Samothrace photography trip
Just returned from a wonderful trip to Samothrace island in Greece. What a wonderful place that is! It was my first time on the island and was well worth it. We had fantastic weather for photography, climbing and wondering around the island. The short time we spent on the island was definitely not enough to explore all the waterfalls and villages around. However, we managed to get an idea about the place and will definitely come back.
The trip was planned as an Easter holiday. To extend the time on the island we started from Sofia on a Thursday afternoon. It took us about 5 hours to get to Alexandroupoli where we were to get the ferry to the island on the following day. We arrived in Alexandroupouli in a reasonable time for a nice break and good rest before the following day’s trip to the island.
We went to the port an hour earlier to collect our pre-purchased tickets from Saos ferries. It costed us 16 EUR per person each way. To take a car on the ferry would have costed about 60 EUR each way but we decided to make it a bit more adventurous and hire scooters to travel around the island for our Samothrace photography trip. On the ferry we were looking at all the birds flying around and had some fantastic views of Mediterranean and Cory’s Sheerwaters but Dolphins took the show. Two of them were swimming and jumping right in front of the ship. It was marvelous. It took us 2,5 hours to get to the island but with all the excitement we didn’t feel the time pass.
We collected our scooters shortly after we arrived on the island. We rented 2 scooters 50cc for 10 EUR each for a day We had no previous experience with riding scooters but it was easy to get used to it. One of them was really weak as we found out later on. We had to literary push it up some hills on the road to climb them. The other one had no lights as we found out in the middle of the night but managed to get on well and safely. Make sure you check those when renting them. We rented from Samotraki Car rental. We didn’t have to pay anything in advance and the guys there were very friendly and willing to help, so all in all, we had good experience with them.
After we collected the scooters we headed towards the house at Kato Karyotes. It was a shared place managed by a very very nice host Atanasios Stafylas. The guy has been in the business for 30 years and speaks German, Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek. The house had everything one would need like a small kitchen, en suite bathroom, it was all very clean and a wonderful yard with nicely managed garden suitable for children to play or just sunbathe.
Immediately after we checked in, we headed on a search of adventures and photo opportunities. We didn’t have much preliminary information and relied mainly on locals. Our first stop was right by the road where we found a nice patch of Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum and took some time to photograph them.
After that we headed towards the waterfalls of Fovias but got confused on the trail and could not reach them. The marks were not very clear and we had no much time to wonder around so we called it a day. On the following day were to climb the mountain so we needed a good rest before the early start.
On the following day of our Samothrace photography trip, however, we were woken up by strong winds and realized it had rained during the night. To make sure we get a better feeling of the towns on the island we decided to postpone the mountain climbing for the following day when the weather conditions were expected to be better and the shops will be closed.
After a nice breakfast we started our exploration of the island. The weather was really windy. Conditions were very difficult for riding small scooters but the clouds on the sky were unbelievable. I just kept looking at them and various settings for photography opportunities.
Chora (Samothraki village)
After some stops along the road we visited Samothraki village (Chora as they call it here). The place looks like a typical Greek village with the narrow streets and old platan trees. The village is situated on a hillside right at the foot of a hill. It was very picturesque and photogenic. We returned to the place later on in the blue hour of the day for more photography opportunities. I really recommend this place for a photo shoot. We had no time to explore it all but it has huge potential and you can easily spend a few days around it.
After Chora, we continued to the Southern part of the island driving and pushing the little scooters. Oh Boy, that was quite an adventure. The wind even knocked down one of them at its parking position. We were about to have lunch at the only sandy beach on the island but the wind made it no fun so we had to leave.
In the afternoon we decided to visit the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. It was closed because of some devastating flooding which has destroyed the path to the sanctuary and even some of the bridges on the way to it. However, the desire to see the place was stronger and we had to enter on our own risk. It was really marvelous. You could feel the historical spirit of the place.
After an evening photo session at Chora we called it a day and got back to the house for the mountain hike on the following day.
This time the weather had improved and we headed towards the mountain. The marks on the trails were not very good but managed to find a gps track on the net which we used for navigation at least to the starting point. From there on we kept cautious to note every step of ours to make sure we were on the right track.
It took us 5 hours to get to the top of the mountain. The landscape was really spectacular. Although covered with oak trees, the soil was dry and stony. The alpine area of the mountain was totally dry so make sure you take enough water. There is a river stream higher up the trail where we filled up the water bottle but that was the only one en route.
The wind on the top was still very strong and it made it too dangerous to some of us to reach the peak itself (1611 m). However, we were pleased that we had reached the mountain ridge and see the opposite side of the island. The descend took us another 3.5 hours so we made it just on time for dinner.
So that was our Samothrace photography trip! We had some fantastic days on the island. On the following day we returned the scooters and took the ferry for 2.5 hours to Alexandroupoli where we collected our car. The trip home was more or less smooth.
The island is definitely worth a visit. It seems that the wind is an issue also in summer so make sure you are prepared. If renting scooters make sure they are more powerful than 50 cc to avoid pushing them up the hills especially if you are two on one 😉 We had to skip some of the places because of steep roads.
If you have any questions about my Samothrace photography trip, feel free to drop me a line.