The island's capital, Vathy (also called Samos) enjoys a striking setting within the fold of a deep bay, where its curving waterfront is lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. The historic quarter of Ano Vathy, filled with steep, narrow streets and red-tiled, 19th-century, hillside houses, brims with atmosphere. The town centre boasts two engaging museums and a striking century-old church.

Vathy has two pebble beaches, the best being Gagos Beach, about 500m north from the old quay. Along the way you’ll pass a string of cool bars clinging to the town’s northeastern cliff.