Once you get to the port of Alexandroupoli, it's time to get on the ferry.
For over 20 years, the link between the island of Samothraki and mainland Greece was serviced by Saos Ferries (in 2017 there was an attempt by CS Ferries to provide an alternative connection, but it hasn't materialized).
Currently Zante Ferries provides transportation between Samothraki and Alexandroupoli with their ship Adamantios Korais.
The ship Adamantios Korais
It was built in 1987 on a Japanese ship yard and was used on various routes in Japan up until 2007 when it was bought by Zante Ferries. The ship was refurbished and modified. It takes its name after Adamantios Korais, a Greek writer who lived in the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th.
The ferry is paninted white and bright orange and has the following specifications:
- length: 100 meters;
- width: 17 meters;
- maximum capacity: 1100 passengers and 250 cars;
- speed: 18.6 knots (35 km/h).
The routes to Samothraki
For the time being, the only port where you can grab a ferry to Samothraki is Alexandroupoli. There are talks about linking the island to Kavala (there was a route once), but nothing has materialized yet.
In high season (between the beginning of June and the start of September) there are daily trips between Alexandroupoli and Samothraki and return. In some days of the week there are even two trips.
In off season there are days when there's no ferry to the island.
The duration of the trip from Alexandroupoli to Samothraki is 1 hour and 50 minutes.
For the past couple of years, there's a direct connection between Samothraki and Limnos (Lemnos). Consequently, in some days of the week the ferry that departs from Alexandroupoli also stops in Limnos after stopping in Samothraki.
In high season there are trips to Limnos three days a week:
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday - from Samothraki to Limnos;
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - from Limnos to Samothraki.
The duration of the trip from Samothraki to Limnos is 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Tip: if you have a few more days to spare, take advantage of the direct ferry connection and visit both islands. Limnos is a beautiful place well worth a visit.
Samothraki ferry schedule
Check out the ferry schedule 2021 for Alexandroupoli-Samothraki-Alexandroupoli and Samothraki-Limnos-Samothraki here: Ferry schedule to and from Samothraki or on the website of Zante Ferries.
How much is the ferry ticket?
There are two separate tickets - one for each passenger and one for the car.
In high season (from the beginning of June and up to the start of September), the prices (one way) are:
- passenger: 17€;
- car (length up to 4.25 m): 55.5€;
- car (length over 4.25 m): 64€;
- motorbike (up to 250cc): 14€;
- motorbike (over 250cc): 17€.
Children under 5 travel for free, but must also have a ticket (even though it will say 0€ on it). Children with ages between 6 and 10 pay halfprice.
One of the ways to buy tickets is online using a debit/credit card. To make the reservations you will be prompted for the following information:
- number and name of the passengers;
- date of birth;
- contact information (email, phone number);
- type of vehicle;
- registration number.
The tickets are individual and have the passenger's printed on them. They have to be picked up from the Zante Ferries office (ex Saos Ferries) in the port of Alexandroupoli (address: Meg. Alexandrou 1, Alexandroupoli; phone: +(30)210 4100211). Have your ID Card and reservation number from the confirmation email ready.
Plan ahead a little and get to the port with some time to spare. There might be a queue at the ticket office and you'll also need some time to board the ferry.
Buy tickets in person
You may also buy ferry tickets to Samothraki directly from the office in the port of Alexandroupoli. You will most likely find tickets, but there's also a small chance that there aren't any tickets left for your ferry of choice - especially in high season.
In Samothraki tickets can be bought at the wooden kiosk in the port parking lot in Kamariotissa.
Rules in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece imposed a special set of rules regarding ferry travel. Ships will not carry passengers up to maximum capacity and passengers must fill-out a form before embarking (you will receive one along with your printed tickets). This form cam also be filled out online at https://sea.travel.gov.gr.
Also, when boarding you must show alongside your ticket one of the following documents:
- proof of vaccination (minimum 14 days after the second dose)
- a negative PCR test (no older than 72 hours)
- a negative result for a rapid test (taken within the last 48 hours)
- a proof of recovering from the infection issued 30 days after the first positive test and valid for 2 to 9 months after the illness.
Wearing a mask is mandatory on the ship.
Starting from July 16th 2021, when traveling from the islands to the mainland, travelers need to have one of the following documents:
- proof of vaccination (minimum 14 days from the last dose)
- negative PCR test (no older than 72h)
- rapid test (no older than 48h)
- proof of sickness
- self test (no older than 24h)
To avoid delays, it is recommended that travelers arrive in the port of departure at least 1:30h before the ferry is scheduled to leave.
In Samothraki you can take a rapid or PCR COVID test in Kamariotissa.
Traveling by ferryboat
The ferry is spacious and modern. There is a bar where you can buy a snack or something to drink while on route. Sandwiches cost 1.25-1.45 Euro, pies 2.7 Euro, a bottle of water 0.5 Euro, Greek coffee 1.2 Euro, frappe 2.8 Euro and various specialties (cappuccino, freddo cappuccino, freddo espresso) between 2.6 and 3.2 Euro.
On the ship you'll meet all sorts of travelers - from barefooted hippies leaning on a huge backpack to elderly tourist enamored by the island for years and years, to locals bringing supplies from the mainland.
Even though it's summertime and it's warm, it would be advisable to have a windbreaker or hoodie on you and probably a cap or a hat if you plan on staying on the upper deck. A nice distraction on the trip are the seagulls following the ship (usually fed by people on board with biscuits and bread), the elusive dolphins that may follow the ship for short periods of time and the unmistakable silhouette of the island that grows bigger as you get closer.
Kales diakopes! ("Have a nice holiday!")