The Greek island of Samothrace is located in the North-East Aegean, in the prefecture of Evros in a distance of approximately 47 Km from Alexandropolis, the prefecture’s capital and under 40 Km from the coast of Turkey. The islands’ interior is dominated by the dramatic mountain Saos, whose tallest peak, Fengari (means moon) reaches a height of 1664 m. Samothrace is a green island, rich in flora and fauna and has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
Nature in Samothrace has remained largely unspoiled and the island is visited by numerous people all over the world looking to enjoy its pristine scenery. In the periphery of the island, along the coastal route around mountain Saos, one can find long beautiful pebble beaches but the interior is for the most part covered by the mountain. This unique antithesis is appreciated when one is standing at the shore, looking at the vastness of the sea that lies in front, only to turn around to see the horizon obscured by Saos and its tallest peak of Fengari looking as it is reaching for the sky. Various gorges have been formed by fresh water streams along the slopes of the mountain. These streams form beautiful small lakes -called “vathres” by the locals – and majestic waterfalls of several meters in height, one of Samothrace’s most renowned natural landmarks. Several hiking routes, of varied difficulty exist if one wishes to explore more of mountain Saos, the most popular of which is the route up Fonias gorge that passes by the waterfalls. There is a one-time fee to enter this route and you can use your ticket for the rest of your stay in Samothrace. The route to the first waterfall is very easy, ideal for the inexperienced hiker and it can be completed in approximately 30 minutes. Then, if you wish, you can continue to the next two waterfalls, a hike that will last about two hours until you reach the third one. Be very careful as if you choose to hike past the first waterfall you will be entering a steep, narrow path along Fonias gorge. This route is anything but easy and that is reflected by the name of the gorge, Fonias, which in Greek means “murderer”.
If you visit Samothrace do not neglect to visit the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. An ancient ceremonial temple which is where the statue of “The Winged Victory of Samothrace”, now displayed in the Louvre was discovered.
Boats to Samothrace depart regularly from the city of Kavala and the city of Alexandropolis. The boat from Alexandropolis takes about an hour to reach the island while the boat from Kavala takes much longer. You can fly to Alexandropolis from Athens in about an hour or take the, up to 12 hours, trip by train or bus.