Samos Island | Local Economy
Tourism in Samos started developing in the 1960s mainly in the areas of Pythagorio, Kokkari and Agios Konstantinos. In the late 1980s, it expanded throughout the island, and mainly to the coastal regions. Today, there are remarkable accommodation facilities and the quality of services is constantly improved following modern trends and standards.
Turism has great potential for further development and there are plans for new investments to attract visitors with an emphasis on the network of mountain villages, experiential activities, culture, gastronomy and nature. Cruise tourism and connection with the coast of Asia Minor are currently being developed, as Samos becomes the new trend for visitors from Turkey. Many Europeans choose the island for permanent residence. They invest in new property or renovate old buildings, contributing to the preservation of the local architecture.
The International Airport “Aristarchos of Samos” is a modern and safe airport that serves many domestic and international flights.
In Pythagorio, there is a marina for 235 vessels with modern infrastructure and services. The two main ports of the island, in Samos (Vathy) and Karlovasi, connect the island with central and northern Greece (Cyclades, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Kavala) and neighbouring Turkey. The port of Pythagorio is connected with the Dodecanese and Turkey. You can find smaller ports and boat havens in some seaside settlements like Kokkari, Agios Konstantinos, Ormos Marathokampos.
Since antiquity, Samos has been a rich and self-sufficient island, influenced by the topography, the soil composition and the abundant fountains. The fertile Samian earth produces products of exceptional quality.
Muscat wine, Samos designation of origin, is produced from the grape “Small-berry (Mikrorogo) Muscat of Samos” which is cultivated in terraces, up to an altitude of 900 metres. Its distinctive features are the rich aroma and the full, fruity taste. The Samian wine is renowned since antiquity and mythology mentions that the vine was a present from Dionysus to Samos.15th century travellers refer to wine making as the main processing activity of the island at that time. Since the late 19th century, international markets are supplied with Samian wine, while the Catholic Church obtains it for the Eucharist. Dry and sweet wines produced by the Union of Winemaking Cooperatives of Samos are awarded with dozens of gold prizes and hundreds of distinctions.
Samian Olive oil of exceptional quality stands out for its mellow taste, its clarity and texture.
Honey, with unique flavours, textures and rich aromas, thanks to the various aromatic herbs and trees. Pollen, propolis and royal jelly are also produced.
Ouzo is one of the most famous and traditional distillation products of Samos. It stands out for its special flavour and aroma of anise. Souma is another traditional distillate, similar to raki. It is made using grape marc in traditional family distilleries of mountain villages.
Orchids have been cultivated since 1980 in several varieties, and are exported worldwide.
Herbs & essential oils of superior quality are cultivated on the island and used not only for their beneficial properties, but also in cooking.
Other local products include the loom woven textile, the green soap, figs, raisins, dairy products (cheese and yoghurt), trachanas, sweetened fruit and jams, vegetables and citrus fruits, fish and seafood.
Development of traditional folk art in miniature crafts and silverware takes place alongside the economic growth of Samos. Elaborate gold and silver jewellery are displayed in historic collections, like the one hosted at the Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum of Samos.
In addition, there is intense artistic activity in metalworking, decorative arts, sculpture in wood and stone, great samples of which one can find mainly in old manors and public buildings.
The art of pottery is well-known and developed since antiquity. Beautiful ceramics are made in traditional and contemporary style, in workshops, mainly in the villages of Mavratzaioi, Koumaradaioi and Manolates. A typical vase is the so-called “Fair Cup” which, according to tradition, Pythagoras taught equal treatment. The cup interior is marked with a line limit and if it is filled beyond that, then the entire liquid content is instantly drained.
The art of shipbuilding flourished in Samos since ancient times, with the seaworthy “Samena” biremes. Samian pine trees "pinus brutia" were in great demand and supplied with wood shipyards throughout Greece and provided the main construction material for local hulls.
For many years the islanders lived inland, away from the coast, hiding from pirates and shipbuilding recovered in the 17th century. Shipwrights used to design and build remarkable ships, like “karavoskara”, “martigo” and “latinia”.
The development of shipbuilding with modern methods and materials reduced the need for wooden vessels. Today, just a few shipyards are still in operation [tarsanades], mainly building & repairing fishing boats “trechantiria”.
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