Separated from the Turkish mainland (visible form many parts of the island) by the narrow Strait of Mycale, Samos enjoys an ideal location in the Aegean on the route between Athens and Izmir, and is often used as a stopping off point for travelers between the two countries. It is also one of the greenest islands in the area and boasts a huge number of idyllic little beaches found all along the coast. Samos is rightfully thought of as a an ancient centre for scholarship and learning, as it was the home of philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (the caves where he lived and taught can be visited on Mt. Kerkis), and it is also fabled to be the birthplace of the goddess Hera, and the remains of an ancient temple built in her honor can still be found near the city of Pythagoreio. Other main urban areas include Vathy (Samos Town) and Kokkari, both on the north coast, where much of the island's best dining and nightlife can be found lining the harbour areas of each city. Traditional dishes are complemented with local vintages and an unmistakable Greek hospitality.