We have sailed to all of the Greek Islands, and my favorite still is Samothraki; hard to get to and no airport, not much in guide books, and that of course makes it less visited and a wonderful paradise. It lies in the North of the Aegean two hours by ferry from Alexandroupolis and the border with Turkey, or best of all by your own boat. The island is a high mountain, 'Fengari', the 'Mountain of the moon' , where Zeus sat and watched the Battle of Troy. It has one ancient site on the northern slopes - home of the 'Winged Victory of Samothrace' (now in the Louvre). Nearby a village of hot springs, Loutra, and further up a series of eight tumbling streams and rocky pools flowing through forests of huge chestnut, plane, fig and mulberry trees, where the islanders grow their vegetables for winter. The northern beaches have fine white stones, but on the southern shore there are sandy beaches. Last time we were there, a few backpackers were camping near the falls and Loutra had grown a hotel, so maybe change is coming. After a stormy passage, the little port with poplar trees filled with nightingales, was an experience I will never forget.
Google map: bit.ly/ms0CBV
Head to Samothraki if you are tired of overdeveloped resorts, filled with drunken revellers, and you'd rather spend your time in peace while enjoying the mediterranean climate.
Samothraki offers you a quiet stay, a beautiful natural environment and some good local cuisine. Since the only tourists who visit with any regularity are Greeks, prices are low too. The hotels are generally cheap, clean and well-kept with no frills.
I had the pleasure of visiting in 2002. For nearly two weeks we partied from dawn to dusk on the beaches, enjoying the stunning views and liberating music. From its psy/goatrance roots, the festival has branched out to offer reggae, world music and many other genres. And when you're partied out, you're already in the perfect spot to recuperate.
One word of warning though - each year the festival gets raided by the (extremely ineffective) Greek police, so keep your funny substances at home or well hidden (dig a hole). The criminal penalties for posession are absolutely draconic, but as with all Greek authorities, 50 euros will probably solve your points of contention.
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