The North and East Aegean islands

The islands of the northeast Aegean are grouped together for geographical convenience. The islands to the north, Thassos, Samothraki, and Limnos, bear scant resemblance to their grander neighbours to the east, and have little in common with each other either. Thassos belongs to the Prefecture of Kavala on the mainland, Samothraki to that of Evros, and Limnos to that of Lesvos. These islands for the most part look to mainland Greece for culture, history and now, food or supplies.
The eastern islands of Samos, Hios, and Lesvos at one time played a leading role on the world's stage, providing much-needed links between Asia Minor and western civilisation. Samos and Hios were in fact, once joined to the coast of Asia Minor and even today only a light craft is need to sail between Greece and Turkey. Politically, however, the waters are deep and it is best to tread warily if wishing to visit both countries within a short time span.
The eastern islanders were superb sailors and merchants, establishing trading stations throughout the Mediterranean. The arts and sciences flourished. Sappho of Lesvos and Pythagoras of Samos are only two who achieved world-wide prominence.
Today it is transport rather than culture which divides the islands. Limnos, Samothraki, Hios, and remitted Ikaria are served by few ferries; as a result, they are comparatively free of tourists. Samos, on the other hand, could be classed as an honorary Dodecanese island due to its popular cacique service to and from the holy—and very much visited-—island of Patmos. As air links with the rest of Europe become more commonplace; so too will the islands with well-placed international airports. Lesvos already is a favourite with discerning package tour companies although it is fairly safe to say that the islands of the northeast—scattered, far-flung, and fiercely independent—will remain free from all but the more adventurous tourists for some time to come.

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