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Economy of Samos

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Since antiquity, Samos has been a rich and self-sufficient island, influenced by the topography, the soil composition and the abundant fountains. The development of Samos was mainly based on the cultivation of the land and especially on viticulture, olive cultivation and tobacco cultivation. The subsistent needs of the inhabitants were also covered by livestock and fishing.

Today, the fertile Samian soil produces products of exceptional quality. It’s main agricultural products include the world famous, award winning sweet Samian Muscat wine, ouzo, honey and virgin olive oil. Take a trip down farmer’s lane to see, feel, smell and taste the cultivates from Samos!



Viticulture in Samos began in ancient times and continues to this day. The Muscat grapes are cultivated up to an altitude of 900 metres on terraces and have a rich aroma and a full, fruity taste. Since the late 19th century, international markets are supplied with Samian wine, while the Catholic Church obtains it for the Eucharist. Wines bearing the Samos designation of origin must be produced entirely from the Samian Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains and be made either as a vin doux naturel or from sun-dried grapes. 

Dry and sweet wines produced by the Union of Winemaking Cooperatives of Samos are awarded with dozens of gold prizes and hundreds of distinctions. Today, there are multiple successful Winehouses on the Island, such as Vakakis and Hatziioannou.


The cultivation of tobacco developed mainly at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, where the production of good quality tobacco favoured the development of trade and the establishment of tobacco factories. Sami cigarettes became known all over the world.


Tanning also developed at the end of the 19th century on the island. Large tanneries were mainly established in in Karlovasi, where the available space favoured their operation. The island prospered and large mansions, industries and warehouses were built, many of which are preserved to this day and reflect the prosperity of that era.

Samian Olive oil

The olive oil produces by Samos is of exceptional quality and stands out for its mellow taste, its clarity and texture. Most oil is produced from the Koroneika variety and the local Samos variety. There are multiple olive mills around the island where the harvest is pressed.


Samos Honey possesses unique flavours, textures and rich aromas, thanks to the various aromatic herbs and trees. Pollen, propolis and royal jelly are also produced.

Ouzo & Souma

Ouzo and Souma are the most famous and traditional distillation products of Samos. The Ouzo stands out for its special flavour and aroma of anise. Souma is another traditional distillate, similar to raki. It is made using grape marc and is milled in traditional family distilleries of the (mountain) villages.


You can find beautiful wild orchids all over Samos. Since 1980, the orchid flower has also – very successfully – been cultivated in several varieties, which are exported worldwide.The gorgeous Samos orchid is exclusively cultivated from two units of systematic cultivation. The island is ideal for this type of cultivation due to the perfect climate and soil conditions. The main varieties are the Cymbidium Standard, with large flowers flower and the Cymbidium Mini with small flowers.

Herbs & essential oils

The fertile soil of Samos provides an abundance of herbs of superior quality. They grow in the wild, but are also cultivated on the island. They are used dried for tea, tinctures or cooking, or their essential oils are extracted for their beneficial properties.

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.


The art of shipbuilding flourished in Samos since ancient times, when the seaworthy Samena biremes where developed under the Tyrant Polycrates. The wood of the durable Samian Black Pine trees Pinus Brutia, impregnated with resin, was in high demand at Shipyards all over Greece and provided the main construction material for local hulls.

After WWII, the development of shipbuilding with modern methods and materials reduced the need for wooden vessels. Today, only one shipyard operates on the island, in the cove of Agios Isidoros. Rumour has that historically this was one of the hidden Pirate Shipyards, used to built and maintain their ships. At its high point, during the 20th century, there were 6 small shipbuilding and repair units in Agios Isidoros where the main population of the villages Drakei and Kallithea worked.

Agios Isidoros is the oldest active Shipyard in Greece and was designated as a Protected Historical Site in 2007 by the Ministry of Culture decision.


Pottery also developed on the island. The good quality soil (loam) it possess was suitable for the manufacture of vases. Hence, also in the past, the existence of a large number of pottery workshops, which manufactured ceramics of the highest quality and aesthetics, which were exported to the neighboring islands. Today, pottery workshops are maintained in Mavratzaios, Koumaradaios, Myloi and Karlovasi.


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 Konstantino and Ormos Marathokampos.

Category: Samos Island