Ormos, Votsalakia and Balos
Transfer time 60-75 minutes
The expansive Bay of Marathokampos encompasses Samos' beautiful south western coastline. This peaceful corner of the island contains some of its finest beaches and scenery, and is overlooked by Samos' highest mountain.
The seaside hamlet of Balos to the eastern end of the bay is a quiet retreat for those seeking a complete escape. Like all our small resort areas here it has a long beach - in this case mainly pebble (with some sandy outcrops) - shelving into a pristine sea. The sandier end has a few sun beds available with a good taverna above but that is the extent of how organised it is.
For such a small place Balos has a surprisingly good choice of restaurants - five at the last count - plus a couple of cafe-bars. There is no mini-market at such - the nearest is in the larger village of Koumeika a 25 minute walk up the hill (1700m, el. 150m) - but we can arrange a starter pack of provisions on request and a baker's van comes around most mornings which can deliver provisions if ordered the previous day. There is an occasional fruit and veg van also, and there is also our friend George the taxi driver who you can call.
7 kms around the bay going west, the larger village of Ormos is a delight – a traditional fishing village built around a working harbour, with a line of cafés and tavernas strung along the waterfront, a selection of useful local shops, a handful of apartments and just one hotel. Just past the harbour is the small sand/shingle village beach with sun beds and umbrellas, and a longer 'wild' beach starts just beyond.
Ormos is a delightfully authentic and friendly little spot and the village provides everything you should need for a relaxed holiday in very 'Greek' surroundings. You can enjoy breakfast at two local tavernas for a a very reasonable price if you don't fancy cooking.
A mile to the west over the headland, and easily walkable from Ormos, Votsalakia (sometimes called Kambos) also offers a quieter holiday but with the facilities of a small resort. Votsalakia spreads itself along its very long, fine beach and has a good choice of restaurants, café-bars and small shops. Cars and bicycles can be rented and there are regular boat trips operating, offering full or half day trips from Ormos/Votsalakia.
The main sand/pebble beach is one of the longest on Samos – nearly two miles – with sun beds available, and offers good swimming in a very clean sea.
A few miles further west a string of fine beaches culminates in Limnionas, which is as close to ‘away from it all’ Greek perfection as you could find. It comprises simply a crescent of coarse golden sand (with shingle outcrops) shelving into a sea of Aegean blue; a pair of tavernas above the sea, plus one more on the road down; and the sheer slopes of Mount Kerkis – Samos’ highest peak – as an imposing backdrop.
The whole region is a fine walking country. Hikers will enjoy the trail up Mount Kerkis to Evangelistria monastery (a steep 3-4 hours – cheats can get closer by car and just walk the last bit!).
Wherever you choose to stay in south west Samos, car hire is recommended for further exploration as excursions and the once-daily early morning bus service are very limited. If you have a car for a few days you can also drive to Pythagorion for a day trip to Ephesus and Turkey.