Athens. Buses travel throughout the island and connect most of its attractions.