A holiday destination for new-age hippies. If you live in a big city and insist on drinking avocado and chia seed smoothies after a session of hot yoga, then this is you – and it’s also me.

The island is essentially a mountain rising from the sea with its tip soaring to 1,611 metres above the water, supposedly the place where Poseidon watched the Trojan War unfold. The mountain and its slopes are rugged, covered in oak trees and cut by thousands of waterfalls. The goat population stands at 100,000 – that’s 33 goats to every one person.

Surprisingly, swimming and sunbathing on the island do not take place on the beach. Instead people swim in any of the thousands of natural pools and waterfalls, fed from a river called Fonias (or the murderer) a source of ice-cold water high up on the mountain.

The Perfect Day

Warning – this is not a place to come if you’re looking for luxury. There are no hotels to get excited over on the island but your best option for comfort is Archondissa Beach Hotel. You can also rent very low-key but adorable studios at Tasoula Parselia in Therma. No harm in checking Airbnb as availability changes seasonally. Camping is also an option.

Your average day starts off with a walk through oak forests which are hundreds of years old. There are several entrances to the waterfalls throughout the island but your main starting point should be Therma. At the beginning of your walk you’ll encounter a large pool of fresh water being constantly filled up by a waterfall. You will want to jump in. Don’t. Keep walking up the mountain, climbing over huge boulders next to glassy pools shaded by trees. The further you go the more secluded and magical it becomes. After only 45 minutes of walking you will be able to find a pool of your own, get naked and dip into the icy water, a relief from the summer heat. Dry out on the hot rocks.

Have lunch at Taverna Karydes, on the east side of the island. It’s set among oak trees and flowers. The mother of the family that owns the restaurant cooks whatever comes out of the garden. Try to have lunch as late as possible as the afternoons here can be ferociously hot.

In the evening you can visit one of the two main villages – one called Hora (literally ‘village’) a natural amphitheatre built into the side of the mountain; the other called Therma, which is set in an oak orchard on the mountain, where the main square is strung with fairy lights.

Samothraki is famous for its goat – either cooked on the spit or wrapped in parchment paper. Try the goat dishes at Exochiko Kentro Sotiros in Hora. If you’re in Therma there is an excellent tavern called Gria Vathra, which serves delicious stews and traditional Greek dishes.

At night settle down at a bar or a café. Drink wine from huge barrels and listen to the gentle strumming of someone playing the guitar, the murmur of people’s conversations, the clinking of glasses as they’re set on a table. There really is no nightlife here – bars stay open but if people want to pull an all-nighter it usually takes place in the forest, fuelled by magic mushrooms.

Tip: Don’t miss an overnight hike up Mount Fengari. Bring a guide with you – you can find one by inquiring at the village in Therma.

To Stay

Archondissa beach hotel, Tasoula Parselia villas and Airbnb.

To Eat

Taverna Karydes, Exochiko Kentro Sotiros, Gria Vathra or Gefira tou Fonia (a café with great omelettes.)

Best Beaches

 

Pachia Ammos if you need salt water. Otherwise skip the beaches and head for the waterfalls.

Alternative Activity

Ancient ruins called Palaeopoli.

Great Escape

Head up Fengari mountain or take a tour boat to the beach of Vatos, another beautiful place for swimming.

How to Get There

There is no airport here. Take a two-hour ferry ride from Alexandroupolis, where you can fly from Athens with Olympic.

How to Get Around

Rent a car or a motorcycle.

What to Pack

A Mara Hoffman bikini and hiking boots.

Ithaca

Sifnos

Samothraki

Antiparos

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