Ormos Marathocampos, the Port of Marathocampos 4 km west of Balos, is attractive to to tourists as a tranquil and idyllic holiday location. Clean sandy beaches and crystal clear waters sit within a landscape of unspoilt natural beauty. It is considered one of the most picturesque villages in Samos.
Ormos Marathocampos harbour
On the promenade behind the traditional harbour, visitors enjoy locally caught fresh fish and Samos wine at one of the traditional tavernas and restaurants, where they can view the paintings of Samos artist Maria Miskedaki and look out over the turquoise waters of the bay.
Maria Miskedaki and her fisherman brother, Manolis,
outside her restaurant on Ormos Marathocampos Promenade
Over the past 20 years, Balos has developed from a fishermen’s settlement, with boats hauled up on the beaches and small cottages and sheds used for storing fishing tackle into a small resort. The settlement of Balos still comprises only one road giving access along the beach, and now developing into a simple promenade, making a T-junction with the recently-widened access road which snakes down from the main Karlovasi-Pyrgos road and around the edge of Koumeika, narrowing again only at the entrance to Balos.
The access road to Balos has been substantially improved over the past decade. The series of tight hairpin bends up the cliff above Balos has been replaced by a smoothly graded detour route so that driving to and from Balos is no longer a difficult and scary experience for tourists in hire cars.
Balos now has a small hotel, a few apartments to let. Some are based on converted fishermen’s cottages, some are newly built. A few are now offered to let by UK tour operators. Package tourists, mainly from Northern Europe, come to stay in hotels and rented apartments, usually for 1 or 2 weeks. This has resulted in an increase in hotels, apartments and restaurants and bars in Balos, and also in Pefkos. A new development comprising 8 ecologically innovative houses is currently being built at the edge of the village, but further building development at Balos is now very strictly controlled and regulated in order to maintain the character and balance of the area.
Balos T-junction: with a restaurant, two apartment blocks (one is disused) and converted fishermen's stores
Balos has three restaurants, all depending for the majority of their trade on foreign tourists. Day visitors come from the towns of Samos to enjoy the beach and the pleasant ambiance of the restaurants along the informal promenade .All the restaurants open seasonally: from the time the first charter flight arrives at Samos Aiorport at the beinning of May until the last leaves at the end of September.
There is also a bar, converted from a fisherman’s store, established in 2007 by local summer residents, which has become very popular as a meeting place and chill-out venue by young people form the towns , at weekends, and after work on weekdays, (it can be reached in 15 minutes by motorcycle from Karlovasi),
The second ancient port in the Amfilissos Area, Pefko, situated across the bay from Balos, has not been redeveloped as a resort, although it has potential, despite having a much smaller beach front than Balos or Ormos Marothocampos.
Balos beach viewed from Pefkos Beach
Pefkos’ itself is shingly and undeveloped, but there is a well-patronised restaurant terraced up the cliff at its east end. Its customers are Samians and those tourists who are prepared to travel the winding access roads to Pefkos via the Amfilissos villages of Koumeika and Skoureika.