The capital of Samos, called Samos or Vathi, constitutes the largest municipality of the island, and of the entire Prefecture. The city acquired its current form after the unification of Samos with the rest of Greece (1913), whereas earlier it was divided in Upper and Lower Vathi. It is built amphitheatrically, beginning up the hills and reaching all the way down to the sea, around the gulf. In antiquity, there used to be a city in the same area, while during the Roman and Byzantine times it was a settlement which, in the years of the Hegemony, expanded and turned into the capital (1854). The modern city of Samos is the administrative center of the island, while it maintains its picturesque figure, with its neo-classical buildings and its traditional neighborhoods.
Walking down the picturesque Themistocles Sofoulis coastal avenue is followed by a stroll down Lycurgus Logothetis Street, where the main market of the city lies. It is the complete package, down a road with various shops and buildings, in a course through the Municipal Garden (park) and the Square of Pythagoras and its Lion.
The buildings of the Bank of Greece, of the National Bank of Greece, and of the Police Department also adorn the onshore avenue, and neo-classical buildings abound in the city.
After visiting all the above, you can take the road up the more densely-built part of the city, Upper Vathi. Enjoy the narrow alleys, the public water taps, and all artifacts in which the spirit of former centuries lingers.
In Vathi you can find tourist agencies, hotels and rooms to let, either in the center, or at the suburbs, you can rent a car or a bicycle, eat in one of the numerous restaurants, do your shopping, and enjoy your nights out. There are several summer bars, mostly along the way from the harbor to the Hospital, right next to the sea.
Things worth seeing in the city:
- The archaeological Museum with the “Kouros” statue and all the rare findings dating from the Ionian era.
- The Library, on the coastal avenue.
- The Ecclesiastical Museum and the Ecclesiastical Library, within the premises of the Metropolitan
- The Town Hall and the Municipal Library. Here is where the Parliament of Samians used to gather during the years of the Hegemony (1834-1912). Right across the street is the Agios Spyridon Cathedral, where the congress, under Themistocles Sofoulis, declared the unification of the island with the Greek State (Nov.1912).
- The Historical Archive of Samos
- The Pythagorion High School (1855)
Things worth seeing in Upper Vathi:
- Agios Ioannis, one of the oldest and most significant churches on the island
- The neo-classical building of the Primary School and of the Municipality (1901)
- Agia Cara (Michael Sinadon Bishop), a temple dating in the late 17th century, boasting unique murals of the Second Advent and a carved wooden chancel.
- Agia Paraskevi, a temple in the area where the oldest buildings of the city are situated.
- An open theatre, a modern structure hosting cultural happenings, which has a breathtaking view over the gulf and the city of Samos.
- Agia Kioura, and the church of Agia Matrona.