Transfer time 10 minutes
In Greek antiquity, The Heraion of Samos was a large sanctuary to the goddess Hera who was born here on the banks of the Imvrasos River. The temple was built in the marshy river basin near the sea, 6 kilometres from the ancient city of Samos. Built around 530 BC, this was reputed to be the largest ionic temple in Greece but all that remains is one gigantic column out of the 155 original pillars. The site of the temple is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, Ireon is a charming small seaside village which has grown from a few fishermen’s huts into a sleepy, friendly, laid back little resort with 2 small uncrowded sandy/shingle beaches, several small supermarkets, a bakery and a few shops. However, this is THE place on Samos for seafood and there are several excellent tavernas that literally cook the day’s catch.
In the evening the tavernas fill and there is that wonderful bustle of a typical Greek coastal village with white lights reflected on the sea and the backdrop of the sound of waves swishing onto sand, shingle and rock.
It is only a 10 minute drive to Pythagorion and a bus service (seasonal) and not on weekends links Ireon with Pythagorion and Vathy. Ireon is the perfect beach centre from which to explore the two main towns.
We wish we had featured Ireon in previous years but it is only now that we have found the suitable accommodation to enable us to feature this charming place.
Transfer time 10 minutes
Named after the island’s most famous son, the ancient mathematician Pythagoras, Pythagorion is Samos’s main small town on the south coast. Boasting a handsome semi-circular harbour with a wide promenade lined with cafes and restaurants, there is no shortage of places from which to enjoy the harbour comings and goings.
Pythagorion is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island’s tyrant ruler, Polykrates, had his capital here in the 6th century BC, and evidence of his original harbour walls can still be seen. There are the remains of Roman Baths to the west and the castle above the harbour dates from the 19th century.
The remarkable feat of ancient engineering that is Evpalinas Tunnel, in the hills above Pythagorion, was commissioned by Polykrates to ensure the water supply in times of siege and was bored for over 1000 metres through the mountain in 550 BC. Even older (8th century BC) is the Temple of Hera some 5 kms to the west.
Behind the harbour, narrow lanes and cobbled streets add to the characterful small town atmosphere.
Boat trips run to local beaches and include a picnic lunch, to Kusadasi in Turkey – from where you are taken to ancient Ephesus – and it is possible to visit Patmos for the day.
The town has a small but perfectly serviceable sandy beach just past the harbour, and to the west is the very long, clean sand/pebble beach which has sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, and seasonal watersports.
Transfer time 30 minutes
Between Pythagorion and Samos Town, peaceful Kerveli is a completely relaxing little seaside spot on the undeveloped east coast of the island.
Kerveli looks towards Turkey, and claims to be the first spot the sun’s rays strike in Greece each morning! Whether true or not, it is undoubtedly one of the loveliest and most sheltered bays on Samos, accessed only via a narrow road that winds down through beautiful wooded countryside and olive groves. A pair of excellent, friendly tavernas (one of which stocks basic provisions), a sprinkling of villas/apartments and one hotel, a shingle beach with tamarisk for shade and a turquoise sea, all against a backdrop of thickly wooded hills.
Car hire is recommended for those wishing to get out and explore as there is no public bus from the resort other than the hotel courtesy bus to and from Samos Town (Vathy).
The countryside around Kerveli is wonderful for walkers and has a beautiful indented coastline. A holiday here would be perfect for those seeking tranquility close to the sea, with lovely views and good walking opportunities - even in high season Kerveli manages to escape the crowds.