When I travel, I always find myself inadvertently daydreaming about the city I’m exploring. As I’m wandering the streets, it’s only a matter of time before I’m imagining what daily life must be like. I think about everything from morning commutes to getting groceries, and I wonder if locals are sometimes still as awestruck by the natural beauty or architectural details of their city as visitors are.
Naturally, this game is most fun for me when I’ve really fallen for a city, and Kokkari is an easy place to fall for. A small fishing village on the northern side of Samos island, Kokkari still feels unspoiled by the common side effects of tourism. It’s quiet, it’s quaint, and the residents are incredibly welcoming. I visited in August, and even during this peak travel season I felt as though time slowed down in Kokkari.
It can be difficult to define exactly what it is about a place that draws us in, to pinpoint what makes us feel a personal connection with our surroundings. There’s no guarantee that we’ll love a city just because it feels familiar or is especially beautiful, or because we’re perhaps drawn to how opposite a location may be from what we’re used to. Sometimes, there is simply no “click.” We can acknowledge that a city is lovely, we can understand why people want to visit, but we don’t feel particularly enchanted by it. And that’s okay. It’s all part of the fun of traveling, and it makes a trip all the more special when we do happen to find ourselves captivated with our destination.
Kokkari was one of those exceptional cities for me. During my week on Samos, I did explore other parts of the island. I spent time in Pythagoreio and Manolates (which I also adored, and what stunning views from above!), and drove through countless little villages both along the coastline and within the central part of the island. The beauty of Samos as a whole is breathtaking—I could easily spend months exploring the island and still feel as though I hadn’t seen my fill. And yet, it was Kokkari that really captured my heart; I’ve kept my eyes peeled for an opportunity to return since the day I left. Fortunately, I am now living in Germany, which makes Greece much more accessible to me than it was when I lived in the United States. There are still many islands that I want to travel to, but I think another visit to Kokkari is at the top of my list.
Something about it just clicked.